by Christine Blackman

Stanford researchers have developed a method of stacking and crystalline semiconductor layers that sets the potential for three-dimensional microchips.

The scientists added tiny growing crystals called nanowires to a sheet of silicon, and then topped it off with a layer of non-crystalline (amorphous) germanium. With heat, the nanowires, which have the same internal structure as that of the silicon, transformed the amorphous germanium layer into a perfect crystal. Integrating germanium onto silicon is a difficult process that is important for fabricating future, three-dimensional integrated circuits, on microchips.

Computer scientists demonstrated that criminals could hack an electronic voting machine and steal votes using a malicious programming approach that had not been invented when the voting machine was designed. The team of scientists from University of California, San Diego, the University of Michigan, and Princeton University employed “return-oriented programming” to force a Sequoia AVC Advantage electronic voting machine to turn against itself and steal votes.

 “Voting machines must remain secure throughout their entire service lifetime, and this study demonstrates how a relatively new programming technique can be used to take control of a voting machine that was designed to resist takeover, but that did not anticipate this new kind of malicious programming,” said Hovav Shacham, a professor of computer science at UC San Diego’s Jacobs School of Engineering and an author on the new study presented on August 10, 2009 at the 2009 Electronic Voting Technology Workshop / Workshop on Trustworthy Elections (EVT/WOTE 2009), the premier academic forum for voting security research.

by Abby Vogel

Video gaming computers and video game consoles available today typically contain a graphics processing unit (GPU), which is very efficient at manipulating and displaying computer graphics. However, the unit’s highly parallel structure also makes it more efficient than a general-purpose central processing unit for a range of complex calculations important to defense applications.

Researchers in the Georgia Tech Research Institute (GTRI) and the Georgia Tech School of Electrical and Computer Engineering are developing programming tools to enable engineers in the defense industry to utilize the processing power of GPUs without having to learn the complicated programming language required to use them directly.

US researchers have created 'bacterial computers' with the potential to solve complicated mathematics problems. The findings of the research demonstrate that computing in living cells is feasible, opening the door to a number of applications. The second-generation bacterial computers illustrate the feasibility of extending the approach to other computationally challenging math problems.

A research team made up of four faculty members and 15 undergraduate students from the biology and mathematics departments at Missouri Western State University in Missouri and Davidson College in North Carolina, USA engineered the DNA of Escherichia coli bacteria, creating bacterial computers capable of solving a classic mathematical problem known as the Hamiltonian Path Problem.

Dryad lets you intuitively create beautiful trees for your virtual world or game. In Dryad, you create a tree by visually navigating to it through a design space: the space of all trees. This space has close to a hundred dimensions and Dryad lets you move around it as if it were a city map. To help you find your way, Dryads around the world communicate to share which trees were picked in the past. A collaborative mapping of the tree space emerges, which your Dryad uses to gently steer you towards high-quality finds. We call this collaborative design space exploration.

Source: Stanford

The Howard Hughes Medical Institute (HHMI) announced today that it is expanding collaborations with the Jane Coffin Childs Memorial Fund, the Helen Hay Whitney Foundation, the Damon Runyon Cancer Research Foundation, and the Life Sciences Research Foundation in order to increase support for outstanding postdoctoral researchers.

HHMI will now provide each organization with support for eight postdoctoral fellows a year – double the current number – and expand the reach of the program.

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