Mathematics and Computer Science at The University of Virginia's College at Wise
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Hacking and computer security. Read today's research news on hacking and protecting against codebreakers. New software, secure data sharing, and more.
Updated: 1 hour 22 min ago

How the hummingbird achieves its aerobatic feats

23 hours 8 min ago
Although hummingbirds are much larger and stir up the air more violently as they move, the way that they fly is more closely related to flying insects than it is to other birds. Now, the most detailed, three-dimensional aerodynamic simulation of hummingbird flight conducted to date has definitively demonstrated that the hummingbird achieves its nimble aerobatic abilities through a unique set of aerodynamic forces that are more closely aligned to those found in flying insects than to other birds.

Theater arts research offers insight for designers, builders of social robots

Fri, 11/21/2014 - 19:12
Researchers have provided insight into human behavior for scientists, engineers who design and build social robots.

Streamlining thin film processing for electrodes, display screens

Fri, 11/21/2014 - 16:18
Energy storage devices and computer screens may seem worlds apart, but they’re not. When an electrical engineering professor teamed up with and computer scientists to make a less expensive supercapacitor for storing renewable energy, they developed a new plasma technology that will streamline the production of display screens.

When shareholders exacerbate their own banks' crisis

Fri, 11/21/2014 - 15:28
Banks are increasingly issuing 'CoCo' bonds to boost the levels of equity they hold. In a crisis situation, bondholders are forced to convert these bonds into a bank's equity. To date, such bonds have been regarded only as a means of averting a crisis. A study by German economists now shows that if such bonds are badly constructed, they worsen a crisis instead of stabilizing the banking system.

Robots take over inspection of ballast tanks on ships

Fri, 11/21/2014 - 15:26
A new robot for inspecting ballast water tanks on board ships is being developed. The robot is able to move independently along rails built into the tanks. At the moment, people still carry out such inspections, with ships being brought into dry dock for the purpose.

When vaccines are imperfect: What math can tell us about their effects on disease propagation

Thu, 11/20/2014 - 23:36
The control of certain childhood diseases is difficult, despite high vaccination coverage in many countries. One of the possible reasons for this is 'imperfect vaccines,' that is, vaccines that fail either due to 'leakiness,' lack of effectiveness on certain individuals in a population, or shorter duration of potency. In a new article, authors use a mathematical model to determine the consequences of vaccine failure and resulting disease dynamics.

Don't get hacked! Research shows how much we ignore online warnings

Thu, 11/20/2014 - 17:32
New research finds that people say they care about online security but behave like they don't -- such as ignoring security warnings. To better understand how people deal with security messages, researchers simulated hacking into study subjects laptops. The responses were telling.

Tomorrow's degradable electronics

Thu, 11/20/2014 - 13:19
Researchers are developing electronics that disappear to order. When the FM frequencies are removed in Norway in 2017, all old-fashioned radios will become obsolete, leaving the biggest collection of redundant electronics ever seen – a mountain of waste weighing something between 25,000 and 30,000 tons. The same thing is happening with today's mobile telephones, PCs and tablets, all of which are constantly being updated and replaced faster than the blink of an eye. The old devices end up on waste tips, and even though we in the west recover some materials for recycling, this is only a small proportion of the whole. And nor does the future bode well with waste in mind. Technologists' vision of the future is the "Internet of Things".

New computer model predicts gut metabolites to better understand gastrointestinal disease

Thu, 11/20/2014 - 13:17
The first research to use computational modeling to predict and identify the metabolic products of gastrointestinal (GI) tract microorganisms has been published by researchers. Understanding these metabolic products, or metabolites, could influence how clinicians diagnose and treat GI diseases, as well as many other metabolic and neurological diseases increasingly associated with compromised GI function.

Pac-man instead of patch: Using video games to improve lazy eye, depth perception

Wed, 11/19/2014 - 22:47
Scientists have created video games that add an important element of fun to the repetitive training needed to improve vision in people – including adults – with a lazy eye and poor depth perception.

Social sensing game detects classroom bullies

Wed, 11/19/2014 - 20:17
Researchers have developed a computer game that can detect classroom bullies, victims and bystanders. The game's behavior analyses effectively identify classroom bullies, even revealing peer aggression that goes undetected by traditional research methods, the researchers say.

Thin film produces new chemistry in 'nanoreactor'

Wed, 11/19/2014 - 18:25
Physicists have discovered a new manganese compound that is produced by tension in the crystal structure of terbium manganese oxide. The technique they used to create this new material could open the way to new nanoscale circuits.

Testing if a computer has human-level intelligence: Alternative to 'Turing test' proposed

Wed, 11/19/2014 - 15:17
Researchers are offering an alternative to the celebrated “Turing Test” to determine whether a machine or computer program exhibits human-level intelligence.

Gifted men and women define success differently, 40-year study finds

Wed, 11/19/2014 - 15:17
Researchers spent four decades studying a group of mathematically talented adolescents, finding that by mid-life they were extraordinarily accomplished and enjoyed a high level of life satisfaction. Gender, however, played a significant role in how they pursued—and defined—career, family and success. Intellectually gifted women tracked for 40 years were found to earn less money, be less present in STEM fields, and work fewer hours than their male counterparts. Despite that, they expressed a high level of personal satisfaction and sense of achievement, defining success more broadly than men to include family and community service. These observations come from the most recent round of results from the Study of Mathematically Precocious Youth (SMPY), the largest longitudinal research project of its kind. The results were posted this week to Psychological Science.

A 3-D, talking map for the blind (and everyone else)

Wed, 11/19/2014 - 15:16
Developers have built and tested a new kind of interactive wayfinder: 3-D maps that vocalize building information and directions when touched.

Gamification for behavior change: What is it and how is it useful?

Tue, 11/18/2014 - 21:36
In a world where the majority of children spend hours a day playing computer or console game, researchers are starting to utilize those habits for the better.  The use of gamification -- using game design elements to teach lessons, engage, and motivate -- is starting to increase in popularity. Now gamification concepts and principles have been applied to the development of an online, multiuser, substance abuse, and relationship violence prevention game for youths.

Computerized cognitive training has modest benefits for cognitively healthy older adults

Tue, 11/18/2014 - 20:31
Computerized cognitive training (CCT) has been widely promoted for older adults, but its effectiveness for cognitively health older adults has been unclear in systematic reviews to date. In a new systematic review and meta-analysis scientists found a small overall effect of CCT on performance of cognitive tests that were not included in the training program.

Facebook games may actually do some good in your life

Tue, 11/18/2014 - 17:55
Beyond being a fun distraction, social network games can offer family members a meaningful way to interact and meet social obligations, a new study concludes. Researchers found that some online games offer families a common topic of conversation and enhance the quality of time spent together, despite the fact that most don't necessarily involve any direct communication. The games can also bring together family members who may be only distantly connected, with respondents citing experiences such as connecting with long-lost cousins or bolstering relationships with aging aunts.

First image-recognition software that greatly improves web searches

Tue, 11/18/2014 - 17:54
Researchers have created an artificial intelligence software that uses photos to locate documents on the Internet with far greater accuracy than ever before.

Using science to open way to 'blue economy'

Tue, 11/18/2014 - 17:54
New science and software make Belize coastal zone management plan better for people and the environment. With historic expansion of coastal and ocean development, ecosystems like coral reefs and mangrove forests are put at unprecedented risk. Yet, planners often lack good information about how human activities will impact shoreline and ocean habitats now and in the future. This study developed the information the Belizean government sought to make informed management decisions.