Old schools learning new tricks – October 17, 2019
It's not all about football?
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October 17, 2019
FLYOVER U RESEARCH
Big 10 schools to showcase their research strengths
Patstuart, Porsche997SBS at en.wikipedia.derivative work: Dbonness18 [CC BY-SA 3.0) (cropped)
Sure, you know your favorite sports team—be it the Buckeyes, the Golden Gophers, or the Boilermakers—are powerhouses on the field and in the gym, but did you know that many of them have colleges attached? It’s true! So put down your foam finger and your 40-oz Bud Lite and check out what the Big Ten Conference is up to.
This fall, Big Ten schools are teaming up to showcase their prowess in academic research. As the country’s number one conference for research funding, it's touting its schools’ collective might in three research areas: health care, the environment, and innovation.
The conference’s TV and web platform, BTN, is showcasing research from its member institutions, which it will promote to millions of sports fans nationally. Stories include a University of Illinois project to study past climate change, an Indiana University project to put tiny backpacks on migratory birds to gain a perspective on our changing planet, and a University of Maryland drone that transports human organs for transplants. Here’s hoping for a video to someday reveal why the Big Ten has 14 schools.
And, in case you are wondering, here's what a tiny backpack looks like on a migratory bird:
Photo courtesy of NPS.GOV
Part human, part machine, all active learning
An interdisciplinary group of researchers from across the country, including Washington University assistant professor of computer science and engineering Roman Garnett, was awarded a two-year, $1.8 million grant from the National Science Foundation (NSF) to advance human-machine interaction and active machine learning in the service of discovering new electronic materials.
This multifidelity method of learning melds expensive, high-fidelity experiments with cheaper, low-fidelity simulations, maximizing modeling accuracy and making decision-making more cost effective.
And while artificial intelligence may one day render humans obsolete, that isn't the case with active machine learning just yet. Garnett stated, “We want to make sure the human is involved and that the computer is aiding the human by being better at planning... we want to give them insight into the system that they couldn't see before. The human and computer thus cooperate as a team and learn from each other.”
Ah, sweet symbiosis!
U of M is testing apps to help teens deal with psychosis
University of Minnesota is one of several sites receiving an NIH grant to study non-drug solutions for teens and young adults with severe mental illness. As part of the study, U of M will be testing apps that could help provide brain training and social support to those experiencing initial episodes of psychosis.
Hyperloop One visits NC's Research Triangle
Image via Virgin and youtube
High-speed tube-traveling hopefuls, guess what? US transportation tech company Virgin Hyperloop One continues to make big strides in its quest to deliver on its futuristic transit vision. So far, numerous states are looking into the technology: Missouri, Texas, Colorado, Ohio, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Washington, Indiana, Oregon, and Nevada.
In May, the company raised $172 million dollars in new funding. In August, it launched a US roadshow that took its XP-1 hyperloop pod on a 4,000-mile odyssey across the country. The stops in Columbus, OH, Arlington, TX, and Kansas City, MO, were so successful, Hyperloop One added five stops to its US roadshow tour.
One of those stops was North Carolina’s Research Triangle Park. As people stopped to take selfies with the pod, Sarah Lawson, Hyperloop One’s marketing project manager, told the crowd, “You can imagine connecting Raleigh to Durham and Chapel Hill—those travel times with Hyperloop would be under 10 minutes.”
And how about a Raleigh to Washington D.C commute in just a half hour?
If the technology becomes a reality, we could all be zooming from Point A to Point B at more than 600 miles an hour. In a pod. Inside a TUBE. And sooner than you might think.
Pittsburgh doctors grow tiny human livers for research
After five years of trial and error, a team of researchers at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine have succeeded in creating small human livers. No, they aren’t intended to be transplanted into small humans. But they hold significant potential for studying liver diseases and testing therapeutics. In the past, such research has been performed on animal livers, but they didn’t always respond the way human livers do.
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