University of Waterloo

University of Waterloo (commonly referred as Waterloo or UW or UWaterloo) is a public research university whose main campus is located in Waterloo, Ontario, Canada.

Will cycle benchmarking help to set universal measurement standards for quantum computers?

Researchers at the University of Waterloo have developed a method that could pave the way to establishing universal standards for measuring the performance of quantum computers. The new method, called cycle benchmarking, allows researchers to assess the potential of scalability and to compare one quantum platform against another. “This finding could go a long way

Will cycle benchmarking help to set universal measurement standards for quantum computers?

Finally: A sensor to save children and pets left in vehicles

A small, inexpensive sensor could save lives by triggering an alarm when children or pets are left alone in vehicles. The new device, developed by researchers at the University of Waterloo, combines radar technology with artificial intelligence (AI) to detect unattended children or animals with 100-per-cent accuracy. Small enough to fit in the palm of

Finally: A sensor to save children and pets left in vehicles

An artificial leaf turns carbon dioxide into methanol and oxygen . . . efficiently

Scientists have created an “artificial leaf” to fight climate change by inexpensively converting harmful carbon dioxide (CO2) into a useful alternative fuel. The new technology, outlined in a paper published today in the journal Nature Energy, was inspired by the way plants use energy from sunlight to turn carbon dioxide into food. “We call it

An artificial leaf turns carbon dioxide into methanol and oxygen . . . efficiently

mmX is a low-power, low-cost network for 5G connectivity: A true enabler for the Internet of Things

Researchers at the University of Waterloo have developed a cheaper and more efficient method for Internet-of-Things devices to receive high-speed wireless connectivity. With 75 billion Internet of Things (IoT) devices expected to be in place by 2025, a growing strain will be placed on requirements of wireless networks. Contemporary WiFi and cellular networks won’t be

mmX is a low-power, low-cost network for 5G connectivity: A true enabler for the Internet of Things

Wasted food can be affordably turned into a clean substitute for fossil fuels.

Table scraps can be used to reduce reliance on fossil fuels New technology developed by researchers at the University of Waterloo engineers natural fermentation to produce a biodegradable chemical that can be refined as a source of energy. The chemical could also be used to replace petroleum-based chemicals in a host of products including drugs

Wasted food can be affordably turned into a clean substitute for fossil fuels.

Advancements in zero-emission fuel cells could make the technology cheap enough to replace traditional gasoline engines

Advancements in zero-emission fuel cells could make the technology cheap enough to replace traditional gasoline engines in vehicles, according to researchers at the University of Waterloo. The researchers have developed a new fuel cell that lasts at least 10 times longer than current technology, an improvement that would make them economically practical, if mass-produced, to

Advancements in zero-emission fuel cells could make the technology cheap enough to replace traditional gasoline engines

Monitoring vital signs wirelessly with radar

A radar system developed at the University of Waterloo can wirelessly monitor the vital signs of patients, eliminating the need to hook them up to any machines. Housed in a device smaller than a cellphone, the new technology records heart and breathing rates using sensitive radar waves that are analyzed by sophisticated algorithms embedded in

Monitoring vital signs wirelessly with radar

New software tool combines supervised machine learning with digital signal processing to answer some fascinating questions

A University of Waterloo researcher has spearheaded the development of a software tool that can provide conclusive answers to some of the world’s most fascinating questions. The tool, which combines supervised machine learning with digital signal processing (ML-DSP), could for the first time make it possible to definitively answer questions such as how many different

New software tool combines supervised machine learning with digital signal processing to answer some fascinating questions

The Latest Research from University of Waterloo

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The computing power needed to train AI is growing alarmingly

An updated analysis from OpenAI shows how dramatically the need for computational resources has increased to reach each new AI breakthrough. In 2018, OpenAI found that the amount of computational power used to train the largest AI models had doubled every 3.4 months since 2012. The San Francisco-based for-profit AI research lab has now added new

The computing power needed to train AI is growing alarmingly

A new covering can help seeds grow in unproductive soils

A specialized silk covering could protect seeds from salinity while also providing fertilizer-generating microbes. Providing seeds with a protective coating that also supplies essential nutrients to the germinating plant could make it possible to grow crops in otherwise unproductive soils, according to new research at MIT. A team of engineers has coated seeds with silk

A new covering can help seeds grow in unproductive soils

Soft flexible robots can be created out of a new metallic material

‘Origami robots’ are state-of-the-art soft and flexible robots that are being tested for use in various applications including drug delivery in human bodies, search and rescue missions in disaster environments and humanoid robotic arms. Because these robots need to be flexible, they are often made from soft materials such as paper, plastic and rubber. To

Soft flexible robots can be created out of a new metallic material

A new approach to diagnosis and treatment for rare diseases that cumulatively affect millions 

Better definition could lead to better diagnosis and treatment for rare diseases that cumulatively affect millions  Thousands of rare diseases cumulatively affect millions of people across the globe, yet because each case is so rare doctors struggle to accurately diagnose and effectively treat individual patients. Every time a patient with an unspecified disorder walks into

A new approach to diagnosis and treatment for rare diseases that cumulatively affect millions 

Will cycle benchmarking help to set universal measurement standards for quantum computers?

Researchers at the University of Waterloo have developed a method that could pave the way to establishing universal standards for measuring the performance of quantum computers. The new method, called cycle benchmarking, allows researchers to assess the potential of scalability and to compare one quantum platform against another. “This finding could go a long way

Will cycle benchmarking help to set universal measurement standards for quantum computers?

A simple urine test for prostate cancer detection can now use urine samples collected at home

A simple urine test under development for prostate cancer detection can now use urine samples collected at home – according to new research from University of East Anglia and the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital. Scientists pioneered the test which diagnoses aggressive prostate cancer and predicts whether patients will require treatment up to five years

A simple urine test for prostate cancer detection can now use urine samples collected at home

Forearm Gestures Remotely Control Computers and Drones

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The MYO armband translates electrical activity produced by muscles into commands for gadgets

I expected “gesture control” to be immediately intuitive. But as I slip on the MYO—a flexible band that fits around my forearm—a cursor on a laptop in front of me begins somersaulting wildly across the screen, tracking my erratic arm movements. I focus, slow down and try to get a feel for this new tool.

“Move your wrist right—and now left,” instructs Stephen Lake, co-founder ofThalmic Labs of Waterloo, Ontario, the start-up behind the MYO (named after a biological prefix denoting muscle). As I do, the engineering interface on Lake’s computer screen registers a burst of raw data—peaks and dips of scrolling electrical activity produced by my engaged skeletal muscles. Then, the program flashes the words “right” and “left,” confirming that it understood my actions. I’m beginning to get the hang of this.

I’m in a New York City office, where Lake is offering the first hands-on demonstration of the MYO, a new gesture control interface. The armband has insulated electrodes that detect small volts of electricity that muscles produce when they expand, contract or move in any direction. The band transmits those data wirelessly to software, which translates them into commands for a computer, drone or other electronic device. The idea is to control these devices hands-free, and without the need for cameras that would track my motions.

The MYO prototype resembles a clunky bracelet of the type Wilma Flintstone might wear. The final product—the first batch ships out at the end of the year—will resemble a sweatband, Lake says. The prototype is fashioned out of 3-D–printed black plastic, embedded with several muscle activity sensors. They act as electromyographs, or instruments that detect minute electrical signals on the order of microvolts, produced by activated muscles. “The challenge is picking up those tiny muscle activity signals and ignoring all the noise,” Lake says.

An inertial sensor, embedded in one of the MYO’s segments, registers motion made with the arm, such as a rolling wave or a back-and-forth swing. Using a large set of data, Lake and his co-founders applied machine learning to train the MYO to recognize specific signals while canceling out background noise. “What I am impressed with about the MYO is the combination of state-of-the-art pattern recognition and machine learning algorithms to detect gestures, with a strong base of acquiring data,” says Daniel Stashuk, an electrical engineer at the University of Waterloo who has no financial ties to Thalmic Labs, in a phone interview. “Marrying those two things together is quite useful.”

So far, the sensors can recognize around 20 gestures, from a sweeping arm to a clenching fist. On the finest end of the spectrum, the MYO responds to a thumb and finger pinching together. “It’s not that we couldn’t detect smaller motions, but if we did, there would be so many false positives,” Lake explains.

The MYO’s greatest limitation, Lake thinks, is the fact that the user must wear it. If the armband is not wrapped around the forearm, it cannot detect movement. Current challenges to improving the MYO’s performance, he adds, include better defining an intuitive set of gestures that could be applied across a wide variety of applications. The team is also working to refine the MYO’s algorithms to improve balance between sensitivity and false gesture detection.

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Global warming caused by CFCs, not carbon dioxide, study says

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Chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) are to blame for global warming since the 1970s and not carbon dioxide, according to new research from the University of Waterloo published in the International Journal of Modern Physics B this week.

CFCs are already known to deplete ozone, but in-depth statistical analysis now shows that CFCs are also the key driver in global climate change, rather than carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions.

“Conventional thinking says that the emission of human-made non-CFC gases such as carbon dioxide has mainly contributed to global warming. But we have observed data going back to the Industrial Revolution that convincingly shows that conventional understanding is wrong,” said Qing-Bin Lu, a professor of physics and astronomy, biology and chemistry in Waterloo’s Faculty of Science. “In fact, the data shows that CFCs conspiring with cosmic rays caused both the polar ozone hole and global warming.”

“Most conventional theories expect that global temperatures will continue to increase as CO2 levels continue to rise, as they have done since 1850. What’s striking is that since 2002, global temperatures have actually declined – matching a decline in CFCs in the atmosphere,” Professor Lu said. “My calculations of CFC greenhouse effect show that there was global warming by about 0.6 °C from 1950 to 2002, but the earth has actually cooled  since 2002. The cooling trend is set to continue for the next 50-70 years as the amount of CFCs in the atmosphere continues to decline.”

The findings are based on in-depth statistical analyses of observed data from 1850 up to the present time, Professor Lu’s cosmic-ray-driven electron-reaction (CRE) theory of ozone depletion and his previous research into Antarctic ozone depletion and global surface temperatures.

“It was generally accepted for more than two decades that the Earth’s ozone layer was depleted by the sun’s ultraviolet light-induced destruction of CFCs in the atmosphere,” he said. “But in contrast, CRE theory says cosmic rays – energy particles originating in space – play the dominant role in breaking down ozone-depleting molecules and then ozone.”

Lu’s theory has been confirmed by ongoing observations of cosmic ray, CFC, ozone and stratospheric temperature data over several 11-year solar cycles. “CRE is the only theory that provides us with an excellent reproduction of 11-year cyclic variations of both polar ozone loss and stratospheric cooling,” said Professor Lu. “After removing the natural cosmic-ray effect, my new paper shows a pronounced recovery by ~20% of the Antarctic ozone hole, consistent with the decline of CFCs in the polar stratosphere.”

By proving the link between CFCs, ozone depletion and temperature changes in the Antarctic, Professor Lu was able to draw almost perfect correlation between rising global surface temperatures and CFCs in the atmosphere.

“The climate in the Antarctic stratosphere has been completely controlled by CFCs and cosmic rays, with no CO2 impact. The change in global surface temperature after the removal of the solar effect has shown zero correlation with CO2 but a nearly perfect linear correlation with CFCs – a correlation coefficient as high as 0.97.”

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via University of Waterloo
 

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Downtime – We Apologize!

Sorry if you have been a victim of our server downtime recently.

Update: Dec 2, 2012

Thanks to John and Tom for getting us back up and running.  A hard drive on the server was having data indigestion problems, took an electronic Tums, and is now back working flawlessly.

We again apologize for the inconvenience.

 

Old Stuff

For the last 6 months we have experienced flawless uptime from our Godaddy grid hosting package.  During the last 5 days, we have been experiencing some serious outages caused by “resyncing their grid servers”.

They have apologized and we have accepted.

However, in the process of trying to find out what was going wrong we have had to reset a number of things on our end.  The net result for you is that you will likely need to reset our feed if you are coming in via rss and it may even extend to links as well.

Again, we apologize for the interruption and any inconvenience this may have caused.

We very much appreciate your visitations and comments as usual.  Please let us know if you have further difficulties or suggestions.

Yours in the future,

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