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Submission + - Living in the robotic age (

aarondubrow writes: For more than four decades, researchers—many of them funded by the federal government—have developed the tools required to help machines interpret their environment and humans’ instructions so they may operate safely and reliably alongside people. These research advances have brought us to an inflection point, enabling humans and robots to begin working collaboratively on a host of new problems and environments.

Submission + - Supercomputers help researchers improve severe hail storms forecasts

aarondubrow writes: Researchers working on the Severe Hail Analysis, Representation and Prediction (SHARP) project at University of Oklahoma used the Stampede supercomputer to gain a better understanding of the conditions that cause severe hail to form, and to produce hail forecasts with far greater accuracy than those currently used operationally. The model the team used is six times more resolved that the National Weather Service's highest-resolution official forecasts and applies machine learning algorithms to improve its predictions. The researchers will publish their results in an upcoming issue of the American Meteorological Society journal Weather and Forecasting.

Submission + - Fighting food poisoning in Las Vegas with machine learning

aarondubrow writes: Computer science researchers from the University of Rochester developed an app for health departments that uses natural language processing and artificial intelligence to identify likely food poisoning hot spots. Las Vegas health officials recently used the app, called nEmesis, to improve the city's inspection protocols and found it was 63% more effective at identifying problematic venues than the current state of the art. The researchers estimate that if every inspection in Las Vegas became adaptive, it could prevent over 9,000 cases of foodborne illness and 557 hospitalizations annually. The team presented the results at the 30th Association for the Advancement of Artificial Intelligence conference in February.

Submission + - NSF and federal partners award $37M to advance nation's co-robots

aarondubrow writes: Today, NSF, in partnership with DOD, NASA, NSF, NIH and USDA, announced $37 million in new awards to spur the development and use of co-robots, robots that work cooperatively with people. From unmanned vehicles that can inspect and fix ailing infrastructure to co-robots that can collaborate with workers on manufacturing tasks, scientists and engineers are developing the next generation of robots that can handle critical tasks in close proximity to humans, providing for unprecedented safety and resilience. This year, the initiative funded 66 new research proposals to 49 distinct institutions in 27 states.

Submission + - NSF awards $74.5 million to support interdisciplinary cybersecurity research (

aarondubrow writes: The National Science Foundation announced $74.5 million in grants for basic research in cybersecurity. Among the awards are projects to understand and offer reliability to cryptocurrencies; invent technologies to broadly scan large swaths of the Internet and automate the detection and patching of vulnerabilities; and establish the science of censorship resistance by developing accurate models of the capabilities of censors. According to NSF, long-term support for fundamental cybersecurity research has resulted in public key encryption, software security bug detection, spam filtering and more.

Submission + - Robots to the Rescue: 5 Lessons From 23 Emergency Robot Deployments (

aarondubrow writes: Robin Murphy, director of Center for Robot-Assisted Search and Rescue at Texas A&M University and one of the leading researchers in the field of disaster robotics, has used robots and UAVs for search-and-rescue missions and structural inspections during more than 20 disasters, from 9/11 to Katrina to Fukushima and the 2015 Texas floods. The Huffington Post carried a story where she describes five lessons she's learned from her robot deployments and research.

Submission + - Democratizing the Maker Movement (

aarondubrow writes: To its advocates and participants, the Maker Movement resonates with those characteristics that we believe makes America great: independence and ingenuity, creativity and resourcefulness. But as impressive as today's tools are, they're not accessible to many Americans simply because of their cost and high technological barrier to entry. An article in the Huffington Post describes efforts supported by the National Science Foundation and other federal agencies to create new tools, technologies and approaches to make the Maker movement more inclusive and democratic.

Submission + - NSF and Intel partner to secure the emerging Internet of Things (

aarondubrow writes: NSF and Intel announced two new grants totaling $6 million to teams led by Stanford and University of Pennsylvania professors that will address the security and privacy of cyber-physical systems. The new model of cooperation between government, industry and academia aims to increase the relevance and impact of long-range research by transitioning important discoveries into products and services more easily.

Submission + - Cyber-defense and forensic tool turns 20 (

aarondubrow writes: In 1995, Vern Paxson, then a computer science Ph.D. student at the University of California, Berkeley, began writing what would eventually become Bro, the open source cybersecurity software that defends innumerable networks today, including key government and business enterprises in the U.S. (The name, "Bro," is a reference to Big Brother, an Orwellian reminder that monitoring comes hand in hand with the potential for privacy violations.) On Tuesday, at its annual meeting of users and cybersecurity engineers, Bro celebrates its 20th Anniversary. The project represents one of the best examples of federal funding helping to transition innovative cybersecurity technology out of academia and into the world in support of networking security.

Submission + - 7 Cyberlearning Technologies Transforming Education

aarondubrow writes: The National Science Foundation funds basic cyberlearning research and since 2011 has awarded roughly 170 grants, totaling more than $120 million, to EdTech research projects around the country. However, NSF's approach to cyber-learning has been different from other public, private and philanthropic efforts. NSF funds compelling ideas, helps rigorously test them and then assists in transitioning the best ideas from research to practice. A story in the Huffington Post describes 7 examples of leading cyberlearning projects, from artificial intelligence to augmented reality, that are transforming education.

Submission + - Programming safety into self-driving cars (

aarondubrow writes: Automakers have presented a vision of the future where the driver can check his or her email, chat with friends or even sleep while shuttling between home and the office. However, to AI experts, it's not clear that this vision is a realistic one. In many areas, including driving, we'll go through a long period where humans act as co-pilots or supervisors before the technology reaches full autonomy (if it ever does). In such a scenario, the car would need to communicate with drivers to alert them when they need to take over control. In cases where the driver is non-responsive, the car must be able to autonomously make the decision to safely move to the side of the road and stop. Researchers from the University of Massachusetts Amherst have developed 'fault-tolerant planning' algorithms that allow semi-autonomous machines to devise and enact a "Plan B."

Submission + - NSF commits $16M to build cloud-based and data-intensive supercomputers 1

aarondubrow writes: As supercomputing becomes central to the work and progress of researchers in all fields, new kinds of computing resources and more inclusive modes of interaction are required. Today, the National Science Foundation (NSF) announced $16M in awards to support two new supercomputing acquisitions for the open science community. The systems — "Bridges" at the Pittsburgh Supercomputing Center (PSC) and "Jetstream," co-located at the Indiana University Pervasive Technology Institute (PTI) and The University of Texas at Austin's Texas Advanced Computing Center (TACC) — respond to the needs of the scientific computing community for more high-end, large-scale computing resources while helping to create a more inclusive computing environment for science and engineering.

Submission + - From cognition to control: Fundamental research advances cooperative robots

aarondubrow writes: From disaster recovery to caring for the elderly in the home, scientists and engineers are developing robots that can handle critical tasks in close proximity to humans, safely and with greater resilience than previous generations of intelligent machines. Today, the National Science Foundation (NSF), in partnership with the National Institutes of Health, U.S. Department of Agriculture and NASA announced $31.5 million in new awards to spur the development and use of co-robots--robots that work cooperatively with people.The awards mark the third round of funding made through the National Robotics Initiative (NRI), a multi-agency program launched in September 2012. The 52 new research awards, ranging from $300,000 to $1.8 million over one to four years, advance fundamental understanding of robotic sensing, motion, computer vision, machine learning and human-computer interaction.

Submission + - Designing tomorrow's air traffic control systems

aarondubrow writes: According to FAA estimates, increasing congestion in the air transportation system of the United States, if unaddressed, will cost the American economy $22 billion annually in lost economic activity by 2022. MIT researcher Hamsa Balakrishnan and her team are making air traffic control systems more efficient through a combination of better models and new embedded technologies. Testing their algorithms at Logan Airport in Boston, they showed that by holding aircraft back for 4.5 minutes, they could improve flow on the runways and save nearly 100 pounds of fuel for each aircraft.

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