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Solving puzzles without a picture: New algorithm assembles chromosomes from next generation sequencing data

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Jan. 10, 2013 — One of the most difficult problems in the field of genomics is assembling relatively short "reads" of DNA into complete chromosomes. In a new paper published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences an interdisciplinary group of genome and computer scientists has solved this problem, creating an algorithm that can rapidly create "virtual chromosomes" with no prior information about how the genome is organized.

The powerful DNA sequencing methods developed about 15 years ago, known as next generation sequencing (NGS) technologies, create thousands of short fragments. In species whose genetics has already been extensively studied, existing information can be used to organize and order the NGS...

New approach for simulating supernovas

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A computer simulation of one octant of a core collapse supernova, using SNSPH. (Credit: Dr. Carola Ellinger)

Jan. 8, 2013 — Two University of Texas at Arlington researchers want to bridge the gap between what is known about exploding stars and the remnants left behind thousands of years later. So they're trying something new -- using SNSPH, a complex computer code developed at Los Alamos National Laboratory.

On January 8, Carola I. Ellinger, a post-doctoral...

Computer, electrical engineers working to help biologists cope with big data

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Liang Dong is developing an instrument that will allow plant scientists to simultaneously study thousands of plants grown in precisely controlled conditions. (Credit: Photo by Bob Elbert)

Jan. 8, 2013 — Liang Dong held up a clear plastic cube, an inch or so across, just big enough to hold 10 to 20 tiny seeds.

Using sophisticated sensors and software, researchers can precisely control the light, temperature, humidity and carbon dioxide inside that...

How songbirds learn to sing: Mathematical model explains how birds correct mistakes to stay on key

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A Bengalese finch outfitted with headphones. Research on how the birds learn to sing may lead to better human therapies for vocal rehabilitation. (Credit: Image courtesy of Emory University)

Dec. 20, 2012 — Scientists studying how songbirds stay on key have developed a statistical explanation for why some things are harder for the brain to learn than others.

"We've built the first mathematical model that uses a bird's previous sensorimotor experience to...

Motivation, study habits -- not IQ -- determine growth in math achievement

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Dec. 20, 2012 — It's not how smart students are but how motivated they are and how they study that determines their growth in math achievement. That's the main finding of a new study that appears in the journal Child Development.

The study was conducted by researchers at the University of Munich and the University of Bielefeld.

"While intelligence as assessed by IQ tests is important in the early stages of developing mathematical competence, motivation and study skills...