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  • richardmitnick 7:35 am on November 2, 2018 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: "Hotspot discovery proves Waterloo astrophysicist’s black hole theory", , , , , , , U Waterloo   

    From University of Waterloo: “Hotspot discovery proves Waterloo astrophysicist’s black hole theory” 

    U Waterloo bloc

    From University of Waterloo

    October 31, 2018

    The recent detection of flares circling black holes has proven a decade-old theory – co-developed by Waterloo physicist Avery Broderick – about how black holes grow and consume matter.

    “It’s extremely exciting to see our theoretical musing come to life and that tracking these types of flares about black holes is possible,” said Avery Broderick, an Associate Faculty member at the University of Waterloo and Perimeter Institute, who predicted the flares 13 years ago with collaborator Avi Loeb.

    Recently, a discovery by the GRAVITY Collaboration has detailed the detection of three flares — visual hotspots — emanating from a black hole known as Sagittarius A*, or Sgr A*, which sits at the centre of the Milky Way.

    ESO VLTI GRAVITY

    Astronomy & Astrophysics

    Sgr A* from ESO VLT


    SgrA* NASA/Chandra


    SGR A* , the supermassive black hole at the center of the Milky Way. NASA’s Chandra X-Ray Observatory

    The team detected a wobble of emissions coming from the flares, enabling the scientists to detect the growing orbit, known as an accretion disk, of the black hole itself.

    The idea of using the emissions from visual hotspots to map the behaviour of black holes was first suggested by Broderick and Loeb in 2005 when both were working at the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics.

    The pair’s 2005 [MNRAS] paper and a 2006
    [Journal of Physics: Conference Series] follow-up paper outlined computer models and highlighted their proposal that the flares were being caused by the confluence of two extreme events: the bending of light around the black hole and the generation of hot spots by magnetic reconfigurations (known as magnetic reconnection) which accelerated charged particles to relativistic speeds around Sgr A*. They showed how the hotspots could be used as visual probes to trace out structures in the accretion disk and spacetime itself.

    “Black holes are gravitational masters of their domain, and anything that drifts too close will be blended into a superheated disk of plasma surrounding them,” said Broderick. “The matter trapped in the black hole’s growing retinue then flows towards the event horizon — the point at which no light can escape — and consumed by the black hold via mechanisms that aren’t yet fully understood.

    The study, published today in Astronomy and Astrophysics, detected the flares emanating from Sgr A* earlier this year on the European Southern Observatory’s Very Large Telescope in Chile.

    ESO VLT at Cerro Paranal in the Atacama Desert, •ANTU (UT1; The Sun ),
    •KUEYEN (UT2; The Moon ),
    •MELIPAL (UT3; The Southern Cross ), and
    •YEPUN (UT4; Venus – as evening star).
    elevation 2,635 m (8,645 ft) from above Credit J.L. Dauvergne & G. Hüdepohl atacama photo

    While the hotspots couldn’t be fully revolved using the telescope, the GRAVITY Collaboration recognized the wobble of emission from the flares as the associated hotspots orbited the supermassive black hole.

    “The lives of black holes have become substantially more clear today. My hope is that the same features seen by GRAVITY will be imaged in the near future, allowing us to unlock the nature of gravity. I’m optimistic that we won’t have long to wait,” said Broderick.

    See the full article here .

    five-ways-keep-your-child-safe-school-shootings

    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

    Stem Education Coalition

    U Waterloo campus

    In just half a century, the University of Waterloo, located at the heart of Canada’s technology hub, has become a leading comprehensive university with nearly 36,000 full- and part-time students in undergraduate and graduate programs.

    Consistently ranked Canada’s most innovative university, Waterloo is home to advanced research and teaching in science and engineering, mathematics and computer science, health, environment, arts and social sciences. From quantum computing and nanotechnology to clinical psychology and health sciences research, Waterloo brings ideas and brilliant minds together, inspiring innovations with real impact today and in the future.

    As home to the world’s largest post-secondary co-operative education program, Waterloo embraces its connections to the world and encourages enterprising partnerships in learning, research, and commercialization. With campuses and education centres on four continents, and academic partnerships spanning the globe, Waterloo is shaping the future of the planet.

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  • richardmitnick 3:45 pm on September 4, 2018 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: ACE-Atmospheric Chemistry Experiment, Scientists worldwide have published more than 430 papers using ACE data sets, The 1987 Montreal Protocol has been hailed as the world’s most successful international environmental treaty. It phases out the production of chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) and other substances shown to, The Journal of Quantitative Spectroscopy and Radiative Transfer will be publishing a Special Issue in honour of the 15th anniversary of ACE’s launch, The main ACE instrument was built in Quebec City by ABB and it has vastly outperformed the Canadian Space Agency’s original requirements, The satellite itself has no fuel on board. Its orbit is decaying steadily by about 1 kilometre per year. It’s scheduled to burn up in the atmosphere by 2035, U Waterloo, Waterloo’s ACE project marks 15 years of atmospheric science through applied spectroscopy   

    From University of Waterloo: “The little satellite that could” 

    U Waterloo bloc

    From University of Waterloo

    Waterloo’s ACE project marks 15 years of atmospheric science through applied spectroscopy.

    1
    Launched by NASA on board the Canadian satellite SCISAT in 2003, the Atmospheric Chemistry Experiment (ACE) was intended for a two-year mission. Fifteen years later, ACE is still providing excellent spectra which provide vital chemical and physical data about our atmosphere, particularly the ozone layer.

    “ACE monitors the global distribution of more than 35 different species including CFCs, hydrochloric acid, and ozone – in other words, nearly all molecules specified by the Montreal Protocol and associated with the Antarctic ozone hole,” says Peter Bernath, ACE Mission Scientist and team lead for ACE’s Science Operations Centre headquartered in the Department of Chemistry. “ACE represents quite an achievement in terms of return on investment, both for science and policy.”

    The 1987 Montreal Protocol has been hailed as the world’s most successful international environmental treaty. It phases out the production of chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) and other substances shown to deplete Earth’s protective ozone layer. ACE is monitoring the decline of these banned source gases in the lower atmosphere and of product gases such as hydrochloric acid in the stratosphere.

    “We’re the only ones in orbit doing this, and in real time as a function of altitude,” says Bernath. “You can actually watch the ozone hole forming on our website where we post near-real time data every day.”

    ACE is not only known for monitoring the ozone hole; scientists worldwide have published more than 430 papers using ACE data sets. For example, ACE data were used to show how the Asian monsoon directly injects combustion-generated pollution into the upper atmosphere by tracking hydrogen cyanide gas produced mainly by fires.

    ACE data were also used to prove solar activity acts as an additional source of atmospheric nitrous oxide in the upper atmosphere. Previously, the only known natural source of nitrous oxide was denitrifying bacteria living in soils at the Earth’s surface. Nitrous oxide is not only an important greenhouse gas; it’s also a powerful ozone-depleting molecule.

    The main ACE instrument was built in Quebec City by ABB and it has vastly outperformed the Canadian Space Agency’s original requirements. However, the satellite itself has no fuel on board. Its orbit is decaying steadily by about 1 kilometre per year. It’s scheduled to burn up in the atmosphere by 2035.

    2
    Meanwhile, this science mission continues to evolve and improve. The high resolution spectroscopic data gathered by ACE allows the Waterloo ACE team to forensically identify new species and then quantify their global concentration trends going back the entire 15 years of the project.

    “We recently received a request to provide data on two hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs) that are being regulated as part of the 2016 Kigali Amendment to the Montreal Protocol,” says Bernath. “We were able to isolate the signal in the spectra and within a month provide an entirely new data product. The unique algorithms the Waterloo team continue to develop are only possible with this project’s longevity.”

    The Waterloo team is also producing cloud data for the upper troposphere, stratosphere and mesosphere. ACE is the first spectrometer to record spectra of polar mesospheric clouds (PMCs), showing these clouds are in fact very small ice particles.

    PMCs form at about 90 km above the ground when temperatures are very low. Climate change causes surface temperatures to increase and the upper atmosphere to cool, increasing the occurrence of PMCs. ACE data are expected to provide additional information on climate change.

    The Journal of Quantitative Spectroscopy and Radiative Transfer will be publishing a Special Issue in honour of the 15th anniversary of ACE’s launch. For more information and to view the data freely available to the public, visit the ACE website, http://www.ace.uwaterloo.ca/. Additional research products are available upon request.

    3
    Peter Bernath is a Research Professor in the Department of Chemistry at Waterloo, professor and Eminent Scholar at Old Dominion University in Norfolk, Virginia, and professor emeritus at University of York in Great Britain. ACE’s Science Operations Centre includes (photo, back row left to right) Chris Boone, Scott Jones, Johnny Steffen, (front row) Dennis Cok and Peter Bernath.

    See the full article here .

    five-ways-keep-your-child-safe-school-shootings

    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

    Stem Education Coalition

    U Waterloo campus

    In just half a century, the University of Waterloo, located at the heart of Canada’s technology hub, has become a leading comprehensive university with nearly 36,000 full- and part-time students in undergraduate and graduate programs.

    Consistently ranked Canada’s most innovative university, Waterloo is home to advanced research and teaching in science and engineering, mathematics and computer science, health, environment, arts and social sciences. From quantum computing and nanotechnology to clinical psychology and health sciences research, Waterloo brings ideas and brilliant minds together, inspiring innovations with real impact today and in the future.

    As home to the world’s largest post-secondary co-operative education program, Waterloo embraces its connections to the world and encourages enterprising partnerships in learning, research, and commercialization. With campuses and education centres on four continents, and academic partnerships spanning the globe, Waterloo is shaping the future of the planet.

     
  • richardmitnick 2:21 pm on April 28, 2018 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Cheaper and easier way found to make plastic semiconductors, Conjugated polymers- plastics that conduct electricity like metals, Dehydration is a common method to make polymers, Poly(hetero)arenes, U Waterloo   

    From University of Waterloo: “Cheaper and easier way found to make plastic semiconductors” 

    U Waterloo bloc

    University of Waterloo

    April 25, 2018
    No writer credit found.

    1
    No image caption or credit.

    Cheap, flexible and sustainable plastic semiconductors will soon be a reality thanks to a breakthrough by chemists at the University of Waterloo.

    Professor Derek Schipper and his team at Waterloo have developed a way to make conjugated polymers, plastics that conduct electricity like metals, using a simple dehydration reaction the only byproduct of which is water.

    ___________________________________________________
    1
    “Nature has been using this reaction for billions of years and industry more than a hundred,” said Schipper, a professor of Chemistry and a Canada Research Chair in Organic Material Synthesis. “It’s one of the cheapest and most environmentally friendly reactions for producing plastics.”
    ___________________________________________________

    Schipper and his team have successfully applied this reaction to create poly(hetero)arenes, one of the most studied classes of conjugated polymers which have been used to make lightweight, low- cost electronics such as solar cells, LED displays, and chemical and biochemical sensors.

    Dehydration is a common method to make polymers, a chain of repeating molecules or monomers that link up like a train. Nature uses the dehydration reaction to make complex sugars from glucose, as well as proteins and other biological building blocks such as cellulose. Plastics manufacturers use it to make everything from nylon to polyester, cheaply and in mind-boggling bulk.
    ______________________________________________________________________
    “Synthesis has been a long-standing problem in this field,” said Schipper. “A dehydration method such as ours will streamline the entire process from discovery of new derivatives to commercial product development. Better still, the reaction proceeds relatively fast and at room temperature.”
    ______________________________________________________________________

    Conjugated polymers were first discovered by Alan Heeger, Alan McDonald, and Hideki Shirakawa in the late 1970s, eventually earning them the Nobel Prize in Chemistry in 2000.

    Researchers and engineers quickly discovered several new polymer classes with plenty of commercial applications, including a semiconducting version of the material; but progress has stalled in reaching markets in large part because conjugated polymers are so hard to make. The multi-step reactions often involve expensive catalysts and produce environmentally harmful waste products.

    Schipper and his team are continuing to perfect the technique while also working on developing dehydration synthesis methods for other classes of conjugated polymers. The results of their research so far appeared recently in the journal Chemistry – A European Journal.

    See the full article here .

    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

    STEM Icon

    Stem Education Coalition

    U Waterloo campus

    In just half a century, the University of Waterloo, located at the heart of Canada’s technology hub, has become a leading comprehensive university with nearly 36,000 full- and part-time students in undergraduate and graduate programs.

    Consistently ranked Canada’s most innovative university, Waterloo is home to advanced research and teaching in science and engineering, mathematics and computer science, health, environment, arts and social sciences. From quantum computing and nanotechnology to clinical psychology and health sciences research, Waterloo brings ideas and brilliant minds together, inspiring innovations with real impact today and in the future.

    As home to the world’s largest post-secondary co-operative education program, Waterloo embraces its connections to the world and encourages enterprising partnerships in learning, research, and commercialization. With campuses and education centres on four continents, and academic partnerships spanning the globe, Waterloo is shaping the future of the planet.

     
  • richardmitnick 9:28 pm on July 15, 2017 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , Leveraging existing tools, , , Passing through a satellite, QKD-message-encryption technique known as quantum key distribution, QUESS-Quantum Experiment at Space Scale also known as Micius or Mozi, U Waterloo   

    From Optics & Photonics: “Quantum Key Distribution Takes Flight” 

    Optics & Photonics

    June 15, 2017
    Patricia Daukantas

    Three research teams—in Canada, in China, and in Germany—have lifted the message-encryption technique known as quantum key distribution (QKD) out of optical fibers and into literal new heights: an airplane in flight and satellites orbiting Earth.

    Preparing for a proposed Canadian quantum-communications spacecraft, researchers from the University of Waterloo, Ontario, uplinked secure quantum keys from a ground-based transmitter to a receiver that was mounted on an aircraft passing overhead (Quantum Sci. Technol., doi:10.1088/2058-9565/aa701f).

    1
    Thanks to new research from two separate, global teams, QKDs may head up toward the sky and stars. [Image: iStock].

    Across the globe, a team from the Chinese Academy of Sciences sent entangled photon pairs from the country’s quantum-technology satellite to two different ground stations (Science, doi:10.1126/science.aan3211).

    And researchers at the Max Planck Institute for the Science of Light, Germany, were able to demonstrate ground-based measurements of quantum states sent by a laser from a satellite 38,000 kilometers above Earth’s surface—using components not even designed for quantum communication (Optica, doi:10.1364/OPTICA.4.000611).

    It’s a bird, it’s a plane, it’s QKD

    Scientists have been investigating QKD as an unbreakable encryption scheme for more than three decades, but transmitting the keys over optical fiber doesn’t work for distances greater than a few hundred kilometers, due to exponentially scaling losses. Short-range QKD has been demonstrated for a prototype handheld device, as well as key transmissions from aircraft to ground bases. However, until the Waterloo experiments, no one had sent quantum keys from a terrestrial transmitter to a moving aircraft, even though the uplink mode requires simpler airborne equipment than the downlink scheme.

    The team from the University of Waterloo’s Institute for Quantum Computing, led by professor Thomas Jennewein and doctoral student Christopher Pugh, used many space-rated electronic components for its QKD receiver in anticipation of use in future satellites. Its ground transmitter, which was situated near a general-aviation airport in southern Ontario, employed two infrared lasers and the standard BB84 photon-polarization protocol (the technique of QKD was proposed by Charles H. Bennett and Gilles Brassard in 1984). The receiver, carried aboard a research aircraft, consisted of a 10-cm-aperture refractive telescope hitched to custom-designed sensors and controllers, including a dichroic mirror that separated the quantum and beacon signals. Both the transmitter and receiver used beacon lasers and tracking mechanisms to help find each other.

    The aircraft made 14 passes at approximately 1.6-km above sea level, with line-of-sight distances to the transmitter of 3 to 10 km and the plane flying up to 259 km/h. The team registered a signal on seven of the 14 passes and extracted a secret key, up to 868 kilobits long, from six of those seven. According to the Canadian team, the equipment maintained milli-degree pointing precision while the receiver was moving at an angular speed simulating that of a low-Earth-orbit spacecraft. The experiments lay a foundation for Canada’s future Quantum Encryption and Science Satellite mission.

    Passing through a satellite

    Last August, China launched the world’s first satellite for quantum optics experiments.

    4
    China’s 600-kilogram quantum satellite contains a crystal that produces entangled photons. Cai Yang/Xinhua via ZUMA Wire.

    Now researchers from multiple Chinese academic institutions have transmitted entangled photons from two widely separated ground stations via the orbiting satellite, officially named Quantum Experiment at Space Scale (QUESS) but informally dubbed Micius or Mozi after an ancient Chinese philosopher.

    The team sent the transmission between two ground stations separated by 1203 km; the path lengths between QUESS and the stations, Lijiang in southwestern China and Delingha in the northern province of Qinghai, varied from 500 to 2000 km. One of the corresponding authors, Jian-Wei Pan of the University of Science and Technology of China, Shanghai, likens the satellite-borne message exchange to seeing a single human hair at a distance of 300 m, or detecting from Earth a single photon that came from a match’s flame on the moon.

    Most of the photon loss and turbulence effects that plague free-space QKD occurs in the lower 10 km of the atmosphere, as the majority of the photons’ path is through a near vacuum. The Chinese researchers developed stable, bright two-photon entanglement sources with advanced pointing and tracking for both the satellite and the ground. Analysis of the received signals showed that the photons remained entangled and violated the Bell inequality. The researchers estimated that the link was 12 to 17 orders of magnitude more efficient than an equivalent long-distance connection along optical fibers.

    Pan had wanted to experiment with space-borne quantum communications since 2003, when quantum-optics experiments usually happened on a well-shielded optical table. The following year, he participated in a distribution of entangled photon pairs through a noisy, ground atmosphere of 13-km path length. In 2010 and 2012, the group extended the ground-based teleportation range to 16 km and 100 km. “Through these ground-based feasibility studies, we gradually developed the necessary tool box for the quantum science satellite, for example, high-precision and high-bandwidth acquiring, pointing, and tracking,” Pan says.

    And, according to Pan, the Chinese team will continue its quantum optical experiments at longer distances and also plan preliminary tests of quantum behavior under zero-gravity conditions.

    Leveraging existing tools

    A third set of experiments—conducted by a team led by OSA Member Christoph Marquardt, working in the research group of OSA Fellow Gerd Leuchs at the Max Planck Institute in Erlangen, Germany—built off of efforts toward satellite-to-earth optical communications by the German government, operating in partnership with the firm Tesat-Spacecom GmbH. And, notably, the experiments leveraged components not originally built for quantum communications.

    In the German experiments, coherent beams from a 1065-nm Nd:YAG laser communications terminal on the geostationary Earth orbiting satellite Alphasat I-XL, originally lofted into space in July 2013, were received at a transportable optical terminal then located at the Teide Observatory in Tenerife, Spain.

    5
    ESA/geostationary Earth orbiting satellite Alphasat I-XL

    The terminal was equipped with an adaptive-optics setup that corrected for phase distortions and piped the signal into a single-mode fiber, and used homodyne detection to pull out the quantum signature.

    To show that a true quantum link between satellite and ground, through the turbulent atmosphere, was possible, the Max Planck team used a phase modulator in the satellite equipment to encode a number of binary phase-modulated coherent states on the light field—states known to be compatible with quantum communication. With amplification and processing of the signal, the researchers were able to reliably pick up those quantum states at the ground station, from a beam that had “propagated 38,600 km through Earth’s gravitational potential, as well as its turbulent atmosphere.”

    “We were quite surprised by how well the quantum states survived traveling through the atmospheric turbulence to a ground station,” Marquardt noted in a press release. And, he said, the experiments suggested that the light beamed from a satellite to Earth could be “very well suited to be operated as a quantum key distribution network”—a surprising finding, he says, because the system was not built for quantum communication. In light of the work, he predicted that such a network “could be possible” in as little as five years.

    See the full article here .

    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

    STEM Icon

    Stem Education Coalition

    Optics & Photonics News (OPN) is The Optical Society’s monthly news magazine. It provides in-depth coverage of recent developments in the field of optics and offers busy professionals the tools they need to succeed in the optics industry, as well as informative pieces on a variety of topics such as science and society, education, technology and business. OPN strives to make the various facets of this diverse field accessible to researchers, engineers, businesspeople and students. Contributors include scientists and journalists who specialize in the field of optics. We welcome your submissions.

     
  • richardmitnick 5:53 pm on July 2, 2017 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , , , U Waterloo,   

    From Waterloo: ‘Waterloo researchers capture first image of a dark matter web that connects galaxies” 

    U Waterloo bloc

    University of Waterloo

    April 12, 2017 [Missed this one.]
    Media Contact:
    Matthew Grant
    matthew.grant@uwaterloo.ca
    University of Waterloo
    519-888-4451
    http://www.uwaterloo.ca/news
    @uWaterlooNews

    1
    Dark matter filaments (shown in red) bridge the space between galaxies (shown in white) on this false colour map. No image credit.

    Researchers at the University of Waterloo have been able to capture the first composite image of a dark matter bridge that connects galaxies together.

    The composite image, which combines a number of individual images, confirms predictions that galaxies across the universe are tied together through a cosmic web connected by dark matter that has until now remained unobservable.

    Dark matter, a mysterious substance that comprises around 25 per cent of the universe, doesn’t shine, absorb or reflect light. It has traditionally been largely undetectable, except through gravity.

    “For decades, researchers have been predicting the existence of dark-matter filaments between galaxies that act like a web-like superstructure connecting galaxies together,” said Mike Hudson, a professor of astronomy at the University of Waterloo. “This image moves us beyond predictions to something we can see and measure.”

    As part of their research, Hudson and co-author Seth Epps, a former master’s student at the University of Waterloo, used a technique called weak gravitational lensing.

    It’s an effect that causes the images of distant galaxies to warp slightly under the influence of an unseen mass such as a planet, a black hole, or in this case, dark matter. The effect was measured in images from a multi-year sky survey at the Canada-France-Hawaii Telescope.


    CFHT Telescope, Mauna Kea, Hawaii, USA

    They combined lensing images from more than 23,000 galaxy pairs located 4.5 billion light-years away to create a composite image or map that shows the presence of dark matter between the two galaxies. Results show the dark matter filament bridge is strongest between systems less than 40 million light-years apart.

    “By using this technique, we’re not only to able to see that these dark matter filaments in the universe exist, we’re able to see the extent to which these filaments connect galaxies together,” said Epps.

    Hudson and Epps’ research appears in the Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society.

    See the full article here .

    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

    STEM Icon

    Stem Education Coalition

    U Waterloo campus

    In just half a century, the University of Waterloo, located at the heart of Canada’s technology hub, has become a leading comprehensive university with nearly 36,000 full- and part-time students in undergraduate and graduate programs.

    Consistently ranked Canada’s most innovative university, Waterloo is home to advanced research and teaching in science and engineering, mathematics and computer science, health, environment, arts and social sciences. From quantum computing and nanotechnology to clinical psychology and health sciences research, Waterloo brings ideas and brilliant minds together, inspiring innovations with real impact today and in the future.

    As home to the world’s largest post-secondary co-operative education program, Waterloo embraces its connections to the world and encourages enterprising partnerships in learning, research, and commercialization. With campuses and education centres on four continents, and academic partnerships spanning the globe, Waterloo is shaping the future of the planet.

     
  • richardmitnick 8:01 pm on May 5, 2017 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , Graham Supercomputer, U Waterloo   

    From U Waterloo: “University of Waterloo launches new national supercomputer to fuel big data research and machine learning” 

    U Waterloo bloc

    University of Waterloo

    May 5, 2017

    The University of Waterloo, Compute Canada and Compute Ontario today unveiled the largest supercomputer at any Canadian university. Located at Waterloo, it will provide expanded resources for researchers across the country working on a broad range of topics, including artificial intelligence, genomics and advanced manufacturing.

    U Waterloo Graham Supercomputer

    Named Graham, the supercomputer can handle more simultaneous computational jobs than any other academic supercomputer in Canada, ultimately generating more research results at one time. With its extraordinary computing power and a storage system of more than 50 petabytes — or 50 million gigabytes — Graham can support researchers who are collecting, analyzing, or sharing immense volumes of data.

    “Research and innovation have helped define the University of Waterloo, and will remain important priorities for our future,” said Feridun Hamdullahpur, president and vice-chancellor of Waterloo. ”Graham allows us to increase our capacity to be a global leader in advanced computing. Thanks to the support of both the federal and provincial governments, CFI, Compute Canada and Compute Ontario we will be even closer to realizing this vision.”

    Graham is the result of an investment worth $17 million from the Canada Foundation for Innovation (CFI) and the Government of Ontario. It is one of four new supercomputing and data centres that are part of a national initiative valued at $75 million that involves CFI, and various provincial and industry partners. Compute Canada, in collaboration with its member institutions and partners, is implementing the improvements to facilities across the country. SHARCNET, a multi-university consortium in Ontario, led the implementation at Waterloo in partnership with Compute Ontario.

    “Research today is increasingly data intensive. For the community of over 11,000 Canadian researchers that we serve today, Graham will give Canadian researchers and innovators the ability to compete and excel globally using big data and big compute tools,” said Mark Dietrich, president and CEO of Compute Canada. “We are honoured to collaborate with our partners at the University of Waterloo and Compute Ontario in this achievement.”

    Supercomputers are a fundamental part of advanced research computing (ARC), which plays an essential role in scientific discovery, innovation and national competitiveness. Graham is the third of four new national systems at universities across Canada.

    “We are excited to announce the launch of Graham for the benefit of the research community,” said Nizar Ladak, president and CEO of Compute Ontario. “With such a strong reputation for innovation, the University of Waterloo makes an excellent host site. Compute Ontario proudly supports this system, which will ensure Ontario is well positioned as a global leader in advanced computing and a global focal point for highly qualified personnel.”

    Waterloo’s supercomputer takes its name from J. Wesley (Wes) Graham, a former professor at the University. His many contributions to the development of software and hardware have had a major impact on the computing industry, and he played a significant role in establishing the University’s international reputation for teaching and research in information technology.

    About Compute Canada

    Compute Canada, in partnership with regional organizations ACENET, Calcul Québec, Compute Ontario and WestGrid, leads the acceleration of research and innovation by deploying state-of-the-art advanced research computing (ARC) systems, storage and software solutions. Together we provide essential ARC services and infrastructure for Canadian researchers and their collaborators in all academic and industrial sectors. Our world-class team of more than 200 experts employed by 37 partner universities and research institutions across the country provide direct support to research teams. Compute Canada is a proud ambassador for Canadian excellence in advanced research computing nationally and internationally.

    About Compute Ontario

    Compute Ontario is the provincial agency that coordinates access to advanced research computing and Ontario’s Big Data Strategy. Access to this critical technology happens through our four consortia (SciNet, SHARCNET, Centre for Advanced Computing, and HPC4Health). Nationally, it partners with Compute Canada and regional organizations ACENET, Calcul Quebec and Westgrid, to plan and coordinate the supply of advanced computing for Canadian academic researchers.

    See the full article here .

    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

    STEM Icon

    Stem Education Coalition

    U Waterloo campus

    In just half a century, the University of Waterloo, located at the heart of Canada’s technology hub, has become a leading comprehensive university with nearly 36,000 full- and part-time students in undergraduate and graduate programs.

    Consistently ranked Canada’s most innovative university, Waterloo is home to advanced research and teaching in science and engineering, mathematics and computer science, health, environment, arts and social sciences. From quantum computing and nanotechnology to clinical psychology and health sciences research, Waterloo brings ideas and brilliant minds together, inspiring innovations with real impact today and in the future.

    As home to the world’s largest post-secondary co-operative education program, Waterloo embraces its connections to the world and encourages enterprising partnerships in learning, research, and commercialization. With campuses and education centres on four continents, and academic partnerships spanning the globe, Waterloo is shaping the future of the planet.

     
  • richardmitnick 10:08 am on April 13, 2017 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , U Waterloo,   

    From From U Waterloo via RAS: “Waterloo researchers capture first “image” of a dark matter web that connects galaxies” 

    U Waterloo bloc

    University of Waterloo

    Royal Astronomical Society

    12 April 2017
    Prof Mike Hudson
    University of Waterloo
    Canada
    +1 519-888-4567 x32212 (office)
    +1 519-497-7363 (mobile)
    mike.hudson@uwaterloo.ca

    Mr Seth Epps
    University of Waterloo
    Canada
    +1 (613) 619-5078 (mobile)
    seth.d.epps@gmail.com

    1
    Dark matter filaments bridge the space between galaxies in this false-color map. The locations of bright galaxies are shown by the white regions and the presence of a dark matter filament bridging the galaxies is shown in red. Image via RAS/ S. Epps & M. Hudson / University of Waterloo.

    Researchers at the University of Waterloo have been able to capture the first composite image of a dark matter bridge that connects galaxies together. The scientists publish their work in a new paper in Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society.

    The composite image, which combines a number of individual images, confirms predictions that galaxies across the universe are tied together through a cosmic web connected by dark matter that has until now remained unobservable.

    Dark matter, a mysterious substance that comprises around 25 per cent of the universe, doesn’t shine, absorb or reflect light, which has traditionally made it largely undetectable, except through gravity.

    “For decades, researchers have been predicting the existence of dark-matter filaments between galaxies that act like a web-like superstructure connecting galaxies together,” said Mike Hudson, a professor of astronomy at the University of Waterloo. “This image moves us beyond predictions to something we can see and measure.”

    As part of their research, Hudson and co-author Seth Epps, a master’s student at the University of Waterloo at the time, used a technique called weak gravitational lensing, an effect that causes the images of distant galaxies to warp slightly under the influence of an unseen mass such as a planet, a black hole, or in this case, dark matter. The effect was measured in images from a multi-year sky survey at the Canada-France-Hawaii Telescope.

    Weak gravitational lensing HST

    CFHT Telescope, Mauna Kea, Hawaii, USA

    They combined lensing images from more than 23,000 galaxy pairs located 4.5 billion light-years away to create a composite image or map that shows the presence of dark matter between the two galaxies. Results show the dark matter filament bridge is strongest between systems less than 40 million light years apart.

    “By using this technique, we’re not only able to see that these dark matter filaments in the universe exist, we’re able to see the extent to which these filaments connect galaxies together,” said Epps.

    The effect was measured in images from a multi-year sky survey at the Canada-France-Hawaii Telescope.

    See the full article here .

    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

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    U Waterloo campus

    The Royal Astronomical Society (RAS), founded in 1820, encourages and promotes the study of astronomy, solar-system science, geophysics and closely related branches of science.

    In just half a century, the University of Waterloo, located at the heart of Canada’s technology hub, has become a leading comprehensive university with nearly 36,000 full- and part-time students in undergraduate and graduate programs.

    Consistently ranked Canada’s most innovative university, Waterloo is home to advanced research and teaching in science and engineering, mathematics and computer science, health, environment, arts and social sciences. From quantum computing and nanotechnology to clinical psychology and health sciences research, Waterloo brings ideas and brilliant minds together, inspiring innovations with real impact today and in the future.

    As home to the world’s largest post-secondary co-operative education program, Waterloo embraces its connections to the world and encourages enterprising partnerships in learning, research, and commercialization. With campuses and education centres on four continents, and academic partnerships spanning the globe, Waterloo is shaping the future of the planet.

     
  • richardmitnick 6:31 am on June 18, 2016 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Linda Nazar, U Waterloo,   

    From Waterloo: Women in Science – “Prominent Waterloo chemist appointed University Professor at Spring Convocation” Linda Nazar 

    U Waterloo bloc

    University of Waterloo

    June 17, 2016
    No writer credit found

    1
    Linda Nazar

    The University of Waterloo honoured Canada Research Chair Linda Nazar with the title University Professor at this year’s Spring Convocation for her outstanding career achievements in Solid State Materials and advanced battery research.

    The rare title is reserved for Waterloo’s most internationally pre-eminent faculty. Nazar, a professor in the Department of Chemistry, is the third Faculty of Science member to receive this lifetime honour since its inception in 2003. Former Dean of Science Terry McMahon and NSERC Industry Research Chair Jansuz Pawlisyn were named University Professors in 2005 and 2010, respectively.

    Professor Nazar has published more than 230 papers which have been cited more than 17,000 times, statistics that place her within the top one per cent of researchers internationally in the field of Material Science, according to Thompson Reuters’ 2014 Highly Cited Researchers and Most Influential Scientific Minds.

    She has held the Canada Research Chair in Solid State Materials since 2004. In 2011, she was elected to the Royal Society of Canada and last year she was appointed an Officer of the Order of Canada.

    Nazar is best known for her work on lithium and sodium battery systems. In 2009, she demonstrated the feasibility of lithium-sulphur batteries that could eventually double the range of electric cars from today’s 200 miles to 400 miles on one charge. Her recent discovery of a key reaction behind sodium-oxygen batteries has implications for the development of the lithium-oxygen battery, the holy grail of electrochemical energy storage.

    Her group is also exploring cheaper alternatives to expensive lithium-based batteries for large-scale electricity grid storage.

    Professor Nazar is a member of the Waterloo Institute for Nanotechnology and the Waterloo Institute for Sustainable Energy. She is also a member of BASF’s Research Network on Electrochemistry and Batteries and serves as a lead scientist on the US Department of Energy’s Joint Center for Energy Storage Research.

    See the full article here .

    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

    STEM Icon

    Stem Education Coalition

    U Waterloo campus

    In just half a century, the University of Waterloo, located at the heart of Canada’s technology hub, has become a leading comprehensive university with nearly 36,000 full- and part-time students in undergraduate and graduate programs.

    Consistently ranked Canada’s most innovative university, Waterloo is home to advanced research and teaching in science and engineering, mathematics and computer science, health, environment, arts and social sciences. From quantum computing and nanotechnology to clinical psychology and health sciences research, Waterloo brings ideas and brilliant minds together, inspiring innovations with real impact today and in the future.

    As home to the world’s largest post-secondary co-operative education program, Waterloo embraces its connections to the world and encourages enterprising partnerships in learning, research, and commercialization. With campuses and education centres on four continents, and academic partnerships spanning the globe, Waterloo is shaping the future of the planet.

     
  • richardmitnick 3:52 pm on May 21, 2016 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , Computing a secret, , U Waterloo, unbreakable key   

    From U Waterloo: “Computing a secret, unbreakable key” 

    U Waterloo bloc

    University of Waterloo

    May 20, 2016
    Nick Manning
    University of Waterloo
    519-888-4451
    226-929-7627
    http://www.uwaterloo.ca/news
    @uWaterlooNews

    What once took months by some of the world’s leading scientists can now be done in seconds by undergraduate students thanks to software developed at the University of Waterloo’s Institute for Quantum Computing, paving the way for fast, secure quantum communication.

    Researchers at the Institute for Quantum Computing (IQC) at the University of Waterloo developed the first available software to evaluate the security of any protocol for Quantum Key Distribution (QKD).

    QKD allows two parties, Alice and Bob, to establish a shared secret key by exchanging photons. Photons behave according to the laws of quantum mechanics, and the laws state that you cannot measure a quantum object without disturbing it. So if an eavesdropper, Eve, intercepts and measures the photons, she will cause a disturbance that is detectable by Alice and Bob. On the other hand, if there is no disturbance, Alice and Bob can guarantee the security of their shared key.

    In practice, loss and noise in an implementation always leads to some disturbance, but a small amount of disturbance implies a small amount of information about the key is available to Eve. Characterizing this amount of information allows Alice and Bob to remove it from Eve at the cost of the length of the resulting final key. The main theoretical problem in QKD is how to calculate the allowed length of this final secret key for any given protocol and the experimentally observed disturbance.

    A mathematical approach was still needed to perform this difficult calculation. The researchers opted to take a numerical approach, and for practical reasons they transformed the key rate calculation to the dual optimization problem.

    “We wanted to develop a program that would be fast and user-friendly. It also needs to work for any protocol,” said Patrick Coles, an IQC postdoctoral fellow. “The dual optimization problem dramatically reduced the number of parameters and the computer does all the work.”

    1

    The paper, Numerical approach for unstructured quantum key distribution, published in Nature Communications today presented three findings. First, the researchers tested the software against previous results for known studied protocols. Their results were in perfect agreement. They then studied protocols that had never been studied before. Finally, they developed a framework to inform users how to enter the data using a new protocol into the software.

    “The exploration of QKD protocols so far concentrated on protocols that allowed tricks to perform the security analysis. The work by our group now frees us to explore protocols that are adapted to the technological capabilities” noted Norbert Lütkenhaus, a professor with IQC and the Department of Physics and Astronomy at the University of Waterloo.

    See the full article here .

    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

    STEM Icon

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    In just half a century, the University of Waterloo, located at the heart of Canada’s technology hub, has become a leading comprehensive university with nearly 36,000 full- and part-time students in undergraduate and graduate programs.

    Consistently ranked Canada’s most innovative university, Waterloo is home to advanced research and teaching in science and engineering, mathematics and computer science, health, environment, arts and social sciences. From quantum computing and nanotechnology to clinical psychology and health sciences research, Waterloo brings ideas and brilliant minds together, inspiring innovations with real impact today and in the future.

    As home to the world’s largest post-secondary co-operative education program, Waterloo embraces its connections to the world and encourages enterprising partnerships in learning, research, and commercialization. With campuses and education centres on four continents, and academic partnerships spanning the globe, Waterloo is shaping the future of the planet.

     
  • richardmitnick 4:31 pm on February 5, 2016 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , U Waterloo   

    From Waterloo: “Waterloo physicists discover new properties of superconductivity” 

    U Waterloo bloc

    University of Waterloo

    February 4, 2016
    Victoria Van Cappellen
    Rose Simone

    Superconductivity could have implications for creating technologies like ultra-efficient power grids and magnetically levitating vehicles. New superconductivity findings published in journal Science.

    Physicists at the University of Waterloo have led an international team that has come closer to understanding the mystery of how superconductivity, an exotic state that allows electricity to be conducted with practically zero resistance, occurs in certain materials.

    Superconductivity

    Physicists all over the world are on a quest to understand the secrets of superconductivity because of the exciting technological possibilities that could be realized if they could make it happen at closer to room temperatures. In conventional superconductivity, materials that are cooled to nearly absolute zero ( −273.15 Celsius) exhibit the fantastic property of electrons pairing up and being able to conduct electricity with practically zero resistance. If superconductivity worked at higher temperatures, it could have implications for creating technologies such as ultra-efficient power grids, supercomputers and magnetically levitating vehicles.

    The new findings from an international collaboration, led by Waterloo physicists David Hawthorn, Canada Research Chair Michel Gingras, doctoral student Andrew Achkar and post-doctoral student Zhihao Hao, present direct experimental evidence of what is known as electronic nematicity – when electron clouds snap into an aligned and directional order – in a particular type of high-temperature superconductor. The results, published in the prestigious journal Science, may eventually lead to a theory explaining why superconductivity occurs at higher temperatures in certain materials.

    The findings show evidence of electronic nematicity as a universal feature in cuprate high-temperature superconductors. Cuprates are copper-oxide ceramics composed of two-dimensional layers or planes of copper and oxygen atoms separated by other atoms. They are known as the best of the high-temperature superconductors. In the 1980s, materials that exhibit superconductivity under somewhat warmer conditions (but still -135 Celsius, so far from room temperature) were discovered. But how superconductivity initiates in these high-temperature superconductors has been challenging to predict, let alone explain.

    “It has become apparent in the past few years that the electrons involved in superconductivity can form patterns, stripes or checkerboards, and exhibit different symmetries – aligning preferentially along one direction,” says Hawthorn. “These patterns and symmetries have important consequences for superconductivity – they can compete, coexist or possibly even enhance superconductivity.”

    Scientists use soft x-ray scattering in superconductivity research

    The scientists used a novel technique called soft x-ray scattering at the Canadian Light Source synchrotron in Saskatoon to probe electron scattering in specific layers in the cuprate crystalline structure.

    Canadian Light Source
    Canadian Lightsource synchrotron

    Specifically, they looked at the individual cuprate (CuO2) planes where electronic nematicity takes place, versus the crystalline distortions in between the CuO2 planes.

    Electronic nematicity happens when the electron orbitals align themselves like a series of rods. The term nematicity commonly refers to when liquid crystals spontaneously align under an electric field in liquid crystal displays. In this case, the electron orbitals enter the nematic state as the temperature drops below a critical point.

    Cuprates can made to be superconducting by adding elements that will remove electrons from the material, a process known as “doping.”

    A material can be optimally doped to achieve superconductivity at the highest and most accessible temperature, but in studying how superconductivity happens, physicists often work with material that is “underdoped,” which means the level of doping is less than the level that maximizes the superconducting temperature.

    Results from this study show electronic nematicity likely occur in all underdoped cuprates.

    Physicists also want to understand the relation of nematicity to a phenomenon known as charge density wave fluctuations. Normally, the electrons are in a nice, uniform distribution, but charge-ordering can cause the electrons to bunch up, like ripples on a pond. This sets up a competition, whereby the material is fluctuating between the superconducting and non-superconducting states until the temperature cools enough for the superconductivity to win.

    Future work will tackle how electrons can be tuned for superconductivity

    Although there is not yet an agreed upon explanation for why electronic nematicity occurs, it may ultimately present another knob to tune in the quest to achieve the ultimate goal of a room temperature superconductor.

    Hawthorn and Gingras are both Fellows of the Canadian Institute For Advanced Research. Gingras holds the Canada Research Chair in Condensed Matter Theory and Statistical Mechanics and spent time at the Perimeter Institute for Theoretical Physics as a visiting researcher while this work was being carried out.

    Other Canadian collaborators include the Canadian Light Source and H. Zhang and Y.-J. Kim from the University of Toronto.

    See the full article here .

    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

    STEM Icon

    Stem Education Coalition

    U Waterloo campus

    In just half a century, the University of Waterloo, located at the heart of Canada’s technology hub, has become a leading comprehensive university with nearly 36,000 full- and part-time students in undergraduate and graduate programs.

    Consistently ranked Canada’s most innovative university, Waterloo is home to advanced research and teaching in science and engineering, mathematics and computer science, health, environment, arts and social sciences. From quantum computing and nanotechnology to clinical psychology and health sciences research, Waterloo brings ideas and brilliant minds together, inspiring innovations with real impact today and in the future.

    As home to the world’s largest post-secondary co-operative education program, Waterloo embraces its connections to the world and encourages enterprising partnerships in learning, research, and commercialization. With campuses and education centres on four continents, and academic partnerships spanning the globe, Waterloo is shaping the future of the planet.

     
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