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CHINA SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY NEWSLETTER(2011 NO.25)
 

3,000 Rice Germplasms to Resequence

The Chinese Academy of Agricultural Sciences, the International Rice Research Institute, and the Beijing Genomics Institute jointly announced on November 15, 2011 in Shenzhen that they will resequence 3,000 core rice germplasms collected from different parts of the world, and release the results to the world in 2012.

On the same day, a ceremony was held to inaugurate the opening of a Shenzhen Biological Breeding Innovation Institute under China Academy of Agricultural Sciences, and to ink a strategic cooperation accord between the International Rice Research Institute and the new Institute. In addition to a team of stockholders, including the Shenzhen Municipal Government, China Academy of Agricultural Sciences, and Beijing Genomics Institute, some international bodies, including the International Rice Research Institute, the International Maize and Wheat Improvement Center, and the Gates Foundation, also secured their support to the new Institute. The Institute is made up of an Agricultural Genomics Center, a Rice Molecular Breeding Center, a Wheat and Corn Breeding Center, and an International Training Center. Scientists will work on species-based genome-wide selection and multi-cycle selection based polymer modification, using the genome sequencing results of 10,000 core rice germplasms provided by the International Rice Research Institute, in an attempt to breed out more new rice varieties featured with high yield, strong resistance, and high quality.

Tiangong-I into Long Term Mode

A Tiangong-I Management Committee said on November 20, 2011 that Tiangong-I, a Chinese made target spacecraft currently running in an orbit 382km above the Earth, has entered a long-term management mode, and will work on a range of scheduled scientific experiments. LIU Junze, head of Beijing Space Flight Control Center Spacecraft Management Division, said the first successful rendezvous and docking mission is now followed by a long-term management that will cover the following three missions:

1) Orbit maintenance and flight attitude realignment. Tiangong-I will see some variations in altitude, as the result of the changing space environment. One has to keep the spacecraft in the desired orbit on a regular basis. In addition, a range of operational modes have to be switched between three-axis stabilization and yaw maneuver flight, in line with the changed light conditions, ensuring energy balancing and flight safety.

2) Regular inspection. One has to keep an eye on the working conditions of the onboard equipment and subsystems, ensuring them in a good working condition.

3) Stage scientific experiments in line with the ground application system, gathering more scientific data.

3D High-Yield Corn Modeling

Financed by the National Natural Science Foundation, a study team, led by GUO Xinyu, a research fellow at the Chinese Academy of Agricultural Sciences Institute of Agricultural Information, proposed the design and framework to build a digital management system for growing corn, based on the relationship between crops, environment, and technology.

Researchers developed the digital corn management system to simulate the plants’ daily growth, and predict their dynamic yield and quality, based on a combined range of elements, including nitrogen pollution control, growth simulation, and plant management. They also developed visual design tools, making the three-dimensional visual simulation and online applications possible.

GUO told reporters that the three-dimensional visual model is built on a string of advanced elements involving agronomy, computer science, geographic information systems, and simulation models, created a digital tool for the corn production system, covering dynamic prediction, decision-making, management, design, and analysis. Researchers have realized the visualization of the aerial parts in the first place, and will further work on other parts, including roots, root caps, crop growth, and yield, making it a visual platform for agronomists and breeders to analyze and evaluate corns in an individualized or grouped manner, so as to raise the plants’ yield and quality.

China's First Petaflop Computer in Operation

"Nebula", China's first supercomputer with a physically measured performance exceeding the petaflop level, was put into operation on November 16, 2011 at the National Supercomputing Center in Shenzhen. The supercomputer will find applications in an array of areas, including new energy development, new materials making, natural disaster early warning and analysis, weather forecasting, geological exploration, industrial simulation among many others. The Supercomputing Center will mainly work on two technical fields: high-performance computing and cloud computing, providing strong technical support for major national strategic planning, digitized innovation cities, and cloud computing industry, and making more computing resources available to basic research, scientific computing, and major scientific and technological discoveries.

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