by Larry Hardesty

A ‘seemingly loopy’ technique that MIT researchers helped develop could dramatically improve the efficiency of communications networks

A radical new approach to the design of communications networks, called “network coding,” promises to make Internet file sharing faster, streaming video more reliable, and cell-phone reception better — among other improvements.

A new approach for managing bugs in computer software has been developed by a team led by Prof. George Candea at EPFL. The latest version of Dimmunix, available for free download, enables entire networks of computers to cooperate in order to collectively avoid the manifestations of bugs in software.

A new IT tool, developed by the Dependable Systems Lab at EPFL in Switzerland, called "Dimmunix," enables programs to avoid future recurrences of bugs without any assistance from users or programmers. The approach, termed "failure immunity," starts working the first time a bug occurs -- it saves a signature of the bug, then observes how the computer reacts, and records a trace. When the bug is about to manifest again, Dimmunix uses these traces to rec-ognize the bug and automatically alters the execution so the program continues to run smooth-ly. With Dimmunix, your Web browser learns how to avoid freezing a second time when bugs associated with, for example, plug-ins occur. Going a step further, the latest version uses cloud computing technology to take advantage of networks and thereby inoculating entire communities of computers.

Metin GurcanScientists have automated the measurement of a vital part of the knee in images with a computer program that performs much faster and just as reliably as humans who interpret the same images.

Having more precise information about wear and tear on this portion of the knee – a blend of fibrous tissue and cartilage called the meniscus – could lead to its use as a biomarker in predicting who is at risk for developing osteoarthritis, researchers say.

by Larry Hardesty

New research could enable computer programming based on screen shots, not just code

Until the 1980s, using a computer program meant memorizing a lot of commands and typing them in a line at a time, only to get lines of text back. The graphical user interface, or GUI, changed that. By representing programs, program functions, and data as two-dimensional images — like icons, buttons and windows — the GUI made intuitive and spatial what had been memory intensive and laborious.

A new Media Lab system turns LCD displays into giant cameras that provide gestural control of objects on-screen. And that’s just for starters.

by Larry Hardesty

The iPhone’s familiar touch screen display uses capacitive sensing, where the proximity of a finger disrupts the electrical connection between sensors in the screen. A competing approach, which uses embedded optical sensors to track the movement of the user’s fingers, is just now coming to market. But researchers at MIT’s Media Lab have already figured out how to use such sensors to turn displays into giant lensless cameras. On Dec. 19 at Siggraph Asia — a recent spinoff of Siggraph, the premier graphics research conference — the MIT team is presenting the first application of its work, a display that lets users manipulate on-screen images using hand gestures.

by Abby Vogel

Technological advances in high-throughput DNA sequencing have opened up the possibility of determining how living things are related by analyzing the ways in which their genes have been rearranged on chromosomes. However, inferring such evolutionary relationships from rearrangement events is computationally intensive on even the most advanced computing systems available today.

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This news service is provided by Good Samaritan Institute, located in Santa Rosa Beach, Florida.

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