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Sunday, June 16, 2019

Quiz: How well do you know Albert Camus? | Philosophy - OUPblog (blog)

The Nobel Prize winner, Albert Camus (1913-1960) is one of the best known French philosophers of the twentieth century, and also a widely-read novelist, whose works are frequently referenced in contemporary culture and politics...

Albert Camus
Photo: Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
How much do you know about the life and work of Albert Camus? Test your knowledge with our quiz below.

Source: OUPblog (blog) 

Toward artificial intelligence that learns to write code | Around Campus - MIT News

Researchers combine deep learning and symbolic reasoning for a more flexible way of teaching computers to program, says Kim Martineau, MIT Quest for Intelligence.

Researchers have developed a flexible way of combining deep learning and symbolic reasoning to teach computers to write short computer programs. Here, Armando Solar-Lezama (left), a professor at CSAIL, speaks with graduate student Maxwell Nye.
Photo: Kim Martineau

Learning to code involves recognizing how to structure a program, and how to fill in every last detail correctly. No wonder it can be so frustrating.

A new program-writing AI, SketchAdapt, offers a way out. Trained on tens of thousands of program examples, SketchAdapt learns how to compose short, high-level programs, while letting a second set of algorithms find the right sub-programs to fill in the details. Unlike similar approaches for automated program-writing, SketchAdapt knows when to switch from statistical pattern-matching to a less efficient, but more versatile, symbolic reasoning mode to fill in the gaps.

“Neural nets are pretty good at getting the structure right, but not the details,” says Armando Solar-Lezama, a professor at MIT’s Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory (CSAIL). “By dividing up the labor — letting the neural nets handle the high-level structure, and using a search strategy to fill in the blanks — we can write efficient programs that give the right answer.”

SketchAdapt is a collaboration between Solar-Lezama and Josh Tenenbaum, a professor at CSAIL and MIT’s Center for Brains, Minds and Machines. The work will be presented at the International Conference on Machine Learning June 10-15...

SketchAdapt is limited to writing very short programs. Anything more requires too much computation. Nonetheless, it’s intended more to complement programmers rather than replace them, the researchers say. “Our focus is on giving programming tools to people who want them,” says Nye. “They can tell the computer what they want to do, and the computer can write the program.”

Source: MIT News

Saturday, June 15, 2019

It's Time To Demystify Machine Learning | Forbes Councils - Forbes

John McDonald, CEO of, an IoT systems integrator summarizes, It's critical to understand ML in order to put things into perspective.
Photo: Getty
The hype machine is cranked up to an 11 on the topic of machine learning (sometimes called artificial intelligence, though I don't call it that because AI is not really intelligence and there’s nothing artificial about it). Machine learning will either empower the world or take it over, depending on what you read. But before you get swept away by the gust of hot air coming from the technology industry, it’s important to pause in order to put things into perspective. Maybe just explaining it in reasonable terms will help.

Shortly after the first caveman figured out how to make fire, the second caveman wanted to learn how to make fire, too. However, he didn’t -- and couldn't -- check out a book from the local library or take a three-credit college class. Instead, he watched caveman one make fire, tried to do it himself, failed, was corrected and then did it again until he got it right. Fundamentally, this is how all humans have ever learned anything -- by watching, trying, failing, correcting and repeating.

Think about this from a modern perspective. If you were to drop your phone and crack the screen, you would probably go directly to YouTube and search “how to replace an iPhone screen.” After watching the video, if you felt like it might be within your capability, you might go to Amazon and order a replacement screen kit (though you should probably order two because you are going to mess up one of them.) When the box arrives, you go back to YouTube and watch the same video and try to match what the person onscreen is doing. If you succeed, you’ve now completed a very technical task that you never learned in school or took a class to do. And you probably didn't think you’d be doing said task when you got up that morning...

What we are doing is teaching computers to learn the same way we do. We send sets of data to very powerful machine learning software that is built into cloud platforms like Google and IBM. Now, we ask the machine to figure out what the patterns are and what the data means.

Of course, the machine gets it wrong, but then the task is to correct the model and do it again. After multiple iterations, the model becomes better and better, almost like a pixelated photograph becomes sharper each time more data is sent to fill it in. 
Read more... 

Source: Forbes

What is Deep Learning | deep learning - Robotics Tomorrow

Deep learning is a machine learning technique that teaches computers to learn by example just as we learned as a child. We see this technology in autonomous vehicles, explains Len Calderone - Contributing Author.

Photo: Len Calderone

Deep learning is capturing the attention of all of us as it is accomplishing outcomes that were not previously possible.  Deep learning is a machine learning technique that teaches computers to learn by example just as we learned as a child. We see this technology in autonomous vehicles. It enables the vehicle to distinguish between different objects on the road and enables the vehicle to stop when it sees a red light. An autonomous vehicle can determine when it is safe to move forward or to remain stationary.  

In deep learning, a computer becomes proficient at performing tasks from images, text, or sound, and can realize state-of-the-art accuracy, many times exceeding human implementation.

We often hear the terms: AI (artificial intelligence), machine learning and deep learning. So, what are the differences?  All machine learning is AI, but not all AI is machine learning. AI is a general term for any computer program that does something smart. Deep learning is a subset of machine learning, and machine learning is a subset of AI.

Artificial intelligence is an area of computer science that stresses the creation of intelligent machines that work and respond like humans. The basic procedure of machine learning is to provide training data to a learning algorithm, which in turn generates a new set of rules, based on inferences from the data. By using different training data, the same learning algorithm could be used to produce diverse models. Deducing new instructions from data is the strong suit of machine learning. The more data that is available to train the algorithm, the more it learns...

In the past, black and white movie images had to be hand colored, which was very time consuming and costly.  Now this process can be automatically done with deep-learning models, which can automatically colorize grayscale images based on Convolutional Neural Networks, which features a fusion layer that allows an artist to merge local information dependent on small image areas with largescale prior images.

Source: Robotics Tomorrow

Friday, June 14, 2019

Southwestern College Holds Ribbon Cutting for State-of-the-Art Math and Science Building | News Releases - Southwestern College News Center

More than 100 students, Southwestern College employees and community members gathered on June 12 to celebrate the opening of Southwestern College’s Math and Science Building, the newest STEM-dedicated education facility in San Diego County by Southwestern College.

Jessica Rodriguez, nursing student, and Robert Alcantar, Governing Board president, cut the ribbon to the Math and Science Building with Southwestern College students, employees and community members.
Already serving our students for a semester, the $85.6 million Math and Science Building has expanded Southwestern College’s curriculum by giving students access to state-of-the-art labs, classrooms and lecture halls.

“This place is where dreams can be nurtured, where dreams can be grown,” said Margie Stinson, biology professor. “Our students now see a light aiming at the university. More of them are stepping forward into the future rather than looking at where they have been.”

Community members were invited to experience and witness the demonstration of the new facilities, including a synthetic cadaver, a drone demonstration, a 3-D printer demonstration, shark dissection and the fermentation lab.

The building is a cornerstone for many of Southwestern College’s innovative and in-demand programs, like the new fermentation and drone programs, as well as home to some of Southwestern College’s most popular majors like biology, chemistry, math, geology and physics...

The Math and Science Building gives new and expanded spaces to the Math Center and the Mathematics, Engineering, Science Achievement Program.

Source: Southwestern College News Center

Budget cuts nixed their music program. These donated instruments saved it. | Passaic -

Students at Public School 21 in Paterson are playing instruments again, thanks to a donation from the Saddle River Arts Council that comes after recent deep budget cuts left the majority of the city’s elementary schools without music teachers and programs, continues

A group of students from Public School 21 in Paterson display their new musical instruments, which came as a donation from the Saddle River Arts Council
The elementary school students Thursday performed a call-and-response percussion song to thank the executive members of the Arts Council for their 30 donated instruments, which included guitars and keyboards. They were conducted by Jaimeo Brown, the school’s music teacher.

“We were thrilled [to receive the instruments],” said Principal Joanne Riviello. “Unfortunately, they were slated for another school, but they lost their music teacher, so their loss is our gain. It’s going to be a great thing.”...

“[The students] really are illuminated with every opportunity, exploring and learning and being exposed to music in general,” said Brown. “It opens doors.”


Preserving musical tradition through education | Good Times2 - Khmer Times

For most artists, music is a form of storytelling. It is a matter of composing a new narrative with notes and melodies, instead of words or sentences. For others, music has to be played to save it from dying.

Anith Adilah Othman speaks with Sokim Keat, a young Khmer who teaches Cambodian traditional instruments to the youths, out of fear that someday his beloved culture will be forgotten.

Sokim Keat, Communications & Outreach Coordinator has always been fond of the arts. Despite majoring in English, the 31-year-old has dabbled in the music field ever since he graduated from university. 

Keat with his students at Friends Music School. 
Photo: GT2/Pann Rachana

He said his passion grew tremendously after volunteering and learning at the Community of Living Chapei for over three years.

Last year, Keat took his passion for the traditional Khmer instruments to another level by opening the first music school in Cambodia that focuses more on the dying art.

“I just got curious. I wanted to know why Cambodian traditional music is no longer widely practiced. I was also wondering why the musicians who play traditional instruments mostly still live in poverty. The numbers of students majoring in Khmer music at the public universities are also very little.

“To me, it is a shame as there is a high demand for traditional musicians especially since Cambodia has a lot of festivals all year round. The market demand is there but not the supply,” he told Good Times2.

Today, he provides informal music education to the youths who share the same passion at his Friends Music School in Russey Keo, some 12 kilometers away from the city center. Due to his full-time job at the Cambodian Living Arts, the school only operates on the weekends...

Keat, however, admitted there were a lot of challenges initially. These include having limited access to good teachers and the traditional instruments.

“There are a handful of really superb musicians but they are always busy, especially from October to July as it is wedding season and they are booked for performances. When I was hiring, I had to really ask for help from friends through social media.

Source: Khmer Times

Alexa in the classroom? Amazon’s voice assistant leads kids’ story time | Business - Los Angeles Times

The group of kids, aged 7 to 12, sat around a table, trying to follow along with the reading assignment. It was after lunch. Energy was high, attention spans short, reports Matt Day, Technology reporter at Bloomberg News.

A child holds his Amazon Echo Dot. Amazon met with skepticism from some privacy advocates and members of Congress last year when it introduced its first kid-oriented voice assistant, along with brightly colored models of its Echo Dot speaker designed for children. 
Photo: Mike Stewart / AP
Nobody held books, though. And a teacher wasn’t reading. Inc.’s Alexa was conducting story time, queuing up professional narrators to read the story aloud, quizzing the kids in its robot voice and offering hints when someone flubbed an answer to questions about “Davy Duck’s Grumpy Day.

Voice software has colonized smartphones, car dashboards and the living room. If the technology follows the trail blazed by tablet and cloud computing, the next frontier may be the classroom.

That’s why Irina Fine convened the group of primary school students to test the latest iteration of the educational voice software built by her start-up, Bamboo Learning Inc. “There is a preference for voice with the younger generation,” Fine says. “It’s hard to imagine for it not to be everywhere.”...

Boosters of voice technology will also have to make their case to educators, some of whom are already reeling from heated debates about whether the use of gadgets in the classroom is helping kids learn or simply diverting resources from school district budgets to the likes of Apple Inc. and Alphabet Inc.’s Google...

In the last year, Bamboo launched three Alexa skills, as Amazon calls voice apps. They’re short lessons and quizzes on music theory, math and reading. All are designed to work with Amazon devices such as the Echo Show and Fire TV Cube, which let Alexa make use of visual aids, in addition to voice-only gadgets. A fourth skill went live on Wednesday: a storybook program in partnership with Highlights for Children, the 73-year-old children’s magazine.

Linde Center for Music and Learning at Tanglewood to open June 28 | Lifestyle - The Boston Globe

The highly anticipated Linde Center for Music and Learning at Tanglewood will officially open to the public on June 28, inform Lillian Brown, Globe Correspondent.

Tanglewood's new Linde Center for Music and Learning, designed by William Rawn Associates Architects is set to open June 28, 2019. 
Photo: Winslow Townson
Celebratory festivities will take place through July 1, starting with a ribbon cutting Friday morning...

“Though the launch of the [Tanglewood Learning Institute] and the opening of the Linde Center represent a new milestone for the festival,” BSO president and CEO Mark Volpe said in a statement when a preview of the center was first made available in February, “Tanglewood’s overriding goal remains the same since its founding by Serge Koussevitzky in 1937 — to bring the musical, artistic, and physical beauty of the place, infused now with its storied history of great personalities and unforgettable events, to an ever more diverse public so that they too can enjoy the many gifts Tanglewood imparts.”
Read more...  

Source: The Boston Globe

University subject profile: Education | Education - The Guardian

The study of how people learn, including education studies, undergraduate teacher training and academic studies in education.

Students will have lectures, seminars and essays, but also spend a good chunk of time in schools.
Photo: Klaus Vedfelt/Getty Images

What you’ll learn
How do teachers get pupils to be quiet and pay attention? Why do some people struggle with reading? Which is more important: nurture or nature? An education degree will teach you about the theories underpinning how we learn, and give you the practical skills and knowledge needed to be an effective teacher.

There are two degree types you can study: bachelor of education (BEd) degrees or bachelor of arts (BA) and bachelor of science (BSc) degrees with QTS (qualified teacher status). Whichever you pick, if you want to work as a teacher, in most schools they must also confer QTS. Courses tend to last three or four years, during which time you’ll develop the specialist subject you need to teach, learn about the national curriculum for that subject, get up to speed with the latest government education initiatives (and get a shock when you realise how many there are and how often they’re updated), and learn about the legal and ethical responsibilities that come with the job.

You will also learn a huge range of strategies and practical teaching techniques, such as how to plan lessons, assess learning, manage behaviour, and teach in a way that best enables children to learn.

If you want to learn about education because you find it interesting, but don’t plan to teach, an education studies course is more appropriate. These courses will look at how education is delivered and focus more on how this fits into a cultural, political or historical context, rather than just how it is practically applied in schools on a day-to-day basis. You will probably look at other education models and their impact on society in other countries, and perhaps even start to develop a few ideas of your own...

How you’ll learn
You’ll have lectures, seminars and plenty of essay assignments, but you’ll also spend a good chunk of your time in schools. On placements, you’ll observe expert teachers and, in time, teach yourself. Throughout placements, you’ll be supported by a mentor from the school. When looking at courses, it’s worth asking about a university’s partner schools – some will have a focus on urban schools, while others might encourage you to spend time in specific settings, such as special schools.

What entry grades you’ll need
Entry requirements vary. The more selective universities require at least one of the following: art, biology, chemistry, computing, design and technology, drama (theatre studies), English, French, geography, German, history, ICT, Italian, mathematics, music, physics, physical education, religious studies (theology), Spanish or Cache qualifications (Council for Awards in Care, Health and Education).


Source: The Guardian