The convergence of information and communication technologies into a national "cyberinfrastructure" is poised to revolutionize the environmental sciences and many other disciplines in the coming years, according to researchers presenting at the AAAS Annual Meeting in Seattle. The two Feb. 13 sessions on cyberinfrastructure were organized by the heads of two National Science Foundation (NSF) directorates.
The speakers will describe a very near future in which computing capabilities will provide better forecasts of when and where earthquakes are likely to occur and how the ground will shake as a result. Global climate models will simulate complex chemical, biological and geological processes in the Earth’s air, oceans and land over thousands of years. Robotic sensors will monitor ecosystem health or track pollutants in urban watersheds in real- time.
"New instrumentation, data-handling and computation capabilities will expand the horizons of what we can study and understand about the environment," said Margaret Leinen, head of NSF’s Geosciences directorate and co-organizer of the two AAAS symposia. "Cyberinfrastructure is empowering a new generation of environmental researchers in their quest to unravel how the world around us works." Cyberinfrastructure has become a common theme throughout NSF, and every directorate has funded or is exploring cyberinfrastructure-related projects.
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Microprocessors based on atomically thin materials hold the promise of the evolution of traditional processors as well as new applications in the field of flexible electronics. Now, a TU Wien research team led by Thomas Müller has made a breakthrough in this field as part of an ongoing research project.
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