Up-close and personal tech assessment.
When John D.
Halamka, MD, CIO of Harvard Medical School
(MA) tries out a technology, he g'es for the full experience. The doctor was
implanted with a VeriChip, a subdermal RFID microtransponder from Applied
Digital Corp. (www.adsx.com), about the size of a grain of rice. The chip contains
a unique identification number that can be scanned and used in a variety of tracking
and security applications. Halamka put the system through rigorous testing—even
climbing to a high-altitude, minus-20°F environment. He reported the system
was robust, performing perfectly.
Q: how much superpower is enough?
A: Whatever is
enough to go around. On the University of Illinois
Urbana-Champaign campus, home of the National Center for Supercomputing
Applications (NCSA), students, faculty, and staff needed better access to
high-end computing power. So, yet another supercomputer cluster was built
outside the auspices of the NCSA, consisting of 640 Apple Xserves with two, 2GHz
G5 processors each. On a high-bandwidth, low-latency Myrinet network from
Myricom (www.myri.com), with 7TB of storage available, the
new Turing Cluster can handle virtual prototyping for engineering, computational
biology, quantum simulations, or just about anything else the community can come
up with. Cost? Only about $3 million, renovations included.
UC San Diego
now boasts the first production 10-gigabit Ethernet campus connection
in the US. Linked to CalREN, the Corporation for Education Network Initiatives
in California (CENIC) high-performance backbone network, UCSD brings students
and researchers the 10-gig broadband service right to their desktops.
Researchers at the Artificial
Intelligence and Reasoning Laboratory at Rensselaer Polytechnic
(NY) are hoping their latest, DARPA-funded research
will yield a machine that can truly comprehend and reflect on what it reads—a
skill that’s currently attributed only to humans (
some of them).
The group has already developed the first robot ever to pass part of a standard
IQ test, and an AI system that writes engaging short stories.
statue fakes laptop
At the University
of Cincinnati this winter, passers-by noticed a student
precariously perched on a ledge, intent on his PowerBook and oblivious to his
peril. The laptop added such credibility that the paint-and-plaster facial features
went virtually unnoticed. Unfortunately, the effigy’s peril was taken about
as seriously as that of real people driving cars while yakking on cell phones.
ready for a challenge.
Students are poised for this
spring’s Rube Goldberg Machine Contest, being held for the 23nd year at
Purdue University (IN). Goldberg’s work—notably,
sketches of complicated systems that perform simple tasks—sets the tone as teams
pit their technical skills against one another, to devise creative and complex
love that building.
College’s (FL) new 60,000-foot,
$7.2 million edifice houses a learning center brimming with the latest computer
and networking equipment, to serve technical workforce programs including courses
in Oracle, and Cisco and Microsoft certifications.
retiring from it.
Associate Vice Chancellor for
Information Systems and Technology Jack McCredie will retire from UC
Berkeley at the end of this academic year. McCredie is noted for his
leadership in Educause, his active professional participation, and his writings,
including the Nov./Dec. 2003 Educause Review article, “D'es IT Matter to Higher