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Quick Picture

MapD, a new software program from Todd Mostak and Sam Madden at MIT, allows for very quick visualization of large datasets, MIT's Technology Review reports. Rather than rely on CPUs, MapD uses GPUs to process data, which Tech Review adds, allows it to be some 70 times faster.

Thus far, Mostak and Madden have used the program to visualize tweets. In a related video, Tech Review's David Talbot shows how it can quickly — within milliseconds — visualize where someone in the US has tweeted the word "rain."

“Many laptops even contain fairly powerful GPUs — fast enough to dramatically accelerate the interactive exploration of moderate-sized datasets of, say, 20 million tweets,” Mostak says.

Tech Review adds that the Sunlight Foundation plans to use the program to examine 22 years' worth of US state and federal campaign donation data, and Nvidia is also interested in the program.

The Scan

Hormone-Based Gene Therapy to Sterilize Domestic Cat

A new paper in Nature Communication suggests that gene therapy could be a safer alternative to spaying domestic cats.

Active Lifestyle Linked to Type 2 Diabetes Prevention in People at High Genetic Risk

A study in the British Journal of Sports Medicine shows that an active lifestyle goes a long way in type 2 diabetes prevention.

Beneficial, Harmful Effects of Introgression Between Wild and Domesticated European Grapes

A paper in PNAS shows that European wild grapevines were an important resource for improving the flavor of cultivated wine grapes.

Genetic Ancestry of South America's Indigenous Mapuche Traced

Researchers in Current Biology analyzed genome-wide data from more than five dozen Mapuche individuals to better understand their genetic history.