Monday, December 15, 2014

TECHNOLOGY: Skilled Foreign Workers a Boon to Pay, Study Finds

Want a pay raise? Ask your employer to hire more immigrant scientists.

That's the general conclusion of a study that examined wage data and immigration in 219 metropolitan areas from 1990 to 2010. Researchers found that cities seeing the biggest influx of foreign-born workers in science, technology, engineering and mathematics—the so-called STEM professions—saw wages climb fastest for the native-born, college-educated population.

Monday, December 8, 2014

Sunday, November 30, 2014

TECHNOLOGY: Stem pipeline problems to aid STEM diversity


Decades of effort to increase the number of minority students entering the metaphorical science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) pipeline, haven’t changed this fact: Traditionally underrepresented groups remain underrepresented. In a new paper in the journal BioScience, two Brown University biologists analyze the pipeline’s flawed flow and propose four research-based ideas to ensure that more students emerge from the far end with Ph.D.s and STEM careers.

Saturday, November 15, 2014

INNOVATION: Researchers target new form of RAM from rare materials

Researchers from Victoria University, in New Zealand, are studying the application of a class of materials called rare earth nitrides (RENs) to create a new type of non-volatile RAM memory.

Dr Ben Ruck, Professor Joe Trodahl and Dr Franck Natali from the School of Chemical and Physical Sciences, are studying potential commercial applications of RENs, thin films grown under ultra-high vacuum which are both magnetic and semiconducting.

Two concepts already patented include developing the first magnetic memory storage devices based on RENs, called "magnetic tunnel junctions".

The issue with current forms of RAM is that it does not retain information when the host computer is turned off, says Ruck.

Friday, October 31, 2014

TECHNOLOGY: Shortage of cybersecurity professionals poses risk to national security

The nationwide shortage of cybersecurity professionals – particularly for positions within the federal government – creates risks for national and homeland security, according to a new study from the RAND Corporation.

Demand for trained cybersecurity professionals who work to protect organizations from cybercrime is high nationwide, but the shortage is particularly severe in the federal government, which does not offer salaries as high as the private sector.

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

TECHNOLOGY: Scheduling algorithms based on game theory makes better use of computational resources

Rubing Duan and Xiaorong Li at the A*STAR Institute of High Performance Computing in Singapore and co-workers have now developed a scheme to address the scheduling problem in two large-scale applications: the ASTRO program from the field of cosmology, which simulates the movements and interactions of galaxy clusters, and the WIEK2k program from the field of theoretical chemistry, which calculates the electronic structure of solids1. The researchers' new scheme relies on three game-theory-based scheduling algorithms: one to minimize the execution time; one to reduce the economic cost; and one to limit the storage requirements.

The researchers performed calculations wherein they stopped the competition for resources when the iteration reached the upper limit of optimization. They compared their simulation results with those from related algorithms—namely, Minimum Execution Time, Minimum Completion Time, Opportunistic Load Balancing, Max-min, Min-min and Sufferage. The new approach showed improvements in terms of speed, cost, scheduling results and fairness. Furthermore, the researchers found that the execution time improved as the scale of the experiment increased. In one case, their approach delivered results within 0.3 seconds while other algorithms needed several hours. 

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

TECHNOLOGY: Four DARPA projects that could be bigger than the Internet

From DefenseOne:
Forty years ago, a group of researchers with military money set out to test the wacky idea of making computers talk to one another in a new way, using digital information packets that could be traded among multiple machines rather than telephonic, point-to-point circuit relays. The project, called ARPANET, went on to fundamentally change life on Earth under its more common name, the Internet.

Today, the agency that bankrolled the Internet is called the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, or DARPA, which boasts a rising budget of nearly $3 billion split across 250 programs. They all have national security implications but, like the Internet, much of what DARPA funds can be commercialized, spread and potentially change civilian life in big ways that its originators didn’t conceive.

What’s DARPA working on lately that that could be Internet big?