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Frontera, the fifth fastest supercomputer in the world, has been opened at the University of Texas

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The University of Texas has officially “inaugurated” Frontera, the fastest supercomputer available in any university in the world and generally the fifth most powerful computer in the world.

Located in the Texas Advanced Computing Center (TACC) of the Texas faculty, this computer joins Stampede2, the second-fastest supercomputer available for any American university, also located in the same faculty.

These two computers make the University of Texas in Austin one of the leading institutions in the field of supercomputers. The same press release speaks of a “new era” in academic supercomputing with a resource that will help the nation’s best scientists to explore science on a large scale and make the next generation of discoveries.

The Frontera supercomputer has firmly placed fifth in the ranking of the fastest supercomputers in the world reaching 23.5 PetaFLOPS. The computer uses over 16,000 processors and a total of almost half a million cores.

However, the supercomputer has already been used by several researchers in recent months. For example, Olexandr Isayev, a chemist from the University of North Carolina, used it to perform more than 3 million atomic force field calculations in less than 24 hours.

But it is in the field of quantum mechanics that, according to the researchers themselves, this supercomputer will shine. “We are really looking forward to performing large-scale calculations that were not possible before,” says Isayev himself.

Links/Sources:

https://fronteraweb.tacc.utexas.edu/

Bob Miller

Bob was Professor of Behavioural Neuroscience at the University of Denver from 2011-2018 and now works as a practicing psychiatrist. As a passionate scientist, he founded the website ScienceMagazine.us in early 2019 with the goal of delivering accurate and useful scientific reporting, and has since built it up as a valuable publication. While his field is in psychology, Bob also has a strong general understanding of many other fields in health, astronomy and applied science, and is able to write in a way that is easily understandable to the layman.

2930 Scheuvront Drive, Denver Colorado, 80211
303-458-7258
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Bob Miller
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Eni: oil and gas production will peak in 2025

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Eni, the leading Italian company in the energy sector, predicts that oil and gas production could reach its peak within six years, according to an article published on the Bloomberg website.

Oil and gas production is expected to grow at an annual rate of 3.5% until 2025, when, according to Eni, it will settle at a constant level and then continue with a slow decline in production, especially of oil.
The aim is to cut net emissions by as much as 80% by 2050. Also by 2050, gas will represent 85% of total production for the company, which will happen in parallel with strong increases in the renewable energy sector with over 55 gigawatts of installed capacity already around 2050.

The company itself claims to have designed a strategy “that combines economic sustainability with environmental sustainability”, according to Claudio Descalzi, CEO of the company.
Eni plans to reach a zero emissions level for exploration and production operations already by 2030.

These plans will most likely need considerable expansion in the renewable energy sector and also in the carbon capture and storage technology sector.

Bob Miller

Bob was Professor of Behavioural Neuroscience at the University of Denver from 2011-2018 and now works as a practicing psychiatrist. As a passionate scientist, he founded the website ScienceMagazine.us in early 2019 with the goal of delivering accurate and useful scientific reporting, and has since built it up as a valuable publication. While his field is in psychology, Bob also has a strong general understanding of many other fields in health, astronomy and applied science, and is able to write in a way that is easily understandable to the layman.

2930 Scheuvront Drive, Denver Colorado, 80211
303-458-7258
[email protected]

Bob Miller
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Researchers study the strange parental behavior of American coots

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An interesting behavior, in relation to the care of offspring by the American coot, was discovered by a team of researchers at the University of California at Santa Cruz. The American coot is a waterbird with grey or black feathers and a white beak that mostly frequents the wetlands of North America. Unlike their parents, the chicks have very brightly coloured feathers and beaks between red and orange.

This difference had already been noted by previous studies and, again, other studies had shown that the parents seem to prefer the more brightly coloured chicks when it comes to feeding their offspring. However, no study had explained the reason for this strange behaviour. It was succeeded by the professor of ecology and evolutionary biology Bruce Lyon who, together with his colleague Daizaburo Shizuka from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, published a study on Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

Initially the researchers had thought that it was the chick, through evolutionary pathways, that could manipulate parents to get more food. However, in the course of the experiments that the researchers carried out, using, among other things, a photospectrometer to measure the precise color gradations of more than 1500 coot chicks, they found that this behavior is related to another one that sees mothers feed more some chicks instead of others to make sure that at least part of them can survive in strength since the available food is almost never enough for everyone.

The researchers initially discovered the mother, during the first 10 days after hatching the eggs, showed no preferences and fed all the chicks in which way. However, 10 days after the last hatching, the parents began to check the food allocation to ensure that at least one of the chicks could grow in strength. The latter began to receive preferential feeding and grew faster, becoming stronger and more resilient. However, parents tend to choose the chicks that are born later, which are, incidentally, the most colourful. In comparison with the others, he carries out a sort of aggression called “tousling”: he shakes them by the back of the neck to prevent them from eating too much.

“The male and the female share the brood, with each parent feeding only their half of the brood, and each parent also chooses a favourite. The colour predicts which one they choose, therefore the ornament can serve as signal for telling them which chick needs the maximum help,” explains Lyon himself. “They start by creating an irregular playing field, which allows them to break down the brood, and then they intervene to level the field. Orange plumage seems to be a feature that helps them do that.”

Among other things, this also explains why the eggs that mothers lay in the nests of other mothers, a behaviour known as “brood parasitism” and typical also of other species of birds, are less coloured. The eggs that the females lay in the nests of strangers are the first in the laying sequence and therefore are characterized by a lower pigment. With this preferential behaviour, parents are therefore more likely to feed their own child than the child of another.

Bob Miller

Bob was Professor of Behavioural Neuroscience at the University of Denver from 2011-2018 and now works as a practicing psychiatrist. As a passionate scientist, he founded the website ScienceMagazine.us in early 2019 with the goal of delivering accurate and useful scientific reporting, and has since built it up as a valuable publication. While his field is in psychology, Bob also has a strong general understanding of many other fields in health, astronomy and applied science, and is able to write in a way that is easily understandable to the layman.

2930 Scheuvront Drive, Denver Colorado, 80211
303-458-7258
[email protected]

Bob Miller
Continue Reading

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Scientists discover that “underwater” beetle larvae are massacring tadpoles

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The discovery of groups of beetles capable of exterminating thousands of tadpoles has been made almost by chance. The discovery was made by ecologist Jose Valdez who, together with his team, attempted to repopulate a frog conservation site in Newcastle, Australia. The researchers had thought to fence the area to keep out the predator snakes but had not calculated the possible arrival of perhaps even more deadly but at the same time much smaller predators: the Hydaticus parallelus, “underwater” beetles which attack in groups.

They use tactics of encirclement and attack so refined that out of 10,000 tadpoles introduced in the site, three years later only a handful of frogs remained. The case of predators that are much smaller than their prey is quite rare in the wild, just as it is unusual to see insects like beetles hunting in packs.

On nighttime stakeouts, Valdez and colleagues have noticed the tactics these insects use to surround a tadpole and tear it apart in the shortest possible time, tactics so refined that Valdez himself claims to have been shocked. In addition to attacking the tadpoles, these “diving” beetles lay their eggs inside the Lechriodus fletcheri frog eggs. The insects’ eggs usually hatch within 24 hours of hatching the frog’s eggs.

This way when the insects’ eggs hatch they can then easily attack the tadpoles as soon as they are born. Researchers have noticed that only beetle larvae were capable of killing up to three tadpoles every hour, often leaving their prey only half-eaten by another neighbor.

Bob Miller

Bob was Professor of Behavioural Neuroscience at the University of Denver from 2011-2018 and now works as a practicing psychiatrist. As a passionate scientist, he founded the website ScienceMagazine.us in early 2019 with the goal of delivering accurate and useful scientific reporting, and has since built it up as a valuable publication. While his field is in psychology, Bob also has a strong general understanding of many other fields in health, astronomy and applied science, and is able to write in a way that is easily understandable to the layman.

2930 Scheuvront Drive, Denver Colorado, 80211
303-458-7258
[email protected]

Bob Miller
Continue Reading

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We have been working on a piece about Blynk which lets you make IoT (Internet of Things) apps and devices. The potential with this is limitless and we have some awesome ideas in the pipeline. If you're not familiar with Blynk, here's a rundown of it. We'll be posting our projects with Blynk shortly.

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