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Toward Federated Identity Use for Secure Scientific Computing

The scientific community, specifically those users and providers of infrastructure such as high-performance computing resources, is attempting to create a unified access method that would ease user login, but still provide essential security. The solution could be to use a federated identity system, which acts as a passport between research computing infrastructures, in which a user is able to use a single login identity for accessing various systems. Proponents say this will encourage scientific collaboration. CERN hosted a conference on creating a federated identity system in early June. There is a federated computing system in place at the Computation Institute at the University of Chicago and Argonne National Laboratory in the US for distributing computing, but the creation of these secure work spaces isn’t without challenges. One particular concern, say researchers, is managing trust and using credentials between various domains. (International Science Grid This Week)(HPCWire)(“Federated identity system for scientific collaborations,” CERN)(Globus Online)

Researchers Find Simple Method for Making Graphene

Northern Illinois University researchers claim they’ve found an easier method for making graphene that is as simple as burning pure magnesium in dry ice. Typically, graphene synthesis has required lengthy and elaborate chemical processes to achieve a single atomic layer of graphene. While trying to produce single-wall carbon nanotubes, the researchers found that they could make several layers of graphene in nanosheet structures by burning magnesium metal in carbon dioxide. They claim this process is “simple, green and cost-effective.” Although the process has been carried out by other researchers, the resulting carbon structure was never examined in detail until now. The research was recently published in the Journal of Materials Chemistry. (GizMag)(Science Daily)(The Journal of Materials Chemistry)(Northern Illinois University)

Search Technology Uses Human Vision as Inspiration

A new search technology uses principles found in human vision recognition to find objects in photographs. Researchers at Imperial College London have developed the technology, which has since been spun off into the start-up company Cortexica. The company’s VisualSearch platform first captures an object’s boundaries or outline, discarding any information that might be background or noise. This enables it to compensate for variations in lighting and pose, which are commonly challenges in vision recognition. VisualSearch also looks at stable keypoints to gather more information and ultimately identify objects in 2D and 3D. The technology is being used in an application designed to help consumers select a wine to purchase and is expected to soon be implemented in advertising and other applications. ( Singularity Hub)(Technology Review)(Cortexica)

Researchers Apply Heat Mapping and Distribution to Image Recognition

Purdue University researchers have developed two new techniques for computer-vision technology that use heat mapping and heat distribution to enable computers to detect images in 3D. The techniques are based on very basic concepts related to the way heat diffuses over surfaces. By simulating the flow of heat over a surface, the researchers captured an object’s contours and shape, which lets machines detect the object without any training or prior information. Forms can also be recognized regardless of noise or different poses that might typically cause problems with conventional recognition methods. The researchers say there are numerous potential applications for the technology, including applications to robotic vision and navigation, medical imaging, film production, and computer gaming. The researchers will present their work at the IEEE Computer Vision and Pattern Recognition conference 21-23 June in Colorado Springs. ( University)

Hungarian Grid Computing Explained

Hungary’s grid computing infrastructure operates a bit differently than comparable infrastructures in other European nations. In most national grid-computing organizations there are numerous virtual organizations that are coordinated by a national infrastructure. In Hungary, however, there are only several user-organizations and one virtual organization that provide all the services for Hungarian users. Known as  Hungrid VO, the organization provides information and training for academics, students, and other researchers. There are now roughly 80 registered users from areas including high-energy physics, astrophysics, applied mathematics, architecture, and biomedical engineering. One of the first published research papers based on Hungrid research concerned air pollution forecasting. (International Science Grid This Week)(HunGrid VO)

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