October 6, 2011, 12:32 pm
This year Cornell University’s administrators will be using an iPhone and iPad application to try to solve an age-old problem: underage students attending fraternity parties. The Cornell Daily Sun reports that the application was created last spring in anticipation of a new rule that went into effect for this school year, which bans freshmen from going to open fraternity social events during their first semester. Administrators will soon be releasing an updated version of the card-scanning software, which shows whether or not the student is 21 years old. The information is “stored on a secure server with no plans to share further,” The Daily Sun quoted the associate dean of students for fraternity and sorority affairs as saying. Inter Fraternity Council executive board members can look at the information, though, according to the group’s aptly-named president, Dan Freshman. The Daily Sun…
October 5, 2011, 6:07 pm
The National Science Foundation has started a new effort that encourages scientists to build “virtual institutes” that will increase collaboration across borders. Called Science Across Virtual Institutes, it will give researchers and instructors more backing to do what they often do already: work with overseas partners.
Money to support the effort will come from the National Science Foundation and overseas counterparts. NSF officials announced on Wednesday three pilot projects, costing about $100 million, that will involve researchers from the United States and eight other countries.
Finding and obtaining backing for international projects has generally depended heavily on the efforts of individual scientists, which means that projects may lack long-term stability, said Subra Suresh, director of the National Science Foundation. Under the new…
October 4, 2011, 6:39 pm
Andrea Chiba, a researcher at the University of California at San Diego, loves sharing data with colleagues in Australia. They can do the theoretical computer simulations; she can do the actual experiments on physical subjects.
The problem is that the collaboration often involves actual flights halfway around the world to load up hard drives filled with data, too much to send over conventional Internet connections.
That’s exactly the kind of issue a new $8-million program from the National Science Foundation hopes to solve. The program, the DataNet Federation Consortium, involves six different research centers in an effort to make it easier and faster to access and share large and complex data sets.
It is often said that 80 percent of a researcher’s work these days goes into “managing and manipulating the data,” said Reagan Moore, the DataNet Federation Consortium’s principal in…
September 27, 2011, 4:52 pm
Backers of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad hacked into Harvard University’s Web site on Monday, temporarily replacing images of smiling university professors with a Syrian flag and a picture of the Syrian leader in military fatigues. The online vandals call themselves the “Syrian Electronic Army,” and they included a message accusing the United States of interfering with the Syrian government. The government has tried to quell local uprisings, often with heavy violence. “A sophisticated individual or group” carried out the attack, a Harvard spokesman told the Associated Press.
September 23, 2011, 2:19 pm
Students moving into a newly renovated dormitory at the University of Kentucky signed up for a hyperwired college experience: Each one was given an iPad and required to take a series of tech-themed courses.
The unusual program is called A&S Wired Residential College and is housed in a dorm of 177 freshmen, who plan to major in a variety of fields.
Among the $1-million in renovations are 20 wireless access points in the basement and first floor—enough to serve 75 high-bandwidth users at the same time—11 large-screen televisions, which can be connected with multiple iPads simultaneously; and two 82-inch “interactive whiteboards.” The whiteboards will be in the dorm’s two smart classrooms, which both also have 55-inch televisions. The classrooms can do international videoconferencing, too; one class in the spring will feature interaction with a class in South Africa, says Mark…
September 22, 2011, 5:10 pm
The University of Texas at Austin will receive $50-million over the next four years to build a supercomputer that university officials say “will be one of the most powerful systems in the world.” The computer, to be called Stampede, will be built at the university’s Texas Advanced Computing Center, and it’s expected to be up and running by January 2013. The money comes from a grant from the National Science Foundation, which will put up $27.5 million upfront. The computer will be “uniquely comprehensive,” university officials say, with the ability to help scientists in a number of different fields, among them, weather forecasting, climate change, drug discovery, and automobile and airplane production. The computer is designed to be capable of between 2 and 10 quadrillion operations per second, said Jay Boisseau, director of the Texas Advanced Computing Center. Scientists will be able to …
September 21, 2011, 6:37 pm
A prospective undergraduate named Porsha got a text in January. “StMarysU: R u still interested in StMarys? A complete application includes an official transcript and test scores. Call 800-367-7868 with ?s about ur status.”
“My transcript has been sent along with my tests results,” Porsha quickly replied.
“Great!” said the text back, two minutes later. “We should get it soon, and we will be in touch with an admission decision.”
At St. Mary’s University, in San Antonio, Tex., potential students are given the option to sign up for updates when they first make contact with the institution. Throughout the application process, they get alerts, and, if they reply, the university writes back to them individually.
For the second straight year, students who signed up were more likely to apply than those who didn’t, and, if they got accepted, they were more likely to matriculate….
September 16, 2011, 5:11 pm
Incoming students at the University of North Carolina’s School of Information and Library Science this year are getting a new kind of welcome-to-campus perk: Free data storage, for keeps.
The service, called LifeTime Library, works on students’ personal computers, allowing them to automatically archive files and folders. The data are preserved on the Web, where students can search for files by name or by date saved.
Students can continue to use the online storage locker after they graduate, and the plan is for the program to remain free, said Gary Marchionini, the school’s dean. About 60 incoming students out of a total of 160 have signed up for the first year of the program, he said.
The idea is to “help students learn to manage their digital lives,” Mr. Marchionini said. Dealing with large amounts of online data is a big part of what students learn at the School of Information…
September 15, 2011, 5:49 pm
Jill Wykosky, a postdoctoral fellow at the Ludwig Institute for Cancer Research, needed to make some antibodies, but she couldn’t do it all herself.
To help find a lab partner, she tried a new Web site called Science Exchange, posting an ad there saying she needed someone to make peptides to be used as “antigen for monoclonal antibody production.” Within a couple of days, she had bids from seven or eight companies.
She said the site was much faster than the alternative—asking around and e-mailing potential partners for rate quotes. “It’s a huge timesaver,” Ms. Wykosky said.
Ms. Wykosky is one of more than 3,000 researchers who have signed up for Science Exchange in the month since it opened.
Some of the early results have surprised the site’s co-creator, Elizabeth Iorns, an assistant professor at the University of Miami. For instance, about half the people who have signed…
September 14, 2011, 6:29 pm
The University of North Carolina has a special message for students who want to access the dorm’s Internet network: “UNC-CHAPEL HILL IS BLOCKING FILE-SHARING THROUGHOUT STUDENT HOUSING.”
That’s at the top of a Web page which pops up on laptops that have file-sharing programs, when they connect to the university’s network. Students aren’t allowed to access the Internet until they’ve uninstalled the offending software or request an exception that the university is calling a “hall pass.”
The pass is an agreement the student signs that says he or she has a file-sharing program but “any copyright violation linked to a device registered under my name will result in an automatic referral to the Dean of Students office.” They also agree to learn what does and does not violate copyright law.
Officials hope the new policy will both prevent students from getting into legal pickles and help…