Highlights from the 2014 LA Auto Show

Data analysis

The predictive abilities of big data is being used to improve farming outcomes (Photo: Shu...

Data scientists studying crop growth and weather patterns in Colombia have advised rice farmers not to plant crops, saving millions of dollars. The International Center for Tropical Agriculture (CIAT) and the Colombian Rice Growers Federation have developed a computer model that can work out what crops work best under specific weather conditions in certain areas.  Read More

A new software system is able to determine the visual elements that are unique to a given ...

If you were an animator who was instructed to “Make a street that looks like it’s in Paris,” chances are you might not know what to do. Sure, you could occasionally put the Eiffel Tower in the background, but you couldn’t do that for every shot. If you were using a new data-mining system developed by Carnegie Mellon University and INRIA/École Normale Superiéure in Paris, however, it would show you what you should include. The software automatically looks through photos taken in various cities, and identifies the recurring visual features unique to each place.  Read More

IBM and ASTRON (the Netherlands Institute for Radio Astronomy) are working to develop tech...

When completed in 2024, the Square Kilometre Array (SKA) will be the largest, most sensitive radio telescope ever created. It will consist of 3,000 individual ground-based dish antennas, linked to act as one big telescope – an arrangement known as an interferometer. While their combined total surface area will be about one square kilometer (0.39 sq mile), they will be spread out across a geographical area approximately 3,000 kilometers (1,864 miles) in width. They will be gathering about one exabyte of astronomical data per day, which is twice the amount of data that is handled by the World Wide Web on a daily basis. Today, IBM announced that it has partnered with ASTRON (the Netherlands Institute for Radio Astronomy), in an effort to develop computer systems that will be able read, analyze and store all of that data, and do so in an energy-efficient manner.  Read More

The Fitbit personal activity monitor and base station

Fitbit is an activity monitor which conveniently clips to pants, shirt or wristband and pays careful attention to what you are doing. It counts your steps, records distance traveled and tells you how many calories you've burned. When you're not being active it'll record data on how long it takes you to fall asleep, how many times during the night you awoke and how much sleep you actually managed to get. Go within a few feet of its base station and it will automatically upload the data to a website for subsequent detailed analysis and storage.  Read More

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