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Recent news from The Johns Hopkins University

This section contains regularly updated highlights of the news from around The Johns Hopkins University. Links to the complete news reports from the nine schools, the Applied Physics Laboratory and other centers and institutes are to the left, as are links to help news media contact the Johns Hopkins communications offices.

 

Design Flaw in ‘Secure’ Cloud Storage Could Put Privacy at Risk, Researchers Say

Johns Hopkins computer scientists have found a flaw in the way that secure cloud storage companies protect their customers’ data. The scientists say this weakness jeopardizes the privacy protection these digital warehouses claim to offer. Whenever customers share their confidential files with a trusted friend or colleague, the researchers say, the storage provider could exploit the security flaw to secretly view this private data.

Batter Up! Student Math Wizards Aim for the Fences with Baseball Scheduling System

Major League Baseball has begun to get some high-tech help with scheduling. But for their 15 affiliated minor leagues, assembling the multi-team, multi-game calendar remains a tedious, time-consuming task that must be completed by hand. Soon, there may be a better way. Johns Hopkins students and faculty members have started tossing advanced math and powerful computing tools at the arcane art of planning game dates. The result is a new scheduling system that has piqued the interest of minor baseball league executives—and may prove to be useful in applications beyond the ballpark.

JHU Astronomer Awarded $9.5 Million to Create “Virtual Telescope” to Observe Scientific Data

A team of scientists at The Johns Hopkins University has received a grant for $9.5 million over five years to develop, build and maintain large-scale data sets that will allow for greater access and better usability of the information for the science community.

Solving DNA Puzzles is Overwhelming Computer Systems, Researchers Warn

Imagine millions of jigsaw puzzle pieces scattered across a football field, with too few people and too little time available to assemble the picture. Scientists in the new but fast-growing field of computational genomics are facing a similar dilemma. In recent decades, these researchers have begun to assemble the chemical blueprints of the DNA found in humans, animals, plants and microbes, unlocking a door that will likely lead to better healthcare and greatly expanded life-science knowledge. But a major obstacle now threatens the speedy movement of DNA’s secrets into research labs, two scholars in the field are warning.

New Campus Accelerator Aims to Turn High-Tech Ideas into Businesses

The Johns Hopkins University is set to unveil FastForward, a groundbreaking business accelerator that promises to spark cutting-edge technology companies and then keep them in the city to bolster the local economy. The university’s Whiting School of Engineering launched FastForward to help turn the best ideas born on campus into moneymaking ventures. The university’s first accelerator is located in the historic Stieff Silver building on the north side of Baltimore near the Homewood campus.

MEDIA ADVISORY: Johns Hopkins Computer Security Expert Available for Interviews on Hacker Attacks Targeting The New York Times

Following the disclosure by the New York Times, the publishers of the Wall Street Journal reported that the Journal’s computer systems also had been infiltrated by Chinese hackers, apparently to monitor its China coverage. Available for interviews on this topic is Avi Rubin, a professor of computer science in The Johns Hopkins University’s Whiting School of Engineering and technical director of the university’s Information Security Institute.

Using Twitter to Track the Flu: Researchers Find a Better Way to Screen the Tweets

Sifting through social media messages has become a popular way to track when and where flu cases occur, but a key hurdle hampers the process: how to identify flu-infection tweets. Some tweets are posted by people who have been sick with the virus, while others come from folks who are merely talking about the illness. If you are tracking actual flu cases, such conversations about the flu in general can skew the results. To address this problem, Johns Hopkins computer scientists and researchers in the School of Medicine have developed a new tweet-screening method that not only delivers real-time data on flu cases, but also filters out online chatter that is not linked to actual flu infections.

High-Tech Teamwork: Scientists Seek Smoother Partnership Between Humans and Robots

Harmony in the workplace is highly desirable, but what happens when some workers depend on biological brains, while others need computers to guide their behavior? With an eye toward enhanced safety and greater productivity, Johns Hopkins engineers have joined colleagues at four other universities in a project to create new ways for humans and robots to work together cooperatively.

Medical Robotics Experts Help Advance NASA’s ‘Satellite Surgery’ Project

Johns Hopkins engineers, recognized as experts in medical robotics, have turned their attention skyward to help NASA with a space dilemma: How can it fix valuable satellites that are breaking down or running out of fuel? One option—sending a human repair crew into space—is costly, dangerous and sometimes not even possible for satellites in a distant orbit. Another idea is now getting attention: Send robots to the rescue and give them a little long-distance human help. Johns Hopkins scientists say the same technology that allows doctors to steer a machine through delicate abdominal surgery could someday help an operator on Earth fix a faulty fuel line on the far side of the moon.

NSF $1.2 Million Grant to Fund Massive Data “Pipeline” at Johns Hopkins

Financed by a $1.2 million National Science Foundation grant, one of the world’s fastest and most advanced scientific computer networks—one capable of transferring in and out of The Johns Hopkins University per day the amount of data equivalent to 80 million file cabinets filled with text—will be built on the university’s Homewood campus, with support from the University of Maryland, College Park.

To Clear Digital Waste in Computers, ‘Think Green,’ Johns Hopkins Researchers Say

A digital dumping ground lies inside most computers, a wasteland where old, rarely used and unneeded files pile up. Such data can deplete precious storage space, bog down the system’s efficiency and sap its energy. Conventional rubbish trucks can’t clear this invisible byte blight. But two Johns Hopkins researchers say real-world trash management tactics point the way to a new era of computer cleansing.

You Are What You Tweet: Tracking Public Health Trends from Twitter Messages

Twitter allows millions of social media fans to comment in 140 characters or less on just about anything: an actor’s outlandish behavior, an earthquake’s tragic toll or the great taste of a grilled cheese sandwich. But by sifting through this busy flood of banter, is it possible to also track important public health trends? Two Johns Hopkins University computer scientists would respond with a one-word tweet: “Yes!”

Johns Hopkins Engineering for Professionals Appoints New Program Chairs

Johns Hopkins Engineering for Professionals, which offers part-time education for working engineers and scientists through the university’s Whiting School of Engineering, has appointed five new chairs and a vice chair.

Frederick Jelinek, Pioneer in Speech and Text Understanding Technology, Dies at 77

Frederick Jelinek, a Johns Hopkins University faculty member whose research laid the foundation for modern speech recognition and text translation technology, died on Sept. 14 while working at the university’s Homewood campus in Baltimore. He was 77.

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