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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: 14 min 51 sec ago

System clusters similar student computer programs together, so instructors can identify broad trends

Mon, 03/30/2015 - 16:25
Computer scientists have developed a new system that automatically compares students' solutions to programming assignments, lumping together those that use the same techniques.

Thin transparent flexible screens: Roll up your screen and stow it away?

Mon, 03/30/2015 - 16:25
As the demand for instant, constant communication grows, so too does the urgency for more convenient portable devices -- especially computer displays that can be easily rolled up and stored or transported. A new study suggests that a novel DNA-peptide structure can be used to produce thin, transparent, and flexible screens. The research harnesses bionanotechnology to emit a full range of colors in a single pliable pixel layer.

'Pay-for-performance' may lead to higher risk for robotic prostate surgery patients

Mon, 03/30/2015 - 16:24
A 'perverse disincentive' for hospitals that have invested in expensive technology for robotic surgery may be jeopardizing prostate cancer patients who seek out the procedure, concluded a new study. The study, which compared complication rates in hospitals with low volumes of robot-assisted radical prostatectomies to institutions with high volumes of the procedure, suggested that current pay-for-performance healthcare models are to blame.

Physicists report technology with potential for sub-micron optical switches

Mon, 03/30/2015 - 16:24
New technology could result in optical switches with sub-square-micron footprints, potentially allowing densely packed switching fabrics on a chip.

Secure payment on Internet?

Mon, 03/30/2015 - 13:52
Now that it has become a common feature on the news to hear about cyber-attacks on an international scale, cybersecurity is seen as a first priority by Internet users. There can be no doubt that the web has become a battleground without borders on which to defend political, financial and ideological interests. We are all affected by this struggle, since it is almost impossible to avoid operating through Internet, but, at what price?

Adolescents' riskier online behavior suggests need for age-based warnings

Mon, 03/30/2015 - 13:51
Adolescents who have engaged in past risky online behavior such as providing personal information and befriending strangers are much more likely to repeat such behavior in the future, according to new research that suggests risk information should be tailored to different age groups.

Citizen scientists map global forests

Mon, 03/30/2015 - 12:42
New global forest maps combine citizen science with multiple data sources, for an unprecedented level of accuracy about the location and extent of forestland worldwide. "The new maps rely on a combination of recent multisensory remote sensing data, statistics, and crowdsourcing," says the lead author of the study. "By combining different data sources, and incorporating the input of trained citizen scientists, we were able to produce new maps that are more accurate than any existing data source."

Next important step toward quantum computer

Mon, 03/30/2015 - 12:27
Physicists have succeeded in linking two completely different quantum systems to one another. In doing so, they have taken an important step forward on the way to a quantum computer.

Earthlike 'Star Wars' Tatooines may be common

Mon, 03/30/2015 - 12:25
Luke Skywalker's home in "Star Wars" is the desert planet Tatooine, with twin sunsets because it orbits two stars. So far, only uninhabitable gas-giant planets have been identified circling such binary stars, and many researchers believe rocky planets cannot form there. Now, mathematical simulations show that Earthlike, solid planets such as Tatooine likely exist and may be widespread.

Computational model simulates bacterial behavior

Fri, 03/27/2015 - 18:30
Applied mathematicians and environmental biotechnologists have developed a new computational model that effectively simulates the mechanical behavior of biofilms. Their model may lead to new strategies for studying a range of issues from blood clots to waste treatment systems.

Nanoscale worms provide new route to nano-necklace structures

Fri, 03/27/2015 - 18:30
Researchers have developed a novel technique for crafting nanometer-scale necklaces based on tiny star-like structures threaded onto a polymeric backbone. The technique could provide a new way to produce hybrid organic-inorganic shish kebab structures from semiconducting, magnetic, ferroelectric and other materials that may afford useful nanoscale properties.

Integrative approaches key to understanding cancer, developing therapies

Fri, 03/27/2015 - 18:30
Researchers are using integrative approaches to study cancer by combining mathematical and computational modeling with experimental and clinical data. The use of integrative approaches enables scientists to study and model cancer progression in a manner that conventional experimental systems are unable to do.

Mira Supercomputer use to Peer Inside High-Temperature Superconductors

Fri, 03/27/2015 - 17:21
Researchers are using supercomputers to shed light on the mysterious nature of high-temperature superconductors.

Metals used in high-tech products face future supply risks

Fri, 03/27/2015 - 15:18
Researchers have assessed the 'criticality' of all 62 metals on the Periodic Table of Elements, providing key insights into which materials might become more difficult to find in the coming decades, which ones will exact the highest environmental costs -- and which ones simply cannot be replaced as components of vital technologies.

We don’t notice much of what we see: 85 college students tried to draw the Apple logo from memory; 84 failed

Fri, 03/27/2015 - 14:11
Of 85 UCLA undergraduate students, only one correctly recalled the Apple logo when asked to draw it on a blank sheet of paper, psychologists found. Fewer than half correctly identified the logo when shown several options.

Big data allows computer engineers to find genetic clues in humans

Fri, 03/27/2015 - 13:06
Computer scientists tackled some big data about an important protein and discovered its connection in human history as well as clues about its role in complex neurological diseases.

Cell phone 'bill shock' warnings can leave consumers worse off, says new study

Thu, 03/26/2015 - 20:27
Policies that push cellphone carriers to alert customers when they're about to exceed their plan limit are supposed to make things better for consumers. But just the opposite may be happening, says a Canadian study.

Stereotypes lower math performance in women, but effects go unrecognized

Thu, 03/26/2015 - 20:26
A new study suggests that gender stereotypes about women's ability in mathematics negatively impact their performance. And in a significant twist, both men and women wrongly believe those stereotypes will not undermine women's math performance -- but instead motivate them to perform better.

The brain in the supermarket: Index strategy informs decision-making

Thu, 03/26/2015 - 19:23
Researchers suggest that your brain is most likely deploying an 'index strategy,' a straightforward ranking of products, when you shop. It may not be an absolutely perfect calculation, given all the available information, but the study suggests that an index strategy comes very close to being optimal, and is a far easier way for consumers to make their choices.

Engineers develop new methods to speed up simulations in computational grand challenge

Thu, 03/26/2015 - 19:22
Engineers have developed a new family of methods to significantly increase the speed of time-resolved numerical simulations in computational grand challenge problems. Such problems often arise from the high-resolution approximation of the partial differential equations governing complex flows of fluids or plasmas. The breakthrough could be applied to simulations that include millions or billions of variables, including turbulence simulations.