Week in Review: 1/3/16 – 1/9/16

January 9, 2016

BU’s Steve Grossberg — Making Computers Mimic Brain Biology
Steve Grossberg, Boston University’s Wang Professor of Cognitive and Neural Systems, is working on the future. But first he’s had to understand the present. If Artificial Intelligence (AI), as many hope (and some, like Elon Musk, fear) is inevitably the controller of our future environment, that environment has to live up to the second half of its name. The artificial, of course, is the technology that will run it, but what’s the intelligence? The best — and only — example we have of intelligence at present is the brain. Grossberg’s research explores how the brain controls behavior. Only then can technology emulate that control — only then can the “intelligence” get truly appended to “artificial.”
http://2paragraphs.com/2016/01/bus-steve-grossberg-making-computers-mimic-brain-biology/

January 8, 2016

Novel metasurface revolutionizes ubiquitous scientific tool
Researchers at the Harvard John A. Paulson School of Engineering and Applied Sciences and Innovation Center Iceland have built a polarimeter on a microchip, revolutionizing the design of this widely used scientific tool. https://www.seas.harvard.edu/news/2016/01/novel-metasurface-revolutionizes-ubiquitous-scientific-tool

Kilowatt-class, all-fiber amplifiers for beam combining
Pseudo-random bit sequence modulation enables coherent combination of kW-class, all-fiber lasers with diffraction-limited beam quality and high efficiency.
http://spie.org/newsroom/6238-kilowatt-class-all-fiber-amplifiers-for-beam-combining

January 5, 2016

Making Hypersonic Flight a Reality
This year, the Air Force Office of Scientific Research joined forces with the National Science Foundation in awarding a $1.5 million grant to Harsha Chelliah, a University of Virginia mechanical and aerospace engineering professor, to expand the validity of turbulence models that researchers use to predict high-speed reacting flows of air and fuel in hypersonic engines. The grant is the latest in a series of awards that has placed UVA’s School of Engineering and Applied Science at the forefront of an international effort to make hypersonic flight a reality.
https://news.virginia.edu/content/making-hypersonic-flight-reality