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Jul 22, 2021

Making clean hydrogen is hard, but researchers just solved a major hurdle

Posted by in categories: chemistry, information science, solar power, sustainability

For decades, researchers around the world have searched for ways to use solar power to generate the key reaction for producing hydrogen as a clean energy source—splitting water molecules to form hydrogen and oxygen. However, such efforts have mostly failed because doing it well was too costly, and trying to do it at a low cost led to poor performance.

Now, researchers from The University of Texas at Austin have found a low-cost way to solve one half of the equation, using sunlight to efficiently split off oxygen molecules from water. The finding, published recently in Nature Communications, represents a step forward toward greater adoption of hydrogen as a key part of our energy infrastructure.

As early as the 1970s, researchers were investigating the possibility of using solar energy to generate hydrogen. But the inability to find materials with the combination of properties needed for a device that can perform the key chemical reactions efficiently has kept it from becoming a mainstream method.

Jul 20, 2021

New Protein Folding AI Just Made a ‘Once In a Generation’ Advance in Biology

Posted by in categories: biological, information science, mapping, particle physics, robotics/AI

The tool next examines how one protein’s amino acids interact with another within the same protein, for example, by examining the distance between two distant building blocks. It’s like looking at your hands and feet fully stretched out, versus in a backbend measuring the distance between those extremities as you “fold” into a yoga pose.

Finally, the third track looks at 3D coordinates of each atom that makes up a protein building block—kind of like mapping the studs on a Lego block—to compile the final 3D structure. The network then bounces back and forth between these tracks, so that one output can update another track.

The end results came close to those of DeepMind’s tool, AlphaFold2, which matched the gold standard of structures obtained from experiments. Although RoseTTAFold wasn’t as accurate as AlphaFold2, it seemingly required much less time and energy. For a simple protein, the algorithm was able to solve the structure using a gaming computer in about 10 minutes.

Continue reading “New Protein Folding AI Just Made a ‘Once In a Generation’ Advance in Biology” »

Jul 20, 2021

Exploring Massless Energy Battery Breakthrough

Posted by in categories: energy, information science, sustainability, transportation

Get Surfshark VPN at https://surfshark.deals/undecided and enter promo code UNDECIDED for 83% off and 3 extra months for free! What if we could take a battery pack’s weight out of the equation? Imagine a car that has no battery pack because the car’s structural battery is the pack? Let’s explore massless energy storage and how a recent breakthrough could be a dramatic shift in how we can store energy in phones, planes, cars… you name it. Watch Exploring When Solid State Batteries Will Arrive: https://youtu.be/3PyXQ0UXk9w?list=PLnTSM-ORSgi7UWp64ZlOKUPNXePMTdU4dSimulation from FLOW-3D®, developed by Flow Science, Inc. (www.flow3d.com).Video script and citations:
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Jul 16, 2021

We Now Have Precise Math to Describe How Black Holes Reflect The Universe

Posted by in categories: cosmology, information science, mathematics, physics

A new set of equations can precisely describe the reflections of the Universe that appear in the warped light around a black hole.

The proximity of each reflection is dependent on the angle of observation with respect to the black hole, and the rate of the black hole’s spin, according to a mathematical solution worked out by physics student Albert Sneppen of the Niels Bohr Institute in Denmark.

This is really cool, absolutely, but it’s not just really cool. It also potentially gives us a new tool for probing the gravitational environment around these extreme objects.

Continue reading “We Now Have Precise Math to Describe How Black Holes Reflect The Universe” »

Jul 13, 2021

Self-supervised machine learning adds depth, breadth and speed to sky surveys

Posted by in categories: information science, robotics/AI, space

Sky surveys are invaluable for exploring the universe, allowing celestial objects to be catalogued and analyzed without the need for lengthy observations. But in providing a general map or image of a region of the sky, they are also one of the largest data generators in science, currently imaging tens of millions to billions of galaxies over the lifetime of an individual survey. In the near future, for example, the Vera C. Rubin Observatory in Chile will produce 20 TB of data per night, generate about 10 million alerts daily, and end with a final data set of 60 PB in size.

As a result, sky surveys have become increasingly labor-intensive when it comes to sifting through the gathered datasets to find the most relevant information or new discovery. In recent years machine learning has added a welcome twist to the process, primarily in the form of supervised and unsupervised algorithms used to train the computer models that mine the data. But these approaches present their own challenges; for example, supervised learning requires image labels that must be manually assigned, a task that is not only time-consuming but restrictive in scope; at present, only about 1% of all known galaxies have been assigned such labels.

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Jul 12, 2021

Startup hopes the world is ready to buy quantum processors

Posted by in categories: computing, information science, quantum physics

Early in its history, computing was dominated by time-sharing systems. These systems were powerful machines (for their time, at least) that multiple users connected to in order to perform computing tasks. To an extent, quantum computing has repeated this history, with companies like Honeywell, IBM, and Rigetti making their machines available to users via cloud services. Companies pay based on the amount of time they spend executing algorithms on the hardware.

For the most part, time-sharing works out well, saving companies the expenses involved in maintaining the machine and its associated hardware, which often includes a system that chills the processor down to nearly absolute zero. But there are several customers—companies developing support hardware, academic researchers, etc.—for whom access to the actual hardware could be essential.

The fact that companies aren’t shipping out processors suggests that the market isn’t big enough to make production worthwhile. But a startup from the Netherlands is betting that the size of the market is about to change. On Monday, a company called QuantWare announced that it will start selling quantum processors based on transmons, superconducting loops of wire that form the basis of similar machines used by Google, IBM, and Rigetti.

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Jul 12, 2021

A Massless Particle Which Could Revolutionize Electronics

Posted by in categories: computing, information science, particle physics, quantum physics

In 2015, after 85 years of searching, researchers confirmed the existence of a massless particle called the Weyl fermion. With the unique ability to behave as both matter and anti-matter inside a crystal, this quasiparticle is like an electron with no mass. The story begun in 1928 when Dirac proposed an equation for the foundational unification of quantum mechanics and special relativity in describing the nature of the electron. This new equation suggested three distinct forms of relativistic particles: the Dirac, the Majorana, and the Weyl fermions. And recently, an analog of Weyl fermions has been discovered in certain electronic materials exhibiting a strong spin orbit coupling and topological behavior. Just as Dirac fermions emerge as signatures of topological insulators, in certain types of semimetals, electrons can behave like Weyl fermions.

These Weyl fermions are what can be called quasiparticles, which means they can only exist in a solid such as a crystal, and not as standalone particles. However, as complex as quasiparticles sound, their behavior is actually much simpler than that of fundamental particles, because their properties allow them to shrug off the same forces that knock their counterparts around. This discovery of Weyl fermions is huge, not just because there is finally a proof that these elusive particles exist, but because it paves the way for far more efficient electronics, and new types of quantum computing. Weyl fermions could be used to solve the traffic jams with electrons in electronics. In fact, Weyl electrons can carry charges at least 1000 times faster than electrons in ordinary semiconductors, and twice as fast as inside graphene. This could lead to a whole new type of electronics called ‘Weyltronics’.

Jul 12, 2021

Classical approach extends the range of noisy quantum computers

Posted by in categories: computing, information science, mathematics, quantum physics

Quantum computing algorithms can simulate infinitely-large quantum systems thanks to mathematical tools known as tensor networks.

Jul 9, 2021

Need to Fit Billions of Transistors on a Chip? Let AI Do It

Posted by in categories: information science, robotics/AI

Google, Nvidia, and others are training algorithms in the dark arts of designing semiconductors—some of which will be used to run artificial intelligence programs.

Jul 9, 2021

DARPA FENCE seeks to develop smart camera tech that mimics human brain

Posted by in categories: information science, military, robotics/AI

The US Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) has selected three teams of researchers led by Raytheon, BAE Systems, and Northrop Grumman to develop event-based infrared (IR) camera technologies under the Fast Event-based Neuromorphic Camera and Electronics (FENCE) program. It is designed to make computer vision cameras more efficient by mimicking how the human brain processes information. DARPA’s FENCE program aims to develop a new class of low-latency, low-power, event-based infrared focal plane array (FPA) and digital signal processing (DSP) and machine learning (ML) algorithms. The development of these neuromorphic camera technologies will enable intelligent sensors that can handle more dynamic scenes and aid future military applications.


New intelligent event-based — or neuromorphic — cameras can handle more dynamic scenes.

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