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  • richardmitnick 2:56 pm on August 20, 2018 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Applied Research & Technology, , Computer science pared with marketing expertise, Cornell Tech in NYC, In New York’s tech sector gender ethnic and racial diversity start in the classroom, New York tech is a melting pot of startups and established companies and industries, New York’s thriving tech industry is no Silicon Valley and that’s just fine, Technology, The Big Apple is in a unique position to address a diversity problem that plagues the tech industry on the opposite coast, The Samuel Curtis Johnson Graduate School of Management and Cornell Tech officially relocated to Cornell Tech’s 12-acre campus on Manhattan’s Roosevelt Island in fall 2017, The Samuel Curtis Johnson Graduate School of Management and Cornell Tech started the Johnson Cornell Tech MBA program in 2014   

    From Cornell Tech: “A Quiet Revolution” 

    From Cornell Tech

    Cornell Tech NYC A Quiet Revolution

    Far from the oft-criticized homogeneity of Silicon Valley, New York’s very identity is a reflection of its eclectic mix of races and cultures. That puts the Big Apple in a unique position to address a diversity problem that plagues the tech industry on the opposite coast. From fashion to finance, New York tech is a melting pot of startups, established companies and industries. And the Johnson Cornell Tech MBA program channels the variety of backgrounds, perspectives and professions to foster multidisciplinary thinkers who can diversify an overwhelmingly white and male tech industry in the United States.

    A focus on diversity attracts tech talent to the city, according to a 2018 survey by the nonprofit Tech: NYC, with 89 percent of respondents citing the diverse population as a draw and 74 percent citing the variety of industries to choose from as a lure. “Diversity is very important for innovation, as people with different perspectives, training, backgrounds and cultures come together to look at the same problem differently,” said Erik Grimmelmann, president of the nonprofit NY Tech Alliance.

    Students gather outside the Tata Innovation Center.

    Being Deliberate About Diversity

    In New York’s tech sector, gender, ethnic and racial diversity start in the classroom. The Samuel Curtis Johnson Graduate School of Management and Cornell Tech started the Johnson Cornell Tech MBA program in 2014, taking up temporary residence in Google office space in New York and officially relocating to Cornell Tech’s 12-acre campus on Manhattan’s Roosevelt Island in fall 2017. The program has since attracted women, minorities and international students with resumes and interests from an array of backgrounds.

    “The amazing thing about building an [academic program] from scratch is that you can be really deliberate about important things like diversity,” said Julie Samuels, the executive director of Tech:NYC, which supports the city’s tech sector.

    Professor Mukti Khaire teaches entrepreneurship in creative industries at Cornell Tech.

    The Johnson Cornell Tech MBA program was built around the concept that the best leaders and innovators have a variety of skill sets, and that they seek out unique perspectives in others. That’s evident in the way student teams in the program’s Studio curriculum mimic the most successful tech companies, said Mukti Khaire, the Girish and Jaidev Reddy Professor of Practice at Cornell Tech and the Cornell SC Johnson College of Business.

    Some projects might see a computer scientist paired with, say, a market expert and a designer. “There’s nothing better than to show students that diversity is important in these teams for really creative problem solving,” Khaire said.

    John Quinn, who graduated in spring 2018, said he had to up his game academically and creatively because of the mix of races, ages and backgrounds. Quinn’s career was on track, with him working in digital payments at MasterCard in Dublin, his hometown. But he realized tech expertise alone wasn’t enough to continue advancing at the company. Now, with a Johnson Cornell Tech MBA, he’s starting a new role at MasterCard’s NYC Technology Hub.

    For Quinn, diversity and inclusion workshops on campus were also eye openers.

    “It was amazing how honest people could be,” he said, referring to sessions in which women and minorities spoke about the challenges they face in tech. “It will make me a better co-worker and a better manager to be aware of these things.”

    ‘A Force to Be Reckoned With’ in NYC

    New York’s large and diverse network of students, workers and entrepreneurs attracts tech professionals who might otherwise have headed to Silicon Valley. On the West Coast, “You get a lot of homogeneity in thought and how people approach problems,” said David Cheng, a 2017 Cornell Tech MBA grad.

    That’s a big reason Cheng, a former software engineer and consultant in Washington, chose New York to start a mobile speech therapy app he developed with classmates. Just last year, Speech Up won Cornell Tech’s Startup Award, which included workspace at its Tata Innovation Center, where students and companies work to bring new ideas to market.

    The Emma and Georgina Bloomberg Center, across from the Manhattan skyline.

    Cheng, who attended speech therapy sessions as a child, said he was drawn to New York because so many of its industries are reinventing themselves through tech. “Being part of the community that is doing that is something that really appealed to me,” he said.

    Kendall Jakes, also a 2017 Cornell Tech MBA grad, said the program’s multicultural and multidisciplinary approach attracted her as well. She worked for a Chicago food company in a role that combined technology and business. But as she looked into M.B.A. programs to help with her next career, she found most wanted to put her in either a tech or a business “bucket.”

    Above: David Cheng, class of 2017. Below: John Quinn, a 2018 graduate.

    “That isn’t how the world works. Why should we be siloed?” said Jakes, now a technical solutions specialist at Microsoft’s New York office, adding that the Johnson Cornell Tech MBA program was a place where she was totally accepted.

    Jakes also said she loved that her class was 40 percent female, a contrast to the broader U.S. tech workforce, which is 76 percent male. “We were a force to be reckoned with,” she said.

    A Model for Tomorrow’s Tech Sector

    New York’s thriving tech industry is no Silicon Valley, and that’s just fine, said Grimmelmann, the NY Tech Alliance president.

    “Out West, it’s all tech, all the time,” he said. Conversely, New York mixes tech with other disciplines and radically changes them. FinTech, EdTech and HealthTech, for example, are flourishing in the city.

    Diversity in industries, cultures and backgrounds creates the best innovators and leaders, said Samuels, Tech:NYC’s executive director. “The most successful employees,” she said, “are the ones who are really good at problem solving and can navigate a fast-growing company — versus stay in your lane and do your own job.”

    Kendall Jakes is a 2017 Cornell Tech MBA grad.

    Jakes agrees. In New York — and in the Johnson Cornell Tech MBA program — she doesn’t feel pigeonholed, she said, but rather celebrated for being a “creative techie.”

    “I love the energy here,” Jakes said. “That’s something really different about New York.”


    See the full article here .


    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

    Stem Education Coalition

    Original announcment
    Cornell Tech today celebrated the official opening of its campus on Roosevelt Island with a dedication event attended by New York Governor Andrew Cuomo, New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio, former Mayor Mike Bloomberg, Cornell University President Martha Pollack, Technion President Peretz Lavie and Cornell Tech Dean Daniel Huttenlocher. Cornell Tech is the first campus ever built for the digital age, bringing together academia and industry to create pioneering leaders and transformational new research, products, companies and social ventures. Today marks the opening of the first phase of the Roosevelt Island campus, which features some of the most environmentally friendly and energy-efficient buildings in the world.

    In 2011, Cornell Tech was named the winner of Mayor Mike Bloomberg’s Administration’s visionary Applied Sciences Competition, designed with the goal of diversifying the economy and creating a national hub for tech. The project, managed by the City’s Economic Development Corporation, has been carried forward by the de Blasio administration, with the campus breaking ground in 2015. The City estimated in 2011 that the new campus would generate up to 8,000 permanent jobs, hundreds of spin-off companies and more than $23 billion in economic activity over a period of 35 years. The campus is built on 12 acres of City land.

    “With the opening of Cornell Tech, Cornell University, in partnership with the Technion, is defining a new model for graduate education — a model that melds cutting-edge research and education with entrepreneurship and real world application,” said Cornell University President Martha E. Pollack. “We are so grateful to the City of New York for offering us a chance to launch this venture, to the many other partners who have helped bring us to this day, and to Mayor de Blasio and his administration for their continued commitment and support. Today marks the beginning of a new era of opportunity not only for Cornell and the tech campus, but also for New York City, the state and the world.”

    “Today’s Cornell Tech campus opening marks the beginning of a new chapter in the Jacobs Technion-Cornell Institute’s ongoing work to foster innovation in New York and beyond,” said Professor Peretz Lavie, President of Technion-Israel Institute of Technology. “In partnership with Cornell, we’ve developed a model of graduate-level technology education that is unlike any other – one that’s tailor-made not only for New York City but for the challenges of the digital revolution.”

    “Thanks to our investments to foster key industries, create good-paying jobs, and attract top talent, New York is the center of the world for finance, advertising, media, the arts and international commerce, but we are still building our reputation as an internationally-recognized hub of cutting-edge science and technology. By harnessing the engineering expertise of Cornell and the entrepreneurial spirit of Technion, Cornell Tech’s new campus will strengthen New York’s future competitiveness and produce innovations that will change the world,” said Governor Andrew Cuomo.

    “As we work to keep New York City a leader in the 21st Century economy, we celebrate the opening of the Cornell Tech campus and the opportunities it opens up for our city and our people. I am proud to welcome our newest leading educational institution, which will become a tremendous catalyst for our tech sector. We won’t stop here. Through Computer Science for All, the Tech Talent Pipeline and the new Union Square Tech Hub, we are building on the progress Mayor Bloomberg set in motion, and helping more New Yorkers become a part of this extraordinary success story,” said Mayor Bill de Blasio.

    “Cornell Tech is an investment in the future of New York City — a future that belongs to the generations to come, and the students here will help build it. Technological innovation played a central role in New York City becoming a global economic capital – and it must continue to play a central role for New York to remain a global economic capital. The companies and innovations spawned by Cornell Tech graduates will generate jobs for people across the economic spectrum and help our city compete with tech centers around the world, from Silicon Valley to Seoul,” said Mike Bloomberg.

    “I’m thrilled that the Cornell Tech campus is finally opening on Roosevelt Island,” said Congresswoman Carolyn B. Maloney.“With its proximity to Manhattan and to industrial space in Western Queens, Roosevelt Island is the perfect setting for an educational institution, which is which is why I worked hard to ensure that it was selected when the City was considering locations for the new applied science campus. Cornell Tech will help us diversify our economic base and bring jobs through new startups. A New York school generates New York businesses and employs New Yorkers. As students are welcomed to the new campus, we know this is just the beginning – and that the future for this institution will be bright.”

    “Cornell Tech will create the leaders of tomorrow, bringing the brightest minds in the field of technology to Roosevelt Island. The digital age has not only improved the efficiency and productivity at the workplace, but created competitive high-paying salaries and stable jobs that keep overall unemployment rates lower. Cornell Tech is ahead of the curve by providing academic programs and training that will make this a world-renowned institution,” said Assembly Member Rebecca A. Seawright.

    “The new Cornell Tech campus is a wonderful addition to Roosevelt Island and will continue to propel New York City as a leader in technology and innovation. Not only will this state of the art campus generate thousands of permanent jobs and billions of dollars in economic activity over the next 30 years, but is also environmentally friendly and energy efficient. Many thanks to Cornell Tech and all of my colleagues in government and on Roosevelt Island that helped to complete this special project,” said New York State Senator José M. Serrano.

    “This milestone is a game-changer – and this campus is a New York City gem. As it prepares students for jobs of the future today, Cornell Tech will keep our city competitive in emerging industries tomorrow. This transformative project truly cements New York City as a global tech hub, and it illustrates what happens when government, academia, and industry all work together. Every stakeholder in this project should be exceptionally proud,” said Comptroller Scott M. Stringer.

    “As our world becomes more tech-centered, the Cornell Tech campus will allow New York City to be at the heart of the innovation, leadership — and most importantly, jobs — in this space. This campus will bring academics, research and business together and educate the bright minds of our future. I look forward to seeing all that Cornell Tech has to offer our City, and to working with Cornell Tech to ensure that New Yorkers from every corner of our City benefit from this world-class institution,” said Public Advocate Letitia James.

    “Cornell Tech is a tremendous boost to New York’s growing tech community and a welcome addition to our city’s pantheon of world-class academic institutions,” said Manhattan Borough President Gale A. Brewer. “It’s been thrilling to watch the campus’ buildings rise on Roosevelt Island and to see the community partnerships this institution has already made possible.”

    “The dedication of the Cornell Tech campus is an incredible achievement for New York City that has been almost seven years in the making,” said New York City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito. “Not only does the addition of this institution enhance an already impressive slate of educational offerings, but its presence brings New York City’s drive for innovation to the cutting edge. I look forward to the thousands of students and faculty who will bring their research and insights to the five boroughs, and I am proud of the partnership between Cornell, the Technion Israel Institute of Technology and the New York City Council that saw about $300,000 allocated toward making this dream a reality.”

    “The opening of Cornell Tech on Roosevelt Island is a victory for Western Queens and New York City that will create jobs and reassert the region as a global leader in tech and innovation,” said City Council Majority Leader Jimmy Van Bramer. “Just one stop on the F train to Western Queens, the proximity of the new campus and tech incubator to Western Queens will be beneficial for the people of my district and for the students of Cornell Tech looking to start new businesses. With unmatched resources for small businesses, including a diverse and talented workforce, Long Island City will be a natural place for new tech businesses to call home, develop breakthroughs, and create jobs. I thank all involved in this historic project for their good work and look forward to working closely with our new neighbor, Cornell Tech.”

    “Tech now has a new home in New York City on Roosevelt Island at Cornell Tech. We are growing jobs and educating the next leaders of the tech economy right here on Roosevelt Island so the next big thing in tech will be ‘Made in New York,” said City Council Member Ben Kallos, a tech entrepreneur. “Welcome to Cornell Tech, Dean Dan Huttenlocher and thank you to former Mayor Michael Bloomberg for the vision, Mayor de Blasio and RIOC President Susan Rosenthal for making it happen, and the Roosevelt Island community for being a part of this every step of the way. I look forward to working with Cornell Tech on bringing millions in investment to growing companies on Roosevelt Island and in New York City.”

    Academic Program & Research

    Cornell Tech started up in a temporary space generously provided by Google and has already graduated more than 300 masters and doctoral students, with most entering the New York City tech sector after graduation by joining local companies or starting their own. Masters students across all programs — computer science, law, business, electrical engineering, operations research, connective media and health tech — spend time learning and working collaboratively together in a Studio curriculum with extensive engagement with the tech industry. The projects students pursue in the Studio encourage them to practice entrepreneurship, product design, tech and public policy, management and other skills, helping them graduate with tangible, marketable experience and a portfolio of completed work that will help launch their career.

    Cornell Tech’s 30-member faculty has launched cutting-edge research groups in the areas of Human-Computer Interaction and Social Computing, Security and Privacy, Artificial Intelligence, Data and Modeling, and Business, Law and Policy. All of the faculty have a focus on applied research and having a real world impact.

    “We are entering a new era for tech in New York, and the Cornell Tech campus is at the heart of it. Cornell Tech was given the rare opportunity to create a campus and academic program from scratch. The opening of our new campus brings together academic disciplines critical to the digital transformation of society and the economy, together with companies, early stage investors, and government to spark innovation and help improve the lives of people throughout the City, country and world,” said Cornell Tech Dean Daniel Huttenlocher.

    “Cornell Tech is a natural 21st-century expression of Cornell University’s founding principles,” said Robert S. Harrison, chairman of the Cornell University Board of Trustees. “The new campus is both completely transformative – and completely consistent with our values and our mission to pursue knowledge with a public purpose. While Ithaca remains the heart of the university, we serve New Yorkers through outreach and engagement in all 62 counties of New York state and have been deeply integrated in New York City for more than a century. The innovative programs at Cornell Tech affirm our institution’s vision, enhance our land-grant mission, and reflect the spirit of all Cornellians.”

    The Jacobs Technion-Cornell Institute at Cornell Tech is a unique academic partnership of two leading global universities, the Technion Israel Institute of Technology and Cornell. The Institute houses the Health Tech and Connective Media programs, where students receive dual degrees from Cornell and the Technion, and the Jacobs Runway Startup Postdoc program for recent tech PhDs.The Runway program has been responsible for about half of the more than 30 companies that have spun out of the Cornell Tech campus with more than $20 million in funds raised and employing more than 100 people.

    “The Jacobs Technion-Cornell Institute is a cornerstone of Cornell Tech, combining Cornell’s commitment to discovery with Technion’s global leadership in applied research and entrepreneurship. From our dual masters degree programs, to our groundbreaking faculty research, to the innovative companies spinning out of the Jacobs Runway Startup Postdoc program, our partnership and impact will grow on our new campus. Through the Jacobs Institute, Cornell Tech and New York City as a whole will always be on the leading edge, experimenting with novel ways to educate, discover, and innovate,” said Ron Brachman, Director of the Jacobs Technion-Cornell Institute.

    “By steering students through Cornell Tech, and its soon-to-come Verizon Executive Education Center, we can build students and business people into lifelong learners and inspire them to be more innovative and impactful leaders. Our investment in Cornell Tech, is a testament of our belief that technology can be a transforming force in our society. This unique institution will be a model for the future and a shining example of how to solve big challenges and make people’s lives better,” said Lowell McAdam, Chairman and CEO of Verizon.

    “Even without a permanent campus, Cornell Tech has already established a proven track record of developing innovative companies and top tier talent here in New York City. Now in its beautiful new home on Roosevelt Island, Cornell Tech immediately establishes itself as one of New York’s premier tech institutions—helping us attract and retain the technical talent and companies our industry needs to grow and thrive,” said Julie Samuels, Executive Director of Tech:NYC.

  • richardmitnick 8:14 am on August 20, 2018 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Applied Research & Technology, , Lincoln Laboratory undersea optical communications, , ,   

    From MIT News: “Advancing undersea optical communications” 

    MIT News
    MIT Widget

    From MIT News

    A remotely operated vehicle and undersea terminal emits a coarse acquisition stabilized beam after locking onto another lasercom terminal. Photo: Nicole Fandel

    Staff performed tests with the undersea optical communications system at the Boston Sports Club pool in Lexington, proving that two underwater vehicles could efficiently search and locate each other. After detecting the remote terminal’s beacon, the local terminal is able to lock on and pull into coarse track in less than one second. Photo courtesy of the research team.

    Lincoln Laboratory researchers are applying narrow-beam laser technology to enable communications between underwater vehicles.

    Nearly five years ago, NASA and Lincoln Laboratory made history when the Lunar Laser Communication Demonstration (LLCD) used a pulsed laser beam to transmit data from a satellite orbiting the moon to Earth — more than 239,000 miles — at a record-breaking download speed of 622 megabits per second.

    MIT Lincoln Laboratory

    Now, researchers at Lincoln Laboratory are aiming to once again break new ground by applying the laser beam technology used in LLCD to underwater communications.

    “Both our undersea effort and LLCD take advantage of very narrow laser beams to deliver the necessary energy to the partner terminal for high-rate communication,” says Stephen Conrad, a staff member in the Control and Autonomous Systems Engineering Group, who developed the pointing, acquisition, and tracking (PAT) algorithm for LLCD. “In regard to using narrow-beam technology, there is a great deal of similarity between the undersea effort and LLCD.”

    However, undersea laser communication (lasercom) presents its own set of challenges. In the ocean, laser beams are hampered by significant absorption and scattering, which restrict both the distance the beam can travel and the data signaling rate. To address these problems, the Laboratory is developing narrow-beam optical communications that use a beam from one underwater vehicle pointed precisely at the receive terminal of a second underwater vehicle.

    This technique contrasts with the more common undersea communication approach that sends the transmit beam over a wide angle but reduces the achievable range and data rate. “By demonstrating that we can successfully acquire and track narrow optical beams between two mobile vehicles, we have taken an important step toward proving the feasibility of the laboratory’s approach to achieving undersea communication that is 10,000 times more efficient than other modern approaches,” says Scott Hamilton, leader of the Optical Communications Technology Group, which is directing this R&D into undersea communication.

    Most above-ground autonomous systems rely on the use of GPS for positioning and timing data; however, because GPS signals do not penetrate the surface of water, submerged vehicles must find other ways to obtain these important data. “Underwater vehicles rely on large, costly inertial navigation systems, which combine accelerometer, gyroscope, and compass data, as well as other data streams when available, to calculate position,” says Thomas Howe of the research team. “The position calculation is noise sensitive and can quickly accumulate errors of hundreds of meters when a vehicle is submerged for significant periods of time.”

    This positional uncertainty can make it difficult for an undersea terminal to locate and establish a link with incoming narrow optical beams. For this reason, “We implemented an acquisition scanning function that is used to quickly translate the beam over the uncertain region so that the companion terminal is able to detect the beam and actively lock on to keep it centered on the lasercom terminal’s acquisition and communications detector,” researcher Nicolas Hardy explains. Using this methodology, two vehicles can locate, track, and effectively establish a link, despite the independent movement of each vehicle underwater.

    Once the two lasercom terminals have locked onto each other and are communicating, the relative position between the two vehicles can be determined very precisely by using wide bandwidth signaling features in the communications waveform. With this method, the relative bearing and range between vehicles can be known precisely, to within a few centimeters, explains Howe, who worked on the undersea vehicles’ controls.

    To test their underwater optical communications capability, six members of the team recently completed a demonstration of precision beam pointing and fast acquisition between two moving vehicles in the Boston Sports Club pool in Lexington, Massachusetts. Their tests proved that two underwater vehicles could search for and locate each other in the pool within one second. Once linked, the vehicles could potentially use their established link to transmit hundreds of gigabytes of data in one session.

    This summer, the team is traveling to regional field sites to demonstrate this new optical communications capability to U.S. Navy stakeholders. One demonstration will involve underwater communications between two vehicles in an ocean environment — similar to prior testing that the Laboratory undertook at the Naval Undersea Warfare Center in Newport, Rhode Island, in 2016. The team is planning a second exercise to demonstrate communications from above the surface of the water to an underwater vehicle — a proposition that has previously proven to be nearly impossible.

    The undersea communication effort could tap into innovative work conducted by other groups at the laboratory. For example, integrated blue-green optoelectronic technologies, including gallium nitride laser arrays and silicon Geiger-mode avalanche photodiode array technologies, could lead to lower size, weight, and power terminal implementation and enhanced communication functionality.

    In addition, the ability to move data at megabit-to gigabit-per-second transfer rates over distances that vary from tens of meters in turbid waters to hundreds of meters in clear ocean waters will enable undersea system applications that the laboratory is exploring.

    Howe, who has done a significant amount of work with underwater vehicles, both before and after coming to the laboratory, says the team’s work could transform undersea communications and operations. “High-rate, reliable communications could completely change underwater vehicle operations and take a lot of the uncertainty and stress out of the current operation methods.”

    See the full article here .

    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

    Stem Education Coalition

    MIT Seal

    The mission of MIT is to advance knowledge and educate students in science, technology, and other areas of scholarship that will best serve the nation and the world in the twenty-first century. We seek to develop in each member of the MIT community the ability and passion to work wisely, creatively, and effectively for the betterment of humankind.

    MIT Campus

  • richardmitnick 7:03 am on August 20, 2018 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Applied Research & Technology, , ,   

    From Discover Magazine- “Wilderness vs. Monitoring: The Controversy of a New Seismic Network at Glacier Peak” 


    From Discover Magazine

    August 19, 2018
    Erik Klemetti

    Glacier Peak in Washington. Wikimedia Commons.

    One of the most potentially dangerous volcanoes in the Cascades is Glacier Peak in Washington. It produced the one of the largest eruptions in the past 20,000 years in this volcanic range that spans from British Columbia to California. Multiple eruptions around 13,500 years ago spread ash all the way into Montana. Over the last 2,000 years, there have been multiple explosive eruptions that have impacted what became Washington state and beyond. Put on top of that the many glaciers on the slopes of Glacier Peak that could help form volcanic mudflows (lahars) during a new eruption, and you can see that Glacier Peak is a real threat.

    Yet, even with this hazard posed by the volcano, there is very little in the way of monitoring equipment on the volcano. Currently, there is a lone seismometer on the volcano to measure earthquakes, one of the most important pieces of information needed to monitor volcanoes.

    The lone seismometer at Glacier Peak. USGS. https://volcanoes.usgs.gov/volcanoes/glacier_peak/monitoring_earthquakes.html

    A single seismometer is better than no seismometer, but it can only give us so much information. Without a network of at least 3 seismometers (a“seismic network”), we can really only measure if earthquakes are occurring at the volcano and not exactly where and how far beneath the volcano the temblors are happening. This is what is installed at a truly restless volcano like Mount St. Helens.

    These two pieces of information — location and depth — are vital for understanding what might be happening at the Glacier Peak if any earthquake swarm were to happen. Otherwise, we might have difficulty differentiating between earthquakes happening due to fault motion near the volcano or shallow changes in the hydrothermal system in the volcano rather than magma moving into the volcano from deep below.

    So, it might seem to be a no-brainer that new USGS seismic stations should be set up on Glacier Peak. However, that’s where things get messy. Glacier Peak is within designated US Forest Service Wilderness area, so modification and use of the land are very tightly regulated and restricted. This is rightly so — we need to protect our wilderness from encroaching development or resource exploitation by people who don’t value a wild America.

    The problem becomes that a seismic station, a fairly small installation that might have a 3 by 3 meter footprint, still disrupts wilderness in order to build the station as it requires the seismometer to be buried and secured to a stable platform (like rock or poured concrete). Additionally, although many stations are solar, they do require back-up batteries that need to be changed … and if there are no roads and trails in the wilderness, getting material to the station is next to impossible.

    In order to perform repairs and resupply batteries, helicopters will be needed, so ideally, a helicopter pad near the seismic stations is needed for safe operation. This is a bigger deal as a helicopter pad might take up a few hundred square meters. It is this sort of disruption that has the Wilderness Watch speaking out against the installation of new seismic stations at Glacier Peak.

    See the full article here .


    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

    Stem Education Coalition

  • richardmitnick 8:10 am on August 16, 2018 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Applied Research & Technology, , , Samy Movassaghi,   

    From CSIROscope: Women in STEM- “The key to a STEM career? Curiosity, persistence and a knack for problem solving!” Samy Movassaghi 

    CSIRO bloc

    From CSIROscope

    16 August 2018
    Ali Green

    On top of Samy’s work as a researcher, she is often sought after as a spokesperson for inspiring young people to take up a career in tech.

    It’s National Science Week and we’ve been taking a closer look at science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM) careers and pathways – answering burning questions and debunking myths like: what kinds of opportunities can be found in a STEM career path? What current and future jobs rely on STEM skills? What kinds of people pursue STEM careers? Can I only become a physicist if I study physics?

    To answer some of these questions, we’re getting up close and personal with Telecommunications Engineer, 2017 Google Research Fellowship recipient and ICT Student of the Year, Samy Movassaghi to hear about some of the cool things she’s doing in her job, what sparked her interest in STEM, and the pathway that led to her becoming a STEM professional. Samy even has some tips for eager young STEM enthusiasts!

    Samy developed an algorithm inspired by fireflies to help solve a communications network challenge.

    Tell us a bit about what you’re working on at the moment and how you got there.

    Samy: I work on wearable biomarker sensors, or “insideables” that can track our health. Specifically, communications between a network of intelligent, low-power, micro and nano-technology sensors which can be placed on or in the body (including in the blood stream) to monitor vitals and provide timely data for medical diagnoses and action. One potential advantage of this technology is early detection of medical conditions, resulting in major improvements to quality of life. These networks can be expanded beyond healthcare for use in sport, entertainment and many other areas with their main characteristic being to improve the user’s quality of life.

    Apparently some of this work was inspired by fireflies?

    Yeah, that’s right. I designed a self-organisation algorithm inspired by the way fireflies stimulate each other to communicate (flash their lights) which allows the coexisting networks to autonomously configure themselves when communicating. The difficulty is, these sensors, which are all battery powered, are placed on and in the body, making constant recharging and replacement impractical. A better solution would be to extend their battery life as much as possible. So, like a swarm of fireflies, my protocol allows the sensors to communicate with each other and power up and adapt their transmissions when needed, minimising the drain on their batteries.

    And what was your pathway to this job?

    Well, I did a PhD in telecommunications engineering. During this time I did a couple of internships and won a few awards like the ICT student of the year award from the Australian Computer Society (ACS) at the Digital Disruptor Awards, a Google Fellowship award that is funding me to go to Mountain View at the end of this month, being featured as part of the CSIROSeven campaign promoting STEM careers, Business Innovation in IT award from Nasscom Australia and some others!

    Wow that’s impressive! What were all these awards for?

    So they were mainly for my proposals and research work during my PhD studies, showcased across various competitions, and also the work that I had accomplished by participating in solving challenges at a number of hackathons.

    What type of personality traits or interests do you think lend themselves to a career in computers and tech?

    So this work is mainly about persistence and problem solving. For me, it’s just like wanting to solve a brain teaser or find my way through a maze – I like the challenge of finding a way to solve a problem.

    What’s the earliest step you remember taking on your education path towards a career in information technology (IT)?

    As a child I was quite lucky that my parents were very open to us exploring what we wanted to do. They would constantly buy me all these electronic starter kits, and I would put them together and then watch them work, progressing to more complex projects – and that’s how it all started. I was constantly inspired by remote controls, or anything electronic. I would pull them apart trying to understand what those circuits and components were all about and how they led to certain functionalities. I decided electronic engineering was my natural calling and so I pursued a bachelor degree to understand more around that. Later on I decided to look into the communication between circuits, which led to further research in telecommunications engineering through my Masters and PhD Studies.

    And for any young people looking to pursue a career similar to yours, what are your recommendations?

    Nowadays, even at the very early ages in primary school, I can see there are a lot of coding challenges and different competitions that really encourage students to pursue a career in STEM and get exposed to coding or building new applications for certain challenges within a specific area of demand.

    Over the next month there are a number of different events encouraging young people to get into ICT, one of which is the international Bebras computational thinking challenge. The Bebras challenge is designed to enhance students’ problem solving skills and prepare them for the jobs of the future. It’s a free classroom resource for teachers and runs 3-14 September. Visit the link below to take the Bebras Challenge.

    With how much urgency should we be promoting people to take up careers in STEM or ICT?

    With the recent advancements in the Internet of Things, machine learning, data science, and big data, a career in ICT is very promising for one’s future. As humans collect more and more data, having an IT background helps you to better understand the science behind the data and how it can be used to make decisions and improve ones’ quality of life. There are so many opportunities to marry IT knowledge with all sorts of other STEM disciplines – medical, environment and design for example.

    Do you have any final words of advice for someone thinking about pursuing a STEM career?

    In my case, I’m really happy that I chose a career in STEM because it has given me the opportunity to explore my world in another dimension. With all the advancements happening around us, my STEM background gives me a better understanding of our changing world, and makes me feel like I can make a contribution. That is very motivating and quite exciting.

    I’d recommend that students interested in a STEM career investigate the different competitions and challenges available to them. It’s a great way to sharpen and test your STEM skills set while having fun.


    How will your computational thinking skills prepare you for the jobs of the future?
    Take the Bebras Challenge


    See the full article here .


    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

    Stem Education Coalition

    SKA/ASKAP radio telescope at the Murchison Radio-astronomy Observatory (MRO) in Mid West region of Western Australia

    So what can we expect these new radio projects to discover? We have no idea, but history tells us that they are almost certain to deliver some major surprises.

    Making these new discoveries may not be so simple. Gone are the days when astronomers could just notice something odd as they browse their tables and graphs.

    Nowadays, astronomers are more likely to be distilling their answers from carefully-posed queries to databases containing petabytes of data. Human brains are just not up to the job of making unexpected discoveries in these circumstances, and instead we will need to develop “learning machines” to help us discover the unexpected.

    With the right tools and careful insight, who knows what we might find.

    CSIRO campus

    CSIRO, the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation, is Australia’s national science agency and one of the largest and most diverse research agencies in the world.

  • richardmitnick 12:02 pm on August 14, 2018 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Applied Research & Technology, , , , Optics in cameras, ,   

    From MIT News: “Novel optics for ultrafast cameras create new possibilities for imaging” 

    MIT News
    MIT Widget

    From MIT News

    August 13, 2018
    Rob Matheson

    MIT researchers have developed novel photography optics, dubbed “time-folded optics,” that captures images based on the timing of reflecting light inside the lens, instead of the traditional approach that relies on the arrangement of optical components. The invention opens doors for new capabilities for ultrafast time- or depth-sensitive cameras. Courtesy of the researchers.

    Technique can capture a scene at multiple depths with one shutter click — no zoom lens needed.

    The new optics architecture includes a set of semireflective parallel mirrors that reduce, or “fold,” the focal length every time the light reflects between the mirrors. By placing the set of mirrors between the lens and sensor, the researchers condensed the distance of optics arrangement by an order of magnitude while still capturing an image of the scene.

    In their study [Nature Photnics], the researchers demonstrate three uses for time-folded optics for ultrafast cameras and other depth-sensitive imaging devices. These cameras, also called “time-of-flight” cameras, measure the time that it takes for a pulse of light to reflect off a scene and return to a sensor, to estimate the depth of the 3-D scene.

    Co-authors on the paper are Matthew Tancik, a graduate student in the MIT Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory; Guy Satat, a PhD student in the Camera Culture Group at the Media Lab; and Ramesh Raskar, an associate professor of media arts and sciences and director of the Camera Culture Group.

    Folding the optical path into time

    The researchers’ system consists of a component that projects a femtosecond (quadrillionth of a second) laser pulse into a scene to illuminate target objects. Traditional photography optics change the shape of the light signal as it travels through the curved glasses. This shape change creates an image on the sensor. But, with the researchers’ optics, instead of heading right to the sensor, the signal first bounces back and forth between mirrors precisely arranged to trap and reflect light. Each one of these reflections is called a “round trip.” At each round trip, some light is captured by the sensor programed to image at a specific time interval — for example, a 1-nanosecond snapshot every 30 nanoseconds.

    A key innovation is that each round trip of light moves the focal point — where a sensor is positioned to capture an image — closer to the lens. This allows the lens to be drastically condensed. Say a streak camera wants to capture an image with the long focal length of a traditional lens. With time-folded optics, the first round-trip pulls the focal point about double the length of the set of mirrors closer to the lens, and each subsequent round trip brings the focal point closer and closer still. Depending on the number of round trips, a sensor can then be placed very near the lens.

    By placing the sensor at a precise focal point, determined by total round trips, the camera can capture a sharp final image, as well as different stages of the light signal, each coded at a different time, as the signal changes shape to produce the image. (The first few shots will be blurry, but after several round trips the target object will come into focus.)

    In their paper, the researchers demonstrate this by imaging a femtosecond light pulse through a mask engraved with “MIT,” set 53 centimeters away from the lens aperture. To capture the image, the traditional 20-centimeter focal length lens would have to sit around 32 centimeters away from the sensor. The time-folded optics, however, pulled the image into focus after five round trips, with only a 3.1-centimeter lens-sensor distance.

    This could be useful, Heshmat says, in designing more compact telescope lenses that capture, say, ultrafast signals from space, or for designing smaller and lighter lenses for satellites to image the surface of the ground.

    Multizoom and multicolor

    The researchers next imaged two patterns spaced about 50 centimeters apart from each other, but each within line of sight of the camera. An “X” pattern was 55 centimeters from the lens, and a “II” pattern was 4 centimeters from the lens. By precisely rearranging the optics — in part, by placing the lens in between the two mirrors — they shaped the light in a way that each round trip created a new magnification in a single image acquisition. In that way, it’s as if the camera zooms in with each round trip. When they shot the laser into the scene, the result was two separate, focused images, created in one shot — the X pattern captured on the first round trip, and the II pattern captured on the second round trip.

    The researchers then demonstrated an ultrafast multispectral (or multicolor) camera. They designed two color-reflecting mirrors and a broadband mirror — one tuned to reflect one color, set closer to the lens, and one tuned to reflect a second color, set farther back from the lens. They imaged a mask with an “A” and “B,” with the A illuminated the second color and the B illuminated the first color, both for a few tenths of a picosecond.

    When the light traveled into the camera, wavelengths of the first color immediately reflected back and forth in the first cavity, and the time was clocked by the sensor. Wavelengths of the second color, however, passed through the first cavity, into the second, slightly delaying their time to the sensor. Because the researchers knew which wavelength would hit the sensor at which time, they then overlaid the respective colors onto the image — the first wavelength was the first color, and the second was the second color. This could be used in depth-sensing cameras, which currently only record infrared, Heshmat says.

    One key feature of the paper, Heshmat says, is it opens doors for many different optics designs by tweaking the cavity spacing, or by using different types of cavities, sensors, and lenses. “The core message is that when you have a camera that is fast, or has a depth sensor, you don’t need to design optics the way you did for old cameras. You can do much more with the optics by looking at them at the right time,” Heshmat says.

    This work “exploits the time dimension to achieve new functionalities in ultrafast cameras that utilize pulsed laser illumination. This opens up a new way to design imaging systems,” says Bahram Jalali, director of the Photonics Laboratory and a professor of electrical and computer engineering at the University of California at Berkeley. “Ultrafast imaging makes it possible to see through diffusive media, such as tissue, and this work hold promise for improving medical imaging in particular for intraoperative microscopes.”

    See the full article here .

    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

    Stem Education Coalition

    MIT Seal

    The mission of MIT is to advance knowledge and educate students in science, technology, and other areas of scholarship that will best serve the nation and the world in the twenty-first century. We seek to develop in each member of the MIT community the ability and passion to work wisely, creatively, and effectively for the betterment of humankind.

    MIT Campus

  • richardmitnick 8:35 am on August 14, 2018 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Applied Research & Technology, , , Dr. Cathy Foley, ,   

    From CSIROscope: Women in STEM- “We just appointed our new Chief Scientist and she is one ‘super woman’” Dr. Cathy Foley 

    CSIRO bloc

    From CSIROscope

    14 August 2018
    Nicholas Kachel


    When Dr Cathy Foley was in primary school she found out she was dyslexic. She had terrible handwriting and spelling and was struggling in class. As one of seven kids, her brothers teased her relentlessly about her challenges with reading and writing. But she managed to turn her tribulation into determination and resilience. And those are traits that she still carries with her today. The teasing, she says, just helped push her even harder to prove them wrong.

    And then when she was just nine years old, her mother passed away. This obviously took a huge toll on Cathy but she says it helped teach her resilience and that even painful situations show you that you can move on and survive another day. In high school, Cathy had a teacher who picked up that although she was struggling in most of her subjects, she was excelling in one – science. At that stage, though, Cathy thought she’d channel this into becoming a science teacher.

    “I always thought you had to be sort of Einstein’s relative if you were going to be a physicist. But I still had that secret desire,” Cathy says.

    That teacher was one of Cathy’s first science mentors and she attributes some of her success to those formative years where she finally felt like she was doing well in a subject she enjoyed.

    It wasn’t until Cathy was at a youth camp that she realised she wanted to change the world. Her compassion for others and a sense of wanting to see more fairness in the world, changed the course of her career.

    ”At the youth camp, I found one on one interactions were frustrating for me. It was then that I decided I wanted to change the world rather than work face to face, one engagement at a time. Science and technology seemed like the way I could do this. And then CSIRO was the perfect vehicle for me to realise this vision.”

    She studied physics and education at Sydney’s Macquarie University with the intention of becoming a high school science teacher.

    “But I fell in love with research and I did my PhD in nitride semiconductors and did a smidgen of the early work that led to the white LED,” she says.

    Today Cathy’s achievements over a career spanning 33 years are pretty intimidating.

    Having decided to pursue a career in research, Cathy joined us as a post-doctoral fellow working in magnetics and was asked to join the team working on applications for the new high temperature superconductors.


    Cathy is a world-renowned physicist and science leader most noted for her work developing superconducting systems including a technology called LANDTEM which uses superconductors to create three-dimensional maps of underground ore bodies. The device that Cathy helped develop has revolutionised the way mining companies detect ore underground and uncovered deposits worth billions of dollars around the world.

    Cathy has risen through the ranks here holding many senior positions is currently the Deputy Director and Science Director of our Manufacturing business unit.

    And in her latest venture, Cathy has just been appointed as our Chief Scientist. This is one of the most senior roles in the organisation and she says her priority will be putting science, STEM and women in science back in the spotlight.

    Although Cathy is now less involved in hands-on research than she used to be, she still finds her job exciting.

    “It’s pretty exciting to think that the work you do actually has an enormous impact and can make a difference. If you ask the people I work with, they all say that’s what they love about working at CSIRO. We do things that actually change the world and I think that’s a nice thing to do,” she says.

    Not only is she one of Australia’s leading scientists, has a Doctor of Philosophy in Physics, a Bachelor of Science and a Diploma of Education, but she is leading the way for women in science and encouraging the next generation of young girls to follow in her footsteps.

    “Australia’s future prosperity will be fuelled by science. Science which creates new industries, new jobs and shapes the minds and aspirations of our future leaders. We can’t keep thinking about science as something which is locked away in a lab. It connects and drives everything we touch and do.

    “In my new role, I’m looking forward to not just spreading the word, but helping shape the science agenda, raising the profile of the role of women in STEM and being a mentor to other women inspired by science.”

    Cathy credits much of her success to being supported by her family, particularly her husband, her six siblings and step-mother.

    “My step-mother helped me to not only have attention to detail, but also be organised. While my sisters and brothers have always been my mentors and greatest supporters. We all mentor each other swapping between being the mentor and mentee.”

    “And my husband Tony is a rock. Having a supportive husband and great children has been absolutely critical to my success.”

    See the full article here .


    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

    Stem Education Coalition

    SKA/ASKAP radio telescope at the Murchison Radio-astronomy Observatory (MRO) in Mid West region of Western Australia

    So what can we expect these new radio projects to discover? We have no idea, but history tells us that they are almost certain to deliver some major surprises.

    Making these new discoveries may not be so simple. Gone are the days when astronomers could just notice something odd as they browse their tables and graphs.

    Nowadays, astronomers are more likely to be distilling their answers from carefully-posed queries to databases containing petabytes of data. Human brains are just not up to the job of making unexpected discoveries in these circumstances, and instead we will need to develop “learning machines” to help us discover the unexpected.

    With the right tools and careful insight, who knows what we might find.

    CSIRO campus

    CSIRO, the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation, is Australia’s national science agency and one of the largest and most diverse research agencies in the world.

  • richardmitnick 7:51 am on August 13, 2018 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , Applied Research & Technology, Computers can’t have needs cravings or desires,   

    From aeon: “Robot says: Whatever” 


    From aeon

    Margaret Boden

    Chief priest Bungen Oi holds a robot AIBO dog prior to its funeral ceremony at the Kofukuji temple in Isumi, Japan, on 26 April 2018. Photo by Nicolas Datiche /AFP/Getty

    What stands in the way of all-powerful AI isn’t a lack of smarts: it’s that computers can’t have needs, cravings or desires.

    In Henry James’s intriguing novella The Beast in the Jungle (1903), a young man called John Marcher believes that he is marked out from everyone else in some prodigious way. The problem is that he can’t pinpoint the nature of this difference. Marcher doesn’t even know whether it is good or bad. Halfway through the story, his companion May Bartram – a wealthy, New-England WASP, naturally – realises the answer. But by now she is middle-aged and terminally ill, and doesn’t tell it to him. On the penultimate page, Marcher (and the reader) learns what it is. For all his years of helpfulness and dutiful consideration towards May, detailed at length in the foregoing pages, not even she had ever really mattered to him.

    That no one really mattered to Marcher does indeed mark him out from his fellow humans – but not from artificial intelligence (AI) systems, for which nothing matters. Yes, they can prioritise: one goal can be marked as more important or more urgent than another. In the 1990s, the computer scientists Aaron Sloman and Ian Wright even came up with a computer model of a nursemaid in charge of several unpredictable and demanding babies, in order to illustrate aspects of Sloman’s theory about anxiety in humans who must juggle multiple goals. But this wasn’t real anxiety: the computer couldn’t care less.

    See the full article here .


    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

    Stem Education Coalition

    Since 2012, Aeon has established itself as a unique digital magazine, publishing some of the most profound and provocative thinking on the web. We ask the big questions and find the freshest, most original answers, provided by leading thinkers on science, philosophy, society and the arts.

    Aeon has three channels, and all are completely free to enjoy:

    Essays – Longform explorations of deep issues written by serious and creative thinkers

    Ideas – Short provocations, maintaining Aeon’s high editorial standards but in a more nimble and immediate form. Our Ideas are published under a Creative Commons licence, making them available for republication.

    Video – A mixture of curated short documentaries and original Aeon productions

    Through our Partnership program, we publish pieces from university research groups, university presses and other selected cultural organisations.

    Aeon was founded in London by Paul and Brigid Hains. It now has offices in London, Melbourne and New York. We are a not-for-profit, registered charity operated by Aeon Media Group Ltd. Aeon is endorsed as a Deductible Gift Recipient (DGR) organisation in Australia and, through its affiliate Aeon America, registered as a 501(c)(3) charity in the US.

    We are committed to big ideas, serious enquiry and a humane worldview. That’s it.

  • richardmitnick 11:22 am on August 12, 2018 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: AI-Powered Supply Chains Supercluster, Applied Research & Technology, , , Protein Industries Supercluster,   

    From McGill University: “McGill to participate in two of Canada’s five new ‘superclusters’ “ 

    McGill University

    From McGill University

    15 Feb 2018 [Just now in social media.]


    McGill University will participate in two of the five “superclusters” selected by the Government of Canada for funding under its Innovation Superclusters Initiative:

    AI-Powered Supply Chains Supercluster (SCALE.AI): More than 30 faculty members from McGill’s Faculties of Science and Engineering, along with their research groups, are expected to be active in this supercluster, which will bring the retail, manufacturing, transportation, infrastructure, and information and communications technology sectors together to build intelligent supply chains through artificial intelligence and robotics. These researchers provide expertise in data generation, data handling, decision modeling, and system output, as well as integration, cybersecurity and infrastructure. In addition, researchers and partners from the Bensadoun School of Retail Management and from the Desautels Faculty of Management will bring their expertise in all aspects of supply chain management as well as their specific competence about the retail and consumer goods sector.

    Protein Industries Supercluster: Based in the Prairies, the Protein Industries Supercluster will use plant genomics and novel processing technology to increase the value of key Canadian crops, such as canola, wheat and pulses that are coveted in high-growth foreign markets, such as China and India, as well as to satisfy growing markets in North America and Europe for plant-based meat alternatives and new food products. Researchers from McGill’s Faculty of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences and its Department of Food Science will contribute to this initiative; and the McGill Centre for the Convergence of Health and Economics (MCCHE) and the Bensadoun School of Retail Management will be a vibrant knowledge base for aspects of retail that span the full agri-food chain.

    See the full article here .


    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

    Stem Education Coalition

    All about McGill

    With some 300 buildings, more than 38,500 students and 250,000 living alumni, and a reputation for excellence that reaches around the globe, McGill has carved out a spot among the world’s greatest universities.
    Founded in Montreal, Quebec, in 1821, McGill is a leading Canadian post-secondary institution. It has two campuses, 11 faculties, 11 professional schools, 300 programs of study and some 39,000 students, including more than 9,300 graduate students. McGill attracts students from over 150 countries around the world, its 8,200 international students making up 21 per cent of the student body.

  • richardmitnick 12:05 pm on August 10, 2018 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Applied Research & Technology, , , Lining Up the Surprising Behaviors of a Superconductor with One of the World's Strongest Magnets, , , National High Magnetic Field Laboratory, Pulsed Field Facility at Los Alamos National Laboratory,   

    From Brookhaven National Lab: “Lining Up the Surprising Behaviors of a Superconductor with One of the World’s Strongest Magnets” 

    From Brookhaven National Lab

    August 8, 2018

    Ariana Tantillo
    (631) 344-2347

    Peter Genzer,
    (631) 344-3174

    Scientists have discovered that the electrical resistance of a copper-oxide compound depends on the magnetic field in a very unusual way—a finding that could help direct the search for materials that can perfectly conduct electricity at room temperature.

    (Clockwise from back left) Brookhaven Lab physicists Ivan Bozovic, Anthony Bollinger, and Jie Wu, and postdoctoral researcher Xi He used the molecular beam epitaxy system seen above to synthesize perfect single-crystal thin films made of lanthanum, strontium, oxygen, and copper (LSCO). They brought these superconducting films to the National High Magnetic Field Laboratory to see how the electrical resistance of LSCO in its “strange” metallic state changes under extremely strong magnetic fields.

    What happens when really powerful magnets—capable of producing magnetic fields nearly two million times stronger than Earth’s—are applied to materials that have a “super” ability to conduct electricity when chilled by liquid nitrogen? A team of scientists set out to answer this question in one such superconductor made of the elements lanthanum, strontium, copper, and oxygen (LSCO). They discovered that the electrical resistance of this copper-oxide compound, or cuprate, changes in an unusual way when very high magnetic fields suppress its superconductivity at low temperatures.

    “The most pressing problem in condensed matter physics is understanding the mechanism of superconductivity in cuprates because at ambient pressure they become superconducting at the highest temperature of any currently known material,” said physicist Ivan Bozovic, who leads the Oxide Molecular Beam Epitaxy Group at the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) Brookhaven National Laboratory and who is a coauthor of the Aug. 3 Science paper reporting the discovery. “This new result—that the electrical resistivity of LSCO scales linearly with magnetic field strength at low temperatures—provides further evidence that high-temperature superconductors do not behave like ordinary metals or superconductors. Once we can come up with a theory to explain their unusual behavior, we will know whether and where to search for superconductors that can carry large amounts of electrical current at higher temperatures, and perhaps even at room temperature.”

    Cuprates such as LSCO are normally insulators. Only when they are cooled to some hundred degrees below zero and the concentrations of their chemical composition are modified (a process called doping) to a make them metallic can their mobile electrons pair up to form a “superfluid” that flows without resistance. Scientists hope that understanding how cuprates achieve this amazing feat will enable them to develop room-temperature superconductors, which would make energy generation and delivery significantly more efficient and less expensive.

    In 2016, Bozovic’s group reported that LSCO’s superconducting state is nothing like the one explained by the generally accepted theory of classical superconductivity; it depends on the number of electron pairs in a given volume rather than the strength of the electron pairing interaction. In a follow-up experiment published the following year, they obtained another puzzling result: when LSCO is in its non-superconducting (normal, or “metallic”) state, its electrons do not behave as a liquid, as would be expected from the standard understanding of metals.

    “The condensed matter physics community has been divided about this most basic question: do the behaviors of cuprates fall within existing theories for superconductors and metals, or are there profoundly different physical principles involved?” said Bozovic.

    Continuing this comprehensive multipart study that began in 2005, Bozovic’s group and collaborators have now found additional evidence to support the latter idea that the existing theories are incomplete. In other words, it is possible that these theories do not encompass every known material. Maybe there are two different types of metals and superconductors, for example.

    “This study points to another property of the strange metallic state in the cuprates that is not typical of metals: linear magnetoresistance at very high magnetic fields,” said Bozovic. “At low temperatures where the superconducting state is suppressed, the electrical resistivity of LSCO scales linearly (in a straight line) with the magnetic field; in metals, this relationship is quadratic (forms a parabola).”

    This composite image offers a glimpse inside the custom-designed molecular beam epitaxy system that the Brookhaven physicists use to create single-crystal thin films for studying the properties of superconducting cuprates.

    In order to study magneto resistance, Bozovic and group members Anthony Bollinger, Xi He, and Jie Wu first had to create flawless single-crystal thin films of LSCO near its optimal doping level. They used a technique called molecular beam epitaxy, in which separate beams containing atoms of the different chemical elements are fired onto a heated single-crystal substrate. When the atoms land on the substrate surface, they condense and slowly grow into ultra-thin layers, building a single atomic layer at a time. The growth of the crystal occurs in highly controlled conditions of ultra-high vacuum to ensure that the samples do not get contaminated.

    “Brookhaven Lab’s key contribution to this study is this material synthesis platform,” said Bozovic. “It allows us to tailor the chemical composition of the films for different studies and provides the foundation for us to observe the true properties of superconducting materials, as opposed to properties induced by sample defects or impurities.”

    The scientists then patterned the thin films onto strips containing voltage leads so that the amount of electrical current flowing through LSCO under an applied magnetic field could be measured.

    They conducted initial magneto resistivity measurements with two 9 Tesla magnets at Brookhaven Lab—for reference, the strength of the magnets used in today’s magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) machines are typically up to 3 Tesla. Then, they brought their best samples (those with the best structural and transport qualities) to the Pulsed Field Facility. Located at DOE’s Los Alamos National Laboratory, this international user facility is part of the National High Magnetic Field Laboratory, which houses some of the strongest magnets in the world. Scientists at the Pulsed Field Facility placed the samples in an 80 Tesla pulsed magnet, powered by quick pulses, or shots, of electrical current. The magnet produces such large magnetic fields that it cannot be energized for more than a very short period of time (microseconds to a fraction of a second) without destroying itself.

    “This large magnet, which is the size of a room and draws the electricity of a small city, is the only such installation on this continent,” said Bozovic. “We only get access to it once a year if we are lucky, so we chose our best samples to study.”

    In October, the scientists will get access to a stronger (90 Tesla) magnet, which they will use to collect additional magneto resistance data to see if the linear relationship still holds.

    An example of a typical device that the scientists use to measure electrical resistivity as a function of temperature and magnetic field. The scientists grew the film via atomic layer-by-layer molecular beam epitaxy, patterned it into a device, and wire bonded it to a chip carrier.

    “While I do not expect to see something different, this higher field strength will allow us to expand the range of doping levels at which we can suppress superconductivity,” said Bozovic. “Collecting more data over a broader range of chemical compositions will help theorists formulate the ultimate theory of high-temperature superconductivity in cuprates.”

    In the next year, Bozovic and the other physicists will collaborate with theorists to interpret the experimental data.

    “It appears that the strongly correlated motion of electrons is behind the linear relationship we observed,” said Bozovic. “There are various ideas of how to explain this behavior, but at this point, I would not single out any of them.”

    See the full article here .


    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

    Stem Education Coalition

    BNL Campus

    BNL RHIC Campus

    BNL/RHIC Star Detector


    One of ten national laboratories overseen and primarily funded by the Office of Science of the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE), Brookhaven National Laboratory conducts research in the physical, biomedical, and environmental sciences, as well as in energy technologies and national security. Brookhaven Lab also builds and operates major scientific facilities available to university, industry and government researchers. The Laboratory’s almost 3,000 scientists, engineers, and support staff are joined each year by more than 5,000 visiting researchers from around the world. Brookhaven is operated and managed for DOE’s Office of Science by Brookhaven Science Associates, a limited-liability company founded by Stony Brook University, the largest academic user of Laboratory facilities, and Battelle, a nonprofit, applied science and technology organization.

  • richardmitnick 1:49 pm on August 8, 2018 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Applied Research & Technology, , , Maping Cancer Markets project takes on sarcoma, ,   

    From World Community Grid (WCG): “Sarcoma Dataset Coming Soon to Mapping Cancer Markers Project” 

    New WCG Logo


    From World Community Grid (WCG)

    8 Aug 2018
    Dr. Igor Jurisica

    In this comprehensive update, the Mapping Cancer Markers team explains how they are determining which genes and gene signatures carry the greatest promise for lung cancer diagnosis. They also introduce the next type of cancer–sarcoma–to be added soon to the project.

    The Mapping Cancer Markers (MCM) project continues to process work units for the ovarian cancer dataset. As we accumulate these outcomes, we continue to analyze MCM results from the lung cancer dataset. In this update, we discuss preliminary findings from this analysis. In addition, we introduce the sarcoma dataset that will be our focus in the next stage.

    Patterns of gene-family biomarkers in lung cancer

    In cancer, and human biology in general, multiple groups of biomarkers (genes, protein, microRNAs, etc.) can have similar patterns of activity and thus clinical utility, helping diagnosis, prognosis or predicting treatment outcome. For each cancer subtype, one could find large number of such groups of biomarkers, each having similar predictive power; yet current statistical and AI-based methods identify only one from a given data set.

    We have two primary goals in MCM: 1) to find good groups of biomarkers for the cancers we study, and 2) to identify how and why these biomarkers form useful groups, so we can build a heuristic approach that will find such groups for any disease without needing months of computation on World Community Grid. The first goal will give us not only information that after validation may be useful in clinical practice, but importantly, it will generate data that we will use to validate our heuristics.

    Illustration 1: Proteins group by similar interactions and similar biological functions.

    Multiple groups of biomarkers exist primarily due to the redundancy and complex wiring of the biological system. For example, the highly interconnected human protein-protein interaction network enables us to see how individual proteins perform diverse molecular functions and together contribute to a specific biological process, as shown above in Illustration 1. Many of these interactions change between healthy and disease states, which in turn affects the functions these proteins carry. Through these analyses, we aim to build models of these processes that in turn could be used to design new therapeutic approaches.

    Two specific groups of biomarkers may appear different from each other, yet perform equivalently because the proteins perform similar molecular functions. However, using these groups of biomarkers for patient stratification may not be straightforward. Groups of biomarkers often do not validate in new patient cohorts or when measured by different biological assays, and there are thousands of possible combinations to consider. Some groups of biomarkers may have all reagents available while others may need to be develop (or be more expensive); they may also have different robustness, sensitivity and accuracy, affecting their potential as clinically useful biomarkers.

    At the present time, there is no effective approach to find all good groups of biomarkers necessary to achieve the defined goal, such as accurately predicting patient risk or response to treatment.

    The first goal of the Mapping Cancer Markers project is to gain a deeper understanding of the “rules” of why and how proteins interact and can be combined to form a group of biomarkers, which is essential to understanding their role and applicability. Therefore, we are using the unique computational resource of World Community Grid to systematically survey the landscape of useful groups of biomarkers for multiple cancers and purposes (diagnosis and prognosis). Thereby, we established a benchmark for cancer gene biomarker identification and validation. Simultaneously, we are applying unsupervised learning methods such as hierarchical clustering to proteins that group by predictive power and biological function.

    The combination of this clustering and the World Community Grid patterns enables us to identify generalized gene clusters that provide deeper insights to the molecular background of cancers, and give rise to more reliable groups of gene biomarkers for cancer detection and prognosis.

    Currently, we are focusing on the first-phase results from the lung cancer dataset, which focused on a systematic exploration of the entire space of potential fixed-length groups of biomarkers.

    Illustration 2: Workflow of the MCM-gene-pattern-family search. The results of the World Community Grid analysis combined with the unsupervised clustering of genes identifies a set of gene-pattern-families, generalizing the groups of biomarkers. Finally, the results are evaluated using known cancer biomarkers and by using functional annotations, such as signaling pathways, gene ontology function and processes.

    As depicted above in Illustration 2, World Community Grid computed about 10 billion randomly selected groups of biomarkers, to help us understand the distribution of which group sizes and biomarker combinations perform well, which in turn we will use to validate heuristic approaches. Analysis showed that about 45 million groups of biomarkers had a high predictive power and passed the quality threshold. This evaluation gives us a detailed and systematic picture of which genes and gene groups carry the most valuable information for lung cancer diagnosis. Adding pathway and protein interaction network data enables us to further interpret and fathom how and why these groups of biomarkers perform well, and what processes and functions these proteins carry.

    Simultaneously, we used the described lung cancer data to discover groups of similar genes. We assume that these genes or the encoded proteins fulfill similar biological functions or are involved in the same molecular processes.

    Illustration 3: Evaluation of the hierarchical clustering of the lung cancer data, using the complete linkage parameter, for different numbers of groups indicated by the K-values (100 to 1000). The first plot shows the silhouette value – a quality metric in this clustering, i.e., measure of how well each object relates to its cluster compared to other clusters. The second plot depicts the inter- and intra-cluster distance and the ratio of intra/inter cluster distance.

    To find the appropriate clustering algorithms and the right number of gene groups (clusters) we use different measures to evaluate the quality of each of the individual clustering. For instance, Illustration 3 (above) shows the results of the evaluation of the hierarchical clustering for different numbers of clusters. To evaluate clustering quality, we used silhouette value (method for assessing consistency within clusters of data, i.e., measure of how well each object relates to its own cluster compared to other clusters). A high silhouette value indicates good clustering configuration, and the figure shows a large increase in the silhouette value at 700 gene groups. Since this indicates a significant increase in quality, we subsequently select this clustering for further analysis.

    Not all combinations of biological functions or the lack of it will lead to cancer development and will be biologically important. In the next step, we apply a statistical search to investigate which combinations of clusters are most common among the well-preforming biomarkers, and therefore result in gene groups or pattern families. Since some gene-pattern-families are likely to occur even at random, we use enrichment analysis to ensure the selection only contains families that occur significantly more often than random.

    In the subsequent step we validated the selected generalized gene-pattern-families using an independent set of 28 lung cancer data sets. Each of these studies report one or several groups of biomarkers of up- or down-regulated genes that are indicative for lung cancer.

    Illustration 4: Shown is a selection of high performing pattern families and how they are supported by 28 previously published gene signatures. Each circle in the figure indicates the strength of the support: The size of the circle represents the number of clusters in the family that where found significantly more often in the signature of this study. The color of the circle indicates the average significance calculated for all clusters in the pattern-family.

    Illustration 5: One of the most frequent gene-pattern-families, is a combination of cluster 1, 7 and 21. We annotated each cluster with pathways using pathDIP and visualized it using word clouds (the larger the word/phrase, the most frequently it occurs).

    The word cloud visualization indicates that cluster 7 is involved in pathways related to GPCRs (G protein–coupled receptor) and NHRs (nuclear hormone receptors). In contrast, the genes in cluster 1 are highly enriched in EGFR1 (epidermal growth factor receptor) as well as translational regulation pathways. Mutations affecting the expression of EGFR1, a transmembrane protein, have shown to result in different types of cancer, and in particular lung cancer (as we have shown earlier, e.g., (Petschnigg et al., J Mol Biol 2017; Petschnigg et al., Nat Methods 2014)). The aberrations increase the kinase activity of EGFR1, leading to hyperactivation of downstream pro-survival signaling pathways and a subsequent uncontrolled cell division. The discovery of EGFR1 initiated the development of therapeutic approaches against various cancer types including lung cancer. The third group of genes are common targets of microRNAs. Cluster 21 indicates strong involvement with microRNAs, as we and others have shown before (Tokar et al., Oncotarget 2018; Becker-Santos et al., J Pathology, 2016; Cinegaglia et al., Oncotarget 2016).

    Illustration 6: Evaluation of enriched pathways for cluster 1. Here we used our publicly available pathway enrichment analysis portal pathDIP (Rahmati et al., NAR 2017). The network was generated with our network visualization and analysis tool NAViGaTOR 3 (http://ophid.utoronto.ca/navigator).

    The final illustration evaluates the 20 most significantly enriched pathways for cluster 1. The size of the pathway nodes corresponds to the number of involved genes, and the width of the edges corresponds the number genes of overlapping between pathways. One can see that all pathways involved in translation are highly overlapping. mRNA-related pathways form another highly connected component in the graph. The EGFR1 pathway is strongly overlapping with many of the other pathways, indicating that genes that are affected by those pathways are involved in a similar molecular mechanism.


    After lung and ovarian cancers, next we will focus on sarcoma. Sarcomas are a heterogeneous group of malignant tumors that are relatively rare. They are typically categorized according to the morphology and type of connective tissues that they arise in, including fat, muscle, blood vessels, deep skin tissues, nerves, bones and cartilage, which comprises less than 10% of all malignancies (Jain 2010). Sarcomas can occur anywhere in the human body, from head to foot, can develop in patients of any age including children, and often vary in aggressiveness, even within the same organ or tissue subtype (Honore 2015). This suggests that a histological description by organ and tissue type is neither sufficient for categorization of the disease nor does it help in selecting the most optimal treatment.

    Diagnosing sarcomas poses a particular dilemma, not only due to their rarity, but also due to their diversity, with more than 70 histological subtypes, and our insufficient understanding of the molecular characteristics of these subtypes (Jain 2010).

    Therefore, recent research studies focused on molecular classifications of sarcomas based on genetic alterations, such as fusion genes or oncogenic mutations. While research achieved major developments in local control/limb salvage, the survival rate for “high-risk” soft tissue sarcomas (STSs) has not improved significantly, especially in patients with a large, deep, high-grade sarcoma (stage III) (Kane III 2018).

    For these reasons, in the next phase of World Community Grid analysis, we will focus on the evaluation of the genomic background of sarcoma. We will utilize different sequencing information and technologies to gain a broader knowledge between the different levels of genetic aberrations and the regulational implications. We will provide a more detailed description of the data and the incentives in the next update.

    Petschnigg J, Kotlyar M, Blair L, Jurisica I, Stagljar I, and Ketteler R, Systematic identification of oncogenic EGFR interaction partners, J Mol Biol, 429(2): 280-294, 2017.
    Petschnigg, J., Groisman, B., Kotlyar, M., Taipale, M., Zheng, Y., Kurat, C., Sayad, A., Sierra, J., Mattiazzi Usaj, M., Snider, J., Nachman, A., Krykbaeva, I., Tsao, M.S., Moffat, J., Pawson, T., Lindquist, S., Jurisica, I., Stagljar, I. Mammalian Membrane Two-Hybrid assay (MaMTH): a novel split-ubiquitin two-hybrid tool for functional investigation of signaling pathways in human cells; Nat Methods, 11(5):585-92, 2014.
    Rahmati, S., Abovsky, M., Pastrello, C., Jurisica, I. pathDIP: An annotated resource for known and predicted human gene-pathway associations and pathway enrichment analysis. Nucl Acids Res, 45(D1): D419-D426, 2017.
    Kane, John M., et al. “Correlation of High-Risk Soft Tissue Sarcoma Biomarker Expression Patterns with Outcome following Neoadjuvant Chemoradiation.” Sarcoma 2018 (2018).
    Jain, Shilpa, et al. “Molecular classification of soft tissue sarcomas and its clinical applications.” International journal of clinical and experimental pathology 3.4 (2010): 416.
    Honore, C., et al. “Soft tissue sarcoma in France in 2015: epidemiology, classification and organization of clinical care.” Journal of visceral surgery 152.4 (2015): 223-230.
    Tokar T, Pastrello C, Ramnarine VR, Zhu CQ, Craddock KJ, Pikor L, Vucic EA, Vary S, Shepherd FA, Tsao MS, Lam WL, Jurisica Differentially expressed microRNAs in lung adenocarcinoma invert effects of copy number aberrations of prognostic genes. Oncotarget. 9(10):9137-9155, 2018
    Becker-Santos, D.D., Thu, K.L, English, J.C., Pikor, L.A., Chari, R., Lonergan, K.M., Martinez, V.D., Zhang, M., Vucic, E.A., Luk, M.T.Y., Carraro, A., Korbelik, J., Piga, D., Lhomme, N.M., Tsay, M.J., Yee, J., MacAulay, C.E., Lockwood, W.W., Robinson, W.P., Jurisica, I., Lam, W.L., Developmental transcription factor NFIB is a putative target of oncofetal miRNAs and is associated with tumour aggressiveness in lung adenocarcinoma, J Pathology, 240(2):161-72, 2016.
    Cinegaglia, N.C., Andrade, S.C.S., Tokar, T., Pinheiro, M., Severino, F. E., Oliveira, R. A., Hasimoto, E. N., Cataneo, D. C., Cataneo, A.J.M., Defaveri, J., Souza, C.P., Marques, M.M.C, Carvalho, R. F., Coutinho, L.L., Gross, J.L., Rogatto, S.R., Lam, W.L., Jurisica, I., Reis, P.P. Integrative transcriptome analysis identifies deregulated microRNA-transcription factor networks in lung, adenocarcinoma, Oncotarget, 7(20): 28920-34, 2016.

    Other news

    We have secured a major funding from Ontario Government for our research: The Next Generation Signalling Biology Platform. The main goal of the project is developing novel integrated analytical platform and workflow for precision medicine. This project will create an internationally accessible resource that unifies different types of biological data, including personal health information—unlocking its full potential and making it more usable for research across the health continuum: from genes and proteins to pathways, drugs and humans.

    We have also published papers describing several tools, portals and applications with our collaborators. Below we list those most related directly or indirectly to work on World Community Grid:

    Wong, S., Pastrello, C., Kotlyar, M., Faloutsos, C., Jurisica, I. SDREGION: Fast spotting of changing communities in biological networks. ACM KDD Proceedings, 2018. In press. BMC Cancer, 18(1):408, 2018.
    Kotlyar, M., Pastrello, C., Rossos, A., Jurisica, I. Protein-protein interaction databases. Eds. Cannataro, M. et al. Encyclopedia of Bioinformatics and Computational Biology, 81, Elsevier. In press. doi.org/10.1016/B978-0-12-811414-8.20495-1
    Rahmati, S., Pastrello, C., Rossos, A., Jurisica, I. Two Decades of Biological Pathway Databases: Results and Challenges, Eds. Cannataro, M. et al. Encyclopedia of Bioinformatics and Computational Biology, 81, Elsevier. In press.
    Hauschild, AC, Pastrello, C., Rossos, A., Jurisica, I. Visualization of Biomedical Networks, Eds. Cannataro, M. et al. Encyclopedia of Bioinformatics and Computational Biology, 81, Elsevier. In press.
    Sivade Dumousseau M, Alonso-López D, Ammari M, Bradley G, Campbell NH, Ceol A, Cesareni G, Combe C, De Las Rivas J, Del-Toro N, Heimbach J, Hermjakob H, Jurisica I, Koch M, Licata L, Lovering RC, Lynn DJ, Meldal BHM, Micklem G, Panni S, Porras P, Ricard-Blum S, Roechert B, Salwinski L, Shrivastava A, Sullivan J, Thierry-Mieg N, Yehudi Y, Van Roey K, Orchard S. Encompassing new use cases – level 3.0 of the HUPO-PSI format for molecular interactions. BMC Bioinformatics, 19(1):134, 2018.
    Minatel BC, Martinez VD, Ng KW, Sage AP, Tokar T, Marshall EA, Anderson C, Enfield KSS, Stewart GL, Reis PP, Jurisica I, Lam WL., Large-scale discovery of previously undetected microRNAs specific to human liver. Hum Genomics, 12(1):16, 2018.
    Tokar T, Pastrello C, Ramnarine VR, Zhu CQ, Craddock KJ, Pikor L, Vucic EA, Vary S, Shepherd FA, Tsao MS, Lam WL, Jurisica, I. Differentially expressed microRNAs in lung adenocarcinoma invert effects of copy number aberrations of prognostic genes. Oncotarget. 9(10):9137-9155, 2018.
    Paulitti A, Corallo D, Andreuzzi E, Bizzotto D, Marastoni S, Pellicani R, Tarticchio G, Pastrello C, Jurisica I, Ligresti G, Bucciotti F, Doliana R, Colladel R, Braghetta P, Di Silvestre A, Bressan G, Colombatti A, Bonaldo P, Mongiat M. Matricellular EMILIN2 protein ablation ca 1 uses defective vascularization due to impaired EGFR-dependent IL-8 production, Oncogene, Feb 27. doi: 10.1038/s41388-017-0107-x. [Epub ahead of print] 2018.
    Tokar, T., Pastrello, C., Rossos, A., Abovsky, M., Hauschild, A.C., Tsay, M., Lu, R., Jurisica. I. mirDIP 4.1 – Integrative database of human microRNA target predictions, Nucl Acids Res, D1(46): D360-D370, 2018.
    Kotlyar M., Pastrello, C., Rossos, A., Jurisica, I., Prediction of protein-protein interactions, Current Protocols in Bioinf, 60, 8.2.1–8.2.14., 2017.
    Singh, M., Venugopal, C., Tokar, T., Brown, K.B., McFarlane, N., Bakhshinyan, D., Vijayakumar, T., Manoranjan, B., Mahendram, S., Vora, P., Qazi, M., Dhillon, M., Tong, A., Durrer, K., Murty, N., Hallet, R., Hassell, J.A., Kaplan, D., Jurisica, I., Cutz, J-C., Moffat, J., Singh, D.K., RNAi screen identifies essential regulators of human brain metastasis initiating cells, Acta Neuropathologica, 134(6):923-940, 2017.

    Thank you.

    This work would not be possible without the participation of World Community Grid Members. Thank you for generously contributing CPU cycles, and for your interest in this and other World Community Grid projects.

    See the full article here.


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