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Computers & Math News -- ScienceDaily
Computers & Math News -- ScienceDaily
Hacking and computer security. Read today's research news on hacking and protecting against codebreakers. New software, secure data sharing, and more.

Superconductivity research reveals potential new state of matter
A potential new state of matter is being reported with research showing that among superconducting materials in high magnetic fields, the phenomenon of electronic symmetry breaking is common. The ability to find similarities and differences among classes of materials with phenomena such as this helps researchers establish the essential ingredients that cause novel functionalities such as superconductivity.
Scientists use magnetic fields to remotely stimulate brain -- and control body movements
Scientists have used magnetism to activate tiny groups of cells in the brain, inducing bodily movements that include running, rotating and losing control of the extremities -- an achievement that could lead to advances in studying and treating neurological disease.
Study: Playing smartphone app aids concussion recovery in teens
Generally, after suffering a concussion, patients are encouraged to avoid reading, watching TV and using mobile devices to help their brains heal. But new research shows that teenagers who used a mobile health app once a day in conjunction with medical care improved concussion symptoms and optimism more than with standard medical treatment alone.
Trying to resist the urge to splurge? Ditch the smartphone
You are more likely to indulge in guilty pleasures when shopping online with a touchscreen versus a desktop computer, according to research.
Smart electrical grids more vulnerable to cyber attacks
Electricity distribution systems in the USA are gradually being modernized and transposed to smart grids, which make use of two-way communication and computer processing. This is making them increasingly vulnerable to cyber attacks.
High-quality online video with less rebuffering
In experiments, Pensieve could stream video with 10 to 30 percent less rebuffering than other approaches, and at levels that users rated 10 to 25 percent higher on key 'quality of experience' metrics.
Computer tech: 'Organismic learning' mimics some aspects of human thought
A new computing technology called 'organismoids' mimics some aspects of human thought by learning how to forget unimportant memories while retaining more vital ones.
New machine learning program shows promise for early alzheimer's diagnosis
A new machine learning program appears to outperform other methods for diagnosing Alzheimer's disease before symptoms begin to interfere with every day living, initial testing shows. Early diagnosis and treatment -- the goal of the new computer based program -- is key to allowing those with the disease to remain independent longer.
Smarter robot vacuum cleaners for automated office cleaning
Can you really use Outlook to make sure your office floor gets vacuumed? Absolutely! Engineers are developing an intelligent cleaning concept for smart offices. A robot vacuum cleaner automatically takes care of upcoming cleaning jobs that have been scheduled in Outlook.
Engineers charge ahead on zinc-air batteries
Researchers have found a solution for one of the biggest stumbling blocks preventing zinc-air batteries from overtaking conventional lithium-ion batteries as the power source of choice in electronic devices.
Atomically thin layers bring spintronics closer to applications
Scientists have created a graphene-based device, in which electron spins can be injected and detected with unprecedented efficiency. The result is a hundredfold increase of the spin signal, big enough to be used in real life applications, such as new spin transistors and spin-based logic.
Single molecules can work as reproducible transistors -- at room temperature
Researchers have now reproducibly demonstrated current blockade -- the ability to switch a device from the insulating to the conducting state where charge is added and removed one electron at a time -- using atomically precise molecular clusters at room temperature. The study shows that single molecules can function as reproducible circuit elements such as transistors or diodes that can easily operate at room temperature.
Exotic quantum states made from light
Physicists have managed to create optical hollows and more complex patterns into which the light of a Bose-Einstein condensate flows. The creation of such highly low-loss structures for light is a prerequisite for complex light circuits, such as for quantum information processing for a new generation of computers.
Automated fingerprint analysis is one step closer to reality
The first big case involving fingerprint evidence in the United States was the murder trial of Thomas Jennings in Chicago in 1911. Jennings had broken into a home in the middle of the night and, when discovered by the homeowner, shot the man dead. He was convicted based on fingerprints left at the crime scene, and for most of the next century, fingerprints were considered, both in the courts and in the public imagination, to be all but infallible as a method of identification.
Are your tweets feeling well?
A study finds opinion and emotion in tweets change when you get sick, a method that public health workers could use to monitor health trends.
On the darknet, drug buyers aren't looking for bargains
When drug users go online for the first time to buy opioids, they aren't looking for the widest selection or the best prices for their illicit purchases, a new study suggests. Researchers found that first-time drug buyers who visited one marketplace on the 'darknet' cared only about finding trustworthy sellers -- those who would deliver what they promised and keep the buyers' identities secret.
Massive particles test standard quantum theory
In quantum mechanics particles can behave as waves and take many paths through an experiment. It requires only combinations of pairs of paths, rather than three or more, to determine the probability for a particle to arrive somewhere. Researchers have addressed this question for the first time explicitly using the wave interference of large molecules behind various combinations of single, double, and triple slits.
Machine learning helps spot counterfeit consumer products
A team of researchers has developed a new mechanism that uses machine-learning algorithms to distinguish between genuine and counterfeit versions of the same product.
Night vision for bird- and bat-friendly offshore wind power
ThermalTracker software analyzes video with night vision, the same technology that helps soldiers see in the dark, to help birds and bats near offshore wind turbines.
Novel software can recognize eye contact in everyday situations
Human eye contact is an important information source. Nonetheless, so far, possibilities to recognize eye contact in everyday situations have been very limited. Computer scientists have now developed a method by the aid of which it is possible to detect eye contact, independent of the type and size of the target object, the position of the camera, or the environment.
How secure are your messages?
Researchers have learned that most users of popular messaging apps are leaving themselves exposed to hacking and fraud because they aren't using important security options.
AI, crowdsourcing combine to close 'analogy gap'
Researchers have devised a method enabling computers to mine databases of patents, inventions and research papers, identifying ideas that can be repurposed to solve new problems or create new products.
Political party influences lawmakers' tweets more than gender
Politicians are often expected to have expertise in certain areas, based on their gender. A researcher looked at whether US representatives' tweets support this stereotype. She found that political party plays more of a role than gender in lawmakers' Twitter habits.
Mapping the brain, neuron by neuron
A mathematician and computer scientist joined an international team of neuroscientists to create a complete map of the learning and memory center of the fruit fly larva brain, an early step toward mapping how all animal brains work.
Surprise discovery in the search for energy efficient information storage
Today almost all information stored on hard disc drives or cloud servers is recorded in magnetic media, because it is non-volatile and cheap. For portable devices such as mobile phones and tablets, other forms of non-magnetic memory are used because the technology based on magnetism is impractical and is not energy efficient.
DNA sequencing tools lack robust protections against cybersecurity risks
A new study analyzing the security hygiene of common, open-source DNA processing programs finds evidence of poor computer security practices used throughout the field. In a scientific first, the team also demonstrated it is possible to compromise a computer system with a malicious computer code stored in synthetic DNA.
First data transmission through terahertz multiplexer: 100 times faster than today's best
Researchers have demonstrated the transmission of two separate video signals through a terahertz multiplexer at a data rate more than 100 times faster than today's fastest cellular data networks.
USB connections make snooping easy
USB connections, the most common interface used globally to connect external devices to computers, are vulnerable to information 'leakage,' making them even less secure than has been thought, research has shown.
The importance of influencers on social media
Tracking the Twitter updates of a random sample of 300,000 active users over the course of a month reveals that this particular corner of social media and social networking is not quite as equitable and democratic as popular perception might have us believe. Indeed, the research reveals that there is a two-step flow of information through which a minority of users accounts for the majority of influence.
Drone tech offers new ways to manage climate change
An innovation providing key clues to how humans might manage forests and cities to cool the planet is taking flight. Researchers are using drone technology to more accurately measure surface reflectivity on the landscape, a technological advance that could offer a new way to manage climate change.
New analysis casts doubt on predicted decrease in Oklahoma earthquakes
Wastewater injection rates in Oklahoma have declined recently because of regulatory actions and market forces, but seismologists say that has not yet significantly reduced the risk of potentially damaging earthquakes.
Artificial intelligence uses internet searches to help create mind association magic trick
Scientists have created an artificial intelligence (AI) that uses internet searches to help co-design a word association magic trick.
Updated computer code improves prediction of particle motion in plasma experiments
A computer code used by physicists around the world to analyze and predict tokamak experiments can now approximate the behavior of highly energetic atomic nuclei, or ions, in fusion plasmas more accurately than ever.
When you're blue, so are your Instagram photos
Instagram photos can be examined by a computer to successfully detect depressed people, new research shows. The computer results are more reliable (70 percent) than the diagnostic success rate (42 percent) of general-practice doctors. The approach promises a new method for early screening of mental health problems through social media.
When robots help with shopping
Today, the desired book, toy or household appliance can be purchased by a click only -- thanks to online mail order business and smart logistics. The bottleneck in logistics, however, is the high-bay store, where many picking and detection processes cannot yet be executed automatically by robots. At the Amazon Robotics Challenge in Nagoya, Japan, a team has demonstrated how future warehousing may work.
'Robin Hood effects' on motivation in math
Students from families with little interest in math benefit more from a school intervention program that aims at increasing math motivation than do students whose parents regard math as important. A study indicates the intervention program has a "Robin Hood effect" which reduces the "motivational gap" between students from different family backgrounds because new information about the importance of math is made accessible to underprivileged students.
The mystery of the yellowing sugarcane
Since 2011, a mysterious illness known as Yellow Canopy Syndrome (YCS) has afflicted Australian sugarcane causing $40 million in losses. Researchers used supercomputers to perform large-scale investigations of the sugarcane genome. They detected signals in the data that could indicate a bacteria or stress causing YCS. They are conducting further computational studies to test their hypotheses.
No longer water under the bridge, statistics yields new data on sea levels
While the scientific community has long warned about rising sea levels and their destructive impact on some of the United States' most populous cities, researchers have developed a new, statistical method that more precisely calculates the rate of sea level rise, showing it's not only increasing, but accelerating.
Playing with your brain: Negative impact of some action video games
Human-computer interactions, such as playing video games, can have a negative impact on the brain, says a new Canadian study. For over 10 years, scientists have told us that action video game players exhibit better visual attention, motor control abilities and short-term memory. But, could these benefits come at a cost?
Machine learning could be key to producing stronger, less corrosive metals
Researchers have studied grain boundaries for decades and gained some insight into the types of properties grain boundaries produce, but no one has been able to nail down a universal system to predict if a certain configuration of atoms at grain boundaries will make a material stronger or more pliable. An interdisciplinary team of researchers have cracked the code by juicing a computer with an algorithm that allows it to learn the elusive 'why' behind the boundaries' qualities.
New technique to suppress sound waves from disorder to improve optical fiber communication
New research has revealed a new technique by which scattering of sound waves from disorder in a material can be suppressed on demand. All of this, can be simply achieved by illuminating with the appropriate color of laser light. The result could have a wide-ranging impact on sensors and communication systems.
Big data yields surprising connections between diseases
Using health insurance claims data from more than 480,000 people in nearly 130,000 families, researchers at the University of Chicago have created a new classification of common diseases based on how often they occur among genetically-related individuals.
IBM's Watson can improve cancer treatment through better gene targeting
IBM's Watson beat real-life contestants on Jeopardy. Now researchers are hoping this icon of artificial intelligence will help people with cancer win as well by providing a rapid, comprehensive report of the genetic mutations at the root of their specific disease and the therapies that target them.
'Origami organs' can potentially regenerate tissues
Scientists and engineers have invented a range of bioactive 'tissue papers' made of materials derived from organs that are thin and flexible enough to even fold into an origami bird. The new biomaterials can potentially be used to support natural hormone production in young cancer patients and aid wound healing.
Nanocrystalline LEDs: Red, green, yellow, blue …
The color of the light emitted by an LED can be tuned by altering the size of their semiconductor crystals. Researchers have now found a clever and economical way of doing just that, which lends itself to industrial-scale production.
Microbot origami can capture, transport single cells
Researchers have developed a way to assemble and pre-program tiny structures made from microscopic cubes -- 'microbot origami' -- to change their shape when actuated by a magnetic field and then, using the magnetic energy from their environment, perform a variety of tasks -- including capturing and transporting single cells.
New biosensor stimulates sweat even when patient is resting and cool
One big drawback to biosensors that measure sweat is you have to sweat. But researchers have come up with a new biosensor that can stimulate perspiration for days on just a tiny patch of skin.
Mathematical crystal ball gazes into future of prostate cancer treatment
Using open data from four previously conducted clinical trials, teams of international researchers designed mathematical models predicting the likelihood that a patient will discontinue docetaxel treatment due to adverse events.
Software lets designers exploit the extremely high resolution of 3-D printers
Today's 3-D printers have a resolution of 600 dots per inch, which means that they could pack a billion tiny cubes of different materials into a volume that measures just 1.67 cubic inches. Such precise control of printed objects' microstructure gives designers commensurate control of the objects' physical properties. But evaluating the physical effects of every possible combination of even just two materials, for an object consisting of tens of billions of cubes, would be prohibitively time consuming. A new software lets designers exploit this issue of extremely high resolution.
Why humans find faulty robots more likeable
Researchers have examined how people react to robots that exhibit faulty behavior compared to perfectly performing robots. The results show that the participants took a significantly stronger liking to the faulty robot than the robot that interacted flawlessly.
New model for bimolecular reactions in nanoreactors
Theoretical physicists have devised a mathematical model of two different molecules reacting within so called nanoreactors that act as catalysts. They gained surprising new insights as to what factors promote reactions and how to control and select them. The model is relevant for a wide range of research fields, from biophysics to energy materials.
Source of Human Heartbeat Revealed in 3-D
A new way of producing 3-D data has been developed to show the cardiac conduction system -- the special cells that enable our hearts to beat -- in unprecedented detail.
Improving students' academic performance -- there's an app for that
A mobile learning app that uses game elements such as leaderboards and digital badges may have positive effects on student academic performance, engagement, and retention, according to a new study. Researchers developed a fully customizable app that allowed lecturers to push quizzes based on course content directly to their students' devices in order to motivate them, increase their competitiveness, and keep them engaged with the course.
New statistical models yield powerful insight from health care databases
Recognizing that administrative health care databases can be a valuable, yet challenging, tool in the nation's ongoing pursuit of personalized medicine, statisticians have developed advanced statistical modeling and analytic tools that can make health care and medical data more meaningful.
Man versus (synthesis) machine
Who is the better experimentalist, a human or a robot? When it comes to exploring synthetic and crystallization conditions for inorganic gigantic molecules, actively learning machines are clearly ahead, as recently demonstrated.
Online assessment could improve math marks of deaf learners
Online mathematics assessment could help improve the mathematics performance of deaf and hard-of-hearing learners in South Africa, suggests a new report.
Why Facebook is so hard to resist
Why is social media such a hard habit to break? Because it makes us feel good, say investigators. They found even brief exposure to a Facebook-related image (logo, screenshot) can cause a pleasurable response in frequent social media users, which in turn might trigger social media cravings. The combination of pleasant feelings and cravings makes social media too difficult to resist.
The future of search engines
New efforts to combine artificial intelligence with crowdsourced annotators and information encoded in domain-specific resources have now been revealed by researchers. The work has the potential to improve general search engines, as well as ones like those for medical knowledge or non-English texts.
Where there's fire, there's smoke -- and social media
The fact that people reliably flock to social media to discuss smoke and fire was the inspiration for a new study by atmospheric scientists. The researchers showed striking correlation between numbers of Facebook users posting about visible smoke, and commonly used datasets for estimating harmful smoke exposure. These include satellite observations, chemical transport models and surface particulate matter measurements.
Heat-conducting plastic could lead to lighter electronics, cars
Advanced plastics could usher in lighter, cheaper, more energy-efficient product components, including those used in vehicles, LEDs and computers -- if only they were better at dissipating heat.

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