13 November, 2019 – Episode 747 – What Makes a Computer Super?


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What is in the This Week in Science Podcast?

Interview w/ Dr. Steve Scott from Cray Inc., AI Evading Detection, More DNA Possibilities?, Big Stalled Weather, Smarter Apes, Bat Guts, Orca Family Life, Shooting Star, A Little Hiccup, Tooth Tales, NO Emissions Up, Gut Phage, And Much More…

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From the first electronic digital computer ever created,
we imagined possibilities beyond our imagination…

Now, imagining anything beyond your imagination isn’t an easy thing to do…
The limits of imagination being left up to the imagination as they are,
People can imagine some pretty amazing things…

The thing about computers that captured our imagination,
and then released us from our previous imagining limitations…

Was that for the first time humanity found a technology
that held the potential to do something we had never thought a technology could ever do for us…


And while the potential for a thinking computer was little more than wishful thinking
when the first computers were being built…

We have been building on that idea,
pouring generations of thought into making it a reality,
Until today, when at long last the dream of a thinking computer has arrived!

And while some will argue that as good as they are, computers don’t actually think yet…
Others will argue that that sort of thinking is just over thinking what thinking actually is.

And still others will remain convinced that no matter how advanced a computer may become…
No matter how many or how fast it’s processing power becomes…
Even if they can form personalities and act out opinions…
They will never replace
This Week in Science
Coming Up Next…

Are you ready for an interview?

Interview w/ Dr. Steve Scott on exascale computing, the next generation of supercomputing.
Steve Scott is CTO, HPC & AI of Cray, a Hewlett Packard Enterprise Company. He has been responsible for guiding Cray’s long term product roadmap in high-performance computing, storage and data analytics, and was chief architect of several generations of systems and interconnects at Cray. Dr. Scott has also served as principal engineer in the Platforms group at Google and before that as the senior vice president and chief technology officer for NVIDIA’s Tesla business unit. Dr. Scott earned his Ph.D. in computer architecture and BSEE in computer engineering from the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

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This Week in What Has Science Done for me Lately?!?

“Dr. Kiki
What has science done for me lately.
I am a pool operator in charge of three pools and spa. Science allows me to keep an average of 500 people a day safe by properly filtering and sanitizing the water. Without science the patrons enjoying the spa would be breathing in Legionella causing Pontiac fever or Legionnaires disease.

The children enjoying the splash pad who put water in their mouth (no matter how many times you warn them not to) would be exposed to nasties like Giardia, E.coli and the newest concern Crypto.

Cryptosporidium is chlorine resistant and can live in chlorinated pools for up to 12 days due to its oocysts. Science allows me to keep up to date with current health concerns of how to sanitize the water.

Chlorine by-products are very nasty and swimmers inhale these gases the entire time they are in the water. Recently at the WAHC (World Aquatic Health Conference) I learned how other countries are limiting their use of chlorine and looking to a multi-prong approach to cleaning water for bathers (More filtration, bio-filters, enzymes,etc). Without science we would not be able to enjoy water parks, pools, and spas safely.

Thank you, Science.
Plainwell Michigan USA”

Let us know what science has done for you lately, and we will read it on the show!

Now, let’s continue with SCIENCE NEWS!…

Evading Detection
An AI algorithm named GENEVA was able to outsmart internet censorship tools in place in countries like China, and could mark the beginning of a digital battle for internet freedom.

More Possibilities
Researchers took a shot at figuring out how many permutations of DNA-like genetic data storage molecules there could be in the universe, and came up with a number in the millions.

Stalled weather patterns…
…will get bigger due to climate change

Apes are smarter now
At least, when compared to Australopithecus, and based on potential blood flow to the brain.

Finally, it’s time for Blair’s Animal Corner!

Bat guts – they’re not just like us!
The microbiome of bats is quite the mystery, not following any pattern we would expect for a mammal. Curious…

New monitoring methods give glimpse into orca family life
They touch each other, snuggle in, play, and learn from one another in a way we didn’t know before – but it makes sense!

Let’s end with some quick SCIENCE NEWS stories!…

Shooting Star
Australian astronomers have discovered a star that seems to have been flung out of the galaxy by our black hole.

A Little Hiccup
Hiccups in newborns send signals to the brain that researchers think might influence the development of the learned skill of conscious breath control.

What your teeth can tell about your lifestyle choices
Like rings on a tree, your molars have a wealth of information from your life.

Nitrous oxide emissions
set to rise in the Pacific Ocean

Gut Phages
Thanks Minion Dave

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