Sunday, November 28, 2010

NCBI BLAST on Windows Azure

Making Bioinformatics Data More Accessible to Researchers Worldwid

BLAST on Windows Azure enables cloud-based analysis of vast proteomics and genomic data.Built on Windows Azure, NCBI BLAST on Windows Azure enables researchers to take advantage of the scalability of the Windows Azure platform to perform analysis of vast proteomics and genomic data in the cloud.

BLAST on Windows Azure is a cloud-based implementation of the Basic Local Alignment Search Tool (BLAST) of the National Center for Biotechnology Information (NCBI). BLAST is a suite of programs that is designed to search all available sequence databases for similarities between a protein or DNA query and known sequences. BLAST allows quick matching of near and distant sequence relationships, providing scores that allow the user to distinguish real matches from background hits with a high degree of statistical accuracy. Scientists frequently use such searches to gain insight into the function and biological importance of gene products.

BLAST on Windows Azure extends the power of the BLAST suite of programs by allowing researchers to rent processing time on the Windows Azure cloud platform. The availability of these programs over the cloud allows laboratories, or even individuals, to have large-scale computational resources at their disposal at a very low cost per run. For researchers who don’t have access to large computer resources, this greatly increases the options to analyze their data. They can now undertake more complex analyses or try different approaches that were simply not feasible before. more

Thursday, November 18, 2010

iRobot & Kinect Sensor

While there have already been a lot of great proof-of-concepts for the Kinect, what we're really excited for are the actual applications that will come from it. On the top of our list? Robots. The Personal Robots Group at MIT has put a battery-powered Kinect sensor on top of the iRobot Create platform, and is beaming the camera and depth sensor data to a remote computer for processing into a 3D map -- which in turn can be used for navigation by the bot. They're also using the data for human recognition, which allows for controlling the bot using natural gestures. Looking to do something similar with your own robot? Well, the ROS folks have a Kinect driver in the works that will presumably allow you to feed all that great Kinect data into ROS's already impressive libraries for machine vision. Tie in the Kinect's multi-array microphones, accelerometer, and tilt motor and you've got a highly aware, semi-anthropomorphic "three-eyed" robot just waiting to happen. We hope it will be friends with us. Video of the ROS experimentation is after the break.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

IE 9: Test Drive Samples

Get Microsoft Silverlight

Rob Mauceri, Group Program Manager for Internet Explorer, shows some of the new developer samples available in the seventh build of the IE9 Platform Preview available on the IE Test Drive.

Windows Mobile 7: Top Hot Apps

Get Microsoft Silverlight

This is a new show that will feature 5 of the hottest apps each week for the Windows Phone 7. In this first episode Laura takes a look at:

  • Photos
  • Productivity
  • Movies
  • Music

Please leave suggestions for cool apps that should be featured in the comments section, thanks!

Monday, November 1, 2010

Google Instant

Google Instant is a new search enhancement that shows results as you type. We are pushing the limits of our technology and infrastructure to help you get better search results, faster. Our key technical insight was that people type slowly, but read quickly, typically taking 300 milliseconds between keystrokes, but only 30 milliseconds (a tenth of the time!) to glance at another part of the page. This means that you can scan a results page while you type.

The most obvious change is that you get to the right content much faster than before because you don’t have to finish typing your full search term, or even press “search.” Another shift is that seeing results as you type helps you formulate a better search term by providing instant feedback. You can now adapt your search on the fly until the results match exactly what you want. In time, we may wonder how search ever worked in any other way.


Faster Searches: By predicting your search and showing results before you finish typing, Google Instant can save 2-5 seconds per search.

Smarter Predictions: Even when you don’t know exactly what you’re looking for, predictions help guide your search. The top prediction is shown in grey text directly in the search box, so you can stop typing as soon as you see what you need.

Instant Results: Start typing and results appear right before your eyes. Until now, you had to type a full search term, hit return, and hope for the right results. Now results appear instantly as you type, helping you see where you’re headed, every step of the way