Massive supercomputer simulation models universe from near birth until today

Kurzweil AI - Tue, 03/11/2015 - 4:35am

Galaxies have halos surrounding them, which may be composed of both dark and regular matter. This image shows a substructure within a halo in the Q Continuum simulation, with “subhalos” marked in different colors. (credit: Heitmann et al.)

The Q Continuum simulation, one of the largest cosmological simulations ever performed, has modeled the evolution of the universe from just 50 million years after the Big Bang to the present day.

DOE’s Argonne National Laborator led the simulation on the Titan supercomputer at DOE’s Oak Ridge National Laboratory.

Over the course of 13.8 billion years, the matter in the universe clumped together to form galaxies, stars, and planets. These kinds of simulations help scientists understand dark energy (a form of energy that affects the expansion rate of the universe) and the distribution of galaxies, composed of ordinary matter and mysterious dark matter.

This series run on the Titan supercomputer simulates the evolution of the universe. The images give an impression of the detail in the matter distribution in the simulation. At first, the matter is very uniform, but over time, gravity acts on the dark matter, which begins to clump more and more, and in the clumps, galaxies form. (credit: Heitmann et. al.)

Intensive sky surveys with powerful telescopes, like the Sloan Digital Sky Survey and the new, more detailed Dark Energy Survey, show scientists where galaxies and stars were when their light was first emitted. And surveys of the Cosmic Microwave Background (light remaining from when the universe was only 300,000 years old) show us how the universe began — “very uniform, with matter clumping together over time,” said Katrin Heitmann, an Argonne physicist who led the simulation.

The simulation fills in the temporal gap to show how the universe might have evolved in between: “Gravity acts on the dark matter, which begins to clump more and more, and in the clumps, galaxies form,” said Heitmann.

The Q Continuum simulation involved half a trillion particles — dividing the universe up into cubes with sides 100,000 kilometers long. This makes it one of the largest cosmology simulations at such high resolution. It ran using more than 90 percent of the supercomputer.

“This is a very rich simulation,” Heitmann said. “We can use this data to look at why galaxies clump this way, as well as the fundamental physics of structure formation itself.”

Analysis has already begun on the two and a half petabytes of data that were generated, and will continue for several years, she said. Scientists can pull information on such astrophysical phenomena as strong lensing, weak lensing shear, cluster lensing, and galaxy-galaxy lensing.

Abstract of The Q Continuum simulation: Harnessing the power of GPU accelerated supercomputers

Modeling large-scale sky survey observations is a key driver for the continuing development of high-resolution, large-volume, cosmological simulations. We report the first results from the “Q Continuum” cosmological N-body simulation run carried out on the GPU-accelerated supercomputer Titan. The simulation encompasses a volume of (1300 Mpc)3 and evolves more than half a trillion particles, leading to a particle mass resolution of  . At this mass resolution, the Q Continuum run is currently the largest cosmology simulation available. It enables the construction of detailed synthetic sky catalogs, encompassing different modeling methodologies, including semi-analytic modeling and sub-halo abundance matching in a large, cosmological volume. Here we describe the simulation and outputs in detail and present first results for a range of cosmological statistics, such as mass power spectra, halo mass functions, and halo mass-concentration relations for different epochs. We also provide details on challenges connected to running a simulation on almost 90% of Titan, one of the fastest supercomputers in the world, including our usage of Titan’s GPU accelerators.

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Enzyme potential target for fight against obesity and diabetes

Science Daily - Tue, 03/11/2015 - 3:26am
Removing an enzyme that controls bile acid and hormone levels significantly protects female mice from weight gain, according to a new study. The finding offers a new a therapeutic target in the fight against obesity.
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Bursts of high-intensity exercise could help diabetes patients manage low blood sugar levels

Science Daily - Tue, 03/11/2015 - 3:26am
People with type-1 diabetes could regain their ability to tell when blood sugar levels are low by regularly doing short bursts of high-intensity exercise, according to a preliminary study. The findings could lead to a non-drug based treatment for a potentially life-threatening condition.
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Single-agent phototherapy system diagnoses and kills cancer cells

Kurzweil AI - Tue, 03/11/2015 - 3:10am

A new single-agent phototherapy system combines silicon naphthalocyanine (which is toxic to cancer) and PEG-PCL (biodegradable carrier) for diagnosis and treatment of cancer (credit: Oregon State University)

Researchers at Oregon State University have announced a new single-agent phototherapy (light-based) approach to combating cancer, using a single chemical compound (SiNc-PNP), for both diagnosis and treatment.

The compound makes cancer cells glow when exposed to near-infrared light so a surgeon can identify the cancer. The compound includes a copolymer called PEG-PCL as the biodegradable carrier. The carrier causes the silicon naphthalocyanine to accumulate selectively in cancer cells and reach a maximum level in the cells after about one day. At that point, doctors would do surgery, and then use phototherapy treatment to kill the remaining cancer cells. The compounds are naturally and completely excreted from the body.

In tests completed with laboratory animals, tumors were completely eradicated without side effects, and did not return.

The findings were presented Thursday (Nov. 29) at the annual meeting of the American Association of Pharmaceutical Scientists in Orlando, Florida, and were also recently published in Chemistry of Materials, a publication of the American Chemical Society.

An alternative to surgery, radiation, and chemotherapy

The researchers believe that phototherapy may become a new and promising addition to the three primary ways that most cancer is treated today: surgery, radiation, and/or chemotherapy. Phototherapy may have special value with cancers that have formed resistance to chemotherapeutic drugs, or present other problems that can’t be managed with existing therapies, the researchers suggest.

Their research so far has studied ovarian cancers in laboratory animals, but the treatment may also be useful for other solid tumors, they suggest. There were no apparent side effects on animals tested.

“A single-agent based system is simple and very good at targeting only cancer tumors and should significantly improve outcomes,” said Oleh Taratula, an assistant professor in the Oregon State University/Oregon Health & Science University College of Pharmacy. “It’s small, nontoxic, and highly efficient.”

In continued research with the OSU College of Veterinary Medicine, the treatment will eventually move on to human clinical trials.

Abstract of Naphthalocyanine-Based Biodegradable Polymeric Nanoparticles for Image-Guided Combinatorial Phototherapy

Image-guided phototherapy is extensively considered as a promising therapy for cancer treatment. To enhance translational potential of this modality, we developed a single agent-based biocompatible nanoplatform that provides both real time near-infrared (NIR) fluorescence imaging and combinatorial phototherapy with dual photothermal and photodynamic therapeutic mechanisms. The developed theranostic nanoplatform consists of two building blocks: (1) silicon naphthalocyanine (SiNc) as a NIR fluorescence imaging and phototherapeutic agent and (2) a copolymer, poly(ethylene glycol)-block-poly(ε-caprolactone) (PEG–PCL) as the biodegradable SiNc carrier. Our simple, highly reproducible, and robust approach results in preparation of spherical, monodisperse SiNc-loaded PEG–PCL polymeric nanoparticles (SiNc-PNP) with a hydrodynamic size of 37.66 ± 0.26 nm (polydispersity index = 0.06) and surface charge of −2.76 ± 1.83 mV. The SiNc-loaded nanoparticles exhibit a strong NIR light absorption with an extinction coefficient of 2.8 × 105 M–1 cm–1 and efficiently convert the absorbed energy into fluorescence emission (ΦF = 11.8%), heat (ΔT ∼ 25 °C), and reactive oxygen species. Moreover, the SiNc-PNP are characterized by superior photostability under extensive photoirradiation and structure integrity during storage at room temperature over a period of 30 days. Following intravenous injection, the SiNc-PNP accumulated selectively in tumors and provided high lesion-to-normal tissue contrast for sensitive fluorescence detection. Finally, adriamycin-resistant tumors treated with a single intravenous dose of SiNc-PNP (1.5 mg/kg) combined with 10 min of a 785 nm light irradiation (1.3 W/cm2) were completely eradicated from the mice without cancer recurrence or side effects. The reported characteristics make the developed SiNc-PNP a promising platform for future clinical application.

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Why Gravity Is the Ultimate Space Telescope

Slashdot - Tue, 03/11/2015 - 3:00am
TheAlexKnapp writes: Ethan Siegel has written a nice overview of gravitational lensing, and how taking advantage of it has enabled to study parts of the universe that otherwise would've require the construction of massive telescopes. From his Forbes article: "Although the first gravitational lens wasn't discovered for some 40 years after it was first theorized, it's now the most prolific tool for weighing distant (foreground) galaxies, and discovering ultra-distant (background) galaxies. Although this isn't a technique we have precision control over — the Universe puts the lenses and the lensed objects where they are, and all we can do is watch — there's a spectacular amount of material that's out there."

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

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Amazon’s New Parental Leave Policy Is Good—And Good PR

Wired News - Tue, 03/11/2015 - 2:12am

The company has expanded its maternity leave and added leave for new dads. But, for it to work, Amazon will need more than just words.

The post Amazon’s New Parental Leave Policy Is Good—And Good PR appeared first on WIRED.

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How to build a full-scale quantum computer in silicon

Kurzweil AI - Tue, 03/11/2015 - 1:38am

Physical layout of the surface code* quantum computer. The system comprises three layers. The 2D donor qubit array resides in the middle layer. A mutually perpendicular (crisscross) pattern of control gates in the upper and lower planes form a regular 3D grid of cells. (credit: Charles D. Hill et al./Science Advances)

A new 3D silicon-chip architecture based on single-atom quantum bits has been designed by researchers at UNSW Australia (The University of New South Wales) and the University of Melbourne.

The use of silicon makes it compatible with existing atomic-scale fabrication techniques, providing a way to build a large-scale quantum computer.**

The scientists and engineers from the Australian Research Council Centre of Excellence for Quantum Computation and Communication Technology (CQC2T), headquartered at UNSW, previously demonstrated a fabrication strategy. But the hard part in scaling up to an operational quantum computer was the architecture: How to precisely control multiple qubits in parallel across an array of many thousands of qubits and constantly correct for quantum errors in calculations.

The CQC2T collaboration says they have now designed such a device. In a study published Friday (Oct. 30) in an open-access paper in Science Advances, the CQC2T team describes a new silicon architecture that uses atomic-scale qubits aligned to control lines (essentially very narrow wires) inside a 3D design.

UNSW | How to build a quantum computer in silicon

Error correction

Errors (caused by decoherence and other quantum noise) are endemic to quantum computing, so error correction protocols are essential in creating a practical system that can be scaled up to larger numbers of qubits.

“The great thing about this work, and architecture, is that it gives us an endpoint,” says UNSW Scientia Professor Michelle Simmons, study co-author and Director of the CQC2T. “We now know exactly what we need to do in the international race to get there.”

In the team’s conceptual design, they have moved from the conventional one-dimensional array (in a line) of qubits to a two-dimensional array (in a surface), which is far more tolerant of errors. This qubit layer is “sandwiched” between two layers of control wires arranged in a 3D grid.

By applying voltages to a subset of these wires, multiple qubits can be controlled in parallel, performing a series of operations using far fewer controls. They can also perform the 2D surface-code* error correction protocols, so any computational errors that creep into the calculation can be corrected faster than they occur.

The researchers believe their structure is scalable to millions of qubits, and that means they may be on the fast track to a full-scale quantum processor.

* “Surface code is a powerful quantum error correcting code that can be defined on a 2D square lattice of qubits with only nearest neighbor interactions.” — Austin G. Fowler et al. Surface code quantum error correction incorporating accurate error propagation. arXiv, 4/2010

** In classical computers, data is rendered as binary bits, which are always in one of two states: 0 or 1. However, a qubit can exist in both of these states at once, a condition known as a superposition. A qubit operation exploits this quantum weirdness by allowing many computations to be performed in parallel (a two-qubit system performs the operation on 4 values, a three-qubit system on 8, and so on). As a result, quantum computers will far exceed today’s most powerful supercomputers, and offer enormous advantages for a range of complex problems, such as rapidly scouring vast databases, modeling financial markets, optimizing huge metropolitan transport networks, and modeling complex biological molecules.

Abstract of A surface code quantum computer in silicon

The exceptionally long quantum coherence times of phosphorus donor nuclear spin qubits in silicon, coupled with the proven scalability of silicon-based nano-electronics, make them attractive candidates for large-scale quantum computing. However, the high threshold of topological quantum error correction can only be captured in a two-dimensional array of qubits operating synchronously and in parallel—posing formidable fabrication and control challenges. We present an architecture that addresses these problems through a novel shared-control paradigm that is particularly suited to the natural uniformity of the phosphorus donor nuclear spin qubit states and electronic confinement. The architecture comprises a two-dimensional lattice of donor qubits sandwiched between two vertically separated control layers forming a mutually perpendicular crisscross gate array. Shared-control lines facilitate loading/unloading of single electrons to specific donors, thereby activating multiple qubits in parallel across the array on which the required operations for surface code quantum error correction are carried out by global spin control. The complexities of independent qubit control, wave function engineering, and ad hoc quantum interconnects are explicitly avoided. With many of the basic elements of fabrication and control based on demonstrated techniques and with simulated quantum operation below the surface code error threshold, the architecture represents a new pathway for large-scale quantum information processing in silicon and potentially in other qubit systems where uniformity can be exploited.

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Signal, the Snowden-Approved Crypto App, Comes to Android

Wired News - Tue, 03/11/2015 - 1:06am

One privacy app to rule your calls, and in the darkness encrypt them.

The post Signal, the Snowden-Approved Crypto App, Comes to Android appeared first on WIRED.

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GE CTO On Moving 9,000 Apps To the Public Cloud

Slashdot - Tue, 03/11/2015 - 1:00am
StewBeans writes: The Wall Street Journal recently published a special report on the staggering growth of the hybrid cloud, citing research from multiple sources, including survey results from Gartner indicating that 75% of large enterprises planned to take advantage of the hybrid cloud by end of this year. The article said that, "CIOs are demanding a way to combine the best of the cloud with their own localized data centers. Few companies or organizations are willing or able to move all of their IT to the public cloud." GE is apparently one of those few companies, because the CTO of Cloud for GE recently wrote that they are moving the vast bulk of their 9,000 applications into the public cloud. In the article, he explains how they came to this counterintuitive decision, their strategy for moving so many apps to the cloud, and why he's more optimistic about the public cloud versus hybrid or private.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

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The International Space Station Turns 15

Slashdot - Tue, 03/11/2015 - 12:16am
An anonymous reader writes: Today marks the 15th birthday of the International Space Station (ISS). Since Nov. 2, 2000 the ISS has hosted more than 220 people from more than a dozen countries. Time reports: "The ISS was little more than three pressurized modules, some supplies and a couple of solar wings to help keep it powered on the day the first crew climbed aboard. Today, the station is a flying piece of cosmic infrastructure the size of a football field, containing 15 pressurized modules, which afford the astronauts as much habitable space as a six-bedroom home. It weighs 1 million pounds (454,000 kg), runs on 3.3 million lines of software code and required 115 launches just to carry all of its components up to orbit."

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

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Gateway Computer Co-Founder Mike Hammond Dead At 53

Slashdot - Mon, 02/11/2015 - 11:55pm
damn_registrars writes: Mike Hammond, one of the three men who co-founded Gateway Computer, died over the weekend at the age of 53. Gateway started in an Iowa farmhouse in 1985 and shipped PCs straight to customers in boxes with a spotted-cow design. After retiring from Gateway, Hammond started Dakota Muscle to restore and repair classic cars.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

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Early intervention in dyslexia can narrow achievement gap

Science Daily - Mon, 02/11/2015 - 11:42pm
Data demonstrate marked differences already present in first grade between typical and dyslexic readers.
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Global connections between El Nino events, drought

Science Daily - Mon, 02/11/2015 - 11:42pm
A team of researchers recently discovered that global climate change is causing general increases in both plant growth and potential drought risk. El Nino is a disruption of the ocean-atmosphere system in the tropical Pacific with important consequences for weather around the globe.
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Ice-age lesson: Large mammals need room to roam

Science Daily - Mon, 02/11/2015 - 11:42pm
A study of life and extinctions among woolly mammoths and other ice-age animals suggests that interconnected habitats can help Arctic mammal species survive environmental changes.
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Risk assessment, for the birds

Science Daily - Mon, 02/11/2015 - 11:42pm
Every year, backyard songbirds across the United States make an arduous journey to warmer winter climes. They migrate hundreds of miles, occasionally braving tough terrain and nasty weather. Sometimes, they have no place to stop and refuel along the way. A new study focused on the complex factors that determine when these little birds make their journeys.
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Trial reveals evidence of long-term benefits for people with chronic neck pain

Science Daily - Mon, 02/11/2015 - 11:42pm
Chronic neck pain is a difficult condition to treat, and previous research shows that single interventions generally do not provide long term benefits. Now a large scale investigation has found that the use of Alexander Technique or acupuncture can significantly relieve chronic neck pain.
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Somebody Just Claimed a $1 Million Bounty For Hacking the iPhone

Slashdot - Mon, 02/11/2015 - 11:33pm
citadrianne writes with news that security startup Zerodium has just paid a group of hackers $1 million for finding a remote jailbreak of an iPhone running iOS 9. Vice reports: "Over the weekend, somebody claimed the $1 million bounty set by the new startup Zerodium, according to its founder Chaouki Bekrar, a notorious merchant of unknown, or zero-day, vulnerabilities. The challenge consisted of finding a way to remotely jailbreak a new iPhone or iPad running the latest version of Apple's mobile operating system iOS (in this case iOS 9.1 and 9.2b), allowing the attacker to install any app he or she wants app with full privileges. The initial exploit, according to the terms of the challenge, had to come through Safari, Chrome, or a text or multimedia message. This essentially meant that a participant needed to find a series, or a chain, of unknown zero-day bugs."

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

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T-Mobile Will Put a Tiny LTE “Tower” in Your House

Wired News - Mon, 02/11/2015 - 11:32pm

T-Mobile’s CellSpot is effectively free, provided you pay a refundable $25 deposit and remember to return it at some point.

The post T-Mobile Will Put a Tiny LTE “Tower” in Your House appeared first on WIRED.

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San Francisco Is Ground Zero for an Airbnb Freakout

Wired News - Mon, 02/11/2015 - 11:27pm

Tomorrow San Franciscans vote on Proposition F—the so-called Airbnb initiative—the first time the “sharing economy” has faced such a big ballot test.

The post San Francisco Is Ground Zero for an Airbnb Freakout appeared first on WIRED.

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Sprint Signs First Direct Roaming Agreement With Cuba

Slashdot - Mon, 02/11/2015 - 10:50pm
An anonymous reader writes: Sprint is now the first U.S. wireless carrier to sign a direct roaming agreement with Cuba. Sprint already has a direct long-distance interconnection agreement with the Telecommunications Company of Cuba (ETECSA). "As the commercial relationship between the U.S. and Cuba continues to progress, it is expected that the number of travelers to Cuba will increase exponentially," said Sprint CEO Marcelo Claure. "We want to make sure any Sprint customer traveling to Cuba can use their phone the same way as they do in the United States."

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

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