Skip to content


Posted in AI & Robotics.

Emojis: The evolving picture language

BBC Click looks at how Emojis have changed since they were designed in 1999.

Go to Source

Posted in BBC Sci Tech.

‘Vampire therapy’ helps Alzheimer’s patients pay bills and prepare meals again

Go to Source

Posted in Telegraph Science.

Mathematical (Gq) giftedness: Review of cognitive, conative and neural variables

Click on image to enlarge.

Article link.


Most mathematical cognition research has focused on understanding normal adult function and child development as well as mildly and moderately impaired mathematical skill, often labeled developmental dyscalculia and/or mathematical learning disability. In contrast, much less research is available on cognitive and neural correlates of gifted/excellent mathematical knowledge in adults and children. In order to facilitate further inquiry into this area, here we review 40 available studies, which examine the cognitive and neural basis of gifted mathematics. Studies associated a large number of cognitive factors with gifted mathematics, with spatial processing and working memory being the most frequently identified contributors. However, the current literature suffers
from low statistical power, which most probably contributes to variability across findings. Other major shortcomings include failing to establish domain and stimulus specificity of findings, suggesting causation without sufficient evidence and the frequent use of invalid backward inference in neuro-imaging studies. Future studies must increase statistical power and neuro-imaging studies must rely on supporting behavioral data when interpreting findings. Studies should investigate the factors shown to correlate with math giftedness in a more specific manner and determine exactly how individual factors may contribute to gifted math ability.


In line with the heterogeneous nature of mathematical disabilities (e.g., Rubinsten and Henik, 2009; Fias et al., 2013), mathematical giftedness also seems to correlate with numerous factors—(see Appendix A for which factors were found in each study). These factors roughly fall into social, motivational, and cognitive domains. Specifically, in the social and motivational domains, motivation, high drive, and interest to learn mathematics, practice time, lack of involvement in social interpersonal, or religious issues, authoritarian attitudes, and high socio-economic status have all been related to high levels of mathematical achievement. Speculatively, it is interesting to ask whether some of these factors may be related to the so-called Spontaneous Focusing on Numerosity (SFON) concept which appears early in life and means that some children have a high tendency to pay attention to numerical information (Hannula and Lehtinen, 2005). To clarify this question, longitudinal studies could investigate whether high SFON at an early age is associated with high levels of mathematical expertise in later life. Better assessment of individual variability is also important, for example, Albert Einstein (who was a gifted even if sometimes “lazy” mathematician; see e.g., Isaacson, 2008) was famously anti-authoritarian.

In terms of cognitive variables, we found that spatial processing, working memory, motivation/practice time, reasoning, general IQ, speed of information processing, short-term memory, efficient switching from working memory to episodic memory, pattern recognition, inhibition, fluid intelligence, associative memory, and motor functions were all associated with mathematical giftedness. As a caveat it is important to point out that mere “significance counting” (i.e., just considering studies with statistical significant results regarding a concept) can be very misleading especially in the typically underpowered context of psychology and neuro-imaging research (see e.g., Szucs and Ioannidis, 2017). However, considering the patchy research, this is the best we can do at the moment. In addition, even if meta-analyses were possible, these also typically only take into account published research, so they usually (highly) overestimate effect sizes especially from small scale studies (see Szucs and Ioannidis, 2017).

– Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Go to Source

Posted in IQ Corner.

New magnetism-control method could lead to ultrafast, energy-efficient computer memory

A cobalt layer on top of a gadolinium-iron alloy allows for switching memory with a single laser pulse in just 7 picoseconds. The discovery may lead to a computing processor with high-speed, non-volatile memory right on the chip. (credit: Jon Gorchon et al./Applied Physics Letters)

Researchers at UC Berkeley and UC Riverside have developed an ultrafast new method for electrically controlling magnetism in certain metals — a breakthrough that could lead to more energy-efficient computer memory and processing technologies.

“The development of a non-volatile memory that is as fast as charge-based random-access memories could dramatically improve performance and energy efficiency of computing devices,” says Berkeley electrical engineering and computer sciences (EECS) professor Jeffrey Bokor, coauthor of a paper on the research in the open-access journal Science Advances. “That motivated us to look for new ways to control magnetism in materials at much higher speeds than in today’s MRAM.”

Background: RAM vs. MRAM memory

Computers use different kinds of memory technologies to store data. Long-term memory, typically a hard disk or flash drive, needs to be dense in order to store as much data as possible but is slow. The central processing unit (CPU) — the hardware that enables computers to compute — requires fast memory to keep up with the CPU’s calculations, so the memory is only used for short-term storage of information (while operations are executed).

Random access memory (RAM) is one example of such short-term memory. Most current RAM technologies are based on charge (electron) retention, and can be written at rates of billions of bits per second (bits/nanosecond). The downside of these charge-based technologies is that they are volatile, requiring constant power or else they will lose the data.

In recent years, “spintronics” magnetic alternatives to RAM, known as Magnetic Random Access Memory (MRAM), have reached the market. The advantage of using magnets is that they retain information even when memory and CPU are powered off, allowing for energy savings. But that efficiency comes at the expense of speed, which is on the order of hundreds of picoseconds to write a single bit of information. (For comparison, silicon field-effect transistors have switching delays less than 5 picoseconds.)

The researchers found a magnetic alloy made up of gadolinium and iron that could accomplish those higher speeds — switching the direction of the magnetism with a series of electrical pulses of about 10 picoseconds (one picosecond is 1,000 times shorter than one nanosecond) — more than 10 times faster than MRAM.*

A faster version, using an energy-efficient optical pulse

In a second study, published in Applied Physics Letters, the researchers were able to further improve the performance by stacking a single-element magnetic metal such as cobalt on top of the gadolinium-iron alloy, allowing for switching with a single laser pulse in just 7 picoseconds. As a single pulse, it was also more energy-efficient. The result was a computing processor with high-speed, non-volatile memory right on the chip, functionally similar to an IBM Research “in-memory” computing architecture profiled in a recent KurzweilAI article.

“Together, these two discoveries provide a route toward ultrafast magnetic memories that enable a new generation of high-performance, low-power computing processors with high-speed, non-volatile memories right on chip,” Bokor says.

The research was supported by grants from the National Science Foundation and the U.S. Department of Energy.

* The electrical pulse temporarily increases the energy of the iron atom’s electrons, causing the magnetism in the iron and gadolinium atoms to exert torque on one another, and eventually leads to a reorientation of the metal’s magnetic poles. It’s a completely new way of using electrical currents to control magnets, according to the researchers.

Abstract of Ultrafast magnetization reversal by picosecond electrical pulses

The field of spintronics involves the study of both spin and charge transport in solid-state devices. Ultrafast magnetism involves the use of femtosecond laser pulses to manipulate magnetic order on subpicosecond time scales. We unite these phenomena by using picosecond charge current pulses to rapidly excite conduction electrons in magnetic metals. We observe deterministic, repeatable ultrafast reversal of the magnetization of a GdFeCo thin film with a single sub–10-ps electrical pulse. The magnetization reverses in ~10 ps, which is more than one order of magnitude faster than any other electrically controlled magnetic switching, and demonstrates a fundamentally new electrical switching mechanism that does not require spin-polarized currents or spin-transfer/orbit torques. The energy density required for switching is low, projecting to only 4 fJ needed to switch a (20 nm)3 cell. This discovery introduces a new field of research into ultrafast charge current–driven spintronic phenomena and devices.

Abstract of Single shot ultrafast all optical magnetization switching of ferromagnetic Co/Pt multilayers

A single femtosecond optical pulse can fully reverse the magnetization of a film within picoseconds. Such fast operation hugely increases the range of application of magnetic devices. However, so far, this type of ultrafast switching has been restricted to ferrimagnetic GdFeCo
films. In contrast, all optical switching of ferromagnetic films require multiple pulses, thereby being slower and less energy efficient. Here, we demonstrate magnetization switching induced by a single laser pulse in various ferromagnetic Co/Pt multilayers grown on GdFeCo, by exploiting
the exchange coupling between the two magnetic films. Table-top depth-sensitive time-resolved magneto-optical experiments show that the Co/Pt magnetization switches within 7 ps. This coupling approach will allow ultrafast control of a variety of magnetic films, which is critical for

Go to Source

Posted in Accelerating Intelligence.

Xbox One X: Microsoft’s new console reviewed

The console can display 4K 60 frames-per-second graphics in high dynamic range.

Go to Source

Posted in BBC Sci Tech.

Blue Planet II: giant cannibalistic squid filmed hunting in packs for first time 

Go to Source

Posted in Telegraph Science.

The Future of Artificial Intelligence and its Impact on Society



Ray Kurzweil
Inventor, Author, and Futurist

Nicholas Thompson
Editor in Chief, Wired

Friday Nov. 3, 2017

In a wide-ranging discussion, Ray Kurzweil covers issues ranging from how AI will enhance us — expanding our intelligence while improving our lives and even our spirituality — to ethical issues and dealing with technological risks.

Go to Source

Posted in Accelerating Intelligence.

Beluga whale learns to ‘talk’ to pod of bottlenose dolphins 

Go to Source

Posted in Telegraph Science.

The landscape of brain health innovation: 130 experts and pioneers in 18 countries (and counting)

The landscape of brain health innovation: 130 experts and pioneers in 18 countries (and counting)
// SharpBrains

— Registrants for the 2017 SharpBrains Virtual Summit (December 5-7th) as of November 3rd, 2017

Just a quick update on how registration stands for the upcoming 2017 SharpBrains Virtual Summit: Brain Health & Enhancement in the Digital Age (December 5-7th).

We are proud to report that so far 130 experts, pioneers and practitioners are registered to participate.

95 seem to be based in the US and 35 abroad, based on IP address during registration, with the following country breakdown:

  • United States 95
  • Australia 7
  • Canada 6
  • United Kingdom 4
  • Israel 3
  • Norway 2
  • Italy 2
  • Taiwan 1
  • Singapore 1
  • India 1
  • France 1
  • Sweden 1
  • Spain 1
  • Portugal 1
  • Brazil 1
  • Argentina 1
  • South Africa 1
  • Brunei 1


Please consider joining us to explore the latest brain science and tech and market trends and to help shape Brain Health & Enhancement in the Digital Age.

For context, organizations represented in past Summits include: AARP, Alegent Health Immanuel Medical Center, Allstate Insurance, Alzheimer’s Association, BBC, Bon Secours New York Health System, Brain Injury Association of America, Campbell Soup Company, Greenville Hospital System, Harvard Business Review, HealthComm Inc., Human Dimension Taskforce, US Army, Institute For The Future, Intel, Johnson & Johnson, Los Angeles County Dept of Public Health, McGovern Institute of Neurotechnology, MIT, National Resource Ctr. Osher Lifelong Learning Institutes, Nutrition Science Solutions, One Laptop Per Child, OptumHealth Behavioral Solutions, Piedmont Gardens, PsychologyToday, Procter & Gamble, Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, Stanford University, Sun Microsystems, UC Berkeley, UnitedHealth Group, Winter Park Health Foundation, Workers’ Compensation Regulatory Authority, UCSF.

And the backgrounds of previous participants include: Biomedical Engineers, CEOs, Digital Media professionals, Entrepreneurs, Game publishers, Healthcare technologists, Marketing Executives, Medical Students, Neurologists, Neuropsychologists, Non profit board members, Occupational Therapists, Pharmaceutical Executives, Post doctorate researchers, Professors and Researchers, Psychiatrists, Psychologists, Psychotherapists, Scientific Publishers, Social Workers, Speech Pathologists, Talent management/HR, and Wellness professionals.

Looking forward to a great conference!


Learn more & Reserve your Spot HERE

(10%-off promo code for SharpBrains readers: sharp2017)


Read in my feedly

Go to Source

Posted in IQ Corner.