Mendeley Brainstorm – Quantum Computing – We Have a Winner!

Is quantum computing ready for prime time?

Many thanks to all those who entered the Mendeley Brainstorm related to Quantum Computing; picking a winner was not easy, however in the end, we selected Rui Santos’s post:

Revolution, as a concept itself, implies a shift in the until now set paradigm of thinking and doing. As offered now, computing runs the output scenario in either ones or zeros. Computation power per second has been increased by augmenting transistor abundance in a chip and by decreasing their size – up to 10nm in some mobile device’s chips nowadays! That’s pretty impressive! But these are still increments – evolution within the same thinking. Ironically, transistors are getting so small, that to regulate them, we actually have to take in account quantum mechanics! Differently, quantum processors function by creating a third state, in which a qubit can be either a zero or a one simultaneously. While a discrete system can only be one thing at the time, a quantum system is all things all the time. If that’s not a revolution what is? The evolution is getting them working at room temperature.

We asked Rui where the inspiration for this post sprang from:

I love technology and although it is not my working area, i like to keep in check the new gadgets that are announce, like a new smartphone. I like to know the geeky details about their processors and technologies the equipments use that are so fantastic and still, very little of us thing about the huge amount of computing power that nowdays we have at the tip of our fingers. We keep forgetting that our current smartphone is thousand times or maybe millions times more powerful than the chips on board of the Apollo rocket missions!

I always enjoy debating about what may come next, and i truly believe quantum computing will revolutionate the way we see and program machines but also their output. I believe it can be a better future if so we desire.

Rui added:

I also want to take the time to thank you and the Mendeley team about the software you provide. I use Mendeley as my daily reference manager. As a PhD student i really need to keep track of publications but also to make my references in reports, papers or monographies. I have synced through multiple devices including my phone and tablet. I simply love Mendeley and always suggest it to whoever asks me about a reference manager. Once again, thank you.

You’re welcome, Rui!

Thanks again to all our participants.

Mendeley Brainstorm – The Gig Economy – We Have a Winner!

A word of services provided by the gig economy is just an app away. But are there problems with this convenience?

Many thanks to all those who entered the Mendeley Brainstorm related to The Gig Economy; picking a winner was not easy, however in the end, we selected Rita O’Connell’s post:

From the perspective of the dominant companies behind the rise of the gig economy, the prevailing designation of the gig workforce is not one of precarity, but rather of individuals who are “entrepreneurial” and “independent” – craving economic freedom, desiring control of their own work and lives. These companies will tell you that the advantages of flexibility and freedom far outweigh the sacrifices of having no “traditional” job security. However: we now know that the vast majority of people participating in the gig economy are working multiple jobs, for more than forty hours a week, at or below minimum wage, without any of the protections that accompany standard employment. Where, then, their freedom? The fact that this economic model has been promulgated largely by massive multinational companies who are seeing enormous valuations and unprecedented profits and growth on the global market – on the backs of an underpaid, undersupported, anxious workforce – points to the need to closely consider cui bono, and demand fairer treatment for the gig workforce before it’s too late.

We asked Rita what inspired her, she wrote:

I’ve actually been a beneficiary of the have it your way promises of the gig economy on and off in my career. However, during my graduate studies at the National University of Ireland Galway this past year, under the guidance of Cian McMahon I began looking more closely at the likely long term economic impacts of the gig model, thanks in part to works like Guy Standing’s The Precariat, and some excellent research the folks at Pew released in late 2016 (http://www.pewinternet.org/2016/11/17/gig-work-online-selling-and-home-sharing/) — it’s especially telling that the gig economy is obviously not just the brightly-sold “side hustle” allowing young people to pursue creative entrepreneurial efforts with more freedom, but is proving to be yet another social and economic trap for members of our already-vulnerable low-income communities. I now strongly believe we need to be shining a stronger light on the exploitative nature of the gig economy and insisting on new types of worker protections for independent workers if we’re going to slow our headlong rush towards a massive social disaster as this model systematically erodes the social safety nets previous generations fought for (and rely on).

Those who didn’t win this time are encouraged to respond to the last ever Mendeley Brainstorm, regarding Quantum Computing. Thanks again to all our participants.

Mendeley Brainstorm – Quantum Computing: Close to Prime Time?

Quantum computing promises a massive increase in processing power

Recently, PhD students at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology made a breakthrough in the field of Quantum Computing.  They successfully simulated a 45-qubit quantum circuit; this brings closer the day when current computers will be obsolete. Is quantum computing an evolution or revolution? What will be its effects? We are looking for the most well thought out answer to this question in up to 150 words: use the comment feature below the blog and please feel free to promote your research! The winner will receive an Amazon gift certificate worth £50 and a bag full of Mendeley items; competition closes September 13, 2017.

A Revolution?

Quantum computing has been on the lips of computer scientists and computing enthusiasts for years.  By utilising quantum states, it promises to liberate computing from the traditional bounds of binary processing. This means that quantum computers, theoretically, will be massively more powerful than existing machines.

The Future is Near

It still remains challenging to build a quantum computer, however; the breakthrough by the Swiss students is a momentous occasion.  They’ve approached a milestone referred to as “quantum supremacy”, at which a Quantum Computer’s performance surpasses that of any current computer.

Effects?

The arrival of vastly more powerful machines could have a substantial impact on the field of artificial intelligence, certainly it will help in data processing.  How will this new technology affect us?  What is your view?  Tell us!

About Mendeley Brainstorms

Our Brainstorms are challenges so we can engage with you, our users, on the hottest topics in the world of research.  We look for the most in-depth and well thought through responses; the best response as judged by the Mendeley team will earn a prize.

Quantum Computing Funding Opportunities

Opportunity Link
Ideas Lab: Practical Fully-Connected Quantum Computer Challenge Link
Development of single cooper pair boxes for quantum computing and photo-detection Link
Rolf Landauer and Charles H. Bennett award in quantum computing Link
Development of single cooper pair boxes for quantum computing and photo-detection Link
Quantum networking and processing with quantum memories and integrated components Link
ORNL Quantum networking post-bachelor’s position Link
PhD Studentship: Developing a trapped-ion quantum computer demonstrator device (2017) HURRY! AUGUST DEADLINE! Link
Dan Hunt PhD studentship: Quantum technology for finance and other commercial applications HURRY! AUGUST DEADLINE! Link
PhD Studentship: Advanced microchips for quantum technology devices HURRY! AUGUST DEADLINE! Link
PhD Studentship: Developing a portable quantum sensor HURRY! AUGUST DEADLINE! Link
Quantum networking -post-bachelor’s associate Link

References

Ward, T. (2017). Two Students Just Broke a Quantum Computing World Record. Futurism. [online] Available at: https://futurism.com/two-students-just-broke-a-quantum-computing-world-record/ [Accessed 6 Jul. 2017].

Mendeley Brainstorm – The End of Driving – We Have a Winner!

Driving can be put beyond the reach of human error; but is that a mistake?

Many thanks to all those who entered the Mendeley Brainstorm related to The End of Driving; picking a winner was difficult, however in the end, we selected Anikó Tóth’s post:

Repeatedly through history, we’ve built machines that do what we do, better. Today, we’ve progressed from labor-saving to IQ-saving devices: machines that think and act so that we don’t have to ourselves. Do I believe that driverless cars would eventually make transportation safer? Absolutely. They will follow the rules, react lightning-fast, and simultaneously integrate input from multiple sensors. We still face challenges, of course. You know when that schmuck in the BMW is about to cut you off…but how to teach such intuition to a machine? Then there’s the cyber battle, crucial for the security of these devices. As we accept driverless cars, we must understand that many will inevitably become helpless without them—and this, not the engineering, is our chief peril. I know people who couldn’t drive a manual to save their lives, or get lost en route to the supermarket without a gps. Where does it end?

We asked Anikó what inspired her, she wrote:

My answer actually had nothing to do with my research (I’m a paleontologist/macroecologist phd student). It stemmed from a personal and family philosophy that is equal parts old-fashioned and progressive. As a scientist who comes from a family of mathematicians, engineers, and scientists I believe deeply in the power of technology to change the world. I also believe it is vitally important to understand and remember the things that made us human (Who do you know that can build a fire? Cook/bake from scratch? Read a map? Wire up a radio? Defend themselves physically? Have a meaningful conversation with a stranger? Sew? Do maths? First aid? Change a flat tire? the list goes on). Of course, making forward progress while keeping in touch with your roots is challenging, but challenges bring out the best in us, do they not?

Those who didn’t win this time are encouraged to respond to the latest Mendeley Brainstorm, regarding The Future of Energy. Thanks again to all our participants.

Mendeley Brainstorm – Science and Politics – We Have a Winner!

When politics and science collide, is it time to go on the march?

Many thanks to all those who entered the Mendeley Brainstorm related to Science and Politics; picking a winner given the well thought out answers was particularly difficult this time, however in the end, we selected Isaac Alcón Rovira’s post:

To me the problem is a bit deeper. I think something that must change in science today is the capacity to reach people who is out of science. By “reaching” I mean being able to transmit what science is. Out of the scientific world, people have no idea what science is, and I believe that if everyone would have a scientific point of view (even not being a scientist at all) that would be very beneficial in their life in many senses. However, scientists, at the moment, have not idea about how to transmit science. In fact, to all conferences that I have been so far (not many, but some) around 80% of talks have been so opaque that I have not got more than a glimpse of what that person tries to achieve with his/her research. As a consequence, I come back home with the feeling I have wasted 80% of my time. Now, if scientists are not able to fully transmit, even to the colleges of their own field, their research, then, let’s forget about transmitting our science to the rest of the world, to people who are not familiar with what an atom, or a molecule, is (now thinking in Chemistry, of course).

In my opinion, the day scientists are capable of transmitting what science is to the rest of the world, we will get the power to reach people, to touch people and, eventually, to move people. That day, probably, we will not really care what politics do or whether they believe in science or not, because 80% of people will do care of science, and that will be far enough.

Isaac is a PhD student at the Universitat de Barcelona, He wrote:

My research is not about communication skills, or politics, I am a chemist and I am designing 2D materials for possible future applications in organic electronics. What inspired me? … I have become quite passionate with Beatles during the last year and, to me, there is a common factor in all most successful songs by Lennon and McCartney: all of them are tremendously good but, at the same time, tremendously simple. I am sure many scientists would tell me that Science cannot be transmitted in such a simple way as Music, because of its more complex nature. Well, I think it is possible, and it is just a matter of caring about it, and putting the effort to make it happen.

Thank you, Isaac!

Those who didn’t win this time are encouraged to respond to the latest Mendeley Brainstorm, regarding Cloning. Thanks again to all our participants.

Mendeley Brainstorm – Ageing Societies – We Have a Winner!

As societies age, there are are both challenges and opportunities.
As societies age, there are are both challenges and opportunities.

Many thanks to all those who entered the Mendeley Brainstorm related to Ageing Societies; picking a winner is never easy, in this instance, we have selected Beau Hilton’s response:

Two modifiable and interrelated aspects of aging are muscle and strength loss (sarcopenia and dynapenia). These are deleterious in obvious ways such as difficulty performing activities of daily living, as well as in indirect ways, e.g. reduction of glucose disposal into muscle may contribute to hyperglycemia, diabetes, and perhaps Alzheimer’s disease, sometimes called “type 3 diabetes.” Interventions are generally low-cost and include the conventional, such as protein (especially leucine) intake and resistance exercise, as well as innovations including blood flow restriction training, which was developed in Japan to help people maintain or increase muscle mass when unable to lift heavy weights or even move at all. Additionally, prudent use of and research on anabolic agents in both males and females is beginning to see a renaissance. What does it mean for society if the typical 75-year-old in 20xx has the physical agility of the typical 55-year-old in 2017?

We asked Beau about his background. He responded:

I am a 2nd year medical student at the Cleveland Clinic Lerner College of Medicine. It’s a 5 year program with a research emphasis and, since it’s housed in the Clinic itself, a great deal of time with patients. My main interest is prevention and wellness, with a focus on attacking the functional deficits that most characterize old age using rational combinations of lifestyle and pharmacological means.

Those who didn’t win this time are encouraged to respond to the latest Mendeley Brainstorm, regarding Science and Politics. Thanks again to all our participants.

Mendeley Brainstorm: Science and Politics – Unhappy Together?

Is it time for researchers to adapt or go on the march?
Is it time for researchers to adapt or go on the march?

The worlds of science and politics appear to be in conflict. Britain voted for Brexit; it’s estimated 90% of British academics voted Remain. Recent policy announcements by the Trump administration have provoked scientists to plan a “March for Science” on Washington DC. Are science and politics destined to clash? We are looking for the most well thought out answer to this question in up to 150 words: use the comment feature below the blog and please feel free to promote your research! The winner will receive an Amazon gift certificate worth £50 and a bag full of Mendeley items; competition closes March 8, 2017.

Post-Factual Versus Evidence Based

The world of politics introduced new terms into the lexicon in 2016, including “post-factual”, “post-truth” and “fake news”; the world of science continues to rely on evidence, data and peer reviews. In 2016, politics erupted with statements that denounced “experts”; science depends on expertise to achieve its advances.

Funding Pressures

The Trump Administration has instructed the Environmental Protection Agency to freeze all grants. This could be a prelude to more cuts for research in environmental and other sciences. Mick Mulvaney, President Trump’s choice to head the White House’s Office of Management and Budget, apparently asked in September 2016 after considering studies done about the Zika virus, “…do we really need government funded research at all”.

What’s Next?

Can science learn to live with the new political environment, or is it time for researchers to march? Will “post factual” politics be compelled to yield to cold, hard data? Will science shift from countries like the United States and Britain to elsewhere? What are your thoughts on what will happen and what will you do? Tell us!

Need to Store & Publish Your Data?

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About Mendeley Brainstorms

Our Brainstorms are challenges so we can engage with you, our users, on the hottest topics in the world of research.  We look for the most in-depth and well thought through responses; the best response as judged by the Mendeley team will earn a prize.

References

AHUJA, M. (2017). Scientists planning their own march in Washington. CNN. [online] Available at: http://edition.cnn.com/2017/01/25/politics/scientists-march-dc-trnd/index.html?sr=twCNN012617scientists-march-dc-trnd0530AMStoryPhoto&linkId=33790680 [Accessed 26 Jan. 2017].

BELLUZ, J. (2017). Trump’s budget director pick: “Do we really need government-funded research at all”. [Blog] Vox. Available at: http://www.vox.com/science-and-health/2016/12/21/14012552/trump-budget-director-research-science-mulvaney [Accessed 26 Jan. 2017].

KASPRAK, A. (2016). FACT CHECK: Trump’s Budget Director Pick Asked “Do We Really Need Government-Funded Research at All?”. [online] Snopes. Available at: http://www.snopes.com/trumps-budget-director-pick-asked-really-need-government-funded-research/ [Accessed 26 Jan. 2017].

WAPNER, J. (2017). Trump Freezes Grants, Approves Pipelines and Considers Sharp Budget Cuts At the EPA. Newsweek. [online] Available at: http://europe.newsweek.com/trump-freezes-grants-approves-pipelines-and-considers-sharp-budget-cuts-epa-547738?rm=eu [Accessed 26 Jan. 2017].