30
Oct
2013

The foundation of the last five decades of biology is an elegant piece of code-breaking: the discovery in the 1960's of how the codons formed by DNA bases are translated into the amino acid pieces of proteins. Cracking this code revealed the basic recipe for life, enabling huge advances in the study of evolution, medicine and molecular biology. But merely knowing the ingredients that go into a protein can only tell you so much about how it actually functions.

24
Oct
2013

The mystery of missing heritability has plagued geneticists ever since genome-wide association studies, known as GWAS, became a popular method for seeking out genetic cauess of human disease. While many of these studies located genetic variants associated with their disease of interest, these variants could only explain a portion of the heritability for these diseases, as measured by familial patterns.

23
Oct
2013

Data and computation aren't just changing how cities are run, they're changing how cities are built. From new buildings and neighborhoods in the United States to entirely new megalopolises in the developing world, city planners and architects are using advanced data analytics and complex computer models to optimize the construction of new urban infrastructure.

21
Oct
2013

The Earth's climate is changing more dramatically than at any other point in recorded history. With no historical precedents to draw from, policy-makers have increasingly turned to computer models to help them strategize for an uncertain climate future. While these climate models have shown early success, scientists are constantly working to improve their accuracy, extend their predictions farther into the future and connect them across sectors to models of the economy, energy and agriculture.
 

16
Oct
2013

Imagine a time when your car is constantly sending data about your driving habits to your insurer. How much time you spend driving, where you travel, when you drive, even how fast you drive – all transmitting from meters in your car (or your phone) to an insurance company's data center. What might strike some as an invasion of privacy could also mean big savings for safe drivers, as insurers use the data to set individualized rates based on real driving behavior instead of demographics and average risk.
 

14
Oct
2013

Lars Peter Hansen -- Computation Institute Senior Fellow, Research Director at the Becker Friedman Institute and the David Rockefeller Distinguished Service Professor in Economics, Statistics, and the College at the University of Chicago -- can now add a new title to his catalog: Nobel laureate.

11
Oct
2013

The University of Chicago has a long history of innovation, in areas ranging from cancer treatment and particle physics to education and astronomy. Friday, the University announced a new physical space to facilitate the innovative discoveries of the future: the Chicago Innovation Exchange.

10
Oct
2013

A day after the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences celebrated a computation-enabled discovery 50 years in the making for the Nobel Prize in Physics, the prize committee chose to honor pioneers in another vibrant computational field with the Prize in Chemistry. On Wednesday, Martin Karplus, Michael Levitt, and Arieh Warshel received the chemistry prize for their contributions to the field of computational chemistry, developing software that allowed researchers to run simulations that incorporated both classical and quantum physics. The work created a modern environment where "​chemists now spend as much time in front of their computers as they do among test tubes" according to the Nobel Committee's materials. ​The CI's Center for Multiscale Theory and Simulation is one such place where the work of Karplus, Levitt and Warshel has been expanded to offer new insights in chemistry and biology. 

08
Oct
2013

In one of the more easily-called Nobel Prize announcements ever, the prize in physics was awarded this morning to Peter Higgs and François Englert for their theoretical work predicting the particle now known as the Higgs boson. Though their theory of the particle's existence was published in 1964, it took thousands of physicists and the $4.75 billion Large Hadron Collider in Geneva, Switzerland to finally confirm its existence last year. So while Higgs and Englert will get the medal and the free trip to Sweden, today's award can be celebrated by scientists and institutions around the world, including our own. An article at the University of Chicago News site details the role played by UChicago, Argonne National Laboratory and the Computation Institute in the landmark discovery of the Higgs boson.

01
Oct
2013

Science is built on measurement, but measurement has never been so complicated. Devices built for chemistry, physics, biology and other disciplines no longer merely collect data, but also conduct the initial rounds of analysis on that information. As more and more fields deal with the challenge of finding meaningful signals within enormous datasets, the ability of these scientific devices to help sort through the data they gather becomes ever more important.