China Is Harvesting Organs From Detainees, Tribunal Concludes

science - Posted On:2019-06-17 23:44:58 Source: slashdot

An anonymous reader quotes a report from The Guardian: An independent tribunal sitting in London has concluded that the killing of detainees in China for organ transplants is continuing, and victims include imprisoned followers of the Falun Gong movement. The China Tribunal, chaired by Sir Geoffrey Nice QC, who was a prosecutor at the international criminal tribunal for the former Yugoslavia, said in a unanimous determination at the end of its hearings it was "certain that Falun Gong as a source -- probably the principal source -- of organs for forced organ harvesting." Among those killed, it has been alleged, are members of religious minorities such as Falun Gong. Persecution of the group began in 1999 after it had attracted tens of millions of followers and came to be seen as a threat to the communist party. There is less evidence about the treatment of Tibetans, Uighur Muslims and some Christian sects. China announced in 2014 that it would stop removing organs for transplantation from executed prisoners and has dismissed the claims as politically-motivated and untrue. "The conclusion shows that very many people have died indescribably hideous deaths for no reason, that more may suffer in similar ways and that all of us live on a planet where extreme wickedness may be found in the power of those, for the time being, running a country with one of the oldest civilizations known to modern man," said Sir Geoffrey Nice QC. He added: "There is no evidence of the practice having been stopped and the tribunal is satisfied that it is continuing." Read more of this story at Slashdot.

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The League of Entropy Forms To Offer Acts of Public Randomness

science - Posted On:2019-06-17 15:29:59 Source: slashdot

Cloudflare, along with a group of individual and academic partners, is forming a new coalition that will provide truly random, unpredictable numbers for a variety of applications, including election systems and lotteries. From a report: The problem of producing truly random numbers on a consistent basis has been a thorny one for cryptographers for many years. There have been plenty of efforts to establish sources of randomness, with some success, but one of the drawbacks is that any single randomness generator can be a target for abuse by privileged insiders or outside attackers. This is especially true in high-value applications that require random numbers, such as lottery or election systems. Also, if a given source of random numbers fails for any reason, the applications that rely on it can be crippled, as well. To help address this problem, Cloudflare has teamed up with the University of Chile, the Ecole polytechnique federale de Lausanne, and several individual researchers to form a consortium of randomness beacons distributed around the world. The system is based on the drand randomness beacon developed by Nicholas Gailly, a researcher at Protocol Labs, a research lab for network protocols, and the aim is to have a distributed network of beacons that will always be available. "Our founding members are contributing their individual high-entropy sources to provide a more random and unpredictable beacon to generate publicly verifiable random values every sixty seconds. The fact that the drand beacon is decentralized and built using appropriate, provably-secure cryptographic primitives, increases our confidence that it possesses all the aforementioned properties," Dina Kozlov, a product manager at Cloudflare, said. "This global network of servers generating randomness ensures that even if a few servers are offline, the beacon continues to produce new numbers by using the remaining online servers. Even if one or two of the servers or their entropy sources were to be compromised, the rest will still ensure that the jointly-produced entropy is fully unpredictable and unbiasable." Random numbers are vital to many kinds of systems and there are plenty of hardware and software-based random number generators. But more than one RNG has been found to have a bias, whether intentional or accidental, so randomness beacons emerged. Read more of this story at Slashdot.

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Firefly opens first Alpha rocket launch to academic and educational payloads

Science - Posted On:2019-06-17 09:14:56 Source: arstechnica

One of the questions facing any company as it brings a new rocket to market is what to put on top of the booster. After all, things can sometimes go all explodey with inaugural flights. So the first flight of any rocket typically serves as demonstration missions, to prove via an actual test flight that all of a company's modeling and ground testing were correct. SpaceX famously put Elon Musk's cherry red Tesla Roadster on the first flight of the Falcon Heavy rocket.

Despite a sometimes whimsical payload, however, first flights demonstrate a number of capabilities to potential customers. (In the case of the Falcon Heavy, the rocket's upper stage performed a six-hour coast in space before re-firing its upper stage engine to demonstrate the ability to directly inject key satellites into geostationary space for the U.S. military).

As the Austin, Texas-based rocket company Firefly nears the first flight of its Alpha rocket, the company also faces such a payload decision. It has an (undisclosed) customer for the flight, but the smallsat launcher also has some unused capacity for the mission—the Alpha rocket has about twice as much lift as an existing competitor, Rocket Lab's Electron vehicle.

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Upgrade Your Memory With A Surgically Implanted Brain Chip

science - Posted On:2019-06-16 22:14:58 Source: slashdot

Bloomberg reports on a five-year, $77 million project by America's Department of Defense to create an implantable brain device that restores memory-generation capacity for people with traumatic brain injuries. A device has now been developed by Michael Kahana, a professor of psychology at the University of Pennsylvania, and the medical technology company Medtronic Plc, and successfully tested with funding from America's Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (Darpa). Connected to the left temporal cortex, it monitors the brain's electrical activity and forecasts whether a lasting memory will be created. "Just like meteorologists predict the weather by putting sensors in the environment that measure humidity and wind speed and temperature, we put sensors in the brain and measure electrical signals," Kahana says. If brain activity is suboptimal, the device provides a small zap, undetectable to the patient, to strengthen the signal and increase the chance of memory formation. In two separate studies, researchers found the prototype consistently boosted memory 15 per cent to 18 per cent. The second group performing human testing, a team from Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center in Winston-Salem, N.C., aided by colleagues at the University of Southern California, has a more finely tuned method. In a study published last year, their patients showed memory retention improvement of as much as 37 per cent. "We're looking at questions like, 'Where are my keys? Where did I park the car? Have I taken my pills?'" says Robert Hampson, lead author of the 2018 study... Both groups have tested their devices only on epileptic patients with electrodes already implanted in their brains to monitor seizures; each implant requires clunky external hardware that won't fit in somebody's skull. The next steps will be building smaller implants and getting approval from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to bring the devices to market... Justin Sanchez, who just stepped down as director of Darpa's biological technologies office, says veterans will be the first to use the prosthetics. "We have hundreds of thousands of military personnel with traumatic brain injuries," he says. The next group will likely be stroke and Alzheimer's patients. Read more of this story at Slashdot.

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Star Trek Logo Spotted On Mars

science - Posted On:2019-06-15 16:44:59 Source: slashdot

Long-time Slashdot reader fahrbot-bot brings us news about the southern hemisphere of Mars: The University of Arizona HiRISE (High Resolution Imaging Science Experiment) has posted a photo of curious chevron shapes in southeast Hellas Planitia that are the result of "a complex story of dunes, lava, and wind." "Enterprising viewers will make the discovery that these features look conspicuously like a famous logo..." RockDoctor (Slashdot reader #15,477) adds that "For those wanting to try to find it on a Mars map, it's at Latitude (centered) -49.325 Longitude (East) 85.331." Read more of this story at Slashdot.

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One Dead After Fecal Transplant Gone Wrong, FDA Warns

science - Posted On:2019-06-15 09:14:56 Source: slashdot

fahrbot-bot shares a report from Ars Technica: One patient has died and another became seriously ill after fecal transplants inadvertently seeded their innards with a multi-drug resistant bacterial infection, the Food and Drug Administration warned Thursday. The cases highlight the grave risks of what some consider a relatively safe procedure. They also call attention to the mucky issues of federal oversight for the experimental transplants, which the FDA has struggled to regulate. In its warning Thursday, the agency announced new protections for trials and experimental uses of the procedure. The FDA shared minimal details from the deadly transplants. Its warning only noted that the cases involved two patients who were immunocompromised prior to the experimental transplants and received stool from the same donor. Subsequent to the transplant, the patients developed invasive infections from an E. coli strain that was resistant to a wide variety of antibiotics in the penicillin and cephalosporin groups. The E. coli strain carried a drug-defeating enzyme called an extended-spectrum beta-lactamase (ESBL), which generally cleaves a ring common to all the chemical structures of those antibiotics. When unnamed researchers who administered the transplant looked back at the donor stool, they found that the stool contained an identical ESBL-producing E. coli. One of the patients died and the fate of the other was not discussed. The agency also did not say how or why the patients were immunocompromised prior to the transplants, what the transplants were attempting to accomplish, how they were carried out, who conducted the transplants, or when they occurred. Read more of this story at Slashdot.

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Astronomers Detected Signs of Our Milky Way Colliding With Another Galaxy

science - Posted On:2019-06-15 03:14:57 Source: slashdot

fahrbot-bot shares a report from ScienceAlert: Antlia 2, the "ghost of a galaxy" orbiting the Milky Way, is a dark horse in more ways than one. Not only is it so faint it was only just discovered last year, it may now be responsible for curious ripples in the hydrogen gas that makes up the Milky Way's outer disc. According to new research, Antlia 2's current position is consistent with a collision with the Milky Way hundreds of millions of years ago that could have produced the perturbations we see today. The paper has been submitted for publication and is undergoing peer review. Antlia 2 was a bit of a surprise when it showed up in the second Gaia mission data release last year. It's really close to the Milky Way -- one of our satellite galaxies -- and absolutely enormous, about the size of the Large Magellanic Cloud. Further reading: CNET Read more of this story at Slashdot.

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Anti-vaxxers defeated: NY bans exemptions as doctors vote to step up fight

Science - Posted On:2019-06-14 17:59:59 Source: arstechnica

Anti-vaccine advocates received a blow in New York Thursday as state lawmakers banned non-medical exemptions based on religious beliefs—and there may be more blows coming.

]Also on Thursday, the American Medical Association adopted a new policy to step up its fight against such non-medical exemptions. The AMA, the country’s largest physicians’ group and one of the largest spenders on lobbying, has always strongly support pediatric vaccination and opposed non-medical exemptions. But under the new policy changes, the association will now “actively advocate” for states to eliminate any laws that allow for non-medical exemptions on the books.

“As evident from the measles outbreaks currently impacting communities in several states, when individuals are not immunized as a matter of personal preference or misinformation, they put themselves and others at risk of disease,” AMA Board Member E. Scott Ferguson, M.D. said in a statement. “The AMA strongly supports efforts to eliminate non-medical exemptions from immunization, and we will continue to actively urge policymakers to do so.”

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Digital Marketer Mailchimp Bans Anti-Vaccination Content

science - Posted On:2019-06-14 17:44:59 Source: slashdot

Digital marketer Mailchimp has removed several anti-vaccination "activists" from its platform and will no longer provide services to newsletters that push anti-vaccination content. From a report: The move to block the anti-vaccination rhetoric follows similar actions by other tech companies and comes on the heels of increased pressure from public health advocates and lawmakers on digital platforms to curtail the spread of health misinformation. "Mailchimp has shut down a number of accounts for anti-vaccination content that violates our Terms of Use, and we're adding this category to our routine searches for prohibited content," a Mailchimp spokesperson said in a statement provided to NBC News. "Spreading misinformation about the safety and efficacy of vaccines poses a serious threat to public health and causes real-world harm. We cannot allow these individuals and groups to use our Marketing Platform to spread harmful messages and expand their audiences." The company began quietly enforcing this decision last week. "We trust the world's leading health authorities, like the CDC, WHO, and the AAP, and follow their guidance when assessing this type of misuse of our platform," the spokesperson said, referring to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the World Health Organization and the American Academy of Pediatrics. Read more of this story at Slashdot.

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NASA Estimates It Will Need $20 Billion To $30 Billion For Moon Landing

science - Posted On:2019-06-14 14:14:59 Source: slashdot

NASA has touted its bold plan to return American astronauts to the moon by 2024 for months. Now we're starting to get an idea of how much it will cost. From a report: The space agency will need an estimated $20 billion to $30 billion over the next five years for its moon project, NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine told CNN Business on Thursday. That would mean adding another $4 billion to $6 billion per year, on average, to the agency's budget, which is already expected to be about $20 billion annually. Bridenstine's remarks are the first time that NASA has shared a total cost estimate for its moon program, which is called Artemis (after the Greek goddess of the moon) and could send people to the lunar surface for the first time in half a century. NASA wants that mission to include two astronauts: A man and the first-ever woman to walk on the moon. Read more of this story at Slashdot.

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One dead after poop transplant gone wrong, FDA warns

Science - Posted On:2019-06-14 13:44:59 Source: arstechnica

One patient has died and another became seriously ill after fecal transplants inadvertently seeded their innards with a multi-drug resistant bacterial infection, the Food and Drug Administration warned Thursday.

The cases highlight the grave risks of what some consider a relatively safe procedure. They also flush out the mucky issues of federal oversight for the experimental transplants, which the FDA has strained to regulate. In its warning Thursday, the agency announced new protections for trials and experimental uses of the procedure.

The FDA shared minimal details from the deadly transplants. Its warning only noted that the cases involved two patients who were immunocompromised prior to the experimental transplants and received stool from the same donor. Subsequent to the transplant, the patients developed invasive infections from an E. coli strain that was resistant to a wide variety of antibiotics in the penicillin and cephalosporin groups. The E. coli strain carried a drug-defeating enzyme called an extended-spectrum beta-lactamase (ESBL), which generally cleaves a ring common to all the chemical structures of those antibiotics.. When unnamed researchers who administered the transplant looked back at the donor stool, they found that the stool contained an identical ESBL-producing E. coli.

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Ebola spreads in Uganda, but not an international emergency, WHO says [Updated]

Science - Posted On:2019-06-14 13:44:59 Source: arstechnica

UPDATE 6/14/2019, 1pm ET: The World Health Organization's Emergency Committee met today to discuss the spread of Ebola outbreak and declared (for the third time) that the ongoing outbreak does not constitute a “public health emergency of international concern" or PHEIC. It is an emergency for the Democratic Republic of the Congo and the region, but does not meet the criteria for an international public health emergency, the committee concluded. Original story from 6/13/2019 follows.

Local and international health officials are scrambling to smother a flare-up of Ebola in Uganda, which spread this week from a massive, months-long outbreak in the neighboring Democratic Republic of the Congo. The outbreak has sickened 2,084 and killed 1,405 since last August.

Uganda announced its first case stemming from the outbreak on Tuesday, June 11. The case was in a 5-year-old Congolese boy who traveled across the border with family a few days earlier. The Ugandan Health Ministry reported shortly after that the boy succumbed to his infection the morning of June 12. Two of his family members also tested positive by that time: the boy’s 50-year-old grandmother and his 3-year-old brother.

Today, June 13, the Ministry announced that the grandmother had also passed. In an urgent meeting over the situation, officials from Uganda and the DRC mutually decided to send the remaining family back to the DRC. That includes the 3-year-old boy with a confirmed case, as well as the mother, father, a 6-month-old sibling, and their maid. Health officials noted that the latter four family members are all considered “suspected cases.”

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Killer poop: Fecal transplant patient’s death prompts FDA to push out warning

Science - Posted On:2019-06-14 13:30:00 Source: arstechnica

One patient has died and another became seriously ill after fecal transplants inadvertently seeded their innards with a multi-drug resistant bacterial infection, the Food and Drug Administration warned Thursday.

The cases highlight the grave risks of what some consider a relatively safe procedure. They also flush out the mucky issues of federal oversight for the experimental transplants, which the FDA has strained to regulate. In its warning Thursday, the agency announced new protections for trials and experimental uses of the procedure.

The FDA shared minimal details from the deadly transplants. Its warning only noted that the cases involved two patients who were immunocompromised prior to the experimental transplants and received stool from the same donor. Subsequent to the transplant, the patients developed invasive infections from an E. coli strain that was resistant to a wide variety of antibiotics in the penicillin and cephalosporin groups. The E. coli strain carried a drug-defeating enzyme called an extended-spectrum beta-lactamase (ESBL), which generally cleaves a ring common to all the chemical structures of those antibiotics.. When unnamed researchers who administered the transplant looked back at the donor stool, they found that the stool contained an identical ESBL-producing E. coli.

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Study finds that a GPS outage would cost $1 billion per day

Science - Posted On:2019-06-14 12:45:00 Source: arstechnica

Since becoming fully operational in 1995, Global Positioning System technology has become widely adopted in the United States and abroad. The concept of satellite-based navigation has become so essential that other world powers, including China, Russia, the European Union, India, and Japan, have all started building their own regional or global systems.

Now, one of the most comprehensive studies on the subject has assessed the value of this GPS technology to the US economy and examined what effect a 30-day outage would have—whether it is due to a severe space weather event or "nefarious activity by a bad actor." The study was sponsored by the US government's National Institutes of Standards and Technology and performed by a North Carolina-based research organization named RTI International.

As part of the analysis, researchers spoke to more than 200 experts in the use of GPS technology for various services, from agriculture to the positioning of offshore drilling rigs to location services for delivery drivers. (If they'd spoken to me, I'd have said the value of using GPS to navigate Los Angeles freeways and side streets was incalculable). The study covered a period from 1984, when the nascent GPS network was first opened to commercial use, through 2017. It found that GPS has generated an estimated $1.4 trillion in economic benefits during that time period.

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Lab-Grown Meat Will Overtake Plant-Based Alternatives By 2040, Study Says

science - Posted On:2019-06-14 09:14:56 Source: slashdot

An anonymous reader quotes a report from Inverse: Cultured meat could overtake plant-based alternatives like Beyond Meat and Impossible Burger as early as 2040, according to a new report. The research, from consultancy firm AT Kearney, finds that meat grown in a lab from cells will ultimately become more popular than vegetarian food that replicates the taste of animal products. By then, most of the world's burgers will be entirely meat-free. The report claims that, over the next 15 years, the market will shift toward lab-grown meat as alternatives struggle to maintain their momentum from early innovation. Consumer preferences will also drive a shift to the lab-based approach, as the researchers argue that the similarity to meat drives commercial potential and that, ultimately, lab-grown meat will still taste and feel much more like the real thing. These products will drive down meat consumption even as the whole industry expands, but scientists are unsure whether this will be good for climate change. University of Oxford research found that, while methane-producing cows are lambasted as a major source of greenhouse gases, the methane they produce only stays in the atmosphere for around 12 years. Carbon dioxide, which a lab would in theory produce in spades to power the production of cultured meat, can last for thousands of years. However, this week's report pushes back on this notion, and finds that meat alternatives are far more resource-efficient than conventional meat. When taken as a grain-to-meat ratio, animals only operate at around 15 percent efficiency. Cultured meat only needs around 1.5 kg of crops like soy, pease and maize to produce 1 kg of beef, resulting in a 70 percent conversion rate. Plant-based products need around 1.3 kg per kilo of "meat," resulting in a 75 percent conversion rate. Read more of this story at Slashdot.

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Sleep Trackers Can Make Your Insomnia Worse

science - Posted On:2019-06-14 06:14:57 Source: slashdot

Some sleep specialists are warning that the apps and devices that are used to track your sleep may provide inaccurate data and can exacerbate symptoms of insomnia. "Fiddling with your phone in bed, after all, is bad sleep hygiene," reports The New York Times. "And for some, worrying about sleep goals can make bedtime anxiety even worse." From the report: There's a name for an unhealthy obsession with achieving perfect sleep: orthosomnia. It was coined by researchers from Rush University Medical School and Northwestern University's Feinberg School of Medicine in a 2017 case study published in the Journal of Clinical Sleep Medicine. Dr. Kelly Baron, one of the paper's authors and the director of the University of Utah's behavioral sleep medicine program, said that sleep trackers can be helpful in identifying patterns. She herself tracks her bedtime with a Fitbit. But she said she had noticed a trend of patients complaining based on unverified scores, even for things like the amount of deep sleep, which varies by individual. In the case study on orthosomnia, researchers found that patients had been spending excessive time in bed to try to increase their sleep numbers, which may have made their insomnia worse. And they found it difficult to persuade patients to stop relying on their sleep trackers, even if the numbers had been flawed. Researchers say that trackers can overestimate the amount of sleep that you get, particularly if they focus on tracking movement. If you are lying awake in bed, the tracker might think that you're asleep. While devices that track heart rate or breathing give a more complete picture, they are still only generating estimates. Read more of this story at Slashdot.

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Earth Nearing 'Meteor Swarm' That May Have Caused 1908 Tunguska Event

science - Posted On:2019-06-14 03:14:58 Source: slashdot

Iwastheone quotes a report from CBS News: A swarm of meteors heading towards Earth could have the potential to cause a catastrophic impact, a new study from Western Ontario University says. The so-called Taurid swarm is a recurring event that some scientists believe could have played a role in the biggest Earth impact of modern times, in 1908, when a space rock slammed into Siberia with enough force to destroy an entire forest. What has become known as the Tunguska explosion of 1908 was so powerful that the blast leveled 80 million trees over an 800-square-mile area. It's considered to be a one-in-1,000-year event, according to Western Ontario University. But while the Tunguska explosion occurred just over a century ago, another such phenomenon could occur much sooner than its 1,000-year expectancy, the researchers say. That's why they're focusing new attention on the Taurid swarm. The Taurid swarm is a dense cluster of meteors within the Taurid meteor stream. Earth periodically passes through the Taurid swarm, and it is one of the three space phenomenons that could result in a catastrophic collision. Near Earth Objects (NEOs) such as asteroids and meteoroids, as well as comets are the other two potential causes. The Taurid swarm is created when Earth passes through the debris left behind by Comet Encke, according to NASA. The comet's dust barrels through Earth's atmosphere at 65,000 mph, burns up and creates a meteor shower. This Taurid meteor shower is usually weak, but there are some years where it is more visible, NASA says. The Taurid swarm heightens the possibility of a large collision, Western Ontario University researchers hypothesized. This summer, Earth will approach within 30,000,000 km of the center of the Taurid swarm, the study says. That would be Earth's closest encounter with the swarm since 1975 and the best viewing opportunity we'll have until the early 2030s. Read more of this story at Slashdot.

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Study Finds Nearly 400 Medical Devices, Procedures and Practices That Are Ineffective

science - Posted On:2019-06-13 23:44:58 Source: slashdot

An anonymous reader quotes a report from ScienceAlert: A recent study has unearthed nearly 400 established treatments, devices and procedures that are no better than previous or lesser alternatives. [This is referred to as a "medical reversal" in the medical industry.] The findings are based on more than 15 years of randomized controlled trials, a type of research that aims to reduce bias when testing new treatments. Across 3,000 articles in three leading medical journals from the UK and the US, the authors found 396 reversals. While these were found in every medical discipline, cardiovascular disease was by far the most commonly represented category, at 20 percent; it was followed by preventative medicine and critical care. Taken together, it appears that medication was the most common reversal at 33 percent; procedures came in second at 20 percent, and vitamins and supplements came in third at 13 percent. This line-up is unsurprising given the history of medical reversals that we do know about. In the late 20th century, for instance, sudden cardiac death was deemed a "world wide public health problem." Most cases were thought to arise from an irregular heart rhythm, and so a new generation of antiarrhythmic drugs were developed. "In the late 1980s, the Cardiac Antiarrhythmic Suppression Trial (CAST) was conducted to assess the safety of what was then commonplace. Interestingly, recruitment for the trial was hindered by physicians who refused to let patients undergo randomization with a 50 percent chance of not receiving these medications." In the end, however, the randomized trial found that the medication was even more deadly than a placebo. While not all of these medical reversals are deadly, they are all, by definition, useless expenses. The research has been published in the journal eLife. Read more of this story at Slashdot.

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Ebola spreads in Uganda—2 deaths, 27 in contact—as WHO calls emergency meeting

Science - Posted On:2019-06-13 13:45:00 Source: arstechnica

Local and international health officials are scrambling to smother a flare up of Ebola in Uganda, which spread this week from a massive, months-long outbreak in the neighboring Democratic Republic of the Congo. The outbreak has sickened 2,084 and killed 1,405 since last August.

Uganda announced its first case stemming from the outbreak on Tuesday, June 11. The case was in a 5-year-old Congolese boy who traveled across the border with family a few days earlier. The Ugandan Health Ministry reported shortly after that the boy succumbed to his infection the morning of June 12. Two of his family members also tested positive by that time: the boy’s 50-year-old grandmother and his 3-year-old brother.

Today, June 13, the Ministry announced that the grandmother had also passed. In an urgent meeting over the situation, officials from Uganda and the DRC mutually decided to send the remaining family back to the DRC. That includes the 3-year-old boy with a confirmed case, as well as the mother, father, a 6-month-old sibling, and their maid. Health officials noted that the latter four family members are all considered “suspected cases.”

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Light-based computer may parallelize 10-megabit computations

Science - Posted On:2019-06-13 12:45:00 Source: arstechnica

When it comes to computation, the modern approach seems to involve an enormous bucket of bits, vigorous shaking, and not a lot of explanation of how it all works. If you ever wondered how Excel became such an abomination, now you know.

We don’t seem to have a problem creating and filling enormous buckets of bits, but shaking them up is energy-intensive and slow. Modern processors, as good as they are, simply don’t cope well with some problems. A light-based, highly parallel processor may just be the (rather bulky) co-processor that we've been looking for to handle these tasks.

One way to compute a solution to a problem is called annealing. I’ve written a lot about annealing in the context of quantum computing, but annealing works for classical computers as well. The essential idea is that a problem is recast so that the solution is the lowest energy state of an energy landscape. The landscape determines how strongly the value of one bit affects the value of the surrounding bits.

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