AI News, 5 Things You Missed This Week at IEEE Spectrum: Clean Coal Conundrum, Boosting Females in STEM, and more

5 Things You Missed This Week at IEEE Spectrum: Clean Coal Conundrum, Boosting Females in STEM, and more

The formation of system-fouling clinkers (chunks of ash fused to the gasifier mechanism) isn’t the only problem that has observers viewing a Mississippi integrated gasification combined cycle (IGCC)coal generation plant as a clunker.

According to Daniel Burkey, associate dean for undergraduate education and diversity at UConn’s school of engineering, “[These] programs that really try and go out and speak to underrepresented populations…in order to show them what engineers do, show them positive role models in engineering that look like they do, show them how engineering makes a positive impact on the world socially andenvironmentally.”

Tiny robots have thus far been successfully used in proof-of-concept studies in four areas of medicine: targeted drug delivery, precision surgery, sensing of biological targets, and detoxification.

For their DNA storage scheme,the researcherssend hints about the data file—reminiscent of the way a Sudoku puzzle maker provides a few numbers in the grid—instead of encoding the information directly,

Sudoku Hints at New Encoding Strategy for DNA Data Storage

Researchers affiliated with Columbia University and the New York Genome Center have reported a new encoding method that makes it possible to come close to the theoretical maximum for DNA data storage.

In research publishedin the journalScience, the team says its encoding method achieveda 60% increase in storage capacity over previously reported efforts, resulting in a jaw-dropping storage density of 215 petabytes per gram of DNA.

Last year,Microsoft announced that its researchershad set the DNA data-storage record of 200 megabytes.While thatwas a good indication ofhow far DNA data storage had come, it remained pretty short on detail, withthe announcement coming only in blog poston the Microsoft website.

In order to store digital data on a DNA molecule you need to find a way to translate the binary code of 0s and 1s into the genetic code of As, Cs, Gs, and Ts that make up a DNA molecule.

Digits appear in some squares and based on these hints, a player tries to complete the grid so that each row, column, and subgrid contains the digits 1 through 9 exactly once.

“The thing about the fountain program is that it can generate as many hints as you want, so what we do on the computer is we let the fountain code run, generate the hints and we map these hints into the DNA molecules on the computer into DNA sequences,” explained Erlich.

While some observers believed Microsoft’s announcement of storing 200 megabytes of digital information foretold of DNA digital storage being around the corner, Erlich remains more cautious about the timeline despite his recent breakthrough.

Even with an extended timeline, Erlich cautions that DNA data storage will not be taking the place of our hard disk drives in our computers, but will more likely be a service that users will access from the cloud to store a large amount data for a long time.

Tiny cubesat thrusters MIT professor Paulo Lozano has created tiny lightweight rocket engines for cubesat nanosatellites that use ion beams for propulsion.

The micro-thruster is a multi-layered microchip, in which each layer contains smaller and smaller pores, with the bottom layer holding a reservoir of free-floating ions and the top layer containing 500 metallic nozzles.

One chip only generates about fifty micronewtons of force, but that could be enough to maneuver a 2-3 lb CubeSat to avoid a collision, or even to cause reentry, and hence destruction, after mission completion.

Hypersonic Waverider crashes The flight test for the X-51A Waverider, intended to last five minutes, ended in just 16 seconds when the plane broke apart after a control fin failed before the scramjet engine could be ignited.

Robot inchworm Researchers from MIT, Harvard, and Seoul National University have created (Meshworm÷, a soft robot that moves using peristalsis, the way a worm inches forward by alternately squeezing and relaxing muscles along the length of its body.

2017 Engineering Lecture Series

In today’s world, almost all aspects of our lives can be data to save or share, and our consumption and production of data continues to grow.

Understanding how to best use data — and developing technologies with the capacity to store it — will transform the ways in which we process information, communicate and navigate.

This complex problem lies at the intersection of technology, human cognition and human behavior — and may make us unwitting accomplices to the spread of incorrect facts and misleading communication.

Her research blends human-computer interaction and the emerging field of crisis informatics—the study of the how information-communication technologies are used during crisis events.

Engineering As our capacity to produce and collect data grows, we are quickly reaching the limit of mainstream storage technologies, yet our ability to engineer biomolecules is rapidly improving.

Join us to hear from computer scientist Luis Ceze, who along with partners at the UW and Microsoft, has developed a process to encode, store and retrieve data in DNA that broke a world record for the technology.

Her research interests bridge game theory, optimization, and statistical learning to develop new theoretical models of human decision-making in societal-scale cyber-physical systems.

Turning to Chemistry for New “Computing” Concepts

As the complexity and volume of global digital data grows, so too does the need for more capable and compact means of processing and storing data.

Instead of relying on the binary digital logic of computers based on the Von Neumann architecture, Molecular Informatics aims to investigate and exploit the wide range of structural characteristics and properties of molecules to encode and manipulate data.

This richness provides a vast design space for exploring novel and multi-value ways to encode and process data beyond the 0s and 1s of current logic-based, digital architectures.”

Molecular storage concepts, such as those based on DNA sequences, have advanced in recent years and show promise for archiving digital data in a format that takes up extremely small physical space, Fischer said.

But DNA storage doesn’t allow for rapid retrieval and processing of selected portions of the DNA-encoded data without having to first decode the molecule-based data back into an electronic digital format to use with existing information systems.

Image Caption: The Molecular Informatics program seeks to develop new concepts and approaches for data storage and processing using the molecules instead of 1s and 0s used in current digital information systems.

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