Closing the gap between quantum and deterministic query complexity for easy to certify total functions

Recently, trying to keep with my weekly post schedule, I’ve been a bit strapped for inspiration. As such, I’ve posted a few times on a major topic from my past life: quantum query complexity. I’ve mostly tried to describe some techniques for (lower) bounding query complexity like the negative adversary method and span programs. But I’ve never really showed how to use these methods to actually set up interesting bounds. Since I am again short…

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Blockchain made physical: BlocKit

Caption: Parts of BlocKit Credit: Irni Khairuddin I’m always on the lookout for something that helps make blockchain and cryptocurrency more understandable. (For the uninitiated or anyone like me who needed to refresh their memories, I have links to good essays on the topic further down in this posting.) A July 10, 2019 news item on ScienceDaily announces a new approach to understanding blockchain technology, A kit made from everyday objects is bringing the blockchain…

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Controlling agricultural pests with CRISPR-based technology

CRISPR (clustered regularly interspaced short palindromic repeats) technology is often touted as being ‘precise’, which as far as I can tell, is not exactly the case (see my Nov. 28, 2018 posting about the CRISPR babies [scroll down about 30% of the way for the first hint that CRISPR isn’t]). So, it’s a bit odd to see the word ‘precise’ used as part of a new CRISPR-based technology’s name (from a January 8, 2019 news…

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Desalination and toxic brine

Have you ever wondered about the possible effects and impact of desalinating large amounts of ocean water? It seems that some United Nations University (UNU) researchers have asked and are beginning to answer that question. The following table illustrates the rise in desalination plants and processes, Today 15,906 operational desalination plants are found in 177 countries. Almost half of the global desalination capacity is located in the Middle East and North Africa region (48 percent),…

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There’s no ‘I’ in team: coaching scientists to work together

While it’s true enough in English where you don’t spell the word team with the letter ‘I’, that’s not the case in French where the word is ‘equipe’. it makes me wonder how many other languages in the world have an ‘I’ in team. Moving on. This English language saying is true enough in its way but there is no team unless you have a group of ‘I’s’ and the trick is getting them to…

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Qualifying Exam Presentation – Jamey Fraser

Join us July 25th in Reynolds 1101 for the qualifying examination of PhD student, Jamey Fraser. The public presentation of his PhD proposal will take place at 10:00 am, followed by the formal examination period. Title: Investigating student self-efficacy and engagement using automated feedback Abstract: Increased classroom sizes have diminished educators’ ability to provide students withContinue reading "Qualifying Exam Presentation – Jamey Fraser"

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Monitoring forest soundscapes for conservation and more about whale songs

I don’t understand why anyone would publicize science work featuring soundscapes without including an audio file. However, no one from Princeton University (US) phoned and asked for my advice :). On the plus side, my whale story does have a sample audio file. However, I’m not sure if I can figure out how to embed it here. Princeton and monitoring forests In addition to a professor from Princeton University, there’s the founder of an environmental…

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Nanoflowers for better drug delivery; researchers looking for commercial partners

Caption: Schematic representation of the movement of the flower-like particle as it makes its way through a cellular trap to deliver therapeutic genes. Credit: WSU [Washington State University] It looks more like a swimming pool with pool toys to me but I imagine that nobody wants to say that they’re sending ‘pool toys’ through your bloodstream. Nanoflowers or flower-shaped nanoparticles sounds nicer. From a January 10, 2019 news item on Nanowerk, Washington State University [WSU]…

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Searchable database for hazardous nanomaterials and a Graphene Verification Programme

I have two relatively recent news bits about nanomaterials, the second being entirely focused on graphene. Searchable database A July 9, 2019 news item on Nanowerk announces a means of finding out what hazards may be associated with 300 different nanomaterials (Note: A Link has been removed), A new search tool for nanomaterials has been published on the European Union Observatory for Nanomaterials (EUON) website. It will enable regulators to form a better view of…

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Controlling neurons with light: no batteries or wires needed

Caption: Wireless and battery-free implant with advanced control over targeted neuron groups. Credit: Philipp Gutruf This January 2, 2019 news item on ScienceDaily describes the object seen in the above and describes the problem it’s designed to solve, University of Arizona biomedical engineering professor Philipp Gutruf is first author on the paper Fully implantable, optoelectronic systems for battery-free, multimodal operation in neuroscience research, published in Nature Electronics.Optogenetics is a biological technique that uses light to…

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