John Daniell

Quantum Computing Is Going Commercial With the Potential to Disrupt Everything

Newsweek, 4/9/2017

IBM recently announced the IBM Q, which would be the first ever commercially available quantum computer. This is important because, if they fulfill their promise, quantum computers could potentially solve certain problems that traditional computers are simply not equipped to handle, allowing rapid developments in fields like medicine, pharmaceuticals, and transportation.

Scanners Can Be Hijacked to Perpetrate Cyberattacks

Ben-Gurion University, 3/28/2017

Researchers from Ben-Gurion University demonstrated the ability to communicate with and potentially activate malware on a computer by directing pulsing lights to a typical office scanner that was left open on the same network. These exploits exemplify how seemingly secure devices could be a potential security threat to other networked machines.

Wi-fi on Rays of Light: 100 Times Faster, and Never Overloaded

Eindhoven University of Technology, 3/17/2017

Work by researchers at the Eindhoven University of Technology could lead to wi-fi that transports data via infrared rays. This approach would have huge data capacities compared to current standards. It would use fiber-optic antennas that keep track of every connected device’s exact position, and emitting rays with a wavelength that is totally safe for the human eye.

AncestryAI Algorithm Traces Your Family Tree Back More Than 300 Years

Aalto University, 3/16/2017

An Aalto University graduate student is developing a new family-tree algorithm called AncestryAI that uses Finnish parish registers to generate a probable family tree. Register data comes from HisKi, an open genealogical database supported by volunteer data entry. AncestryAI users can leave feedback on the accuracy of their tree, which is used to further train the algorithm.

Virtual Reality Training for “Safety-Critical” Jobs

University of Exeter, 3/6/2017

A virtual-reality training system currently in development by Exeter-based researchers and experts from the nuclear power industry could help prevent accidents in high-risk jobs. Employees using the system could gain experience with high-stress tasks in a safe environment, while employers could use the eye tracking and physiological sensor data to better understand how workers learn and how they react under pressure.

Scientists Reveal New Super-Fast Form of Computer That “Grows As It Computes”

University of Manchester, 3/1/2017

Researchers from the University of Manchester have demonstrated that it is possible to build a super-fast self-replicating computer. Because it is composed of DNA molecules rather than electrical circuitry, when presented with a choice, such a computer can replicate itself to simultaneously compute the solutions. Demonstrating that this (previously only theoretical) machine is physically possible opens up new possibilities in the future of scientific computing.

A Chip Flaw Strips Away Hacking Protections for Millions of Devices

Wired, 2/14/2017

Dutch researchers have discovered a method of hacking commonly used microprocessors. Operating systems randomly assign the locations in memory where programs run, but this hack detects where a program is running, making bugs easier to exploit. If hackers figure out how to use this method, it could expose millions of computers to attacks — as it is impossible to fully fix with software updates alone.

Twitter Data Could Improve Subway Operations During Big Events

University at Buffalo News Center, 1/26/2017

Research performed at the University at Buffalo has suggested that the swelling of subway usage during large events correlates closely with increases in Twitter activity. The Twitter data, which can be filtered by location and content, could potentially become a cost-effective aid to event planning and transit scheduling for crowded occasions.

For Driverless Cars, a Moral Dilemma: Who Lives or Dies?

Associated Press, 1/18/2017

Researchers at MIT are conducting a worldwide survey to determine how consumers think a self-driving car should handle morally complex situations. Their findings will tell designers how drivers will generally expect their self-driving vehicles to react, and what might need to be added so that potential buyers can better trust the new technology.

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