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Researchers Build #ArtificialSynapse Capable of #Autonomous Learning - Researchers from France and the #UniversityofArkansas have created an artificial synapse capable of autonomous learning, a component of artificial intelligence. The discovery opens the door to building large networks that operate in ways similar to the human brain.
> “People are interested in building artificial brain networks in the future,” said Bin Xu, a research associate in the University of Arkansas Department of Physics. “This research is a fundamental advance.”

The brain learns when synapses make connections among neurons. The connections vary in strength, with a strong connection correlating to a strong memory and improved learning. It is a concept called synaptic plasticity, and researchers see it as a model to advance machine learning.

A team of French scientists designed and built an artificial synapse, called a memristor , made of an ultrathin ferroelectric tunnel junction that can be tuned for conductivity by voltage pulses. The material is sandwiched between electrodes, and the variability in its conductivity determines whether a strong or weak connection is made between the electrodes.

Xu and Laurent Bellaiche, distinguished professor in the U of A physics department, helped by providing a microscopic insight of how the device functions, which will enable future researchers to create larger, more powerful, self-learning networks.

Memristors are not new, but until now their working principles have not been well understood. The study provided a clear explanation of the physical mechanism underlying the artificial synapse. The University of Arkansas researchers conducted computer simulations that clarified the switching mechanism in the ferroelectric tunnel junctions, backing up the measurements conducted by the French scientists.
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Thackeray's Globules!
Thackeray was the last name of the guy who noticed these little dark patches in 1950. If you look closely at the biggest dark patch you might see it’s actually two – one further away in the distance. 1 light year in fact. To give you an idea, the Voyager satellite which has just left our solar system will take about 25,000 years to have travelled 1 light year. That one dark blob (which is two) you’re looking at, is separated by that much!
They are the stuff stars are born from if they get dense enough, otherwise they may become fuel for one of those baby blue ones :)
45 x 2m exposures taken tonight in Ha (90 mins total) + 30mins of RGB from RASA session a few weeks ago. Pretty quick and dirty! The trade-off are the colour halos on the RGB layer which has to be upsampled to match the Ha resolution during registration. But it’s a small sacrifice to turn around an image like this with only 2 hours total integration. The lepus focal reducer causes some minor coma on one edge.
C9.25″ Edge HD / Lepus 6.3 Reducer / QHY9
C11″ RASA / QHY12
CGX Mount
PixInsight / Photoshop

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Martian Crater
by +Lori Fenton

If you'd like to look, as if with 3D, into an ancient crater on Mars and see the vertical grooves around its rim, like you'd find on a giant jar lid (about 3/4 km in diameter or ~1/2 mile across), or the transverse aeolian ridges that fill the crater as if someone was playing with their fingers in a monstrous dish of butter, then grab your red/cyan glasses and click on the image link below or find it at Lori's blog by clicking the picture there.

The crater punched through many thin layers when it formed, some of which you can still see in around the rim. The crater is filled with many small dunes called transverse aeolian ridges (TARs), given this laborious and generic name because they aren’t quite like dunes we find on Earth and we don’t yet understand what they are. The TARs are common in this area, but there are even more here, where sand is swept into and then trapped inside this deep bowl.

More here (blog):

Aeolian Harp (listen):

Big Pic 

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+Hubble Space Telescope: A matter of distance

In space, being outshone is an occupational hazard. This NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope image captures a galaxy named NGC 7250. Despite being remarkable in its own right — it has bright bursts of star formation and recorded supernova explosions— it blends into the background somewhat thanks to the gloriously bright star hogging the limelight next to it.

This bright object is a single and little-studied star named TYC 3203-450-1, located in the constellation of Lacerta (The Lizard), much closer than the much more distant galaxy. Only this way a normal star can outshine an entire galaxy, consisting of billions of stars. Astronomers studying distant objects call these stars “foreground stars” and they are often not very happy about them, as their bright light is contaminating the faint light from the more distant and interesting objects they actually want to study.

In this case TYC 3203-450-1 million times closer than NGC 7250 which lies over 45 million light-years away from us. Would the star be the same distance as NGC 7250, it would hardly be visible in this image.

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The art of counting elements is given the name "Stoichiometry". "Metry" means measurement and "Stoichi" is from Greek "stoikheion" meaning element. Stoichiometry expresses the quantitative relationship between reactants and products in a chemical equation.
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A New Path to Equal-Angle Lines - Equiangular lines are an elemental part of geometry. #Mathematicians have discovered a tighter limit on the number of such lines that exist in every #dimension.
- Image : This #icosahedron shows the maximum number of equiangular lines that can be drawn in three dimensions. (open the link below for more visualization)
- For at least 70 years, mathematicians have been trying to answer a question like that one. The sets of lines they’re interested in share a basic feature: Any two lines from the set intersect to form the same angle. Such sets of lines are called “equiangular.” Mathematicians want to know just how big those sets can get as you move past the 3-D space of our everyday experience and into higher dimensions.
Equiangular lines are much more than a curiosity — they’re an almost elemental way to think about geometry. Maximal constructions of equiangular lines often align perfectly with the vertices of highly symmetric shapes, which make them a way to discover the existence of those shapes in the first place. In addition, radiating equiangular lines would pass through the surface of a surrounding sphere at equidistant points. This property makes the lines important for so-called spherical codes, which have important applications in applied mathematics and computer science.
Last spring a team of mathematicians found the maximum number of equiangular lines possible in any dimension, given certain conditions. They proved that that number is much smaller than previous best estimates. Benny Sudakov, a professor of mathematics at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology Zurich and one of the lead authors, credits the breakthrough to the wide range of mathematical techniques he and his coauthors were able to apply to the problem. “It’s like when you’re cooking something, we suddenly found we had the right ingredients,” said Sudakov. (read more...)
>>> article written BY Kevin Hartnett, all credicts, source :
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Stellar Ripple
Approximately 100 million years ago, a smaller galaxy plunged through the heart of the Cartwheel galaxy, creating ripples of brief star formation. In this image, the first ripple appears as an ultraviolet-bright blue outer ring so powerful that it may be one of the most powerful UV-emitting galaxies in the nearby universe.
This false-color composite image shows the Cartwheel galaxy as seen by the Galaxy Evolution Explorer (GALEX), the Hubble Space Telescope (green); the Spitzer Space Telescope (red); and the Chandra X-ray Observatory (purple).
Although astronomers have not identified exactly which galaxy collided with the Cartwheel, two of three candidate galaxies can be seen in this image to the bottom left of the ring, one as a neon blob and the other as a green spiral.
Previously, scientists believed the ring marked the outermost edge of the galaxy, but the latest GALEX observations detect a faint disk, not visible in this image, that extends to twice the diameter of the ring.
Image Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech
#nasa #esa #spaceexploration

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#MIT - Another potentially habitable extrasolar planet discovered ~ Some 40 light-years away, "super-Earth" identified as new target for atmospheric study. Once upon a time, not so very long ago, scientists could only postulate at the existence of planets orbiting other suns. Today, the race is on to find the first with signs of life, and it's hot.

With so many planets out there, the observational exoplanetary-science community is fiercely focused on identifying the most promising candidates for the next phase of their search, for the select few that will be first in line to command time on advanced new spaceborne and larger ground-based telescopes, scheduled to come online in the next few years. Scientists hope by observing the atmospheres of these planets they will be able to detect biochemical signatures of life.

> Now, as reported in the April issue of Nature, a new, "super Earth" candidate orbiting in the habitable zone of a nearby small star has been identified. This latest planet joins Proxima Centauri b and the TRAPPIST planetary candidates reported in February, at the top of the list of most promising potentially habitable planets scientists have so far identified.

The paper was authored by MIT postdocs Jason Dittmann and Elizabeth Newton, along with a team of other American and European collaborators. Dittmann, a lead author of the study who is currently working with postdoc Sarah Ballard at the MIT Kavli Institute for Astrophysics and Space Research, will be joining the group of MIT Professor Sara Seager in July as the inaugural Heising-Simons Pegasi B Fellow.

Located just 40 light-years away, the planet was found using the transit method, in which a star dims as a planet crosses in front of it as seen from Earth. By measuring how much light this planet blocks, the team determined that it is about 11,000 miles in diameter, or about 40 percent larger than Earth. The researchers have also weighed the planet and found it to be 6.6 times the mass of Earth, indicating it is dense and likely has a rocky composition.

The planet orbits a tiny, faint star known as LHS 1140, which is only one-fifth the size of the sun. Since the star is so dim and cool, its habitable zone (the distance at which a planet might be warm enough to hold liquid water) is very close. This planet, designated LHS 1140 b, orbits its star every 25 days. At that distance, it receives about half as much sunlight from its star as Earth.

What makes planets that transit their host stars, like this latest discovery and the other candidates before it, special is that they can be examined for the presence of an atmosphere. As each planet moves in front of its star, the star’s light is filtered through any atmosphere, the gases present modifying the spectrum. Scientists on Earth, soon to be armed with next-generation telescopes like the James Webb Space Telescope (scheduled for launch in 2018), and the ground-based Giant Magellan Telescope (currently under construction), are working to be able to tease out these subtle signals for evidence of biosignatures — chemicals that would suggest an alien planet is playing host to life.

As a lead author on the study, Jason Dittmann analyzed light curve and radial-velocity data and wrote the manuscript. Meanwhile, Elisabeth Newton determined the rotational period of the star. Both did their work as members of the MEarth research team at the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics before joining MIT.

When Dittmann’s Pegasi-B Fellowship officially begins on July 1, he will join the group of Class of 1941 Professor of Planetary Sciences Sara Seager. Seager’s group is focused on the search for other Earths via space mission concepts and observations, modeling, and/or interpretation of exoplanet atmospheres, interiors, and biosignatures.

“All planets close to Earth mass or Earth size and anywhere near their star’s habitable zone (however ill-defined) are worth pursuing in the search for life on other worlds,” says Seager, who has appointments in the departments of Earth, Atmospheric and Planetary Sciences (EAPS) and Physics. Seager is also a co-investigator on the MIT-led Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite, a space telescope within NASA's Explorers program designed to search for exoplanets using the transit method that’s planned for launch in March 2018.

“I am delighted that the Heising-Simons Foundation chose MIT to host one of its four inaugural fellowships. Jason brings extensive expertise in exoplanet discovery that will be a huge asset to the MIT TESS team," Seager says.
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