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Stephen Hawking Kicks Off $100M Hunt for Alien Intelligence

Space fever seems to be catching on. Stephen Hawking and a group of other high-profile space scientists joined with Russian billionaire Yuri Milner this week to announce a new $100 million effort to search for intelligent alien life. The funding will go to the Breakthrough Initiatives' Breakthrough Listen program. Breakthrough Initiatives is a 10-year multidisciplinary effort. [More...]


The current computing model is unsustainable

According to Bruno Teboul, a governance member for data science at the Ecole Polytechnique, current computers will soon give way to devices capable of thinking that is as advanced as that of the human brain.


The third age of machines is near. Quantum and cognitive computers will perform Big Data processing in the cloud. This age follows that of data science, a multidisciplinary science for collecting, processing and enhancing Big Data. 

Data science is like petrochemicals for the digital world, refining crude Big Data into useful, predictive information. Thanks to this, we know in advance the product a customer will choose. To achieve such a feat, data science uses algorithms, and quite extraordinary machine learning can improve these algorithms over time.

The current computing model is unsustainable 

These algorithms need immense computing power, and giants such as Google, Amazon and Netflix have developed parallel computing systems. The problem is, current equipment is not ideal - a machine is sequential and does not know how to comprehend thousands of pieces of information at once.

We want some kind of super human brain, which has an average of 100 billion neurons with 10,000 connections each. We can wait as microprocessors improve - after all, Moore's Law states that they double their capacity regularly through miniaturisation. But we are still far from electronic transistors being as small as a few atoms.

The solution that researchers are considering is to base the treatment of information on a quantum state of small electronic components. According to physicists, in a quantum system a particle can be in two places at one time and an action on one particle can automatically alter another.

In the present state of research, quantum computers have a fault: any unfortunate interaction with their environment changes their super processing power into what is effectively a game of heads or tails. The idea would be to have only a few quantum computers, stored in special ways and designed to interact with all other conventional computers for combined optimisation. Such a computer was built by the startup D-Wave, and Google bought it to control its self-driving cars and other technology.

Connected objects with a brain

Other companies are also getting into the development of super-intelligent machines that are inspired not by quantum physics but by cognitive neuroscience. Their chips have a plasticity, that is to say they have the ability to adapt and understand.

These chips, inspired by the human brain, will equip all connected objects eventually to make them more intelligent in their interaction with data and users. This will be the stage of 'neuromorphic' machines.

These two revolutions, of quantum and cognitive computing, will begin with very bulky and expensive machines. We believe they will be available as a hosted or cloud service, to allow consumption of their computing capacity on demand, at much lower prices. This is the future.

Article translated from the French adfeature on Les Echos, Transformation Digitale, in partnership with Capgemini France and published originally here


This Week @ NASA, May 8, 2015

05/04/2015 12:16 PM EDT
NASA Administrator Charles Bolden will be at NASA's Langley Research Center in Hampton, Virginia, Friday, May 8 to participate in a ceremony recognizing Langley’s decades of contributions to improving helicopters and other vertical flight aircraft.


05/05/2015 04:25 PM EDT
What do you need to bring, and how do you minimize the need for delivery of future supplies in order to establish a sustained human presence on a planet 140 million miles away from Earth?


05/06/2015 08:58 AM EDT
NASA astronaut Kjell Lindgren, who is making final preparations for his launch this month to the International Space Station, is available for live satellite interviews from 8 to 9 a.m. EDT Tuesday, May 12.


05/06/2015 11:34 AM EDT

A loud whoosh, faint smoke trail and billowing parachutes marked a successful demonstration Wednesday by SpaceX of its Crew Dragon spacecraft abort system – an important step in NASA’s endeavor to rebuild America's ability to launch crews to the International Space Station from U.S. soil.

05/06/2015 09:58 AM EDT

NASA Chief Technologist David Miller will be in Pittsburgh on Wednesday, May 13, to participate in the Intel International Science and Engineering Fair (ISEF) 2015.


05/06/2015 10:10 AM EDT

Building on more than a decade of data from International Space Station (ISS) research, NASA is expanding its materials science research by flying an experiment on the U.S. Air Force X-37B space plane.


05/07/2015 08:47 AM EDT
Engineers are using carbon dioxide snow to clean James Webb Space Telescope's mirrors without scratching them.
Earth’s cloudy nature is unmistakable in this global cloud fraction map, based on data collected by the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) on NASA's Aqua satellite. This version of the map shows an average of all of the satellite’s cloud observations between July 2002 and April 2015.
05/08/2015 11:58 AM EDT
NASA's Langley Research Center in Hampton, Virginia, was recognized Friday for its decades of contributions to the advancement of helicopters and other vertical flight aircraft.


05/08/2015 01:06 PM EDT
NASA has selected 15 proposals for study under Phase I of the NASA Innovative Advanced Concepts (NIAC), a program that aims to turn science fiction into science fact through the development of pioneering technologies.


NASA Logo National Aeronautics and Space Administration

Lyndon B. Johnson Space Center
Houston, Texas 77058
JSC2010-E-038786 -- Mikhail Kornienko

Biographical Data

Kornienko, Mikhail Borisovich
Roscosmos Test-Cosmonaut
514th cosmonaut of the world
104th cosmonaut of the Russian Federation

BIRTHPLACE AND DATE:  Born 15 April, 1960, in Syzran, Kuibyshev region, Russia.

PERSONAL DATA:  Married to Irina Anatolievna Kornienko (Savostina); daughter Natalia.

EDUCATION:  Graduated from a secondary school in Chelyabinsk, Russia, in 1977; served in paratroops in 1978 – 1980; in 1981 to 1987 he studied at the Moscow Aviation Institute and graduated with an engineering degree (aircraft engine mechanical engineer).

EXPERIENCE: In 1980 Kornienko completed his military service and worked for the Moscow law enforcement agencies from 1980 to 1986. In 1986 started working for a mechanical engineering design bureau as a test engineer. In 1991-1995 he worked for commercial companies. In April 1995 Kornienko started working at the Energia Rocket/Space Corporation (RSC) as an engineer. He was responsible for technical documentation and software for testing and crew EVA training.

SPACEFLIGHT TRAINING: In February, 1998 Kornienko was selected as an Energia test cosmonaut candidate, and in 1999, following basic training at the Yu. Gagarin Cosmonaut Training Center, was qualified as a test cosmonaut.

From August 2001 to February 2003 Kornienko was assigned to the ISS 8 backup crew as an ISS flight engineer and Soyuz TM commander (for a launch on the Shuttle). Due to the Columbia tragedy the crew was reassigned. 
From March 2003 to August 2005 participated in RS ISS advanced training.  From September 2005 to January 2006 participated in ISS advanced training. 
From February 2006 trained as ISS 15 bu engineer and Soyuz TMA bu flight engineer. 
From March 2007 to August 2008 participated in RS ISS advanced training.
From August 2008 to April 2010 trained as an ISS 23/24 flight engineer and Soyuz TMA flight engineer.

SPACEFLIGHT EXPERIENCE:  From April 2, 2010 to September 25, 2010 completed his first spaceflight as a Soyuz TMA-18 and ISS-23 flight engineer with cosmonaut A. Skvortsov and astronaut T. Caldwell-Dyson (NASA).  Performed a spacewalk that lasted for 6 hours and 43 minutes.  Kornienko has logged 176 days 1 hour and 18 minutes in space.

AWARDS: Golden Star of the Hero of the Russian Federation (April 12, 2011), Gagarin medal, Honorary citizen of Syzran (2010). 


05/08/2015 01:45 PM EDT
Reporters are invited to a media day Monday, June 1, at the U.S. Navy's Pacific Missile Range Facility (PMRF) on Kauai, Hawaii, to learn about NASA's second flight test of its Low-Density Supersonic Decelerator (LDSD).
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