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Software

One unfortunate fact of modern life is that functional new software becomes non-functional old software with depressing regularity. For most people, this means predictable episodes of frustration, but for the US military, it's a more serious problem. DARPA's new Building Resource Adaptive Software Systems (BRASS) project aims to take a major shot at avoiding this obsolescence by developing software systems that can still operate properly a hundred years from now. Read More

Microsoft today launched Office 2016 Preview, making it available to download for users who want to get an early look at the latest iteration of the company's productivity suite. This new version includes several new features for home and business users, and is designed to work seamlessly across a wide range of devices, including Apple's iPad, Mac OS X, and Android tablets.

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New software based on an algorithm developed in an open competition hosted by NASA improves the detection rate of potentially hazardous near-Earth asteroids. The software comes in the form of a free-to-download application, capable of being run from most laptops or desktops, transforming any amateur astronomer into a seasoned asteroid hunter. Read More
We've covered a lot of ground in this series. We went from algorithmic music to procedurally-generated games (and an AI game developer), then onto computers writing stories and robots painting portraits and abstract art or constructing buildings like the craftsmen of old. Now, in this final part of our deep dive into the world of computational creativity, we turn to the underlying ideas and the future challenges that face the field as a whole. Read More
When you get a shiny new Ultrabook, desktop, or convertible Windows computer, you'll be tempted to dive right in and get to work or play. However, there are some important steps you need to take to ensure it's clean of crapware, is secure, and filled with your favorite apps so it's ready to use. Read More
New software developed at Nationwide Children's Hospital in Ohio can take raw sequence data on a person's genome and search it for disease-causing variations in a matter of hours, which its creators claim puts it ahead of the pack as the fastest genome analysis software around. They believe that this makes it now feasible to do large-scale analysis across entire populations. Read More
Researchers at MIT are building a sophisticated algorithm to help with time-sensitive planning, estimating your chances of success and even suggesting alternate approaches that are more likely to succeed. The software, described by its creators as "a better Siri," could help plan projects on all scales, from long drives to air travel to multi-billion dollar NASA missions. Read More

Every poker player will have wished they had just a little more insight into a hand at some point. A new piece of software created by the Computer Poker Research Group at the University of Alberta, however, has no such crises of confidence. Cepheus has "solved" heads-up limit Texas hold 'em. Read More

French programmer Fabrice Bellard has come up with a graphics file format he believes can "replace the JPEG image format." Bellard’s BPG (Better Portable Graphics) format boasts a compelling quality advantage over JPG, particularly when images are heavily compressed. Take a look through the gallery to see a few comparison shots – the left hand side of each image shows the JPEG compressed format, the right side shows BPG at a similar file size. Read More
For centuries, dogs have served in a variety of roles alongside humans, including faithful companion and guardian. The latter function is one that’s seen more focus in recent times as canines have been trained to sniff out buried improvised explosive devices (IEDs) before they are detonated. The dog’s handler also needs to be trained to detect subtle cues from the animal, which is where a video game developed by the US military comes into play. Read More
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