Nanotechnology for Self-Powered Medical Sensors

Biomedical sensors are seen as a potential breakthrough in the field of medicine, since these healthcare sensors could potentially help provide real-time data to patients and providers about their health and the effect of the environment on patients. Powering these sensors has remained a hurdle, but a new initiative spearheaded by North Carolina State University will focus on creating self-powering devices using nanotechnology.

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Big Data Receives a Big Investment

Big data is about to get a boost from the Federal government. The White House announced its “Big Data Research and Development Initiative” at the end of March, pledging a $200 million commitment that will span six Federal agencies.

The initiative was launched in response to recommendations from the President’s Council of Advisers on Science and Technology, which previously concluded that the government was under-investing in big data technologies.

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Hybrid Approach Could Boost Graphics Processing Speeds

Multicore processors have provided a significant boost for graphics processing, but researchers at North Carolina State University are taking things a step further by boosting multicore CPU performance by an average of more than 20%.

Called CPU-assisted general purpose computation on graphics processor units (CPU-assisted GPGPU), the technology under development at NCSU allows both units to collaborate on a computing task. This approach is designed for fused architecture chipsets with a shared level-3 cache and shared off-chip memory for CPUs and GPUs. Continue reading

NSF Launches Technology Incubator Program

There’s been a lot of talk about the need for increased entrepreneurship and innovation in the U.S. to help boost the economy and build new industries. The folks at the National Science Foundation have launched a public/private incubator over the summer to do just that. The  NSF Innovation Corps (I-Corps) brings top scientist and engineers together with mentors and business community contacts. The goal: to turn new scientific and engineering discoveries and designs into useful products and processes, while launching new start-ups and creating jobs.
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The Exotic Physics of Frustrated Magnets

Editor’s Note: This guest blog post is by Dr. Kingshuk Majumdar, associate professor of physics, Grand Valley State University, MI. Dr. Majumdar shares some of his research below, which was greatly facilitated via use of a supercomputing cluster. If you would like to contribute to Engineering on the Edge, please contact us.

Frustrated magnetic materials contain a wealth of interesting magnetic properties. Unlocking the mysteries of these frustrated magnets will not only deepen our understanding of the fundamental physics of these materials, but may also provide clues for potential technological applications in the near future. Therefore, these systems are presently under intense investigation by the physics community.

Besides mass and charge, the electron, an elementary particle within an atom, also has “spin.” Spin, an intrinsic property of electrons, comes in two varieties — “spin‐up” and “spin‐down.” In frustrated magnets, imbalance of these two types of spins results in magnetic frustration. With state‐of‐ the‐art 504 node supercomputing cluster “MATLAB on the TeraGrid” housed in Center for Advanced Computing at Cornell University, I am theoretically investigating the rich and exotic physics of these complex magnetic materials.

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