Research Institute for Advanced Computer Science
An institute of the Universities Space Research Association

News & Publications

Life Sciences: NASA Life Sciences Platform Team Recognized for Innovative NASA Life Sciences Portal

May 22, 2024

Congratulations to the NASA Life Sciences Platform Team who won the 2023 NASA Group Achievement Award for “exceptional group achievement in development and support of the Human Research Program's NASA Life Sciences Portal.” Sandeep Shetye (ARC) accepted the award on behalf of the team at the Ames Research Center's annual Presidential Rank and NASA Honor Awards Ceremony on Wednesday, May 22, 2024.

BCG Announces Collaborations with NASA and USRA to Launch a Generative Artificial Intelligence Lab for Science and Engineering

April 18, 2024

Boston Consulting Group (BCG) announced strategic collaborations with NASA’s Ames Research Center in California’s Silicon Valley and the Universities Space Research Association (USRA) to launch a generative artificial intelligence (GenAI) lab for science and engineering.

Life Sciences: NASA Life Sciences Platform Team Nominated for the RNASA Foundation's Stellar Award

March 2024

The NASA Life Sciences Platform Team was recently nominated for the Rotary National Award for Space Achievement (RNASA) Foundation’s prestigious Stellar Award. The nomination is “recognition of the respect the team has earned for its hard work and exceptional accomplishments” in developing the platform that hosts the NASA Life Sciences Portal (NLSP).

Scientists Focus on Understanding Source of Noise--A Major Issue in Quantum Computing

December 22, 2023

In a recent paper published in Physical Review Letters,  Universities Space Research Association's Filip Wudarski and his team showed that understanding the source of noise is of primary importance for quantum computers. The paper discusses how scientists can study the specific features of low-frequency noise in a quantum bit (qubit) using relatively short measurements. These measurements are shorter than the time it takes for the noise source to explore all its possible states, and thus reach the ergodic limit.

USRA Partners with North Carolina A&T in Expanding Quantum Information Science and Engineering Education under NSF major program

December 22, 2023

The Universities Space Research Association (USRA) has been issued a subaward from the NSF's ExpandQISE program, a major effort part of the National Quantum Initiative connecting leading institutions in quantum science with diverse student populations. The grant will enable USRA and its partners to develop and test cutting-edge quantum algorithms, enhance educational resources, and establish new quantum science labs, contributing significantly to the nation's quantum research and education landscape.

Exploration Technology: Release of NASA Life Sciences Portal (NLSP)

October 2022

This fiscal year, technical staff in USRA’s NAMS Program led the development and release of the new NASA Life Sciences Portal, which replaces the legacy NASA Life Science Data Archive (LSDA). The NLSP provides information and data on life science studies involving human, plant and animal subjects from 1961 (Mercury Project) through current flight and flight analog studies (International Space Station).

Exploration Technology: Public Release of Scoops3D Version 1.3 - Software to Analyze Three-Dimensional Slope Stability Throughout a Digital Landscape

September 2022

Version 1.3 of the United States Geological Survey (USGS) Scoops3D slope stability model was made available for public download on the USGS software release site. The Scoops3D Fortran code was developed by Sarah Christian, Associate Scientist (USRA), working under cooperative agreement with Mark Reid (USGS).

Exploration Technology: Dr. Janani Iyer, Associate NAMS Scientist Contributes to Research Publication in Cell Reports Journal

September 2022

"Artificial gravity partially protects space-induced neurological deficits in Drosophila melanogaster," was published in the Cell Reports journal authored by scientists from NASA and USRA, Siddhita Mhatre, Janani Iyer (USRA), Juli Petereit, Roberta Dolling-Boreham, Anastasia Tyryshkina, Amber Paul, Rachel Gilbert, Matthew Jensen, Rebekah J. Woolsey, Sulekha Anand, Marianne Sowa, David Quilici, Sylvain Costes, Santhosh Girirajan, Sharmila Bhattacharya. The study shows the effects of space on “model organisms,” other kinds of life that are biologically similar to humans. It also shows how fruit flies on the International Space Station suggest that space travel has an impact on the central nervous system, but that artificial gravity provides partial protection against those changes. 

Exploration Technology: Dr. Jeffrey Marshall Receives 2022 Ames Honor Award

September 2022

Jeffrey Marshall, Ph.D., Associate Scientist (USRA) received a 2022 NASA Ames Honor Award for being an exceptional contractor employee. Jeffrey Marshall, Ph.D. (USRA) and the other Ames Honor Awards recipients will be honored in an upcoming virtual ceremony.

Exploration Technology (Environmental Analytics): NAMS Publication Chosen for 2022 Atmosphere Journal Cover

April 2022

The USRA NAMS Environmental Analytics team's article, "A Deep Learning Approach for Meter-Scale Air Quality Estimation in Urban Environments Using Very High-Spatial-Resolution Satellite Imagery" was published in the Atmosphere Journal as part of the Special Issue Air Pollution in Industrial Regions. The article was chosen to be on the cover of the journal, including images and the publication title.

Exploration Technology: USRA-Rigetti-NASA team advances to DARPA ONISQ Phase 2

January 2022

Universities Space Research Association (USRA) announced January 27, 2022 the start of operations for phase-2 of DARPA’s Optimization with Noisy Intermediate Scale Quantum devices (ONISQ) program. This award follows the ONISQ phase 1 launch in 2020, in which USRA was selected to lead the “Scheduling Applications with Advanced Mixers” (SAAM) project, in collaboration with Rigetti Computing and, through DARPA, under DARPA-NASA Interagency agreement (IAA) 8839 Annex 114, with the NASA Quantum AI Laboratory.

Environmental Analytics: Public NASA Ames International Space Station Particle Database Website Released

December 2021

NAMS staff, Meytar Sorek-Hamer, Ph.D., Manager and Scientist (USRA) and Irina Hallinan, Software Engineer, (USRA) under the guidance of Marit Meyer, Ph.D. (NASA GRC), created the NASA Ames International Space Station Particle Databases website as a collaborative effort between different research fields including aerosols, air quality, health in space, and data science. The website hosts an interactive plotting tool for a unique data set of airborne pollutant particles sampled on the International Space Station (ISS). The International Space Station Particle Database is a public-facing web tool for developing an air quality index for space missions.

Data Science: NAMS Scientists Utilize Deep Neural Networks to find 301 More Planets

November 2021

NAMS data scientists, Dr. Hamed Valizadegan, Senior Scientist, Machine Learning (USRA) and Miguel Martinho, Associate Scientist, Data Science (USRA) have made some exciting contributions in recent discoveries for the Kepler mission, using a new deep neural network called ExoMiner. Scientists from USRA, NASA, and other institutions recently added 301 newly validated exoplanets to the total exoplanet tally. The planets are the latest to join the 4,569 already validated planets orbiting a multitude of distant stars. The results are published in the Astrophysical Journal. This extraordinary discovery and methodology has also been recognized by USRA, NASA Ames, NASA JPL, and featured on the NASA Exoplanet website in addition to being covered by many other news media outlets.

Intelligent Systems: NAMS Data Science Group Awarded ROSES TESS Guest Investigator Fund

September 2021

Dr. Hamed Valizadegan, (Ph.D.), Senior Scientist, Machine Learning (USRA) and Mr. Miguel Saragoca- Martinho, Associate Scientist, Data Science (USRA) were awarded a ROSES TESS Guest Investigator fund to investigate the application of their developed deep neural network (DNN) classifier to classify Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite (TESS) Cycle 4 Threshold Crossing Events (TCEs). A proposal titled, "Vetting And Ranking Tess Cycle 4 TCEs Using A Novel And Accurate Deep Neural Network", submitted in response to the NASA Research Announcement NNH20ZDA001N for participation in the TESS Cycle 4 Guest Investigator Program, has been awarded for funding.

Intelligent Systems: NASA-USRA Scientists Awarded Center Innovation Fund (CIF)

September 2021

USRA and NASA scientists have been awarded Center Innovation Fund to develop High-Performance Quantum-Classical Hybrid Model for Flight-Operations Anomaly Detection. NASA Ames Research Center has awarded NASA - USRA scientist team a Center Innovation Fund (CIF) award to develop a high-performance scalable and explainable Machine Learning model for flight-operations anomaly detection. The core model will be a novel classical deep-learning model, with a design that can be complemented by quantum computing, which has demonstrated the capacity to improve and accelerate learning through statistical sampling from energy-based distributions.

Quantum Computing Bibliography

June 2021

Publications from the team in the last 12 months. The team works primarily with NASA Ames Quantum AI Laboratory led by Eleanor G. Rieffel under the NASA Academics Mission Services Contract. It is supported as well by the National Science Foundation SpecEES and Expeditions in Computing program and by the DARPA ONISQ program.

Exploration Technologies (Quantum): Quantum Team awarded 2020 Best Paper Award in Algorithms Journal

May 2021

The winner of the Algorithms 2020 Best Paper Award has been granted to a quantum research article written by Stuart Hadfield. Ph.D. (NASA), Zhihui Wang, Ph.D. (NASA), Bryan O’Gorman, Ph.D. (NASA), Eleanor G. Rieffel, Ph.D., (NASA), Davide Venturelli, Ph.D. (NASA) and Rupak Biswas, Ph.D. (NASA).

High Performance Computing Request for Proposal

May 2021

The Universities Space Research Association (USRA) is pleased to invite proposals for University-Led High Performance Computing (ULHPC) Research Projects, to be conducted in collaboration with the NASA Advanced Supercomputing (NAS) Center at NASA’s Ames Research Center (see nas.nasa.gov). This call is open to all accredited universities and colleges in the U.S. acting on behalf of their faculty members.

Bioscience (Nanotechnology): USRA Researchers Develop Vacuum Diode

April 2021

The Nanotechnology team consisting of Jin-Woo Han, Ph.D., Senior Scientist (USRA), Myeong-Lok Seol, Ph.D., Associate Scientist (USRA). has worked to fabricate a vacuum diode. This structure features nearly zero gate leakage current, thus overcoming a common problem in miniaturized vacuum electronics devices. This silicon based architecture could be readily fabricated on a wafer scale using a standard integrated circuit manufacturing process as demonstrated here. The results of this research were published in a recent issue of the journal Nanoscale Advances (vol. 3, pp. 1725-1729, 2021). This work was sponsored by the Space Mission Directorate (SMD), which strives to provide a ground technology for Europa exploration. 

Bioscience: USRA Scientists Discover Prions in the Domain Archaea

March 2021

Protein-based genetic elements – prions – have long fascinated biologists because they overturn the central dogma. Far from simply causing mammalian disease, many prion-like aggregation processes produce beneficial traits. Some argued that prion-like self-assembly of proteins may have been important in the origins of life. If this would be the case, one would expect to find prions in all domains of life. Yet because archaeal prion proteins have not been identified, it has been impossible to assert that they were a generalized phenomenon throughout evolution, or perhaps were even present in our last universal common ancestor (LUCA). In the paper, evidence was provided that multiple archaeal proteins are capable of acting as prions – thus expanding our knowledge of this epigenetic phenomenon to the third and final domain of life. This adds strong support to the hypothesis that amyloid-based prions were present at the earliest stages of life’s evolution.