University of Texas at Austin

Author Archive


Thursday, August 30, 2012

Computer scientists bring more humanity to game

The UT^2 game bot, created by two University of Texas at Austin Department of Computer Science graduate students and a professor, won the Humanlike Bot Competition at the IEEE World Congress on Computational Intelligence (WCCI 2012).

Jacob Schrum, Igor Karpov, and Prof. Risto Miikkulainen designed the game bot as part of their research into artificial intelligence (AI).

The UT^2 bot is the first winning bot in the history of the Humanlike Bot Competition to be judged as human more often than half the human players
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Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Appearing in the Lab Lounge: Singing Mice and the Genes

Singing mice are not your average lab rats. Their fur is tawny brown instead of the common white albino strain; they hail from the tropical cloud forests in the mountains of Costa Rica; and, as their name hints, they use song to communicate.

A male singing mouse. Photo courtesy of Bret Pasch.

A male singing mouse. Photo courtesy of Bret Pasch.

Steven Phelps, an associate professor in the Section of Integrative Biology at The University of Texas at Austin, is examining these unconventional rodents to gain insights into the genes that
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Thursday, August 9, 2012

Making white dwarfs in the desert

The “tongues of dragon flame” captured in this image are the leaked charge that emerges from the Z Machine when it fires. Images courtesy of Sandia National Laboratories.

The “tongues of dragon flame” captured in this image are the leaked charge that emerges from the Z Machine when it fires. Images courtesy of Sandia National Laboratories.

To re-create the surface of a white dwarf star, University of Texas at Austin astronomer Don Winget starts with roughly the electricity needed to power a few TV sets for the evening. He runs that through a ring of big old generators, all pointing inward toward the center of a machine more than 100
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Thursday, August 2, 2012

Study finds theoretical benefits, potential of algae fuels

Robert Hebner, director of the university's Center for Electromechanics (CEM), conducts research in a large algae growth demonstration facility for biofuels. The facility is located adjacent to CEM.

Robert Hebner, director of the university’s Center for Electromechanics (CEM), conducts research in a large algae growth demonstration facility for biofuels. The facility is located adjacent to CEM.

It’s theoretically possible to produce about 500 times as much energy from algae fuels as is needed to grow the fuels, according to a new study by researchers at The University of Texas at Austin.

However, limited by existing technology, the researchers found in a separate study that their algae growing facility is getting
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Friday, July 27, 2012

Crystal Math

When Alessio Figalli was named one of the winners, in June 2012, of the prestigious European Mathematical Society prize, his first reaction was gratitude for winning the prize, which is awarded every four years to 10 young European mathematicians who’ve made outstanding contributions to their field.

Figalli’s second thought was that it was a good day for Italy, since among the other prize-winners was another native of the country.

Alessio Figalli, a 2012 winner of the European Mathematical Society prize.

Alessio Figalli, a 2012 winner of the European Mathematical Society prize.

“Before us there
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Friday, June 22, 2012

Research Roundup: Spring 2012

We’ve rounded up some of the research highlights of the spring 2012 semester at The University of Texas at Austin.

utresearch_fb5One piece of news, growing support for a medical school at the university, isn’t exactly current research, but it could lead to vast research opportunities in health and medicine for years to come.

Noteworthy research included authoritative reports on the process of hydro-fracturing in mining natural gas, water resources in the important food-producing regions of California’s Central Valley and the Great Plains,
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Tuesday, April 10, 2012

A history student’s road to dissertation travels through the southeast borderlands

Like many graduate students in the humanities, Cameron Strang, a Ph.D. candidate in his fourth year, came to The University of Texas at Austin’s History Department through a slightly circuitous route.

Cameron Strang, Ph.D. student in the Department of History.

Cameron Strang, Ph.D. student in the Department of History.

After graduating from McGill University, Strang worked as an elementary school teacher and a landscaper before returning to his undergraduate major of history. He started out in the Master’s Program in Museum Studies at the University of New Hampshire, but he soon transferred
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Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Revamped Herschel materials bring students closer to history and the stars

Even if you look through the telescope on the roof of Robert Lee Moore Hall in the middle of The University of Texas at Austin campus, it’s hard to feel close to the stars and other celestial objects.

Walk over to the Harry Ransom Center and you can get very close – and yes, even personal – to some of the people who made a science of looking at the skies.

For Mary Kay Hemenway, a research associate and senior lecturer in
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Friday, February 10, 2012

The power of the Internet over depression

Choi_NamkeemugNamkee Choi, professor in the School of Social Work at The University of Texas at Austin, is helping older homebound adults deal with depression with the Internet, a laptop and face-to-face communication. Yes, there is an app for that.

Monday, January 30, 2012

After decrease, meth use rising again

Use of methamphetamines is on the rise nationally after a decrease a few years ago, according to university researchers.

Use of meth dropped significantly in 2007 and 2008 after laws limiting the availability of pseudoephedrine went into effect made it much harder to obtain key ingredients.

Jane Maxwell, a senior research scientist in the School of Social Work at The University of Texas at Austin, is concerned that programs to help people addicted to methamphetamines continues.

Jane Maxwell, a senior research scientist in the School of Social Work at The University of Texas at Austin, is concerned that programs to help people addicted to methamphetamines continues.

However, indicators of meth use – reported
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