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Solar eclipse gives Buellton elementary students crash course in … – Santa Ynez Valley News

Students at Oak Valley Elementary School in Buellton started school just three days before the alignment of the Earth, moon and sun gave them their first look at a solar eclipse.

Yet in that short time, they had absorbed a lot of information about not only the mechanics of the phenomenon, but things like the dangers of improperly viewing the event and what ancient people believed about eclipses.

Syzygy, a partial eclipse where it kind of looks like a crescent the zone of totality in the U.S., which is from Oregon on down to South Carolina, said 10-year-old Elijah Navarro, as he ticked off some of the subjects he and fellow fifth-graders had been studying less than half an hour before the eclipse was scheduled to begin Monday morning.

I cant wait to see it, since we have glasses, Elijah added. But we wont see a total eclipse. Well mostly see a partial, like 60 percent. It will look like a crescent moon.

* * *

Getting those eclipse glasses for the entire school was not an easy task for Principal Hans Rheinschild. In fact, it proved impossible. Rheinschild said he could only get enough for half the school.

We have partners, and we each get to use them for 30 seconds, explained Katelyn Melby, also 10, and a fifth-grader. Only 400 (pairs) were up to date.

Elijah added, We got a list, and it named some glasses that it said do not work.

Ive seen them and theyre very dark, said 10-year-old Tanner Rhodes, one of Katelyns classmates. You cant use 3-D glasses. Even though they look the same, theyre not.

Rheinschild, who is also principal of Jonata Middle School in Buellton, said he was impressed by how much knowledge the teachers had imparted and the students had been able to absorb.

Its only the fourth day of school, he said, as he waited for the students to begin assembling in the quad. But Ive been going into the classrooms a lot, and every classroom I go into, theyre doing a lesson about the eclipse. I think every school in America is.

* * *

The trio of fifth-graders had moved on to talking about what ancient people thought about eclipses.

The first people that ever viewed an eclipse drew what it looked like where they were on rock, Katelyn said.

It looked like an octopus, Elijah interjected. But with more than eight legs.

They thought the world was ending, added Tanner.

They put up sacrifices because they thought that would save the world, Elijah said.

Some people thought it was bad luck and some thought it was good luck, Katelyn continued. Some thought that the gods were taking the sun.

By now Monday's eclipse has begun.

Look at the difference in the shadows, Katelyn said, pointing at the gray images of the three projected on the concrete corridor outside their classrooms. Usually theyre darker than that.

Then they showed off something else theyd learned. If you dont have viewing glasses you can improvise a viewer by crossing your spread fingers into a waffle pattern and looking at the shadow that projects.

The shadows make little circles, Katelyn said, looking down at the crescent shapes that appeared in the edges of each square between their fingers.

* * *

Lined up across the quad facing the multipurpose room and away from the sun, the students were greeted by Rheinschild.

Welcome to the eclipse of 2017, he said. This is a very special thing. You may not get to see another eclipse until youre as old as I am, maybe in your 50s or 60s.

Whispered wows rose from the rows of students.

The main thing about today is safety, safety, safety, he continued, once again going through the viewing procedure.

All of the students would remain facing away from the sun, then half the students would put on the glasses, turn around and look at the eclipse for 30 seconds. Then, they would turn back around and hand the glasses to their partners, who would do the same thing.

Then it was time for the viewing to begin, and as the glasses were passed back and forth and the students turned, the same ooohs and aaahs arose from small faces repeatedly awed by what they were seeing.

* * *

Although the impression of the celestial event on the students was undeniably satisfying, the almost once-in-a-lifetime aspect of the eclipse might not be a bad thing for Rheinschild, who spent a lot of time preparing for it.

As a principal, Ive never had to deal with an eclipse before, he said. Its been a learning experience, definitely. Ill be retired by the time the next one comes along.

Continued here:

Solar eclipse gives Buellton elementary students crash course in ... - Santa Ynez Valley News

On the Bright Side: Chemistry journal to feature work of Hartwick scholars – Oneonta Daily Star

The International Journal of Quantum Chemistry will feature research conducted by a team led by a Hartwick College professor and assisted by two Hartwick students in the cover story of the Sept. 15 issue.

Associate Professor of Chemistry John Dudek led a team that included professors based in Germany at the University of Cologne Laboratory Astrophysics Group and others. The article, Carbon-sulfur chains: A high-resolution infrared and quantum-chemical study of C3S and SC7S, concerns the detection of carbon sulfur molecules in space.

One of the more interesting aspects of space is its chemistry, Dudek said. What molecules exist in space and how did these molecules form?

Each molecule has its own spectral fingerprint, which astronomers need to locate a molecule in space.

We both need each other its difficult for astronomers to find some of these molecules, he said.

The team recreated two carbon-sulfur compounds and determined their high-resolution infrared fingerprints using spectroscopy and computer modeling. The results were the first such fingerprints of the SC7S molecule.

Hartwick undergraduates Justine Kozubal and Sierra Bentley assisted in the research, although they are not listed as co-authors. Provost Michael G. Tannenbaum, a former president of the council on undergraduate research, says Dr. Dudek regularly engages students in experiential and collaborative research activities.

Kozubal spent four weeks last summer working in the Cologne laboratory on an Emerson scholarship, and she and Dudek co-authored a paper on another molecule from their research. Bentley spent four weeks this summer working in the laboratory as part of a Duffy scholarship, and a forthcoming paper on the molecule she studied will feature Bentley as a co-author.

Kozubal, who graduated this spring with bachelors degrees in chemistry and physics, had recently taken an astrophysics course when she began her research in Germany.

It was a graduate level astrophysics lab and I hadnt seen anything like it before, she said. But I learned how to use it and take data looking for the carbon sulfur molecules.

The experience helped her decide to apply for graduate school, and she will begin classes this fall at the University of Massachusetts Amherst in their physical chemistry Ph.D. program.

Dudek and other students involved in the collaboration with Cologne presented their results at the International Symposium of Molecular Spectroscopy, and she was invited to the regional American Chemical Society conference in Binghamton last fall.

Dr. Dudek said he hopes to return to Germany with another student in January and summer 2018 to continue the collaboration.

I think its a great opportunity for students to do research at a world-class institution. I would like to continue our collaboration for as long as possible. he said.

There are still some carbon sulfur molecules that need to be investigated, he said in a Hartwick media release. Afterwards, we will probably start investigating carbon silicone molecules that might exist in space.

Provost Michael Tannenbaum said in the release that the publication of the article in the International Journal of Quantum Chemistry underscores the ability of science faculty at primarily undergraduate institutions, like Hartwick, to undertake meaningful and impactful research.

Erin Jerome, staff writer, may be reached at (607) 441-7221, or at ejerome@thedailystar.com. Follow her on Twitter at @DS_ErinJ .

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On the Bright Side: Chemistry journal to feature work of Hartwick scholars - Oneonta Daily Star

Astronomy and Astrophysics departments prepare Penn State … – The Daily Collegian Online

The common advice to children is do not stare into the sun.

On Monday, the Penn State community and millions of others around the country will be doing exactly that, viewing a rare anomaly: a solar eclipse.

Although State College will only be able to see approximately 80 percent of the eclipse, that is still enough to see the beauty and rarity of the phenomenon.

The eclipse is to begin at approximately 1:15 p.m., will be close to totality at 2:35 p.m. and will end around 4 p.m.

The Astronomy and Astrophysics department has been gearing up all week to prepare for the event, and will even go as far as hosting viewing parties on top of laboratories and handing out eclipse glasses around campus.

Students may go to these locations on campus to safely watch the eclipse: Davey Laboratory rooftop observatory, The Arboretum at Penn State's H.O. Smith Botanic Gardens, along with Mount Nittany Middle School at 656 Brandywine Dr. in State College.

At its peak, spectators will only be able to see a sliver or crescent part of the sun. However, in order to look up at the eclipse, it is necessary to wear the specific protective glasses to ensure no damage to one's eyes.

The United States has not witnessed a total solar eclipse since 1979, 38 years ago. Astronomers everywhere have labeled todays eclipse to be a generational event.

Because the eclipse will only be visible if skies are clear, the Astronomy & Astrophysics department will cancel the viewing events if the weather wares on the cloudy or overcast side, the department said in a news release.

Excerpt from:

Astronomy and Astrophysics departments prepare Penn State ... - The Daily Collegian Online

Solar eclipse gives Buellton elementary students crash course in … – Santa Maria Times (subscription)

Students at Oak Valley Elementary School in Buellton started school just three days before the alignment of the Earth, moon and sun gave them their first look at a solar eclipse.

Yet in that short time, they had absorbed a lot of information about not only the mechanics of the phenomenon, but things like the dangers of improperly viewing the event and what ancient people believed about eclipses.

Syzygy, a partial eclipse where it kind of looks like a crescent the zone of totality in the U.S., which is from Oregon on down to South Carolina, said 10-year-old Elijah Navarro, as he ticked off some of the subjects he and fellow fifth-graders had been studying less than half an hour before the eclipse was scheduled to begin Monday morning.

I cant wait to see it, since we have glasses, Elijah added. But we wont see a total eclipse. Well mostly see a partial, like 60 percent. It will look like a crescent moon.

* * *

Getting those eclipse glasses for the entire school was not an easy task for Principal Hans Rheinschild. In fact, it proved impossible. Rheinschild said he could only get enough for half the school.

We have partners, and we each get to use them for 30 seconds, explained Katelyn Melby, also 10, and a fifth-grader. Only 400 (pairs) were up to date.

Elijah added, We got a list, and it named some glasses that it said do not work.

Ive seen them and theyre very dark, said 10-year-old Tanner Rhodes, one of Katelyns classmates. You cant use 3-D glasses. Even though they look the same, theyre not.

Rheinschild, who is also principal of Jonata Middle School in Buellton, said he was impressed by how much knowledge the teachers had imparted and the students had been able to absorb.

Its only the fourth day of school, he said, as he waited for the students to begin assembling in the quad. But Ive been going into the classrooms a lot, and every classroom I go into, theyre doing a lesson about the eclipse. I think every school in America is.

* * *

The trio of fifth-graders had moved on to talking about what ancient people thought about eclipses.

The first people that ever viewed an eclipse drew what it looked like where they were on rock, Katelyn said.

It looked like an octopus, Elijah interjected. But with more than eight legs.

They thought the world was ending, added Tanner.

They put up sacrifices because they thought that would save the world, Elijah said.

Some people thought it was bad luck and some thought it was good luck, Katelyn continued. Some thought that the gods were taking the sun.

By now Monday's eclipse has begun.

Look at the difference in the shadows, Katelyn said, pointing at the gray images of the three projected on the concrete corridor outside their classrooms. Usually theyre darker than that.

Then they showed off something else theyd learned. If you dont have viewing glasses you can improvise a viewer by crossing your spread fingers into a waffle pattern and looking at the shadow that projects.

The shadows make little circles, Katelyn said, looking down at the crescent shapes that appeared in the edges of each square between their fingers.

* * *

Lined up across the quad facing the multipurpose room and away from the sun, the students were greeted by Rheinschild.

Welcome to the eclipse of 2017, he said. This is a very special thing. You may not get to see another eclipse until youre as old as I am, maybe in your 50s or 60s.

Whispered wows rose from the rows of students.

The main thing about today is safety, safety, safety, he continued, once again going through the viewing procedure.

All of the students would remain facing away from the sun, then half the students would put on the glasses, turn around and look at the eclipse for 30 seconds. Then, they would turn back around and hand the glasses to their partners, who would do the same thing.

Then it was time for the viewing to begin, and as the glasses were passed back and forth and the students turned, the same ooohs and aaahs arose from small faces repeatedly awed by what they were seeing.

* * *

Although the impression of the celestial event on the students was undeniably satisfying, the almost once-in-a-lifetime aspect of the eclipse might not be a bad thing for Rheinschild, who spent a lot of time preparing for it.

As a principal, Ive never had to deal with an eclipse before, he said. Its been a learning experience, definitely. Ill be retired by the time the next one comes along.

See the rest here:

Solar eclipse gives Buellton elementary students crash course in ... - Santa Maria Times (subscription)

These three countries are winning the global robot race – CNNMoney

The three countries are leading an artificial intelligence (AI) revolution, Malcolm Frank, head of strategy at leading outsourcing firm Cognizant, told CNNMoney in an interview.

Frank is the co-author of a recent book entitled "What to Do When Machines Do Everything," on the impact artificial intelligence will have on the global economy in the coming years.

"I think it's three horses in the race, and that's probably the wrong metaphor because they are all going to win," he said. "They are just going to win differently."

While AI is progressing quickly elsewhere too, Frank said the other development hotspots are mainly city hubs such as London and Stockholm, or far smaller economies such as Estonia.

"The big three [are] India, China and the U.S," he said.

Here's why:

America

Silicon Valley giants such as Facebook (FB, Tech30), Amazon (AMZN, Tech30), Google (GOOGL, Tech30) and Tesla (TSLA) are already investing billions in harnessing the power of computers to replace several human tasks.

Computers are already beginning to substitute for people in sectors such as agriculture and even medicine, not to mention the race to get driverless cars on the road.

"With Silicon Valley, and the vendors and momentum that exists there... that's going to continue," Frank said.

China

The world's second largest economy is also betting big on artificial intelligence.

Tech companies including Tencent (TCEHY) and Baidu (BIDU, Tech30) are competing with Silicon Valley to develop new uses for AI, and tech billionaire Jack Ma of Alibaba (BABA, Tech30), one of China's richest men, has even said CEOs may eventually be obsolete.

Unlike in the U.S., however, the biggest push towards this new world in China is coming from the government.

"You look at the playbook China has had very successfully, with state sponsorship around developing the [physical] infrastructure of the country," Frank said. "They're taking a very similar approach around artificial intelligence, and I think that's going to yield a lot of benefit."

The Chinese government has already laid out an ambitious plan for a $150 billion AI industry, saying last month that it wants China to become the world's "innovation center for AI" by 2030.

India

In India, the main shift towards artificial intelligence is coming from companies that make up its $143 billion outsourcing industry -- a sector that employs nearly 4 million people.

Top firms like Infosys (INFY), Tata Consultancy Services and Wipro (WIT), which provide technology services to big names including Deutsche Bank (DB), Lockheed Martin (LMT), IBM (IBM, Tech30), Microsoft (MSFT, Tech30) and the U.S. Army, are increasingly relying on automation in their operations.

"In India, you look at this remarkable platform that is in place now... of incredibly sophisticated skills that are focused on the needs of [global] companies," said Frank.

In addition, India's startup scene also makes him "very optimistic" about the future of artificial intelligence there.

Cognizant (CTSH), which is based in the U.S. but has most of its workforce in India, is also making ever greater use of AI -- from online bots managing clients' finances to helping create automated systems for smart devices.

Should we be worried?

Many are worried about the potential pitfalls of artificial intelligence, including Tesla's billionaire founder Elon Musk. He has warned that the technology could pose "an existential threat" if not used properly, and published a letter this week with over 100 other industry experts demanding a global ban on using it to make weapons.

Frank said that the development of artificial intelligence requires careful thought, by governments and companies working together to establish ground rules. The tech executive compared it to safety regulations for air travel and for cars, which have evolved several times over the years.

The focus needs to be on creating a world "where AI is going to be safe and you get the benefits of it without the downsides," he said.

As for the other pervasive fear -- that more robots will lead to job losses -- Frank argues that AI will not only create more and different kinds of jobs in the future, but also enhance many of the existing ones.

"That's what happened with assembly lines, that's what happened with the steam engine, that's what we think is going to happen with artificial intelligence."

CNNMoney (New Delhi) First published August 21, 2017: 10:14 AM ET

Originally posted here:

These three countries are winning the global robot race - CNNMoney

The Artificial Narrative Of Artificial Intelligence – Above the Law

As the legal community flees Las Vegas, leaving another successful ILTACON and several hundred thousand dollars in bad decisions in their wake, two questions weigh upon my mind. Is there something broken about the way we talk about artificial intelligence, and why does the airport give a goddamn about my mixers?

Artificial intelligence is a sufficiently ominous sounding invention. It gets the Asimov-obsessed firm stakeholders all hot and bothered in a way that predictive coding never really could. But ultimately, discussions of artificial intelligence in the law break down to one of two flavors: vendors willing to tell you frankly that this technology requires carefully constructed processes, vigilant management, and meticulous attention to detail; and those who tell you its MAGIC! Seriously, just buy yourself some AI and your firm is set! Somehow, after years and years of AI talk in the legal profession, there are still people peddling the latter option. Havent we all figured out what AI really is by now? Are there still clients out there falling for robotic nerve tonic?

Speaking of tonic, I ask the bartender for a vodka soda no use wasting the last minutes in this desert monument to excess sober. She tells me she cant serve those until 10:30. Is it really morning?

Its no secret that, for the sake of laughs, well always compare AI to the Terminator movies. A cold, unfeeling strand of code ruthlessly burying associates. But ditch the glossy ad campaign and, in reality, these products arent going to master a 100TB document review by osmosis. No, much like the T-800 these robots show up on the job naked and need to beat your biker bar full of associates to death before it can do its job properly.

Sure itll learn from your first-pass reviewers but what will it learn? Will it pick up all their bad habits? Will it learn the systemic oversight your client never passed along? Most importantly, will it learn to forget all these mistakes as soon as you uncover them or will vestigial f**k-ups keep infecting the process months after they get caught? AI may be brilliant, but if the processes that set it down its path lack detailed consistency, its going to end up throwing your firm out an airlock. Like the surgeon with a scalpel, lawyers who fail to understand that the profession is mastering the tool itself, will just chain themselves to expensive trinkets that do the client more harm than good.

When did a vodka soda become verboten this early in the morning at the Las Vegas Airport? Look, I get that some states have Blue laws, but generally Vegas isnt puritanical about the gross consumption of liquor. Whats the deal with booze? She tells me before 10:30 she can only make Bloody Marys and Screwdrivers. Wait, so vodka is on the menu? Because these arent premixed drinks.

This is all so confusing. Does Vegas really care about my mixers? Has Big Orange spread its tentacles from the Tropicana deep into this McCarran bar?

Not that there arent still some musing about the fully automated lawyer a cognitive map of a present-day rainmaker that firms can license out to clients who want to plug the BoiesBot 3500 on their latest matter. Its not that the technology required to perfect this strategy is far off though it might be but raise your hand if you imagine a bar association will ever sign off on disrupting the profession like that. Theyre scared enough about raising bar cut-off scores to allow a handful more humans into the market. A practicing attorney firms can duplicate at zero marginal cost? Not likely to pass that muster any century soon.

Strong AI solutions are the future hell, strong AI solutions are the present but before you invest in anything, take measure of how the vendor sees its own product. The best are always a little leery of the phrase artificial intelligence. Theres more enthusiasm for machine learning and other synonyms that dont carry the same baggage as AI. The key is looking for someone who can admit that their products power is all about your commitment to it as a client and how hard youll work to make it give its peak performance.

The guy next to me, a cybersecurity expert who Id say modeled his whole ethos upon The Dude if I didnt know he rocked that look long before Jeff Bridges, runs afoul of the same libation limitations when he asks for some champagne. She can only offer him a mimosa. Goddamned orange farmers hit us again! Thats when something special happens. He tells the bartender to give him a mimosa, but put the orange juice on the side so he can control the mix. And thats how he got a glass of champagne.

Cybersecurity Dude hacked the bar AI!

Because anything as a service is only as powerful as its instructions. He recognized the flaw in the establishments process an instance of bad tagging that let the bartender miss something critical. Thats how he found the key item the bartenders rules missed.

And thats how I, eventually, got my vodka soda.

Screw you, Tropicana.

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The Artificial Narrative Of Artificial Intelligence - Above the Law

I was worried about artificial intelligenceuntil it saved my life – Quartz

Earlier this month, tech moguls Elon Musk and Mark Zuckerberg debated the pros and cons of artificial intelligence from different corners of the internet. While SpaceXs CEO is more of an alarmist, insisting that we should approach AI with caution and that it poses a fundamental existential risk, Facebooks founder leans toward a more optimistic future, dismissing doomsday scenarios in favor of AI helping us build a brighter future.

I now agree with Zuckerbergs sunnier outlookbut I didnt used to.

Beginning my career as an engineer, I was interested in AI, but I was torn about whether advancements would go too far too fast. As a mother with three kids entering their teens, I was also worried that AI would disrupt the future of my childrens education, work, and daily life. But then something happened that forced me into the affirmative.

Imagine for a moment that you are a pathologist and your job is to scroll through 1,000 photos every 30 minutes, looking for one tiny outlier on a single photo. Youre racing the clock to find a microscopic needle in a massive data haystack.

Now, imagine that a womans life depends on it. Mine.

This is the nearly impossible task that pathologists are tasked with every day. Treating the 250,000 women in the US who will be diagnosed with breast cancer this year, each medical worker must analyze an immense amount of cell tissue to identify if their patients cancer has spread. Limited by time and resources, they often get it wrong; a recent study found that pathologists accurately detect tumors only 73.2% of the time.

In 2011 I found a lump in my breast. Both my family doctor and I were confident that it was a Fibroadenoma, a common noncancerous (benign) breast lump, but she recommended I get a mammogram to make sure. While the original lump was indeed a Fibroenoma, the mammogram uncovered two unknown spots. My journey into the unknown started here.

Since AI imaging was not available at the time, I had to rely solely on human analysis. The next four years were a blur of ultrasounds, biopsies, and surgeries. My well-intentioned network of doctors and specialists were not able to diagnose or treat what turned out to be a rare form of cancer, and repeatedly attempted to remove my recurring tumors through surgery.

After four more tumors, five more biopsies, and two more operations, I was heading toward a double mastectomy and terrified at the prospect of the cancer spreading to my lungs or brain.

I knew something needed to change. In 2015, I was introduced to a medical physicist that decided to take a different approach, using big data and a machine-learning algorithm to spot my tumors and treat my cancer with radiation therapy. While I was nervous about leaving my therapy up to this new technology, itcombined with the right medical knowledgewas able to stop the growth of my tumors. Im now two years cancer-free.

I was thankful for the AI that saved my life but then that very same algorithm changed my sons potential career path.

The positive impact of machine learning is often overshadowed by the doom-and-gloom of automation. Fearing for their own jobs and their childrens future, people often choose to focus on the potential negative repercussions of AI rather than the positive changes it can bring to society.

After seeing what this radiation treatment was able to do for me, my son applied to a university program in radiology technology to explore a career path in medical radiation. He met countless radiology technicians throughout my years of treatment and was excited to start his training off in a specialized program. However, during his application process, the program was cancelled: He was told it was because there were no longer enough jobs in the radiology industry to warrant the programs continuation. Many positions have been lost to automationjust like the technology and machine learning that helped me in my battle with cancer.

This was a difficult period for both my son and I: The very thing that had saved my life prevented him from following the path he planned. He had to rethink his education mid-application when it was too late to apply for anything else, and he was worried that his back up plans would fall through.

Hes now pursuing a future in biophysics rather than medical radiation, starting with an undergraduate degree in integrated sciences. In retrospect, we both now realize that the experience forced him to rethink his career and unexpectedly opened up his thinking about what research areas will be providing the most impact on peoples lives in the future.

Although some medical professionals will lose their jobs to AI, the life-saving benefits to patients will be magnificent. Beyond cancer detection and treatment, medical professionals are using machine learning to improve their practice in many ways. For instance, Atomwise applies AI to fuel drug discovery, Deep Genomics uses machine learning to help pharmaceutical companies develop genetic medicines, and Analytics 4 Life leverages AI to better detect coronary artery disease.

While not all transitions from automated roles will be as easy as my sons pivot to a different scientific field, I believe that AI has the potential to shape our future careers in a positive way, even helping us find jobs that make us happier and more productive.

As this technology rapidly develops, the future is clear: AI will be an integral part of our lives and bring massive changes to our society. Its time to stop debating (looking at you, Musk and Zuckerberg) and start accepting AI for what it is: both the good and the bad.

Throughout the years, Ive found myself on both sides of the equation, arguing both for and against the advancement of AI. But its time to stop taking a selective view on AI, choosing to incorporate it into our lives only when convenient. We must create solutions that mitigate AIs negative impact and maximize its positive potential. Key stakeholdersgovernments, corporates, technologists, and moreneed to create policies, join forces, and dedicate themselves to this effort.

And were seeing great progress. AT&T recently began retraining thousands of employees to keep up with technology advances and Google recently dedicated millions of dollars to prepare people for an AI-dominated workforce. Im hopeful that these initiatives will allow us to focus on all the good that AI can do for our world and open our eyes to the potential lives it can save.

One day, yours just might depend on it, too.

Learn how to write for Quartz Ideas. We welcome your comments at ideas@qz.com.

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I was worried about artificial intelligenceuntil it saved my life - Quartz

We Must Stop The Artificial Intelligence Arms Race At Any Cost – Huffington Post Canada

My visit to Japan has coincided with the 72nd anniversary of Hiroshima and Nagasaki nuclear bombings. On August 6, 1945, the nuclear bomb dropped by the Enola Gay Boeing B-29 exploded, killing an estimated 140,000 people. Three days later, the U.S. dropped the second bomb by the Bockscar B-29 on Nagasaki, killing an estimated 75,000. Within weeks, Japan surrendered. On the occasion of the 72nd anniversary ceremony about 50,000 people, including representatives from 80 nations, gathered at Hiroshima Peace Memorial Park. During the occasion, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe called for global cooperation to end nuclear weapons.

Even today, there are victims who are still suffering from the bombings. During my conversations with my Japanese friends, one thing was clear to me: that they all have at least someone linked to their family who was a victim of the bombing. Their stories speak to us. They ask us to introspect about what the world might become.

While viewing the picturesque terrain of Japan during a train journey from Tokyo to Kyoto, I was trying to find an answer to a question: At the end of the day, what did nuclear science achieve? Nuclear science was supposed to bring unlimited supply of energy to the power-starved countries of the world.

Nuclear bombs were not what Albert Einstein had in mind when he published the special theory of relativity. However, the bombs killed or wounded around 200,000 Japanese men, women and children. Our trust in the peaceful nuclear program has endangered humanity. The United States and Russia held over 70,000 nuclear weapons at the peak of the nuclear arms race, which could have killed every human being on the planet.

Recent advances in science and technology have made nuclear bombs more powerful than ever, and one can imagine how devastating it could be to the world. These advances in science and technology have also created many unprecedented and still unresolved global security challenges for policy makers and the public.

It is hard to imagine any one technology that will transform the global security more than artificial intelligence (AI), and it is going to have the biggest impact on humanity that has ever been. The Global Risks Report 2017 by the World Economic Forum places AI as one of the top five factors exacerbating geopolitical risks. One sector that saw the huge disruptive potential of AI from an early stage is the military. AI-based weaponization will represent a paradigm shift in the way wars are fought, with profound consequences for global security.

Major investment in AI-based weapons has already begun. According to a WEF report, a terrifying AI arms race may already be underway. To ensure a continued military edge over China and Russia, the Pentagon requested around US$15 billion for AI-based weaponry for the 2017 budget. However, the U.S. doesn't have the exclusive control over AI.

Whichever country develops viable AI weaponry first will completely take over the military landscape as AI-based machines have the capacity to be much more intense and devastating than a nuclear bomb. If any one country has a machine that can hack into enemy defence systems, that country will have such a distinct advantage over any other world government.

Without proper regulation, AI-based weapons could go out of control and they may be used indiscriminately, create a greater risk to civilians, and more easily fall into the hands of dictators and terrorists. Imagine if North Korea developed an AI capable of military action that could very quickly destabilize the entire world. According to an UNOG report, two major concerns of AI based weapons are: (i) the inability to discriminate between combatants and non-combatants and (ii) the inability to ensure a proportionate response in which the military advantage will outweigh civilian casualties

My visit to Japan is also marked by concerns in the region about the possibility of nuclear missile strikes, particularly after U.S. President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un threatened each other with shows of force. As Elon Musk said, "If you're not concerned about AI safety, you should be. [There is] vastly more risk than North Korea."

AI technology is growing in a similar fashion as the push for nuclear technology. I don't know if there is a reasonable analogy between the nuclear research and AI research. Nuclear research was supposed to bring an unlimited supply of energy to the power-starved countries of the world. However, it was also harnessed for nuclear weapons.

A similar push is now been given to AI technology as well. AI might have great potential to help humanity in profound ways; however, it's very important to regulate it. Starting an AI arms race is very bad for the world, and should be prevented by banning all AI-based weapons beyond meaningful human control.

In 2016, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced the government's Pan-Canadian AI strategy, which aims to put Canada at the center of an emerging gold rush of innovation. So, what does this actually mean for the AI arms race that is well underway?

We are living in an age of revolutionary changes brought about by the advance of AI technology. I am not sure there lies any hope for the world, but certainly there is a danger of sudden death. I think we are on a brink of an AI arms race. It should be prevented at any cost. No matter how long and how difficult the road will be, it is the responsibility of all leaders who live in the present to continue to make efforts.

You can follow Pete Poovanna on Twitter: @poovannact and for more information check out http://www.pthimmai.com/

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We Must Stop The Artificial Intelligence Arms Race At Any Cost - Huffington Post Canada

Artificial intelligence expert Andrew Ng hates paranoid androids, and other fun facts – The Mercury News

Get tech news in your inbox weekday mornings. Sign up for the free Good Morning Silicon Valley newsletter. BY RYAN NAKASHIMA

PALO ALTO What does artificial intelligence researcher Andrew Ng have in common with a very depressed robot from The Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy? Both have huge brains.

HE NAMED GOOGLE BRAIN

Googles deep-learning unit was originally called Project Marvin a possible reference to a morose and paranoid android with a brain the size of a planet from The Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy. Ng didnt like the association with this very depressed robot, he says, so he cut to the chase and changed the name to Google Brain.

A SMALL WEDDING

Ng met his roboticist wife, Carol Reiley, at a robotics conference in Kobe, Japan. They married in 2014 in Carmel, California, in a small ceremony. Ng says Reiley wanted to save money in order to invest in their future they even got their wedding bands made on a 3-D printer. And instead of a big ceremony, she put $50,000 in Drive.ai, the autonomous driving company she co-founded and leads as president. In its last funding round, the company raised $50 million.

GUESSING GAMES, COMPUTER VERSION

One of Ngs first computer programs tried to guess a number the user was thinking of. Based simply on the responses higher or lower, the computer could guess correctly after no more than seven questions.

GUESSING GAME, ACCENT VERSION

Americans tend to think I sound slightly British and the Brits think I sound horribly American, Ng says. According to my mother, I just mumble a lot.

HE LIKES BLUE SHIRTS

He buys blue button-down shirts 10 at a time from Nordstroms online. I just dont want to think about it every morning. Theres enough things that I need to decide on every day.

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Artificial intelligence expert Andrew Ng hates paranoid androids, and other fun facts - The Mercury News

How do you bring artificial intelligence from the cloud to the edge? – TNW

Despite the enormous speed at processing reams of data and providing valuable output, artificial intelligence applications have one key weakness: Their brains are located at thousands of miles away.

Most AI algorithms need huge amounts of data and computing power to accomplish tasks. For this reason, they rely on cloud servers to perform their computations, and arent capable of accomplishing much at the edge, the mobile phones, computers and other devices where the applications that use them run.

In contrast, we humans perform most of our computation and decision-making at the edge (in our brain) and only refer to other sources (internet, library, other people) where our own processing power and memory wont suffice.

This limitation makes current AI algorithms useless or inefficient in settings where connectivity is sparse or non-present, and where operations need to be performed in a time-critical fashion. However, scientists and tech companies are exploring concepts and technologies that will bring artificial intelligence closer to the edge.

A lot of the worlds computing power goes to waste as thousands and millions of devices remain idle for a considerable amount of time. Being able to coordinate and combine these resources will enable us to make efficient use of computing power, cut down costs and create distributed servers that can process data and algorithms at the edge.

Distributed computing is not a new concept, but technologies like blockchain can take it to a new level. Blockchain and smart contracts enable multiple nodes to cooperate on tasks without the need for a centralized broker.

This is especially useful for Internet of Things (IoT), where latency, network congestion, signal collisions and geographical distances are some of the challenges we face when processing edge data in the cloud. Blockchain can help IoT devices share compute resources in real-time and execute algorithms without the need for a round-trip to the cloud.

Another benefit to using blockchain is the incentivization of resource sharing. Participating nodes can earn rewards for making their idle computing resources available to others.

A handful of companies have developed blockchain-based computing platforms. iEx.ec, a blockchain company that bills itself as the leader in decentralized high-performance computing (HPC), uses the Ethereum blockchain to create a market for computational resources, which can be used for various use cases, including distributed machine learning.

Golem is another platform that provides distributed computing on the blockchain, where applications (requestors) can rent compute cycles from providers. Among Golems use cases is training and executing machine learning algorithms. Golem also has a decentralized reputation system that allows nodes to rank their peers based on their performance on appointed tasks.

From landing drones to running AR apps and navigating driverless cars, there are many settings where the need to run real-time deep learning at the edge is essential. The delay caused by the round-trip to the cloud can yield disastrous or even fatal results. And in case of a network disruption, a total halt of operations is imaginable.

AI coprocessors, chips that can execute machine learning algorithms, can help alleviate this shortage of intelligence at the edge in the form of board integration or plug-and-play deep learning devices. The market is still new, but the results look promising.

Movidius, a hardware company acquired by Intel in 2016, has been dabbling in edge neural networks for a while, including developing obstacle navigation for drones and smart thermal vision cameras. Movidius Myriad 2 vision processing unit (VPU) can be integrated into circuit boards to provide low-power computer vision and image signaling capabilities on the edge.

More recently, the company announced its deep learning compute stick, a USB-3 dongle that can add machine learning capabilities to computers, Raspberry PIs and other computing devices. The stick can be used individually or in groups to add more power. This is ideal to power a number of AI applications that are independent of the cloud, such as smart security cameras, gesture controlled drones and industrial machine vision equipment.

Both Google and Microsoft have announced their own specialized AI processing units. However, for the moment, they dont plan to deploy them at the edge and are using them to power their cloud services. But as the market for edge AI grows and other players enter the space, you can expect them to make their hardware available to manufacturers.

Credit: Shutterstock

Currently, AI algorithms that perform tasks such as recognizing images require millions of labeled samples for training. A human child accomplishes the same with a fraction of the data. One of the possible paths for bringing machine learning and deep learning algorithms closer to the edge is to lower their data and computation requirements. And some companies are working to make it possible.

Last year Geometric Intelligence, an AI company that was renamed to Uber AI Labs after being acquired by the ride hailing company, introduced a machine learning software that is less data-hungry than the more prevalent AI algorithms. Though the company didnt reveal the details, performance charts show that XProp, as the algorithm is named, requires much less samples to perform image recognition tasks.

Gamalon, an AI startup backed by the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), uses a technique called Bayesian Program Synthesis, which employs probabilistic programming to reduce the amount of data required to train algorithms.

In contrast to deep learning, where you have to train the system by showing it numerous examples, BPS learns with few examples and continually updates its understanding with additional data. This is much closer to the way the human brain works.

BPS also requires extensively less computing power. Instead of arrays of expensive GPUs, Gamalon can train its models on the same processors contained in an iPad, which makes it more feasible for the edge.

Edge AI will not be a replacement for the cloud, but it will complement it and create possibilities that were inconceivable before. Though nothing short of general artificial intelligence will be able to rival the human brain, edge computing will enable AI applications to function in ways that are much closer to the way humans do.

This post is part of our contributor series. The views expressed are the author's own and not necessarily shared by TNW.

Read next: How to follow today's eclipse, even if you live outside the US

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How do you bring artificial intelligence from the cloud to the edge? - TNW

Astrophysicist to speak at museum – Hastings Tribune

An astrophysicist with ties to MIT, one of the largest telescopes in the world and Inland, Nebraska will be speaking in Hastings this weekend.

Astrophysicist Megan Donahue will share her insights at the Hastings Museum both Saturday and Sunday in anticipation of Mondays total solar eclipse.

I knew the eclipse was going over the farm I grew up on and I thought, Wouldnt it be cool to go back home to see the eclipse? Its going to be one of the better places to see the eclipse, Donahue said in a recent phone interview.

Donahue grew up on a farm near Inland and graduated from Hastings St. Cecilias High School in 1981. She earned a physics degree from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 1985 and earned her doctorate in astrophysics from the University of Colorado Boulder in 1990.

I had no clue about what it meant to be a physicist or a scientist, Donahue said going back to her youth. I was really interested in the topic of physics. I was really excited about science fiction and science.

Donahue grew up in the days of the Star Trek and the space program and while she didnt have any direct scientific role models as a child, she found them at MIT.

Donahue said she came to her specialty in astrophysics after realizing how much time and energy she would put into the study of that area.

It was the one thing that would capture my attention and I would lose track of time. That was a sign, she said.

Donahue spent some time as a Carnegie fellow in Pasadena, California, at the Carnegie Observatory. That was back when they were still operating the 200-inch Hale telescope, which at the time was one of the largest in the world.

That was a prestigious thing to have, especially back then, she said.

Donahue was there for three years before going to Baltimore where she worked for several years. Since 2003, she has served as a professor in the physics and astronomy department at Michigan State University.

While she no longer has family ties in this area, Donahue thought coming back to Nebraska for the eclipse would be a great opportunity.

She said there are certainly places out west that might have clearer skies that day but the time to drive from place to place in those mountainous areas might be more of a challenge.

I thought at least in Nebraska I would have free range to go east or west a couple hours if I needed to. I also I thought this would be a good place to stage out of, she said of Hastings. Im crossing my fingers it will be a great place to hang out and watch it.

While in the area, Donahue will be speaking three times at the Hastings Museum:

At 10 a.m. Saturday and 2 p.m. Sunday, Donahue will be speaking about the solar eclipse in Black Hole Sun: Views from the Dark Side of the Moon.

She will use NASA images and animations to give a basic overview of solar eclipses and their distinct stages.

I have some pretty good animation of why we have eclipses and how often we have them and where is there going to be the next one cause youre going to want to know, Donahue said. You see this one youre going to want to see another one. That is for sure.

At 2 p.m. Saturday, Donahue will also give the talk Galaxies Galore! which will delve deeper into her research and work at Michigan State including her work with the Hubble Space Telescope.

When it comes to the solar eclipse, Donahue has a bit of advice for all gazers.

During that two minutes of the full eclipse, Donahue said people will see colors that she can hardly name and that can only really be captured with the human eye. Thats why she said to leave the camera down.

Ive always been told for your first eclipse just look at it. Just watch it, she said. Let the pros take the pictures because you have to set the exposure time and getting the dynamic ring is tough but your eyes will immediately get it.

Link:

Astrophysicist to speak at museum - Hastings Tribune

An App To Help The Blind ‘See’ The Eclipse – Science Friday

Its a question solar astrophysicist Henry TraeWinter started thinking about several months ago after a blind colleague asked him to describe what an eclipse was like.

I was caught completely flat-footed, Winter said. I had no idea how to communicate what goes on during an eclipse to someone who has never seen before in their entire life.

Winter remembered a story a friend told him about how crickets can start to chirp in the middle of the day as the moon covers the sun during an eclipse. So, he told his colleague that story.

The reaction that she had was powerful, and I wanted to replicate that sense of awe and wonder to as many people as I could across the country, Winter said.

[Learn about some of the experiments that will be conducted during the Great American Eclipse.]

So Winter, who works at the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics in Cambridge, Massachusetts, decided to build an app to do just that: help blind people experience this summers eclipse.

[The blind] community has been traditionally left out of astronomy and astrophysics, Winter said, and I think that that is a glaring omission that its time to answer.

Eclipse Soundscapes, which launched for iPads and iPhones Thursday, features real-time narration of different aspects of the eclipse timed for the users location.

A rumble map allows users to hear and feel the phenomenawhen they touch photos of previous eclipses.

Dark areas in the photos, like the solid black face of the moon, are silent when you touch them. Wispy strands of sunlight radiating out from behind the moon emit lower hums. And touching brighter areas, like the shards of light that peek out from behind the moons valleys, produce higher frequencies.

The sounds are paired with vibrations, soft for darker areas and more intense for brighter spots.

We managed to create frequencies that resonate with the body of the phone, said the apps audio engineer Miles Gordon, so the phone is vibrating entirely using the speaker.

[Need a last minute plan for the eclipse? No problem.]

The goal of this app is not to give someone whos blind or visually impaired the exact same experience as a sighted person, Winter said. What I hope this is, is a prototype, a first step, something we can learn from to make the next set of tools.

Other tools exist to allow blind people to experience the eclipse, including tactile maps and books, but its still understood largely as visual phenomena.

Less well-known are the changes in temperature, weather patterns and wildlife behaviors that accompany total eclipses.

Chancey Fleet, the colleague who first asked Winter to describe an eclipse at a conference months ago, was skeptical when she learned about his idea for an app.

The first time I heard that blind people were being asked to pay attention to the eclipse, I kind of laughed to myself, and tried to contain my really dismissive reaction, said Fleet, whos an accessible technology educator at a library in New York. It almost sounds like a joke.

But after learning about the sounds associated with the eclipse, shes interested in trying out Winters app.

Im looking forward to experiencing it for myself, and not just hearing or reading about it, Fleet said. Nothing is ever just visual, really. And [this] just proves that point again.

The app development team has gotten help from Wanda Diaz Merced, an astrophysicist who is blind, to make sure the software is easy to navigate.

She believes the app will show people that theres more to an eclipse than spooky midday darkness.

People will discover, Oh, I can also hear this!Diaz Merced said. And, I can also touch it!'

She also sees the app as a tool to get more blind kids interested in science.

That is very, very, very important, she said.

The Eclipse Soundscapes team, which is backed by a grant from NASA, has recruited the National Park Service, Brigham Young University and citizen scientists to record audio of how both people and wildlife respond during the eclipse.

Phase two of the project is to build an accessible database for those recordings, so blind people can easily access them.

Thats the element of the project Diaz Merced is most excited about from a scientific standpoint.

[How to throw an eclipse party thats out of this world.]

After she lost her sight in her late 20s, she had to build her own computer program to convert telescope data to sound files so she could continue her research (heres her TED talk).

She hopes this project spurs more interest in making data accessible to researchers like her.

What I do hope is that databases in science will use [this] database model for us to be able to have meaningful access to the information, Diaz Merced said. And that perhaps through [the] database, we will not be segregated.

In that way, she hopes the impact of the eclipse will last much longer than a day.

Continued here:

An App To Help The Blind 'See' The Eclipse - Science Friday

3 solar eclipse experts to speak in Ketchum – Twin Falls Times-News

KETCHUM Three solar eclipse experts will speak in Ketchum days leading up to the big event. All presentations are free and open to the public.

Eclipse chaser Leona Rice and astronomer Carolyn Rankin-Mallory will speak at noon on Saturday in Town Square. Rice was elected to the California legislature for three terms and retired after 20 years as executive director of The Doctors Company Foundation. Rankin-Mallory was recently a member of the NASA team that discovered 17 previously unknown stars and divides her time between NASA research participation and college teaching.

Astronomer Jeff Silverman will speak at noon on Sunday in Town Square. Silverman is a data scientist, but was a National Science Foundation Astronomy and Astrophysics Postdoctoral Fellow at the University of Texas at Austin. He received his PhD. in astrophysics at the University of California at Berkeley, working on observations of exploding stars and dark energy. He is heavily involved in science communication and public outreach programs. Silverman will also speak on Monday at the viewing party hosted by the cities of Ketchum and Sun Valley at Festival Meadow.

The partial phase of the eclipse will begin at 10:12 a.m. on Monday, with full totality beginning at 11:29 a.m. and lasting for over a minute. Special viewing glasses are needed to provide adequate protection for those wishing to look directly at the sun during the eclipse.

Read more from the original source:

3 solar eclipse experts to speak in Ketchum - Twin Falls Times-News

Missions to probe exoplanets, galaxies, and cosmic inflation vie for $250 million NASA slot – Science Magazine

SPHEREx would map hundreds of millions of galaxies to look for signs of cosmic inflation, a rapid expansion just after the big bang.

NASA JPL

By Daniel CleryAug. 16, 2017 , 9:00 AM

From exoplanet atmospheres to the dynamics of galaxies to the stretch marks left by the big bang, the three finalists in a $250 million astrophysics mission competition would tackle questions spanning all of space and time. Announced last week by NASA, the three missionswhittled down from nine proposalswill receive $2 million each to develop a more detailed concept over the coming 9 months, before NASA selects one in 2019 to be the next mid-sized Explorer. A launch would come after 2022.

Explorer missions aim to answer pressing scientific questions more cheaply and quickly than NASAs multibillion-dollar flagships, such as the Hubble and James Webb (JWST) space telescopes, which can take decades to design and build. The missions are led by scientists, either from a NASA center or a university, and NASA has launched more than 90 of them since the 1950s. Some Explorers have had a big scientific impact, including the Wilkinson Microwave Anisotropy Probe, which last decade mapped irregularities in the cosmic microwave background (CMB), an echo of the universe as it was 380,000 years after the big bang; and Swift, which is helping unravel the mystery of gamma-ray bursts that come from the supernova collapse of massive stars.

One finalist, the Spectro-Photometer for the History of the Universe, Epoch of Reionization, and Ices Explorer (SPHEREx), will map galaxies across a large volume of the universe to find out what drove inflation, a pulse of impossibly fast expansion just after the big bang. The physics behind inflation is unclear, says Principal Investigator Jamie Bock of the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena, and it happened at energy scales too high for earthbound particle accelerators to investigate. The prevailing theory is that a short- lived quantum field, mediated by a hypothetical particle called an inflaton, pushed the universes rapid growth. But rival theories hold that multiple fields were involved. Those fields would have interfered with each other, leaving irregularities in the distribution of matter across the universe that would differ statistically from the distribution expected in conventional inflation.

By mapping hundreds of millions of galaxies across a huge volume of space, SPHEREx should be 10 times more sensitive to this cosmic lumpiness than the best maps of the CMBperhaps sensitive enough to distinguish between the two inflation scenarios. The all-sky infrared survey should also map out the history of light production by galaxies andcloser to homethe distribution of ices in embryonic planetary systems. SPHEREx is more powerful than the sum of its parts, Bock says.

The Arcus mission will also study distant galaxies but in x-rays, in search of what makes galaxies themselves tick. Powerful radiation from supermassive black holes at the center of most large galaxies creates winds that can blow gas out of the galaxies, halting star formation. But astronomers are unsure whether the gas falls back in to restart star formation because they cannot see it. This expelled matter has got to be out there somewhere, says Principal Investigator Randall Smith of the Harvard Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics in Cambridge, Massachusetts. He says Arcus will be able to see the winds by using more distant x-ray sources as backlights.

The project draws heavily from a past mission that never flew: the International X-ray Observatory. When NASA withdrew from that project in 2012, U.S. researchers continued to develop the optics required to focus x-rays, which simply pass through flat mirrors. Based on sophisticated metal honeycombs that focus the high-energy photons by deflecting them at shallow angles, Arcuss optics should turn as many as 40% of the incoming photons into a usable spectrumup from 5% in NASAs current flagship Chandra X-ray Observatory. That should give the mission the resolution to see the expelled gas and measure its movement and temperature.

The third contender, the Fast Infrared Exoplanet Spectroscopy Survey Explorer (FINESSE), aims to probe the origins and makeup of the atmospheres around exoplanets. The probe will gather light shining through a planets atmosphere as it passes in front of its star as well as light reflected off its dayside surface, just before it passes behind. This will reveal both the signatures of atmospheric ingredients such as water, methane, and carbon dioxide, and also how heat flows from the planets dayside to its nightside. With greater knowledge of the composition of exoplanet atmospheres and their dynamics, astronomers hope to figure out which formation theories can explain the diversity of planet types revealed over the past 2 decades.

The 6.5-meter JWST will be able to scrutinize exoplanet atmospheres in more detail, but its many other roles could limit it to studying fewer than 75 exoplanets. FINESSE will have the luxury of analyzing up to a thousand planets, albeit with a smaller 75-centimeter telescope. Is our solar systems formation scenario exceptional or typical? asks Principal Investigator Mark Swain of NASAs Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena. Some questions can only be answered by statistical samples. We need hundreds of planets.

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Missions to probe exoplanets, galaxies, and cosmic inflation vie for $250 million NASA slot - Science Magazine

Swinburne Uni picks Dell to build new supercomputer – iTnews

Melbourne's Swinburne University has chosen Dell EMC to build its next generation astrophysics research supercomputer, which will become Australia's third fastest when deployed later this year.

The $4 million 'OzSTAR'supercomputer will replacethe current SGI-built GPU supercomputer for theoretical astrophysics research (gSTAR) that has beenused by Swinburne's centre for astrophysics and supercomputingsince 2011.

It will also support the the Australian Research Council's new centre of excellence for gravitational wave discovery (OzGrav) - a partnership between six of Australia's leading astronomy universities and the CSIRO, funded to the tune of $31.3 million - that is being led by the university.

Swinburne began looking for a vendor to supply a large-scale CPU and GPU system last year that could expand on the 2000-core capacity of the current system, according toProfessor Jarrod Hurley, who led the design of the supercomputer.

The new supercomputer will be based on Dell EMC's PowerEdge platform, with a total of 115 PowerEdge R740's for compute - eight of which are data crunching nodes - and will run on Linux. Each node will have two Intel Xeon processors or 36 compute cores per modular building block, as well as two Nvidia P100 GPUs.

This will give researchers access to total processing power that will exceed the theoretical performance of over 1.275 petaflops - making it the third fastest supercomputer in Australia, after the National Computational Infrastructures Raijin supercomputer andCSIROs new Bracewell supercomputer, which is also built by Dell EMC.

"Effectively this will provide Swinburne University with the ability to crunch over a quadrillion calculations into a single second, and the processing power that will provide multiple generations worth of research into that single second that we would not be to do manually on paper or with desktop computers," Dell EMC HPC lead Andrew Underwoodsaid.

There is also five petabytes of usable parallel file system that will allows researchers to move files across the supercomputer at 60 gigabytes a second.

Dell also provides that infrastructure behind Swinburnes own internal research cloud.

The new supercomputer will be housed within Swinburne's existing data centre.It is expected to be installed over four weeks and go live before the end of September.

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Swinburne Uni picks Dell to build new supercomputer - iTnews

Astrophysics: it’s not rocket science… – Independent.ie

Astrophysics: it's not rocket science...

Independent.ie

The epigraph in Neil deGrasse Tyson's new book sets out exactly who he has written it to enlighten: "For all those who are too busy to read fat books/Yet nonetheless seek a conduit to the cosmos."

http://www.independent.ie/entertainment/books/astrophysics-its-not-rocket-science-36023946.html

http://www.independent.ie/entertainment/books/article36023945.ece/24282/AUTOCROP/h342/2017-08-13_ent_33597942_I1.JPG

The epigraph in Neil deGrasse Tyson's new book sets out exactly who he has written it to enlighten: "For all those who are too busy to read fat books/Yet nonetheless seek a conduit to the cosmos."

I have nothing against fat books, if there are corsets and romantic entanglements, but taking time out to understand how the universe works is far down on my list of priorities.

Not a problem, because friendly astrophysicist Dr deGrasse Tyson promises he can explain space, time and the essential universe to earthlings like me in Astrophysics for People in Hurry, and it won't take light years. He could have called it 'Astrophysics for people who are lazy and forgetful, but should really care more about this stuff', but that hasn't quite got the same ring.

And so, I begin my cosmic journey on a 30-minute Monday lunch break. Chapter One opens with the biblical 'in the beginning' and, despite having to read the first sentence several times, by the fourth line our acclaimed author has explained the Big Bang. This guy doesn't mess around.

He flies through the discoveries of German physicist Max Planck (regarded as the father of quantum mechanics), antimatter and bosons. But the best take-away from my first astrophysics speed-reading session is the memorable summary of Einstein's most famous equation, e=mc2. Yes, everyone has heard of it, but how many can explain it?

DeGrasse Tyson can, and he does so in a nutshell as "a two-way recipe for how much matter your energy is worth, and how much energy your matter is worth".

Over bus rides and coffee breaks, I learn about the "quirky beasts" that are quarks, protons, photons, electrons and antimatter (it exists!), and the part they play in the cosmic soup around us that came into being 14 billion years ago. There are revelations aplenty. Despite having read several articles and seen a dozen or so TV news reports about the Large Hadron Collider in Switzerland, it's only after reading Astrophysics for People in a Hurry that I have a clue what it does.

After two chapters, my brain is full of interplanetary wonder and we've still only covered what happened a few millionths of a second since the Big Bang.

DeGrasse Tyson undoes the yawn-inducing effect of school science classes. In the chapter entitled The Cosmos on The Table, he turns the periodic table from "a forgotten oddity, filled with mysterious cryptic boxes", into something weird, wonderful and well worth knowing, or , as he puts it "a zoo of one-of-a-kind animals conceived by Dr Seuss."

Over the coming days, enthused by deGrasse Tyson's wit and passion, I dip in and out of Astrophysics whenever I have a minute to spare. I become as obsessed with Einstein and Newton as deGrasse Tyson is.

And it's not all astrophysics -it is littered with gems like this poem Einstein wrote in honour of Newton.

"Look unto the stars to teach us

how the master's thoughts can reach us

Each one follows Newton's math Silently along its path."

Apparently, it sounds even nicer in German.

The joy of this book is not just the awesome, sometimes baffling, subject matter, but deGrasse Tyson's warmth and humanity. He tells jokes, admits to once owning a geeky 'Obey Gravity' T-shirt and writes with infectious enthusiasm.

One of my favourite passages comes at the end of a chapter in which he explains the universality of physical laws. Then he tells a little anecdote about ordering a hot chocolate with whipped cream. When his drink arrives, there's no sign of the cream. The surly waiter says the cream sank to the bottom. Impossible, says deGrasse Tyson, whipped cream has low density and therefore will float on milk (or water, coffee or any other liquid that humans drink).

He offers the waiter two explanations: either he forgot the cream, or the universal laws of physics don't apply in that restaurant. Unconvinced, the waiter brings a blob of cream, and of course it floats.

So it's worth learning about physics, even if you only want to use it to win an argument.

I finished the pocket-sized hardback (208 pages) in five days. I didn't agonise over bits that went over my head and I'd still fail an astrophysics exam - but I have a better understanding about what happened before and after the Big Bang, I know how a supernova is formed, that a light year is the distance light travels in one Earth year (nearly six trillion miles) and have taken a new interest in the periodic table (I even bought a poster of it for my wall). I can also proudly assert that I have some sketchy notion of what Einstein's theory of relativity is about.

It's given me a lot more to think about the next time I look up at the night sky.

Sunday Independent

Link:

Astrophysics: it's not rocket science... - Independent.ie

Snapshot: Dan Lyons of Hawthorn Hollow – Kenosha News

Dan Lyons is the observatory director and the Homestead Garden manager at Hawthorn Hollow Nature Sanctuary and Arboretum. Lyons was born and raised in Kenosha and worked part time at the sanctuary while in high school and part of his college years. After college, he returned and has been full-time staff member for the past four years.

Question: What is your educational background?

Answer: Bachelors in physics, Carthage College; masters in physics, New Mexico Institute of Mining & Technology (doing radio astrophysics); Ph.D. in physics and astronomy education research, University of Wyoming; postdoc in cognitive neuroscience at the University of Chicago (doing research on embodied cognition in physics learning).

Q: What types of responsibilities do you handle as the Observatory Director?

A: The Schoolyard Observatory was constructed October through December 2016. So far, Im working on getting the telescope, dome, and astro-imaging camera all synced with computer controls. The technology and instruments are challenging and fun to work with. This fall, Ill be hosting our first public observing nights.

Q: What types of responsibilities do you handle as the Homestead Garden manager?

A: This year was a chance to start from scratch on designing and building the new Homestead Garden. We had a small Market Garden at a different location in 2015 and learned a lot. We took our experience and really refined the design to include some unique attractions like the giant monarch butterfly shaped vegetable garden and the popcorn labyrinth. Its my job to make sure the new facility is equipped with everything we need for the new Growing Healthy grade school field trip starting this October. That means I work on everything from designing the garden beds, planting, and landscaping, to doing construction work on the building facilities like installing plumbing and electrical to make sure everything will be ready on time for the fall program.

Q: What has been your favorite initiative at the sanctuary?

A: At the moment, Im really excited about a partnership we have with a local farmer to grow organic popcorn. Hawthorn Hollow is a non-profit and every year we put a tremendous amount of effort into fund raising events. Im hoping to develop the farming partnership to help generate revenue to support the educational programs at the Homestead Gardens through organic heirloom popcorn sales. We have five acres planted off site with an anticipated yield of around 15 thousand pounds of popcorn. Weve never tried anything remotely near this large of a scale, and Im looking forward to the challenge of getting that much popcorn delivered to the public over the next year.

Q: How do you get the community involved with Hawthorn Hollow?

A: We have a support organization call the Friends of Hawthorn Hollow that puts out newsletter three times a year with news and events. Mostly, we use social media outlets like Facebook to keep people aware of events on a weekly basis.

Q: How did you get interested in this field of work?

A: I was born a curious person who, more than anything, needed to understand how everything works. Its a no-brainer that it led me down the road to physics and astronomy. Nature, as people generally think of it, isnt really separated from the rest of the universe. The Earth is really just a giant spaceship we all live on as we fly around the sun which is flying through space around the center of the Milky Way. I spend my time every day working to make the programs in the nature sanctuary successful so people can have a place to go and be with and a part of that nature.

Q: How do you engage with the outdoors when not at work?

A: I garden as much of my yard at home as possible. Growing your own food is so satisfying, and the fresh garden produce cant be beat. When Im not gardening, I still walk in the woods. I like to tour the forest and nature preserves of Southeastern Wisconsin and Northeastern Illinois with my girlfriend, Carley, and our big dog, Marlin.

See the article here:

Snapshot: Dan Lyons of Hawthorn Hollow - Kenosha News

Spin the ultimate space jam with beats from Trappist-1 – SYFY WIRE (blog)

No matter what kind of music you like to blast from your car with the windows down, youve never heard something this otherworldly.

The system of seven Earth-size exoplanets orbiting cool dwarf star TRAPPIST-1 has made waves in the media over and over with all the buzz about potential life forms hiding out in its habitable zone, but this is the first time its making sound waves. The aspiring DJs at SYSTEM Sounds (who are all scientists at the University of Toronto's Canadian Institute for Theoretical Astrophysics) have found a way to convert the planets resonant chainhow their gravitational pulls harmonize to maintain stability in their circular orbits around both their star and themselvesinto a digital symphony.

TRAPPIST-1s resonant chain is not only the longest in any known planetary system, but makes music mathematically. If the seventh and most distant planet completes two orbital periods, the sixth has already completed three, the fifth four, and so on.

Seven Earth-sized planets around a nearby star is enough to get anyone excited, especially when several of them have the potential to support liquid water, said SYSTEM Sounds co-creator Matt Russo, a postdoctoral researcher at the Canadian Institute for Theoretical Astrophysics. But what makes TRAPPIST-1 really remarkable is that all seven of its planets are locked in a resonant chain, where the lengths of the planets years form simple whole number ratios with each other. This is whats responsible for both the systems harmony and its rhythm.

Software created by the SYSTEM Sounds team, who want to try to convert as many things in space into music as possible, used data from NASAs K2 mission to translate the orbital periods of the planets into musical notes. They fast-forwarded the motion of the exoplanets until their orbital frequencies seemed to produce musical notes that were translated on a piano. Each note is played once per orbit, with a drumbeat every time two nearby planets come close (which is when the gravitational magic happens). Listen to the original below, which sounds like something theyd play in one of those New-Agey stores that always smell like incense smoke and have more crystals than Fraggle Rock.

Im strangely attracted to those places.

If you really want to be an unearthly DJ, the program on GitHub lets you adjust tempo and volume and switch notes on and off to customize your own sick space jam. Rock out.

(via Gizmodo)

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Spin the ultimate space jam with beats from Trappist-1 - SYFY WIRE (blog)

Reach for the moon: Ashland prepares for solar eclipse – The Independent

Karen Boatmen eagerly positioned her eclipse glasses onto her face, getting a small snippet of what it will be like on the big day Aug. 21.

I think all the kids should experience something like that, said the 8-year-olds mother, Joy Lydell, about the upcoming solar eclipse.

The two were at the Boyd County Public Library, where a viewing party will be hosted for the rare event. Aug. 21 will be the first time since 1979 a total solar eclipse has been visible from the contiguous United States.

During the eclipse, the moon will pass between the sun and Earth, blocking either all or part of the suns light depending on location. According to Dr. Thomas Pannuti, an Associate Professor of Space Science and Astrophysics at Morehead State University, the moon will block the sun for about two minutes and 40 seconds.

Overall, the eclipse can last for up to about three hours, from beginning to end.

Western Kentucky will witness a total solar eclipse since it falls in the path of totality. The path spans about 70 miles in width and will cross the United States from west to east. Ashland will experience a partial eclipse.

About 91 percent of the sun will be covered in Ashland, said Pannuti.

Pannuti explained what the sky would possibly look like during the eclipse, saying it will not be night-like, but there will be some darkness. Even though the suns rays will be partially blocked, looking at it can still cause damage to the eyes.

We definitely encourage people not to look directly at the sun, said Pannuti.

According to NASA, the only safe way to look directly at the uneclipsed or partially eclipsed sun is through special-purpose solar filters, like eclipse glasses, which do not include everyday sunglasses. For a list of reputable manufacturers and authorized dealers of solar filters and viewers go to eclipse.aas.org/resources/solar-filters.

The BCPL will also be giving out free eclipse glasses at all library locations from Monday until the day of the eclipse. Glasses will be limited to one per person.

The librarys eclipse viewing party will be from 1 to 2 p.m. outside the main branch in Central Park. Ben Nunley, BCPL public service manager, said eclipse glasses will also be handed out at the event along with information on the eclipse. The library has ordered 2,200 pairs of glasses in preparation.

Nunley said there will drinks and moon pies available. He added the library was also thinking about playing space-related tunes to go with the eclipse theme.

Morehead State University will also host an eclipse viewing event in front of the Space Science Center from 1 to 4 p.m. Astrophysics and space science students will be on-hand to assist in viewing the eclipse with solar telescopes and eclipse glasses.

The East Kentucky Science Center and Varia Planetarium will host an event on the campus of Big Sandy Community and Technical College to celebrate the eclipse as well.The center and Varia Planetarium will be open from noon to 5 p.m. free of charge.

The eclipse will be webcast on the planetarium dome and, weather permitting, there will be outdoor observations using special sunspotter instruments. Guests will receive free eclipse glasses.

While many will be flocking to prime viewing areas to observe the occurrence, some will be protesting it. Kentuckians for Coal will host a protest in Hopkinsville an area that will be in the path of totality in Western Kentucky in front of the Kentucky New Era newspaper on 1618 E. 9th St. from noon to 2 p.m.

The group is an ad-hoc coalition of miners, union officials, family members and coal users created to defend the Kentucky coal industry against encroachment from renewable energy industries and from economic development initiatives aimed at lessening Americas dependence on coal.

According to a release, Kentuckians for Coal stands against the eclipse and those who worship it. The coalition claims that the eclipses attraction of many visitors to Hopkinsville will further test the patience of both local residents and the extra law enforcement brought in to maintain order.

Communications director for the Kentucky tourism, Arts and Heritage cabinet Laura Brooks touched on the tourism impact of the eclipse, saying it will be big.

We certainly think its going to be an economic boom for the Commonwealth, especially in the western part, she said.

Brooks said of the six state parks that lie in the path of totality, all are fully booked on the Sunday night before the eclipse. She also anticipates there will be an international draw to Kentucky.

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Reach for the moon: Ashland prepares for solar eclipse - The Independent

YT Project Awarded NSF Grant to Expand to Multiple New Science Domains – HPCwire (blog)

URBANA, Ill., Aug. 11, 2017 Theyt Project, an open science environment created to address astrophysical questions through analysis and visualization, has been awarded a $1.6 million dollar grant from theNational Science Foundation(NSF) to continue developing their software project. This grant will enable yt to expand and begin to support other domains beyond astrophysics, including weather, geophysics and seismology, molecular dynamics and observational astronomy. It will also support the development of curricula forData Carpentry, to ease the onramp for scientists new to data from these domains.

The yt project, led by Matt Turk along with Nathan Goldbaum, Kacper Kowalik, and Meagan Lang at the National Center for Supercomputing Applications (NCSA) at theUniversity of IllinoisUrbana campus and in collaboration with Ben Holtzman atColumbia University in the City of New Yorkand Leigh Orf at theUniversity of Wisconsin-Madison, is an open source, community-driven project working to produce an integrated science environment for collaboratively asking and answering questions about simulations of astrophysical phenomena, leading to the application of analysis and visualizations to many different problems within the field. It is built in an ecosystem of packages from the scientific software community and is committed to open science principles and emphasizes a helpful community of users and developers. Many theoretical astrophysics researchers use yt as a key component of all stages of their computational workflow, from debugging to data exploration, to the preparation of results for publication.

yt has been used for projects within astrophysics as diverse as studying mass-accretion onto the first stars in the Universe, to studying the outflows from compact objects and supernovae, to the star formation history of galaxies. It has been used to analyze and visualize some of the largest simulations ever conducted, and visualizations generated by yt have been featured in planetarium shows such asSolar Superstormscreated by theAdvanced Visualization Labat NCSA.

Im delighted and honored by this grant, and we hope it will enable us to build, sustain and grow the thriving open science community around yt, and share the increase in productivity and discovery made possible by yt in astrophysics with researchers across the physical sciences, said Principal Investigator Matt Turk.

ThisNSF SI2-SSI awardis expected to last from October 2017 September 2022. A copy of the grant proposal may befound here.

Source: NCSA

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YT Project Awarded NSF Grant to Expand to Multiple New Science Domains - HPCwire (blog)


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