Texas ~ Corporate Income Tax: Rule on Reporting Responsibilities of Passive Entities Amended

first_imgThe Texas franchise tax rule on margin and passive entities has been amended to memorialize a policy change regarding the filing of No Tax Due Reports by passive entities and to reflect 2015 legislation (H.B. 2891) regarding the filing of information reports.No Tax Due ReportEffective for franchise tax reports originally due on or after January 1, 2011, passive entities that are registered or required to be registered with either the Texas Secretary of State or the Comptroller’s Office must file a No Tax Due Report to affirm that the entity qualifies as passive for the period upon which the tax is based. Formerly, an entity that filed as passive on a prior franchise tax report was not required to file a subsequent franchise tax report as long as the entity continued to qualify as passive.An unregistered entity that no longer qualifies as passive must register with the Comptroller’s office and begin filing annual franchise tax reports as required under Rule §3.584.Information ReportsEntities that qualify as passive are not required to file a Public Information Report or an Ownership Information Report with the Comptroller’s Office. However, a limited partnership that qualifies as passive may be required to file periodic reports with the Secretary of State.An entity with no federal gross income does not qualify as a passive entity.The text of the amended rule, as proposed and adopted without change, is published in the Texas Register (May 6, 2016; 41 TexReg 3241) and available on the Secretary of State’s website at http://www.sos.state.tx.us/texreg/index.shtml.34 TAC §3.582, Texas Comptroller of Public Accounts, effective June 28, 2016last_img read more

IRS Funding Maintained in 2017 Budget Bill

first_imgCCH Tax Day ReportCongress and the White House have reached agreement on the Consolidated Appropriations Bill, 2017, which would provide federal government funding through September, including funding of the IRS. The budget bill, expected to receive broad support, is likely to be enacted by May 5, when the current one-week spending bill is set to expire.Under the fiscal year (FY) 2017 omnibus budget bill, funding for the IRS is set at $11.2 billion, thus freezing the IRS’s budget at FY 2016 levels. The bill maintains the current level of funding for Taxpayer Services at $2.1 billion, which includes the additional $290 million that was previously provided to improve customer service.“The Senate has been known for its bipartisanship and you’re seeing a perfect example of it on the spending bill that will be on the floor this week,” Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., said in a May 2 press briefing. “What we are doing this week is the beginning of a number of things that we’ll do on a bipartisan basis up to and including whatever infrastructure bill is ultimately submitted by the administration and processed by the Senate,” he added.By Jessica Jeane, Wolters Kluwer News StaffText of Division E—Financial Services and General Government Appropriations Act, 2017, Rules Committee Print 115-16last_img read more

Hatch, Wyden Caution Against IRS Budget Cuts

first_imgThe Senate Finance Committee (SFC) held its second hearing on February 14, which examined President Trump’s fiscal year (FY) 2019 budget request for the IRS. Acting IRS Commissioner David Kautter testified.Additional cuts to IRS funding, as proposed in Trump’s FY 2019 budget, would be a mistake, SFC Chairman Orrin G. Hatch, R-Utah, said during opening statements. He cautioned against any budget cuts that would hinder the implementation of the new tax code.“The administration, in its budget, has proposed additional cuts to funding for the IRS. I think that is a mistake,” Hatch said. “[D]irectly after passage of a major overhaul of the tax system, is not a great time to further reduce the taxpayer services budget of the agency that will do most of the work in implementing the updated tax code,” he added.Likewise, SFC ranking member Ron Wyden, D-Ore., criticized Trump’s FY 2019 budget request for failing to adequately fund the implementation of tax law changes under the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (P.L. 115-97). “Now they’re giving short shrift to the IRS, which is the agency that actually has to implement those changes and provide service to American families and businesses based on the new rules,” Wyden said. “Denying the IRS the resources it needs to be an effective agency impedes its ability to serve the American people, and the Trump administration knows it,” he added.IRS OperationsKautter noted that Trump’s budget request included $4.16 billion for operations support programs, which include IT services. “Within that total, $2.29 billion is allocated for information services, which is $217.8 million, or 10.5 percent, above the FY 2018 Annualized Continuing Resolution level,” Kautter told lawmakers.According to Kautter, the enhancement of the IRS’s IT systems is central to operations, as over fifty percent of its hardware is outdated. “At the end of FY 2017, more than 59 percent of IRS hardware was past its useful life compared to 64 percent at the end of FY 2016, and 32 percent of software was two or more releases behind the most current commercially-available version,” he reported. Within Trump’s FY 2019 budget request, however, funding is available to provide a much needed refresher of IRS hardware and software, according to Kautter.As for the modernization of IRS business systems, however, Trump’s FY 2019 budget request suggests $178 million below the FY 2018 Continuing Resolution level, Kautter noted.Tax Reform ImplementationThe IRS has established a Tax Reform Implementation Office to ensure proper implementation of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (P.L. 115-97), Kautter testified. Additional funding for FY 2018 will be needed, however. Kautter told lawmakers that an addition $397 million is needed to implement tax reform. “This funding is needed immediately to ensure that the IRS can start critical implementation activities on time,” he said. According to Kautter, the additional funding would resource updating IT systems, taxpayer services, as well as creating and revising tax forms.Moving ForwardThe 2018 filing season began as scheduled on January 29 and is “going well so far,” according to Kautter. Additionally, IRS guidance on pass-through entities under the new tax code will be issued as soon as possible, Kautter said, stating that such guidance is a significant priority.By Jessica Jeane, Wolters Kluwer News StaffSFC Press Release: Hatch Opening Statement at Finance Hearing on Administration’s IRS Budget RequestSFC Press Release: Wyden Statement at Finance Committee Hearing on IRS Fiscal Year 2019 BudgetLogin to read more tax news on CCH® AnswerConnect or CCH® Intelliconnect®.Not a subscriber? Sign up for a free trial or contact us for a representative.last_img read more

Regulations Limit Corporate Partner’s Basis Reduction and Gain Elimination Transactions

first_imgThe IRS finalized regulations that:prevent corporate taxpayers from using a partnership to avoid corporate-level gain;limit rules that cause basis reduction or gain recognition for consolidated group members that are partners in the same partnership; andapply the basis reduction rule when corporations engage in gain elimination transactions.The regulations apply as of June 15, 2015. They are virtually identical to proposed and temporary regulations that were issued in 2015.Stock Acquisitions to Avoid Gain on Appreciated PropertyA corporation that distributes appreciated property to its shareholders must recognize gain as if it sold the property for fair market value. For example, a corporation recognizes gain if it exchanges appreciated property for its own stock.However, corporations may try to postpone or avoid this result by taking the following steps:the corporation joins a partnership and contributes appreciated property; thenthe partnership acquires the corporation’s stock; andthe partnership makes a liquidating distribution of that stock back to the corporation.The regulations use a deemed redemption rule to blunt the effect of these arrangements. This rule requires the corporate partner to recognize gain when a transaction or a series of transactions has the economic effect of an exchange of its appreciated property for an interest in its own stock that is owned, acquired, or distributed by the partnership.A de minimis exception applies when the corporate partner’s stake in the partnership, and the partnership’s stake in the corporate partner, are very small.An inadvertence exception applies if the partnership quickly disposes of the stock without distributing any of it to the corporate partner or anyone who controls the corporate partner.Basis Reduction for Consolidated Group MembersThe regulations provide some relief from rules that cause basis reduction or gain recognition for consolidated group members that are partners in the same partnership. These rules apply when:a partnership (PS) distributes to a corporate partner (Corp A) stock in another corporation (Corp B),afterwards, Corp A has control of Corp B, andPS’s basis in the stock immediately before the distribution exceeds Corp A’s basis in the stock immediately after the acquisition.The basis of Corp B’s property must be reduced by the excess of PS’s basis in the stock immediately before the distribution over Corp A’s basis in the stock immediately after the acquisition. Corp A, the corporation partner, must also recognize gain to the extent basis in Corp B’s property cannot be reduced.The regulations allow the bases of consolidated group members to be aggregated when:two or more of the corporate partners receive a distribution of stock in a distributed corporation, andthe distributed corporation is or becomes a member of the distributee partners’ consolidated group following the distribution.Gain Elimination TransactionsFinally, the regulations restrict the effect of a corporate partner’s gain elimination transaction. In these transactions, the distributee corporation sidesteps the basis reduction rule discussed above by avoiding formal control of the distributed corporation. For example, the situation described above could be a gain elimination transaction if Corp A did not acquire formal control of Corp B.The regulations make these transaction less effective by applying the basis reduction rule as though the distributee corporation acquired control of the distributed corporation immediately before the gain elimination transaction, regardless of formal control.T.D. 9833Login to read more tax news on CCH® AnswerConnect or CCH® Intelliconnect®.Not a subscriber? Sign up for a free trial or contact us for a representative.last_img read more

Visually Fly With Flygirrl: Get To Know Artist Doreen Garner

first_img Proudest accomplishment: One of the proudest accomplishments that I’ve experienced is a recent one which was receiving a full scholarship into RISD’s MFA Program. I’ll be starting this fall at RISD continuing my studies in glass. Another great accomplishment that I have to mention is working with Rashaad Newsome on his solo exhibition “Herald” at Marlborough Gallery Chelsea in New York. It was one of the greatest learning experiences of my life. Rashaad is also one of my great mentors and supporters. He has shown me the ins and outs, ups and downs of the professional art world. He constantly encourages me to continue my growth as an artist. Last three songs played on your iTunes/iPod: The last three songs I played were Missy Elliot 702 “Beep me 911”, Lil Kim “Money Talks”, and D’angelo “Brown Sugar”. I was in a 90s type of mood, and I’m usually always in a 90s type of mood. But, I also like to listen to a lot of trippy instrumental type music like Flying Lotus, Madlib, Thundercat, things like that. Last completed piece of art: The Seventh Eye, Acrylic on canvas, 16×20, 2012 Favorite Philly DJ: Ah, I’ll have to say Diplo. When I’m creating new work, I like to listen to a lot of party music. My creative process is a fun experience, and he helps keep it that way. So aside from the stylistics of DJing, his individual music projects and collaborations help to make him favorite. Where can we find you and your work: You can find me in Philly or in New York depending on the week. You can find my work online at doreengarner.com, or in person at the next AD Valorem Coalition Exhibition. More details about the next show can be found at facebook.com/advaloremcoalition. Insider Tip: Check out the flier to Doreen + Ad Valorem’s Event this Saturday Night at The Window Factory! DJ Phsh is spinning. Doreen Garner has become one of my new favorite Philly artists to keep tabs on. From painting, to stained glass, to installations, she has a variety of creative outlets that draw us all in one piece at a time. Check out the Q&A that I did with her below and get to know Doreen a little better. Insider Tip: She has an exhibit coming up this weekend. Make sure to check out the flier and support local artists! Doreen Garner artwork: Facial Structurecenter_img Currently working on: I am currently working on a series of 2-day paintings, as well as a new video project. The 2-day paintings deal with distortion, fragmentation and reconstruction of the human figure. The video project that I am working on stems from a previous photo piece. I was concerned with how the black female body is fetish-ized and over-sexualized in today’s society. The video is composed of intimate movements and gestures that will be chopped and screwed. I am also working with rapper/producer Mike “Scanz” Danzis to compose audio to form fit specific visual components of the piece. Favorite Philly visual artist: My favorite Philly visual artist is the amazing Judith Schaechter. She is an extraordinarily talented artist that works with stained glass as well as animation. When I first saw her work in a modern craft history class at Tyler School of Art, I was floored. Her use of color and light is outstanding, not to mention her artistic voice is one of a kind. Judith has been a mentor as well as a great friend and my life wouldn’t be the same without her guidance and support. Favorite kind of paint to create with: Favorite kind of paint – I don’t really have a favorite kind for canvas and things. I use a little bit of everything. When I’m working with glass, my favorite paint is Reusche Tracing Black. If you weren’t an artist, what other career would you like to pursue: If I did not work as a fine artist, I think I would have a career in culinary arts. When I was younger, I used to bake a lot of desserts and help my Grandmother make food. I told people that I would be a baker when I grew up. Where are you originally from: I am originally from Philly. I grew up at 17th and Erie Ave in North Philly. I also spent a lot of time at my grandparent’s house in Germantown. Favorite website to visit: If I had to name a favorite website, it would have to be Youtube. It’s become a crazy visual source of info and shenanigans and it’s kinda great. Favorite part of town: I don’t really think I have a favorite part of town. I might say Old City because it’s in good walking distance of a lot of cool things. Favorite art gallery: That’s another tough one. I don’t really have a favorite gallery, but if I could have my own exhibition in any of the spaces in Philadelphia it would either be at TRUST gallery or at Dalet gallery. Favorite art supply store: Back in the day I used to be a Pearl kind of girl. Since they’re gone, Dick Blick is my new spot. Last exhibit you went to: The last exhibit/exhibition I went to was Ad Valorem Coalition’s at the MBN building in Northern Liberties. Ad Valorem Coalition is an artist collective that I co-founded at the beginning of this year. It is composed of 18 other artist’s from/residing in Philadelphia. We felt like there was a lack of camaraderie and support within the artist community. Ad Valorem Coalition is a collective of artists that encourage productive studio practice, collaboration and fellowship.last_img read more

Jay-Z’s Made In America Music Festival – September 1-2, 2012

first_imgJay-Z(Michael Falco for The New York Times) Made in America: 32 acts. 3 stages. 1 weekend.  So, we’re hype and counting down to Jay-Z’s Made in America music festival happening September 1-2. Jay-Z is officially taking over the Benjamin Franklin Parkway with performers hand-picked by him – including Drake, Run DMC and Philly’s own Jill Scott, to name a few. Check out the full talent lineup below.  Why Philly? Jay-Z says, “Everyone knows I have a long love affair with Philly. You know, early in my career, this is one of the first towns that really embraced me and supported me. I signed an incredible number of artists out of this area. And also now, I’m going to do some film work with Will Smith and James Lassiter over at Overbrook, so I have all these deep connections here. And above and beyond that, it’s called Made in America. It’s such an iconic city.” Made In America Lineup Saturday, September 1 Jay-Z Maybach Music (featuring Rick Ross, Wale, & Meek Mill)  D’Angelo Janelle Monae  Prince Royce  Calvin Harris  Skrillex Miike Snow Passion Pit Gary Clark Jr Nicky Romero Dirty Projectors Otto Knows Michael Woods Savoy Sunday, September 2 Pearl Jam Drake Jill Scott Run DMC Santigold Afrojack  Chris Cornell The Hives Rita Ora Odd Future  X The Knocks Alesso DJ Shadow Burns Ticket and Event Info Budweiser Made in America Saturday, September 1, and Sunday, September 2 Benjamin Franklin Parkway Philadelphia, PA Insider Tip: Get your tickets here. Two-day passes and single-day are on sale now. Can’t make it to the show? See what this party in Philly is all about via live-streaming. Details will be announced at a later date.last_img read more

This Friday: DJ Aktive’s Holiday Party At Pub Webb

first_img This Friday, kick off your weekend and the holidays right at Pub Webb for DJ Aktive’s Holiday Bash. While he has some time in between tour dates from Janet Jackson’s Unbreakable Tour, DJ Aktive will return to his hometown for a one-night-only holiday party—and we hear that he has invited some special guests to come through.  You won’t want to miss his last performance of 2015. Plus, you can party for a cause. DJ Aktive teamed up with Tanya Garris to collect toys for the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia at the event. So, grab some tickets, pick up some toys to donate and let’s celebrate the season with one of Philly’s own.  EVENT DETAILSWhat: Pier Entertainment #PhillyMusicRoom Presents DJ Aktive’s Holiday BashWhen: Friday, December 18 | 9pmWhere: Pub Webb | 1527 Cecil B. Moore AvenueCost: $10 advance | $15 at the doorMore info: Click here. DJ Aktive(D. McDowell for Philly 360°/ Visit Philly)last_img read more

Liberty Bell Center, Independence Hall Open Friday To Sunday During Federal Government Shutdown

first_img“Leisure tourism to Philadelphia is a big part of our tourism economy, and first-time visitors want to see our iconic historic sites,” Guaracino said. “We felt that it was important during this very busy holiday week to make our historic sites available to our visitors and residents.” (Photo by D. Cruz for Visit Philadelphia)The week between Christmas and New Year’s Day is a very busy time of year for INHP, and city and tourism officials said they feel it’s important to keep these sites open. An estimated 25,000 visitors typically visit the Bell and the Hall during this long weekend, and the Independence Visitor Center expects to see between 70,000 and 100,000 visitors between Christmas and New Year’s Day in the Historic District.Tourism generates $31.5 million per day in economic impact to Philadelphia.The following historic sites and attractions on or around Independence Mall are not affected by the government shutdown and remain open:Independence Visitor CenterNational Constitution CenterNational Museum of American Jewish HistoryAfrican American Museum in PhiladelphiaMuseum of the American RevolutionNational Liberty MuseumBetsy Ross HouseFranklin SquareChrist Church and Burial GroundsBlue Cross RiverRink WinterfestIndependence Seaport MuseumValley Forge National Historical Park has also reopened through December 31, with the Valley Forge Tourism & Convention Board funding the reopening of the visitor center (9 a.m.-5 p.m.), and the Encampment Store’s operators funding its opening. Park gates are opening and closing according to their regular schedule to give visitors access to park grounds, roads and trails.Follow #OpeninPHL on Twitter for news from the attractions. Go to visitphilly.com for additional visitor information. Visit Philadelphia Inc. has signed an agreement with the National Park Service to provide the necessary funding to open Independence Hall and the Liberty Bell Center from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. on Friday, 12/28, Saturday, 12/29 and Sunday, 12/30. No tickets required.— INDEPENDENCENPS 🇺🇸 (@INDEPENDENCENHP) December 27, 2018 Liberty Bell Center, Independence Hall Open Friday To Sunday During Federal Government ShutdownWhen:December 28-30, 2018 Where:Various locations including The Liberty Bell Center, 526 Market Street Cost:Freecenter_img People spending the weekend in the United States’ birthplace can visit Independence Hall and the Liberty Bell Center, despite a federal government shutdown.Philadelphia Mayor James F. Kenney, VISIT PHILADELPHIA President and CEO Jeff Guaracino and Superintendent of Independence National Historical Park Cynthia MacLeod announced today that the iconic attractions in Philadelphia’s Historic District are open Friday, December 28 through Sunday, December 30, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. National Park rangers are on site to provide interpretation.All other Independence National Historical Park (INHP) attractions will remain closed during the shutdown.FAST FACTSThe Liberty Bell Center and Independence Hall are open Friday, December 28 through Sunday, December 30.No tickets are required for entry to the Liberty Bell Center and Independence Hall for these three days.All other Independence National Historical Park sites remain closed during the partial federal government shutdown.VISIT PHILADELPHIA covered the cost as a donation to the National Park Service to keep the sites open this weekend.Since the federal government shutdown began on December 22, visitors to the sites have been able to view Independence Hall from the outside only, and the Liberty Bell through a window. Now, both sites will be fully open this weekend — and no tickets are required.VISIT PHILADELPHIA has covered the cost, approximately $32,000, as a donation to the National Park Service in order for INHP to keep Independence Hall and the Liberty Bell Center open for three days.last_img read more

Second special prosecutor appointed over Greitens case

first_img(AP) – Last year’s criminal case involving Missouri’s former governor is under the scrutiny of a second special prosecutor, this time to investigate allegations from St. Louis’ prosecutor.A judge on Tuesday appointed retired Judge Michael Bradley of Columbia to investigate allegations filed against Republican Eric Greitens’ attorneys by Circuit Attorney Kim Gardner. She alleges that Greitens’ attorneys threatened to “ruin” her if she didn’t back off the investigation of Greitens.Gardner charged Greitens with invasion of privacy in February 2018 for allegedly taking a compromising and unauthorized photo of a woman during an extramarital affair. The charge was later dropped but Greitens resigned in June 2018.Last month, a separate special prosecutor appointed over concerns from Greitens’ attorneys indicted an investigator hired by Gardner, William Tisaby, for perjury. That investigation continues.last_img read more

CMS Weighs in With Meaningful Use Stage 3 Rules

first_imgAs promised, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services have offered up plans for Meaningful Use Stage Three just in time for discussion at the HIMSS Annual Conference. Based on conversations I’ve had with CIOs, there will be a lot to discuss in Chicago.As with the previous incarnations (Stages 1 and 2), there’s a 60-day comment period during which anyone can weigh in on the proposals. Although the previous rules reflected input from groups like HIMSS and CHIME, I heard frequent grumbling from healthcare providers that the regulations elevated political and economic interests over those of physicians, hospitals and most importantly, patients themselves. Perhaps because Stage 3 represents the end of the process, CMS is signaling its intent to finalize a rule that puts patients first, and believes that eligible providers and hospitals can use technology creatively and flexibly to meet the latest requirements.The Basic OverviewTo get a basic overview of the rules, take a look at this infographic produced by my former colleagues over at Healthcare IT News. For a more substantive take, John Halamka, a physician and CIO at  the CareGroup Health System, posted a definitive summary of the proposed rules on his blog.There are eight objectives, and as many as 20 measures of meaningful use for providers and hospitals. Some measures are essentially repeats from earlier rules (although the thresholds are increased), while others represent new and uncharted territory.Despite its length of 300-plus pages, Halamka calls the MU Stage 3 proposal a good first draft.“CMS deserves a lot of credit,” he says, “for streamlining and consolidating… and making the Stage 3 rule coherent and relatively easy to understand.” But he’s not so kind about the the rule’s sibling proposal, also released on March 20 – the Office of the National Coordinator’s 2015 EHR standards.Although meaningful use and EHR certification are generally thought to go hand-in-hand, this time “ONC includes a variety of certification specifications for which there are no corresponding MU requirements from CMS,” Halamka notes. “This has the potential to create market confusion, an overwhelming scope for vendors/developers and a laundry list of requirements that serve narrow interests.”Scott MacLean, Deputy CIO and Director of IS Operations at Partners HealthCare in Boston, agrees that the industry is already suffering from regulation fatigue. It’s not that any single regulation is, by itself, difficult or noxious, but rather it’s the sum of regulations which are often times at odds with each other.Patient EngagementParticularly challenging are the requirements for patient engagement. Twenty-five percent of patients must access their records electronically under the MU Stage 3 proposal, while 35 percent of patients must receive a clinically relevant secure message. Providers must also incorporate data from non-clinical settings for 15 percent of their patients.“Whether its between systems and providers, or between patients and providers, I’m worried about the interoperability requirements,” MacLean notes. “When we’re dependent on other people doing something, it’s cause for concern.”Charles Christian, CIO of St. Francis Hospital in Columbus, Georgia and chair of the CHIME Board of Trustees, agrees. “Providing electronic access to the information is important,” he says. “However, holding the organizations accountable for their patients’ behavior after their encounter is a requirement that many organizations can’t successfully accomplish. I agree that we need to engage our patients; however, there are many that do not want to interact with their healthcare providers electronically.”Overall Christian is confident that the nation’s healthcare CIOs can have an impact on the final Stage 3 rules. “It appears that CMS is working toward the flexibility that they outlined, but I’m sure that some in the industry will wish for more,” he says. “CMS is specifically asking for comments on a large number of items and options. This leads me to believe that they are seeking additional input from the industry and they are listening to the concerns and impacts.  We will need to wait until the final rule to see what impact the comments have had.”What do you think about the Stage 3 proposal? Is it ready for prime time yet? What changes would you seek?Jack Beaudoin co-founded MedTech Media with the launch of Healthcare IT News in 2003 and is a sponsored corresponded for Intel Health & Life Sciences.last_img read more

Cloud – Putting the Cloud to work for Intel

first_imgIntel IT attribute the success of our private cloud to implementing a provider-like cloud hosting strategy, advancing self-service infrastructure as a service and platform as a service, and enabling cloud-aware applications. Intel’s private cloud saves about USD 7.5 million annually while supporting an increase of 17 percent in operating system instances in the environment. Cloud-aware applications can maximize cloud advantages such as self-service provisioning, elasticity, run-anywhere design, multi-tenancy, and design for failure. To enhance Intel developers’ skill sets, in 2013 Intel IT delivered 8 code-a-thons in 3 geographical regions, training over 100 Intel developers in how to build cloud-aware applications. Hybrid cloud hosting also increases flexibility, allowing us to dynamically adjust capacity when needed to support business initiatives efficiently. For more go to www.intel.com/ITAnnualReport To increase our understanding of how hybrid clouds can benefit Intel, IT are also conducting a hybrid cloud Proof of Concept using open source OpenStack APIs. Hybrid cloud hosting can provide additional external capacity to augment our own private cloud while enabling us to optimize our internal capacity.center_img In my second insight into the IT Business report I am focusing on the impact of Cloud inside Intel.The cloud is changing the business landscape and here at Intel it has transformed the IT culture to align with the strategies of the business groups. Intel IT brings technical expertise and business acumen to bear on the highest priority projects at Intel to accelerate business at a faster pace than ever before. Intel IT have simplified the way Intel’s business groups interact with IT to identify workflow and process improvements that IT can drive. Because they understand their businesses, they can tailor cloud hosting decisions to specific business priorities. Intel IT have accelerated hosting decisions for the business customers by developing a methodical approach to determine the best hosting option. They consider security, control, cost, location, application requirements, capacity, and availability before arriving at a hosting decision for each use case. Offering optimized hosting solutions improves business agility and velocity while reducing costs. Our private cloud, with on-demand self-service, enables Intel business groups to innovate quickly and securely. In the annual Intel IT Business Review Intel IT reveals that 85 percent of all new services installed for our Office, Enterprise and Services divisions are hosted in the cloud. last_img read more

From Hacking to Ransomware: Top Security Concerns for Health IT

first_imgCybersecurity is a major concern for health and life sciences organizations globally. While compliance is important, with the cost of a data breach now at $355 (USD from Ponemon 2016 Cost of Data Breach Study: Global Analysis) per patient record, and ransomware infections causing severe disruption of healthcare, avoiding breaches and ransomware are now top priorities. Exacerbating this, many breaches go undetected for months or even years, resulting in much greater business impacts.The threat landscape is also constantly changing. In 2015 cybercrime hacking was top of mind, while in 2016 ransomware has vaulted from a previously obscure type of attack to a mainstream issue, threatening to disrupt health and life sciences organizations globally by denying access to patient records. Compounding this challenge, attacks are getting more sophisticated, and the IT of healthcare organizations is growing rapidly in both diversity and number of devices, especially with BYOD, IoT, wearables and related trends. With spear phishing, and accidents or workarounds, healthcare workers increasingly find themselves on the front lines of the cyber security battle, using new “information power tools” to improve patient care under constant time and cost reduction pressure.For effective detection and remediation of sophisticated attacks, modern cyber security must integrate with other cyber security safeguards and handle terabytes of diverse data, both structured and unstructured, and go beyond signature based detection and simple correlation to enable near real-time detection of even small changes in system or user behavior using advanced behavioral analytics. To support rapid investigation of alerts and remediation of issues it must also enable Security Analysts to interactively search, query, and visualize information.Cloudera Enterprise Data Hub (EDH), powered by Apache Hadoop, and running on Intel, enables rapid detection and remediation of breaches. EDH uses behavioral analytics on terabytes of data, also including unstructured data, to enable the detection of sophisticated attacks and breaches in hours, and typically reducing false positives by more than an order of magnitude. For more information about Cloudera EDH for Cybersecurity, powered by Apache Hadoop, running on Intel see Three Reasons to Modernize Your Cybersecurity Architecture and Cloudera and Intel Solutions. Join Intel and Cloudera at the Summit of the Southeast 2016, September 13th – 15th in Nashville, TN.last_img read more

Enabling Innovation and Discovery across the HPC and AI Communities

first_imgISC High Performance, previously known as the International Supercomputing Conference, is always a showcase for the great work being done by the high-performance computing (HPC) community in Europe and points beyond. That’s absolutely the case this week, where the ISC 2017 conference is under way in Frankfurt.In countless presentations and demos, scientists and engineers are showing how they are using HPC to solve the really big problems, from enabling precision medicine and discovering new drugs to simulating complex weather systems and designing new products. The use cases for HPC go on and on, as do the societal benefits.At Intel, we are committed to facilitating the great work being done by the legions of scientists and engineers in the HPC community. We believe that our commitment to the community is evident in the latest TOP500 rankings for supercomputers around the world, released this week at ISC. The rankings show that Intel processors were selected as the foundation for more than 90 percent of today’s TOP500 systems and that many users are also benefiting from other Intel products, such as Intel® Omni-Path Architecture (Intel® OPA), to accelerate highly parallel HPC workloads.Our focus on helping the HPC community achieve its mission is further reflected in our newest processor platforms — the recently announced Intel® Xeon® Scalable Processors and the latest Intel® Xeon Phi™ processor which accelerates artificial intelligence workloads.Intel Xeon Scalable Processors gives the HPC and Artificial Intelligence communities a significant leap forward in performance and efficiency. An innovative approach to platform design in this new processor family unlocks scalable performance for a broad range of HPC systems — from workstations and small clusters all the way up to the world’s largest supercomputers. Additionally, support for Intel® Advanced Vector Extensions 512 (Intel® AVX-512)Opens in a new window enables Intel Xeon Scalable Processors to deliver up to double the amount of flops per clock cycle peak compared to the previous generation, significantly increasing performance for demanding HPC workloads[1]. These improvements are demonstrated by the latest performance benchmarks, which show that Intel Xeon Scalable Processors yield an increase of up to 8.2x more double precision GFLOPS/sec when compared to Intel® Xeon® processor E5 (formerly codenamed Sandy Bridge)[2], and 2.27x increase over the previous-generation Intel Xeon processor E5 v4 (formerly codenamed Broadwell)[3]. And for AI training and inference, Intel Xeon Scalable Processors deliver significantly more performance than the previous processor generation.Meanwhile, the upcoming Intel Xeon Phi processor, code-named Knights Mill, is optimized to help data scientists and other users accelerate deep learning training. This extension of the existing generation of Intel Xeon Phi processor family is designed to offer higher performance when running lower precision workloads, which is one of the keys to training models faster. We expect this product to be in production in the fourth quarter of 2017.Let’s look at the bigger picture. Around the world, software developers, engineers, and data scientists are working together to create new artificial intelligence (AI) systems that will bring us safer vehicles, smarter cities, better security systems, and much more. We all have a stake in their success. To that end, Intel is supporting the HPC community not only by offering products for AI like Intel Xeon Scalable Processors and Knights Mill but also by optimizing leading AI frameworks and providing developers software libraries that make deploying AI solutions easier and higher performing. Our mission is to deliver solutions which enable discovery and innovation.If you’re at the ISC conference this week, be sure to stop by the Intel booth, to learn more about the new Intel Xeon Scalable Processors and the upcoming new Intel Xeon Phi processor. Also to learn more about HPC technologies that are helping scientists and engineers fuel new insights, please visit intel.com/ssfOpens in a new window.Software and workloads used in performance tests may have been optimized for performance only on Intel microprocessors. Results are based on internal testing and are provided to you for informational purposes. Any differences in your system hardware, software, or configuration may affect your actual performance. [1] www.intel.com/avx512Opens in a new window [2] Baseline config: 1-Node, 2 x Intel® Xeon® Processor E5-2690 based system on Red Hat Enterprise Linux* 6.0 kernel version 2.6.32-504.el6.x86_64 using Intel® Distribution for LINPACK Benchmark. Score: 366.0 GFLOPS/s vs. 1-Node, 2 x Intel® Xeon® Scalable process on Ubuntu 17.04 using MKL 2017 Update 2. Score: 3007.8[3] Baseline config:  1-Node, 2 x Intel® Xeon® Processor E5-2699 v4 on Red Hat Enterprise Linux*  7.0 kernel 3.10.0-123 using Intel® Distribution for LINPACK Benchmark, score: 1446.4 GFLOPS/s vs. estimates based on Intel internal testing on 1-Node, 2x Intel® Xeon® Scalable processor (codename Skylake-SP) system. Score: 3295.57last_img read more

The Intel Xeon Scalable Processor: Delivering Breakthrough Performance for the Data Center

first_imgWhether it’s my smartphone, my laptop, the IoT devices in my home, or even the car or plane I’m traveling in, the high demand for data-center-driven, connected intelligence is unquestionable.  When you think about all the different workloads being driven by everyone’s use of technology, it’s a bit overwhelming and a testament to how versatile and powerful and essential the data center has become to all of us.Purpose-built for the data center, Intel Xeon processors have been the engine behind that versatile use case delivery for decades.  As the sheer number of data center workloads and use cases have grown, generation after generation of Intel Xeon processors have consistently improved to perform all tasks thrown their way.  And as the growth and urgency for data center capability continues to rise, our latest Intel Xeon Scalable Processors extend our track record of performance leadership for the data center.While AMD attempts its return to the data center after a 5-year hiatus, we at Intel have been delivering leading server CPUs on an almost yearly cadence for more than a decade with a 41X1 performance gain over the past 10 generations. These gains are a direct result of our architecture and our decision to build our CPUs from the ground up for the datacenter.Opens in a new window(Click to enlarge image)The foundation to excelling on the widest variety of workloads – and what sets us apart from our competition – is our industry-leading socket and core performance. The Intel Xeon Scalable processor’s innovative Intel® Mesh Architecture combines with several new integrated platform capabilities, software optimizations and tools, and adjacent acceleration technologies to deliver breakthrough performance of 1.65X on average versus the previous generation, and up to 5X versus the current install base.2Meanwhile, AMD has glued together four desktop PC-targeted processors and called it a server CPU – an approach that can result in bottlenecked and jittery performance. Their approach may look good on some synthetic benchmarks, but for customers, what’s more important is how a system performs in real-world applications. Providing the scale required for today’s rapidly evolving workloads is serious business, and customers cannot afford to take chances with their data center infrastructure.The Intel Xeon Scalable processor excels on a wide spectrum of industry-standard benchmarks and real-world workloads as a result of hardware and software optimizations:Artificial Intelligence: Delivers 2.2X higher deep learning training vs. a 2-year old server, and up to 138X deep learning gains when combined with software optimizations for the new Intel® Xeon® Scalable Processors, enabling customers to train in hours vs. days on the same data set.3 Storage: Processes up to 5X more IOPS while reducing latency by up to 70 percent when combined with Intel® Optane™ SSDs and Intel SPDK, helping to improve response times for users accessing stored data.11 Cryptography & data compression: Boosts encryption performance and data protection with Intel® QuickAssist Technology (Intel® QAT), for security without compromise, so customers don’t have to choose between security and performance; for example, Chinese communications company AsiaInfo saw a 1.29X boost in encryption performance vs. the previous generation.5 Machine Learning: Increases machine learning performance using Intel® AVX-512, allowing customers to build better and faster recommendation engines; for example, cloud service provider Tencent increased the performance of its InGame Purchase Machine Learning Platform* 1.57X vs. the previous generation.10 High-Performance Computing: Accelerates HPC workloads on average 1.63X faster and delivers 2X the FLOPS/clock with Intel® AVX-512 versus the previous generation, putting answers to bigger and more complex scientific and business problems in reach.8  For example, Altair RADIOSS increased performance for complex modeling and simulations by 1.61X vs. the previous generation.9 Cloud management: Delivers more cloud services in less time and facilitates a better cloud user experience with high core counts, increased memory bandwidth and Intel QAT; for example, cloud management company Neusoft increased transactions per second for its SaCa* Aclome* application by 1.5X vs. the previous generation.4center_img The variety of today’s workloads and unpredictability of tomorrow’s workloads require data center CPUs to be execution experts across the board. Intel’s data center portfolio is equipped with the breadth rise up to the challenge.  Purpose-built for the data center, we have and will always continue to continuously innovate to deliver leading performance and solutions for our customers.For more information on the Intel Xeon Scalable platform, please visit www.intel.com/xeonscalable.Software and workloads used in performance tests may have been optimized for performance only on Intel microprocessors. Performance tests, such as SYSmark and MobileMark, are measured using specific computer systems, components, software, operations, and functions. Any change to any of those factors may cause the results to vary. You should consult other information and performance tests to assist you in fully evaluating your contemplated purchases, including the performance of that product when combined with other products.  For more information on the performance and system configuration please see #1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8,9,10,11,12,13 at www.intel.com/xeonconfigs. Video transcoding: Increases video transcoding performance with increased core count and Intel AVX-512, enabling a better user experience for video streaming; for example, Keepixo’s was able to transcode up to 55% more live HD Internet TV services with its Genova Live* application vs. the previous generation.12 Database: Increases database throughput when running optimized software such as IBM DB2 (1.47X improvement vs. the previous generation6) or Aerospike Database (4X improvement vs. two generations ago7), allowing customers to reduce the size of their database clusters, which saves costs. Virtualization: Operates up to 4.2X more virtual machines (VMs) and achieves up to 65% better TCO versus a four-year-old system, allowing data center operators to deliver more capacity in the same space footprint.13last_img read more

Delivering HPC Technology Breakthroughs to Address Science’s Toughest Challenges

first_imgPerformance results are based on testing as of dates shown in footnotes and may not reflect all publicly available security updates. Configurations and benchmark details can be found in footnotes. No product or component can be absolutely secure.Software and workloads used in performance tests may have been optimized for performance only on Intel microprocessors. Performance tests, such as SYSmark and MobileMark, are measured using specific computer systems, components, software, operations and functions. Any change to any of those factors may cause the results to vary. You should consult other information and performance tests to assist you in fully evaluating your contemplated purchases, including the performance of that product when combined with other products. For more complete information visit www.intel.com/benchmarks.Intel technologies’ features and benefits depend on system configuration and may require enabled hardware, software or service activation. Performance varies depending on system configuration. No computer system can be absolutely secure. Check with your system manufacturer or retailer or learn more at intel.com.Tests document performance of components on a particular test, in specific systems. Differences in hardware, software, or configuration will affect actual performance. For more complete information about performance and benchmark results, visit http://www.intel.com/benchmarks.Software and workloads used in performance tests may have been optimized for performance only on Intel microprocessors. Performance tests, such as SYSmark and MobileMark, are measured using specific computer systems, components, software, operations and functions. Any change to any of those factors may cause the results to vary. You should consult other information and performance tests to assist you in fully evaluating your contemplated purchases, including the performance of that product when combined with other products. For more complete information visit http://www.intel.com/benchmarks.Intel® Advanced Vector Extensions (Intel® AVX)* provides higher throughput to certain processor operations. Due to varying processor power characteristics, utilizing AVX instructions may cause a) some parts to operate at less than the rated frequency and b) some parts with Intel® Turbo Boost Technology 2.0 to not achieve any or maximum turbo frequencies. Performance varies depending on hardware, software, and system configuration and you can learn more at http://www.intel.com/go/turbo.Intel’s compilers may or may not optimize to the same degree for non-Intel microprocessors for optimizations that are not unique to Intel microprocessors. These optimizations include SSE2, SSE3, and SSSE3 instruction sets and other optimizations. Intel does not guarantee the availability, functionality, or effectiveness of any optimization on microprocessors not manufactured by Intel. Microprocessor-dependent optimizations in this product are intended for use with Intel microprocessors. Certain optimizations not specific to Intel microarchitecture are reserved for Intel microprocessors. Please refer to the applicable product User and Reference Guides for more information regarding the specific instruction sets covered by this notice.Intel, Xeon, Optane, and the Intel logo are trademarks of Intel Corporation or its subsidiaries in the U.S. and/or other countries.*Other names and brands may be claimed as the property of others.© Intel Corporation1 Up to 33% average generational gains on Intel Xeon Gold mainstream CPUs: Geomean of est SPECrate2017_int_base, est SPECrate2017_fp_base, STREAM-Triad, Intel® Distribution of LINPACK, server-side Java*. Gold 5218 vs Gold 5118: 1-node, 2x Intel® Xeon® Gold 5218 cpu on Wolf Pass with 384 GB (12 X 32GB 2933 (2666))  total memory, ucode 0x4000013 on RHEL7.6, 3.10.0-957.el7.x86_64, IC18u2, AVX2, HT on all (off Stream, LINPACK), Turbo on, result: est int throughput=162, est fp throughput=172, STREAM-Triad=185, LINPACK=1088, server-side java=98333, test by Intel on 12/7/2018.  1-node, 2x Intel® Xeon® Gold 5118 cpu on Wolf Pass with 384 GB (12 X 32GB 2666 (2400))  total memory, ucode 0x200004D on RHEL7.6, 3.10.0-957.el7.x86_64, IC18u2, AVX2, HT on all (off Stream, LINPACK), Turbo on, result: est int throughput=119, est fp throughput=134, STREAM-Triad=148.6, LINPACK=822, server-side Java=67434, test by Intel on 11/12/20182 Performance leadership across the widest array of demanding workloads based on intel.ly/2VUvY2I.3 Native DDR memory bandwidth.4 2x average generational gains on 2-socket servers with 2nd Gen Intel® Xeon® Platinum 9200 processor. Geomean of est SPECrate2017_int_base, est SPECrate2017_fp_base, Stream Triad, Intel Distribution of Linpack, server side Java. Platinum 92xx vs Platinum 8180: 1-node, 2x Intel® Xeon® Platinum 9282 cpu on Walker Pass with 768 GB (24x 32GB 2933) total memory, ucode 0x400000A on RHEL7.6, 3.10.0-957.el7.x86_64, IC19u1, AVX512, HT on all (off Stream, Linpack), Turbo on all (off Stream, Linpack), result: est int throughput=635, est fp throughput=526, Stream Triad=407, Linpack=6411, server side java=332913, test by Intel on 2/16/2019. vs. 1-node, 2x Intel® Xeon® Platinum 8180 cpu on Wolf Pass with 384 GB (12 X 32GB 2666) total memory, ucode 0x200004D on RHEL7.6, 3.10.0-957.el7.x86_64, IC19u1, AVX512, HT on all (off Stream, Linpack), Turbo on all (off Stream, Linpack), result: est int throughput=307, est fp throughput=251, Stream Triad=204, Linpack=3238, server side java=165724, test by Intel on 1/29/2019. On the heels of the announcement on Aurora with Argonne National Labs and the United States Department of Energy, I am proud and excited about the announcement of the latest additions to our comprehensive high performance computing (HPC) solution portfolio from Intel Data-Centric Innovation Day, including 2nd Generation Intel® Xeon® Scalable processors, Intel Xeon Platinum 9200 processors, and Intel® Optane™ DC persistent memory. With these advancements, Intel® architecture continues to provide the best platform for today’s cutting edge simulation and modeling, scientific visualization, and converged AI-HPC workloads.As Intel pushes the envelope on performance and innovation, these latest additions to Intel’s technology portfolio will continue to drive unprecedented explorations in science and discovery.A Complete Portfolio for Cutting-Edge HPCHere are a few highlights from our Data-Centric Innovation Day technologies that offer the powerful, balanced performance needed for today’s diverse HPC workloads.2nd Gen Intel Xeon Scalable Processors, previously codenamed Cascade Lake, are designed to deliver advanced HPC capabilities, helping unlock insights from data more quickly and accelerating product innovation. With this newest generation of processors, we’re seeing an up to 1.33x average performance improvement in comparison to the previous generation’s Intel Xeon Gold mainstream processors.1Intel Xeon Platinum 9200 processors, previously codenamed Cascade Lake Advanced Performance, are architected to deliver performance leadership across the widest range of demanding workloads2 with unprecedented memory bandwidth and more memory channels than any other CPU.3 Following its previous announcement from Supercomputing 2018, we have now introduced a 56-core offering in the Intel Xeon Platinum 9200 processors product line which delivers an up to 2X average performance improvement in comparison to the previous generation Intel Xeon Platinum 8180 processor.4Intel Optane DC persistent memory brings large, affordable, persistent data closer to compute than ever before, fundamentally reworking the storage pyramid and enabling new opportunities for large scale simulation and modeling, data analysis, and AI applications. Large amounts of persistent memory in proximity to compute will be particularly important for fault tolerance, data transfer, and storage for multi-terabyte simulations, models, and in-memory databases.In addition to these leading ingredients, customers can look to our Intel® Select Solutions for High Performance Computing for full-stack hardware and software solutions that accelerate system selection and deployment with verified infrastructure optimized for key HPC applications. We announced at Data Centric Innovation Day that Intel Select Solutions for HPC & AI Converged Clusters will soon be available and will make it easier than ever before to run advanced AI workloads alongside traditional HPC workloads. Advania Data Center is planning to offer the new solution later this year. Refreshed versions of Intel Select Solutions for Simulation and Modeling, Professional Visualization, and Genomics Analytics with 2nd Gen Intel Xeon Scalable processors will be available soon.Delivering New Scientific OpportunitiesCustomers around the world are already deploying leadership HPC systems based on technologies featured at Intel Data-Centric Innovation Day.The North-German Supercomputing Alliance has selected Intel Xeon Platinum 9200 processors for its HLRN-IV system, which will support demanding research projects from seven of Germany’s sixteen states. Intel Xeon Platinum 9200 processors will provide the real-world performance that North-German Supercomputing Alliance needs to drive more and more compute- and data-intensive applications across diverse disciplines like math, earth sciences, chemistry, physics, and bio-sciences.The Texas Advanced Computing Center (TACC) will use Intel Xeon Platinum 8200 processors and Intel Optane DC persistent memory for its Frontera system. This system will provide researchers the groundbreaking computing capabilities needed to grapple with some of science’s largest challenges. Frontera will provide greater processing and memory capacity than TACC has ever had, accelerating existing research and enabling new projects that would not have been possible with previous systems.Enabling the Future of High-Performance ComputingThe most exciting elements of my job are the innovations occurring, the insights being delivered, and the opportunity to develop solutions that will continue drive scientific discoveries, whether it be through systems like Aurora or your own organization’s HPC deployment. I’m looking forward to working with my colleagues in the HPC community to develop many more systems like these for scientists around the world.To learn more about Intel architecture for high-performance computing, please visit intel.com/hpc and follow me on Twitter at @Trish_Damkroger. For more information on how to accelerate your data insights and building your infrastructure, visit intel.com/yourdata.last_img read more

Is America Still Split Into “Two Cultures”?

first_imgJournalist Chris Mooney and Princeton historian D. Graham Burnett discuss the modern-day importance of the landmark 1959 book by C. P. Snow, which alleged that intellectual life in the United States is harmed by a deep divide between the sciences and humanities. More on Mooney’s assertion that the book is still relevant to today’s efforts to solve society’s toughest problems here, and a conference exploring the idea will be held next week.Sign up for our daily newsletterGet more great content like this delivered right to you!Country *AfghanistanAland IslandsAlbaniaAlgeriaAndorraAngolaAnguillaAntarcticaAntigua and BarbudaArgentinaArmeniaArubaAustraliaAustriaAzerbaijanBahamasBahrainBangladeshBarbadosBelarusBelgiumBelizeBeninBermudaBhutanBolivia, Plurinational State ofBonaire, Sint Eustatius and SabaBosnia and HerzegovinaBotswanaBouvet IslandBrazilBritish Indian Ocean TerritoryBrunei DarussalamBulgariaBurkina FasoBurundiCambodiaCameroonCanadaCape VerdeCayman IslandsCentral African RepublicChadChileChinaChristmas IslandCocos (Keeling) IslandsColombiaComorosCongoCongo, The Democratic Republic of theCook IslandsCosta RicaCote D’IvoireCroatiaCubaCuraçaoCyprusCzech RepublicDenmarkDjiboutiDominicaDominican RepublicEcuadorEgyptEl SalvadorEquatorial GuineaEritreaEstoniaEthiopiaFalkland Islands (Malvinas)Faroe IslandsFijiFinlandFranceFrench GuianaFrench PolynesiaFrench Southern TerritoriesGabonGambiaGeorgiaGermanyGhanaGibraltarGreeceGreenlandGrenadaGuadeloupeGuatemalaGuernseyGuineaGuinea-BissauGuyanaHaitiHeard Island and Mcdonald IslandsHoly See (Vatican City State)HondurasHong KongHungaryIcelandIndiaIndonesiaIran, Islamic Republic ofIraqIrelandIsle of ManIsraelItalyJamaicaJapanJerseyJordanKazakhstanKenyaKiribatiKorea, Democratic People’s Republic ofKorea, Republic ofKuwaitKyrgyzstanLao People’s Democratic RepublicLatviaLebanonLesothoLiberiaLibyan Arab JamahiriyaLiechtensteinLithuaniaLuxembourgMacaoMacedonia, The Former Yugoslav Republic ofMadagascarMalawiMalaysiaMaldivesMaliMaltaMartiniqueMauritaniaMauritiusMayotteMexicoMoldova, Republic ofMonacoMongoliaMontenegroMontserratMoroccoMozambiqueMyanmarNamibiaNauruNepalNetherlandsNew CaledoniaNew ZealandNicaraguaNigerNigeriaNiueNorfolk IslandNorwayOmanPakistanPalestinianPanamaPapua New GuineaParaguayPeruPhilippinesPitcairnPolandPortugalQatarReunionRomaniaRussian FederationRWANDASaint Barthélemy Saint Helena, Ascension and Tristan da CunhaSaint Kitts and NevisSaint LuciaSaint Martin (French part)Saint Pierre and MiquelonSaint Vincent and the GrenadinesSamoaSan MarinoSao Tome and PrincipeSaudi ArabiaSenegalSerbiaSeychellesSierra LeoneSingaporeSint Maarten (Dutch part)SlovakiaSloveniaSolomon IslandsSomaliaSouth AfricaSouth Georgia and the South Sandwich IslandsSouth SudanSpainSri LankaSudanSurinameSvalbard and Jan MayenSwazilandSwedenSwitzerlandSyrian Arab RepublicTaiwanTajikistanTanzania, United Republic ofThailandTimor-LesteTogoTokelauTongaTrinidad and TobagoTunisiaTurkeyTurkmenistanTurks and Caicos IslandsTuvaluUgandaUkraineUnited Arab EmiratesUnited KingdomUnited StatesUruguayUzbekistanVanuatuVenezuela, Bolivarian Republic ofVietnamVirgin Islands, BritishWallis and FutunaWestern SaharaYemenZambiaZimbabweI also wish to receive emails from AAAS/Science and Science advertisers, including information on products, services and special offers which may include but are not limited to news, careers information & upcoming events.Required fields are included by an asterisk(*)last_img read more

New Energy Board Hears Score: Bureaucracy 1, Chu 0

first_imgSteven Koonin, the Department of Energy’s (DOE’s) undersecretary for science, had a blunt assessment today for efforts by himself and his boss, Energy Secretary Steve Chu, to have the $27 billion agency carry out research more efficiently: They’re mostly not working. Earlier this year, Chu pledged in Senate testimony to “break down the traditional stovepipes and operate in a more integrated and coordinated manner.” But speaking to a new advisory board this morning, the man hired in large part to accomplish that goal delivered a damning indictment of the bureaucratic turf-minding and red tape he and Chu have faced. Koonin, an accomplished physicist who was a longtime provost at the California Institute of Technology before becoming chief scientist at BP earlier this decade, came to DOE with apparently modest expectations. After a year and a half on the job, however, he’s found the R&D capabilities of DOE “far richer than I supposed.” But the job of making the department’s various branches cooperate, he said, was “much more difficult than I expected.” Sign up for our daily newsletterGet more great content like this delivered right to you!Country *AfghanistanAland IslandsAlbaniaAlgeriaAndorraAngolaAnguillaAntarcticaAntigua and BarbudaArgentinaArmeniaArubaAustraliaAustriaAzerbaijanBahamasBahrainBangladeshBarbadosBelarusBelgiumBelizeBeninBermudaBhutanBolivia, Plurinational State ofBonaire, Sint Eustatius and SabaBosnia and HerzegovinaBotswanaBouvet IslandBrazilBritish Indian Ocean TerritoryBrunei DarussalamBulgariaBurkina FasoBurundiCambodiaCameroonCanadaCape VerdeCayman IslandsCentral African RepublicChadChileChinaChristmas IslandCocos (Keeling) IslandsColombiaComorosCongoCongo, The Democratic Republic of theCook IslandsCosta RicaCote D’IvoireCroatiaCubaCuraçaoCyprusCzech RepublicDenmarkDjiboutiDominicaDominican RepublicEcuadorEgyptEl SalvadorEquatorial GuineaEritreaEstoniaEthiopiaFalkland Islands (Malvinas)Faroe IslandsFijiFinlandFranceFrench GuianaFrench PolynesiaFrench Southern TerritoriesGabonGambiaGeorgiaGermanyGhanaGibraltarGreeceGreenlandGrenadaGuadeloupeGuatemalaGuernseyGuineaGuinea-BissauGuyanaHaitiHeard Island and Mcdonald IslandsHoly See (Vatican City State)HondurasHong KongHungaryIcelandIndiaIndonesiaIran, Islamic Republic ofIraqIrelandIsle of ManIsraelItalyJamaicaJapanJerseyJordanKazakhstanKenyaKiribatiKorea, Democratic People’s Republic ofKorea, Republic ofKuwaitKyrgyzstanLao People’s Democratic RepublicLatviaLebanonLesothoLiberiaLibyan Arab JamahiriyaLiechtensteinLithuaniaLuxembourgMacaoMacedonia, The Former Yugoslav Republic ofMadagascarMalawiMalaysiaMaldivesMaliMaltaMartiniqueMauritaniaMauritiusMayotteMexicoMoldova, Republic ofMonacoMongoliaMontenegroMontserratMoroccoMozambiqueMyanmarNamibiaNauruNepalNetherlandsNew CaledoniaNew ZealandNicaraguaNigerNigeriaNiueNorfolk IslandNorwayOmanPakistanPalestinianPanamaPapua New GuineaParaguayPeruPhilippinesPitcairnPolandPortugalQatarReunionRomaniaRussian FederationRWANDASaint Barthélemy Saint Helena, Ascension and Tristan da CunhaSaint Kitts and NevisSaint LuciaSaint Martin (French part)Saint Pierre and MiquelonSaint Vincent and the GrenadinesSamoaSan MarinoSao Tome and PrincipeSaudi ArabiaSenegalSerbiaSeychellesSierra LeoneSingaporeSint Maarten (Dutch part)SlovakiaSloveniaSolomon IslandsSomaliaSouth AfricaSouth Georgia and the South Sandwich IslandsSouth SudanSpainSri LankaSudanSurinameSvalbard and Jan MayenSwazilandSwedenSwitzerlandSyrian Arab RepublicTaiwanTajikistanTanzania, United Republic ofThailandTimor-LesteTogoTokelauTongaTrinidad and TobagoTunisiaTurkeyTurkmenistanTurks and Caicos IslandsTuvaluUgandaUkraineUnited Arab EmiratesUnited KingdomUnited StatesUruguayUzbekistanVanuatuVenezuela, Bolivarian Republic ofVietnamVirgin Islands, BritishWallis and FutunaWestern SaharaYemenZambiaZimbabweI also wish to receive emails from AAAS/Science and Science advertisers, including information on products, services and special offers which may include but are not limited to news, careers information & upcoming events.Required fields are included by an asterisk(*) As a result, DOE has “underperformed” in using its massive capabilities—laboratories, program managers, research grants—in its three main areas: developing and safeguarding nuclear weapons, carrying out energy research, and funding basic science. One area that has worked well, he said, was research into combustion, in which the Office of Science’s Basic Energy Sciences branch and its counterparts in the Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy were cooperating nicely. But, he said, “there are few examples like that.” Koonin laid out four areas where the arms of the hulking bureaucracy need to do a better job of helping one another: simulations, scientific computing, fusion, and advanced materials/extreme environments. Simulating nuclear reactors or the electrical grid, for example, are research efforts done at DOE’s energy research offices. But they could be enhanced by utilizing the supercomputer facilities found at DOE’s weapons labs and the scientific computing expertise at the Office of Science. “Cultural” differences remained entrenched and serious despite scores of meetings to tackle the problem, the physicist said. Defense is the main goal of the nuclear weapons arm of DOE, which has stymied partnerships on energy work. The energy research offices have priorities that tend to shift with the “partisan” tides, he said, as administrations and bureaucrats favor wind or nuclear or coal research, for example, depending on the “political” winds. The Office of Science is “very cautious” in part because it fears connecting with energy research, for which political support can waver, and in part because of the conservative tendencies of the scientific community it supports. Bureaucrats in one section of DOE may eschew partnerships with others because they “don’t want to worry about the other guys’ labs,” he said. Meanwhile, White House budgeters, Office of Science and Technology Policy staff members and aides on Capitol Hill are not familiar with formalized, proposed collaborative efforts at DOE and may not support them. Within the department, he said, “individual programs are reluctant to get high-level help” from senior officials such as Koonin, who might guide them to partner with others at DOE. Chu, listening attentively, raised no objects to Koonin’s critique. Chu did say he was trying to increase cooperation at DOE by demanding that energy research offices funding work not only at the laboratories they traditionally support (for example, Fossil Energy’s NETL) but also at other places doing the “best science.” As members of the advisory board kicked around ideas for making the department work more cohesively, Chu revealed that he had considered a big shakeup when he first took the reins early last year. “There was a discussion as to whether we should redo the org chart,” he said. “I decided not to, at the time. Maybe I should of.” One big reason for his hesitation was the giant influx of money from the federal stimulus package that had to be disbursed. It left little time or energy for anything else, including dealing with the inevitable disruption that a shakeup would cause. “If we had done a reorganization, you’d spend your time fixing the mistakes of the reorganization.”last_img read more

Cucumbers May Be Culprit in Massive E. coli Outbreak in Germany

first_imgGerman researchers suspect cucumbers from Spain are the source of a massive enterohemorrhagic Escherichia coli (EHEC) outbreak that has hit the northern parts of the country. According to the Robert Koch Institute (RKI), so far 214 patients have developed hemolytic-uremic syndrome (HUS), a potentially deadly complication of an EHEC infection, characterized by a destruction of red blood cells and severe kidney problems. At least two patients have died. Local authorities in Hamburg announced today that they had isolated the EHEC bacteria from four cucumbers. Three of the samples came from a big market in Hamburg that sells to greengrocer’s shops as well as restaurants and caterers. Those cucumbers came from two organic producers in Spain. Scientists had speculated in the last few days that manure from infected animals used on an organic farm might have spread the bacteria to vegetables. A fourth sample came from a restaurant, and it was not immediately clear where that cucumber had been grown. After the announcement, stores started taking Spanish cucumbers off the shelves. Consumers had already been hesitant about vegetables since scientists at RKI and the Federal Institute for Risk Assessment announced the results of a first case-control-study on Wednesday evening: Women who had become infected with EHEC were a lot more likely to have eaten raw tomatoes, cucumbers, and lettuce in the days before falling ill than women who had not fallen ill. Sign up for our daily newsletterGet more great content like this delivered right to you!Country *AfghanistanAland IslandsAlbaniaAlgeriaAndorraAngolaAnguillaAntarcticaAntigua and BarbudaArgentinaArmeniaArubaAustraliaAustriaAzerbaijanBahamasBahrainBangladeshBarbadosBelarusBelgiumBelizeBeninBermudaBhutanBolivia, Plurinational State ofBonaire, Sint Eustatius and SabaBosnia and HerzegovinaBotswanaBouvet IslandBrazilBritish Indian Ocean TerritoryBrunei DarussalamBulgariaBurkina FasoBurundiCambodiaCameroonCanadaCape VerdeCayman IslandsCentral African RepublicChadChileChinaChristmas IslandCocos (Keeling) IslandsColombiaComorosCongoCongo, The Democratic Republic of theCook IslandsCosta RicaCote D’IvoireCroatiaCubaCuraçaoCyprusCzech RepublicDenmarkDjiboutiDominicaDominican RepublicEcuadorEgyptEl SalvadorEquatorial GuineaEritreaEstoniaEthiopiaFalkland Islands (Malvinas)Faroe IslandsFijiFinlandFranceFrench GuianaFrench PolynesiaFrench Southern TerritoriesGabonGambiaGeorgiaGermanyGhanaGibraltarGreeceGreenlandGrenadaGuadeloupeGuatemalaGuernseyGuineaGuinea-BissauGuyanaHaitiHeard Island and Mcdonald IslandsHoly See (Vatican City State)HondurasHong KongHungaryIcelandIndiaIndonesiaIran, Islamic Republic ofIraqIrelandIsle of ManIsraelItalyJamaicaJapanJerseyJordanKazakhstanKenyaKiribatiKorea, Democratic People’s Republic ofKorea, Republic ofKuwaitKyrgyzstanLao People’s Democratic RepublicLatviaLebanonLesothoLiberiaLibyan Arab JamahiriyaLiechtensteinLithuaniaLuxembourgMacaoMacedonia, The Former Yugoslav Republic ofMadagascarMalawiMalaysiaMaldivesMaliMaltaMartiniqueMauritaniaMauritiusMayotteMexicoMoldova, Republic ofMonacoMongoliaMontenegroMontserratMoroccoMozambiqueMyanmarNamibiaNauruNepalNetherlandsNew CaledoniaNew ZealandNicaraguaNigerNigeriaNiueNorfolk IslandNorwayOmanPakistanPalestinianPanamaPapua New GuineaParaguayPeruPhilippinesPitcairnPolandPortugalQatarReunionRomaniaRussian FederationRWANDASaint Barthélemy Saint Helena, Ascension and Tristan da CunhaSaint Kitts and NevisSaint LuciaSaint Martin (French part)Saint Pierre and MiquelonSaint Vincent and the GrenadinesSamoaSan MarinoSao Tome and PrincipeSaudi ArabiaSenegalSerbiaSeychellesSierra LeoneSingaporeSint Maarten (Dutch part)SlovakiaSloveniaSolomon IslandsSomaliaSouth AfricaSouth Georgia and the South Sandwich IslandsSouth SudanSpainSri LankaSudanSurinameSvalbard and Jan MayenSwazilandSwedenSwitzerlandSyrian Arab RepublicTaiwanTajikistanTanzania, United Republic ofThailandTimor-LesteTogoTokelauTongaTrinidad and TobagoTunisiaTurkeyTurkmenistanTurks and Caicos IslandsTuvaluUgandaUkraineUnited Arab EmiratesUnited KingdomUnited StatesUruguayUzbekistanVanuatuVenezuela, Bolivarian Republic ofVietnamVirgin Islands, BritishWallis and FutunaWestern SaharaYemenZambiaZimbabweI also wish to receive emails from AAAS/Science and Science advertisers, including information on products, services and special offers which may include but are not limited to news, careers information & upcoming events.Required fields are included by an asterisk(*) The scientists used a detailed questionnaire to ask 25 female EHEC patients and 96 women living in the same areas about what they had eaten in the days before the outbreak. Only women were included in the study because they have fallen ill more often than men in the outbreak. “It also strengthened the results of the study, because it meant that we could ignore all sex-specific differences in eating habits,” says Gérard Krause, head of the department for infectious diseases epidemiology at RKI. A statistical analysis revealed that 92 % of the women who had become infected had previously eaten tomatoes. Only about 60% of healthy women had done so. “For something that people eat so frequently, this is a big difference,” says RKI expert Klaus Stark. The results for cucumbers and lettuce were similar but slightly smaller. All three results were statistically significant. The experts advised Germans, particularly in the north, not to eat any raw tomatoes, cucumbers, or lettuce until further notice. That advice remains in place. “It is certainly a possibility that more than one of these foods is responsible,” says Reinhard Burger, president of RKI. Scientists also want to be sure that the results from Hamburg are confirmed in another lab. New insight into the nature of the bacterium might help them. Scientists at the National Consulting Laboratory on Hemolytic Uremic Syndrome in Münster have samples from all 42 EHEC cases that have occurred in HUS patients in Germany since 1996. They have identified the strain in the current outbreak as HUSEC41, sequence type ST678. In the common serotype classification that means the pathogen is an E. coli O104:H4 According to Helge Karch, head of the laboratory in Münster, O104:H4 does not have a single documented outbreak to its name. “That is why we were very surprised, that this strain could cause severe illness in such a short time,” he says. Karch and others are now working on sequencing the whole genome of HUSEC41 and establishing a new and quick way of diagnosing this particular strain of EHEC. That is important because the bacterium is hard to distinguish from normal, nonpathogenic E. coli. The strain is also eae-negative, which is unusual for a pathogenic E. coli. The gene eae encodes the protein intimin, which the bacteria uses to attach to the intestinal wall. “That has been shown to be particularly important for infecting children, so it might be one explanation, why we are seeing mainly adult patients in this outbreak,” RKI expert Stark says. Meanwhile, the outbreak is continuing in full force. “It looked for a bit, like there was a dip in the numbers, but particularly in Hamburg a lot of patients are still presenting at hospitals with bloody diarrhea,” Stark said. The next few days will show whether the warning about eating cucumbers, tomatoes, and lettuce has had any impact on the outbreak. *This item has been corrected on 3 June. A previous version of this story erroneously reported that researchers had isolated the EHEC strain O104:H4 from cucumbers.last_img read more

Hope, With ‘Stringent’ Orders, for NASA’s Webb Telescope

first_imgIn July, the U.S. House of Representatives cancelled the over-budget and behind-schedule James Webb Space Telescope, sinking the hearts of NASA officials and U.S. astronomers. Today, the U.S. Senate threw the project a lifeline, reviving hopes that the $6.5 billion instrument will eventually be completed and launched. Marking up NASA’s budget this afternoon, the Senate appropriations Subcommittee for Commerce, Justice, Science and Related Agencies allocated $530 million for the Webb telescope out of a total NASA budget of $17.9 billion, which is $509 million less than the 2011 level. The Senate panel’s support for Webb does not come as a surprise to anyone. The chairperson of the panel, Senator Barbara Mikulski (D-MD), has long been a champion of the project, which is based in her state, at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland. In remarks delivered at the markup today, Mikulski noted that although her panel wanted to continue funding for the telescope, it also wanted NASA to be more accountable in executing the project. “We have added stringent language, limiting development costs” and insisted on “a report from NASA senior management, ensuring that the NASA has gotten its act together in managing the telescope,” she said. Sign up for our daily newsletterGet more great content like this delivered right to you!Country *AfghanistanAland IslandsAlbaniaAlgeriaAndorraAngolaAnguillaAntarcticaAntigua and BarbudaArgentinaArmeniaArubaAustraliaAustriaAzerbaijanBahamasBahrainBangladeshBarbadosBelarusBelgiumBelizeBeninBermudaBhutanBolivia, Plurinational State ofBonaire, Sint Eustatius and SabaBosnia and HerzegovinaBotswanaBouvet IslandBrazilBritish Indian Ocean TerritoryBrunei DarussalamBulgariaBurkina FasoBurundiCambodiaCameroonCanadaCape VerdeCayman IslandsCentral African RepublicChadChileChinaChristmas IslandCocos (Keeling) IslandsColombiaComorosCongoCongo, The Democratic Republic of theCook IslandsCosta RicaCote D’IvoireCroatiaCubaCuraçaoCyprusCzech RepublicDenmarkDjiboutiDominicaDominican RepublicEcuadorEgyptEl SalvadorEquatorial GuineaEritreaEstoniaEthiopiaFalkland Islands (Malvinas)Faroe IslandsFijiFinlandFranceFrench GuianaFrench PolynesiaFrench Southern TerritoriesGabonGambiaGeorgiaGermanyGhanaGibraltarGreeceGreenlandGrenadaGuadeloupeGuatemalaGuernseyGuineaGuinea-BissauGuyanaHaitiHeard Island and Mcdonald IslandsHoly See (Vatican City State)HondurasHong KongHungaryIcelandIndiaIndonesiaIran, Islamic Republic ofIraqIrelandIsle of ManIsraelItalyJamaicaJapanJerseyJordanKazakhstanKenyaKiribatiKorea, Democratic People’s Republic ofKorea, Republic ofKuwaitKyrgyzstanLao People’s Democratic RepublicLatviaLebanonLesothoLiberiaLibyan Arab JamahiriyaLiechtensteinLithuaniaLuxembourgMacaoMacedonia, The Former Yugoslav Republic ofMadagascarMalawiMalaysiaMaldivesMaliMaltaMartiniqueMauritaniaMauritiusMayotteMexicoMoldova, Republic ofMonacoMongoliaMontenegroMontserratMoroccoMozambiqueMyanmarNamibiaNauruNepalNetherlandsNew CaledoniaNew ZealandNicaraguaNigerNigeriaNiueNorfolk IslandNorwayOmanPakistanPalestinianPanamaPapua New GuineaParaguayPeruPhilippinesPitcairnPolandPortugalQatarReunionRomaniaRussian FederationRWANDASaint Barthélemy Saint Helena, Ascension and Tristan da CunhaSaint Kitts and NevisSaint LuciaSaint Martin (French part)Saint Pierre and MiquelonSaint Vincent and the GrenadinesSamoaSan MarinoSao Tome and PrincipeSaudi ArabiaSenegalSerbiaSeychellesSierra LeoneSingaporeSint Maarten (Dutch part)SlovakiaSloveniaSolomon IslandsSomaliaSouth AfricaSouth Georgia and the South Sandwich IslandsSouth SudanSpainSri LankaSudanSurinameSvalbard and Jan MayenSwazilandSwedenSwitzerlandSyrian Arab RepublicTaiwanTajikistanTanzania, United Republic ofThailandTimor-LesteTogoTokelauTongaTrinidad and TobagoTunisiaTurkeyTurkmenistanTurks and Caicos IslandsTuvaluUgandaUkraineUnited Arab EmiratesUnited KingdomUnited StatesUruguayUzbekistanVanuatuVenezuela, Bolivarian Republic ofVietnamVirgin Islands, BritishWallis and FutunaWestern SaharaYemenZambiaZimbabweI also wish to receive emails from AAAS/Science and Science advertisers, including information on products, services and special offers which may include but are not limited to news, careers information & upcoming events.Required fields are included by an asterisk(*) The allocation in today’s markup does not automatically mean that the Webb telescope has been rescued. The markup will now go to the full appropriations committee for approval before going to the Senate floor for a vote. The approved bill will then have to be reconciled with the House version, which, NASA hopes, will result in a final appropriation that keeps the telescope alive.last_img read more