The next-generation memory-maker Micron Technology was one of the many innovative companies demonstrating its wares on the Supercomputing Conference (SC12) show floor last November. Micron's General Manager of Hybrid Technology Scott Graham was on hand to discuss the latest developments in their Hybrid Memory Cube (HMC) technology, a multi-chip module (MCM) that aims to address one of the biggest challenges in high performance computing: scaling the memory wall.
Memory architectures haven't kept pace with the bandwidth requirements of multicore processors. As microprocessor speeds out-accelerated DRAM memory speeds, a bottleneck developed that is referred to as the memory wall. Stacked memory applications, however, enable higher memory bandwidth.
The Hybrid Memory Cube (HMC) is a new memory architecture that combines a high-speed logic layer with a stack of through-silicon-via (TSV) bonded memory die that enables impressive advantages over current technology. According to company figures, a single HMC offers a 15x performance increase and uses 70 percent less energy per bit when compared to DDR3 memory, and takes up 90 percent less space than today's RDIMMs. The Cube is also scalable per application, which is not possible with DDR3 and DDR4. System designers have the option of employing the HMC as near memory for best performance or in a scalable module form factor, as far memory, for optimum power efficiency.
150 Things the World's Smartest People Are Afraid Of Motherboard (blog) Geoffrey Miller, evolutionary psychologist. 2. ... Dan Sperber, social and cognitive scientist ... John Tooby, founder of the field of evolutionary psychology ...
Saturn's moon Titan has many of the components for life without liquid water. But the orange hydrocarbon haze that shrouds the planet's largest moon could be creating the molecules that make up DNA without the help of water – an ingredient widely thought to be necessary for the molecules formation according to a 2011 international study.
Paul Davies, a leading authority in astrobiology, director of BEYOND: Center for Fundamental Concepts in Science and co-director of the ASU Cosmology Initiative, says: "To the best of our knowledge, the original chemicals chosen by known life on Earth do not constitute a unique set; other choices could have been made, and maybe were made if life started elsewhere many times."
Researchers warn however that although Titan's atmosphere is creating these molecules, that doesn't mean that the molecules are combining to form life, But the finding could entice astrobiologists to consider a wider range of extrasolar planets as potential hosts for at least simple forms of organic life, the team of scientists from the US and France suggests.
A flexible paper computer developed at Queen's University in collaboration with Plastic Logic and INTEL Labs will revolutionize the way people work with tablets and computers. The PaperTab tablet looks and feels just like a sheet of paper. However, it is fully interactive with a flexible, high-resolution 10.7" plastic display developed by Plastic Logic, a flexible touchscreen, and powered by the second generation Intel® Core i5 processor. Instead of using several apps or windows on a single display, users have ten or more interactive displays or "papertabs": one per app in use.
Ryan Brotman, research scientist at Intel elaborates "We are actively exploring disruptive user experiences. the 'PaperTab' project, developed by the Human Media Lab at Queen's University and Plastic Logic, demonstrates innovative interactions powered by Intel core processors that could potentially delight tablet users in the future."
"Using several PaperTabs makes it much easier to work with multiple documents," says Roel Vertegaal, director of Queen's University's Human Media Lab. "Within five to ten years, most computers, from ultra-notebooks to tablets, will look and feel just like these sheets of printed color paper."
"Plastic Logic's flexible plastic displays are completely transformational in terms of product interaction. they allow a natural human interaction with electronic paper, being lighter, thinner and more robust compared with today's standard glass-based displays. this is just one example of the innovative revolutionary design approaches enabled by flexible displays." explains Indro Mukerjee, CEO of Plastic Logic.
A memory might seem like a permanent, precious essence carved deep into the circuits of the brain. But it is not. Instead, scientists are discovering that a memory changes every time you think about it.
"Every time you recall a memory, it becomes sensitive to disruption. Often that is used to incorporate new information into it." That's the blunt assessment from one of the world's leading experts on memory, Dr. Eric Kandel from Columbia University.
And that means our memories are not abstract snapshots stored forever in a bulging file in our mind, but rather, they're a collection of brain cells — neurons that undergo chemical changes every time they're engaged.
So when we think about something from the past, the memory is called up like a computer file, reviewed and revised in subtle ways, and then sent back to the brain's archives, now modified slightly, updated, and changed.
How big is a proton? Unlike an electron or neutrino, which are fundamental particles that behave like points, a proton is a messy collection of quarks, gluons, and virtual particles that occupies what should be a measurable amount of space. And just how much space can be rather significant; as the authors of a new paper on the proton's size put it, "The proton structure is important because an electron in an S [ground] state has a nonzero probability to be inside the proton."
Within experimental error, various measurements of the proton's size have all put it about 0.88 femtometers (an fm is 10-15 meters). But a team of researchers, working at a particle accelerator in Switzerland, has found a different way of measuring the proton's size: put a muon—a heavy, unstable, relative of the electron—in orbit around a proton. The resulting atom, called muonic hydrogen, can be measured during the brief time it exists before the muon decays. Those measurements have produced a new, very high-precision value for the proton's radius. Just one small problem: it differs from the other measurements by nearly seven standard deviations.
This image is a 1 billion pixel RVB mosaic of the galactic center region (340 millions pixels in each R,V and B color). It shows the region spanning from Sagittarius (with the Milky Way center and M8/M20 area on the left) to Scorpius (with colorful Antares and Rho Ophiuchus region on the right) and cat paw nebula (red nebula at the bottom). This mosaic was assembled from 52 different sky fields made from 1200 individual images and 200 hours total exposure time, final image size is 24000x14000 pixels. The images were taken with a SBIG STL camera + Takahashi FSQ106Ed f/3.6 telescope and NJP160 mount from the clear skies of ESO Paranal Observatory in Chile. This mosaic is one of the three parts of the ESO Gigagalaxy Zoom project together with this incredible whole sky mosaic image by ESO/S.Brunier and this fantastic ESO mosaic image of the Lagoon nebula region.
In an exclusive with Singularity Hub, Ray Kurzweil gave one of his first interviews since the December announcement that he joined Google full time as Director of Engineering. Speaking with Singularity Hub Founder Keith Kleiner, Ray discusses his...
For decades the origin and evolution of life was restricted to the fossil record that recorded hard-shelled life. We now know, through determination of absolute ages by radioactive decay, that this record only record the last 500 m.y. or so of life. Prior to that, life existed as soft-bodied organisms, or even earlier, as single cell bacteria (prokaryotes) or single-celled organisms with nuclei (eukaryotes). The oldest microfossils, composed of single-celled organisms that probably were similar to cyanobacteria, are 3.5 b.y. old, and are found in Western Australia (not the same locality where the very old zircon mineral grains were found). More convincing evidence for life in the Archean comes from fossil layered microbial communities called stromatolites. Although the 3.5 b.y. old microfossils are still debated, people pretty much agree that the fossil record for life is undisputable by about 3.0 b.y., and stromatolites are part of this evidence. Fossil bacteria are universally accepted for the Proterozoic, where the images (and chemical compositions) are much more clear than the fuzzy images for the 3.5 b.y. old microfossils.
The Proterozoic microfossils are much more similar to the modern cyanobacteria. The occurrence of cyanobacteria early in earth's history is critical, since their metabolic "waste product" is oxygen, and it was essential to produce high levels of oxygen in the earth's atmosphere before more complex life (which requires different means of metabolism and energy storage) could evolve. In the latest part of the Proterozoic (~ 600 m.y. ago), multi-cellular, complex life is recorded in the fossil record.
The figure shown above casts the origin and evolution of life into a 24 hour clock.
NASA Kepler released last month 18,406 planet-like detection events from its last three year mission to search for exoplanets (Kepler Q1-Q12 TCE). Further analysis is required by the NASA Kepler Team and the scientific community to extract and identify true planets, including those potentially habitable. The Planetary Habitability Laboratory @ UPR Arecibo (PHL) performed a preliminary analysis and identified 262 candidates for potentially habitable worlds in this dataset. These candidates become top priority for further analysis, additional observations, and confirmation. The Kepler Threshold Crossing Event (TCE) dataset consists of a list of stars with 18,406 transit-like features that resemble the signatures of transiting planets to a sufficient degree that they are passed on for further analysis. Many of these objects are false positives caused by stellar transits or other physical and instrumental conditions not related to planets. Those that pass additional tests are added to the Kepler Objects of Interest (KOI) list, currently at 2,320 candidates, for further validation. Finally, those verified by more astronomical observations supplement the 132 Kepler confirmed planets so far. Only the best TCE objects, those with more than three transit events, were selected for the analysis in accordance with the PHL’s Habitable Exoplanet Catalog (HEC) criteria. This reduced the sample to 15,847 objects eliminating a known instrumental bias for one-year period planets. Unfortunately, this also eliminated many interesting objects but more analysis will be required to sort out longer period planets. HEC identified and sorted with the Earth Similarity Index (ESI), a measure of Earth-likeness, 262 potentially habitable planet candidates. These include four subterrans (Mars-size), 23 terrans (Earth-size), and 235 superterrans (super Earth-size). The preliminary analysis performed by the PHL helps to sort out and rank the best candidates for further exploration in NASA Kepler’s TCE. Twenty-four of these have an ESI over 0.90 and therefore are quite Earth-like according to what is measurable. For example, the best candidate is an Earth-size planet in a 231 days orbit around the star KIC-6210395, which receives about 70% of the light that Earth receives from the Sun. More are expected with a similar period to Earth but they will be added later to HEC after further analysis. It will still be remarkable if only 50% of these turn out to be real planets. It is estimated that there are millions of Earth-like planets in our Galaxy. However, most of these are out of our observational abilities for the coming decades, and probably many centuries. Only a small fraction of these planets, the ones that transit their star, are good enough for better characterization and to confirm their potential for life. This result suggests that there are over 8,500 transiting very Earth-like planets within reach of NASA Kepler-like missions, assuming the Kepler field is representative of all the sky. This sample is enough to occupy astronomers for many years.
Via Dr. Stefan Gruenwald
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