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Co-directors of newly launched Harvard Data Science Initiative discuss new era

Co-directors of newly launched Harvard Data Science Initiative discuss new era

March 28, 2017

Harvard University just announced the launch of its Data Science Initiative, a program to harness the vast expertise and innovations that are occuring in disciplines as diverse as medicine, law, policy, and computer science.

Initiative co-directors Francesca Dominici, professor of biostatistics at the Harvard T.H.… Read more about Co-directors of newly launched Harvard Data Science Initiative discuss new era

Harvard launches sweeping data science initiative

Harvard launches sweeping data science initiative

March 28, 2017

A statistician and a computer scientist have been named co-leaders of Harvard’s new Data Science Initiative, the Harvard University Office of the Vice Provost for Research announced today.

A University-wide program that will aid cross-disciplinary collaboration, the initiative will be led by Francesca Dominici, professor of biostatistics at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public… Read more about Harvard launches sweeping data science initiative

How power of positive thinking works

How power of positive thinking works

December 7, 2016

Having an optimistic outlook on life — a general expectation that good things will happen — may help people live longer, according to a new study from the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health.

The study found that women who were optimistic had a significantly reduced risk of dying from several major causes of death — including cancer, heart disease, stroke, respiratory disease, and infection — over an eight-year period, compared with women who were… Read more about How power of positive thinking works

For bigger data, more storage

For bigger data, more storage

November 28, 2016

As big data becomes a common analytical tool in fields from the sciences to the humanities, Harvard’s computer infrastructure experts are turning their attention to an increasingly pressing question: How do you manage it all?

In recent years, Harvard invested in the Odyssey computing cluster, whose 60,000 CPUs provide the sheer computing horsepower needed to crunch big data.

But as large data sets multiply, the question of where to put the information and how to seamlessly retrieve it for analysis has… Read more about For bigger data, more storage

Toxic inequality

Toxic inequality

October 11, 2016

In 2014, lead began leaching into the water system in Flint, Mich., a majority African-American city where more than 40 percent of residents live below the poverty line. In August, severe ground contamination forced more than 1,000 inhabitants from their homes in East Chicago, Ind. The highest levels of lead- and arsenic-poisoned soil were found in the West Calumet Housing Complex, home mostly to low-income minority families.

The findings were chilling, especially because elevated lead levels are known to be particularly harmful to pregnant women and children. “Lead exposure can… Read more about Toxic inequality

Now arriving: Internet of Things

October 5, 2016

While several technical experts highlighted just how smart our appliances, lights, cars, factories, and even cities are becoming, another questioned whether we’re thinking hard enough about what technology should do rather than what it can do.

A hot idea for conserving energy

A hot idea for conserving energy

September 29, 2016

When winter temperatures drop to frigid in Cambridge, the air inside some rooms at Eliot House soars to downright tropical.

That’s because Eliot, an upperclassman dormitory built in 1931, uses a steam-driven heat exchanger to pump hot water through the building whenever the outdoor temperature drops below 48 degrees. To ensure that enough steam reaches radiators at the end of the line, radiators in rooms closer to the input get hotter than necessary.

With limited temperature… Read more about A hot idea for conserving energy

Teaching computers to identify odors

Teaching computers to identify odors

September 21, 2016

Though scientists have long known that mice can pick out scents — the smell of food, say, or the odor of a predator — they have been at a loss to explain how they are able to perform that seemingly complex task so easily.

But a new study, led by Venkatesh Murthy, professor of molecular and cellular biology, suggests that the means of processing smells may be far simpler than researchers realized.

Using a machine-learning algorithm, Murthy and colleagues were able to “train” a computer to recognize the neural patterns… Read more about Teaching computers to identify odors

OpenScholar: A Harvard invention

OpenScholar: A Harvard invention

September 12, 2016

In the past few years, more than 13,000 Harvard faculty, students, and staff, individually or in groups, have created more than 6,500 websites on Harvard’s OpenScholar platform, a free, open-source software project based on technology invented and developed at Harvard’s Institute for Quantitative Social Science (IQSS).

Now available to the Harvard community through a hosted service run in collaboration with Harvard University Information Technology (HUIT) and Harvard Public Affairs and Communications (HPAC), OpenScholar… Read more about OpenScholar: A Harvard invention

How the brain develops

How the brain develops

August 16, 2016

The developmental period from childhood to young adulthood is marked by profound physical, social, and emotional changes. But exactly how those changes are reflected in the brain remains something of a mystery.

In an effort to get a clearer picture of how the brain and the connections between its regions change throughout development, Harvard scientists and researchers from three other universities will share a $14 million grant to support one of the most comprehensive brain imaging studies ever undertaken.

The grant from the National Institutes of Health (NIH)… Read more about How the brain develops