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Thursday, April 23, 2020

School Improvement Episode 24: Mentoring girls in maths | Mathematics - Teacher Magazine

This podcast from Teacher magazine is supported by Bank First. As the bank that exists to serve the education community, they are proud to support you during this challenging time. As educators you continue to go above and beyond, offering your strength, compassion, dedication, and expertise. So from the team at Bank First, thank you.

Hello, and thanks for downloading this episode of School Improvement from Teacher magazine. I’m Dominique Russell, editorial assistant of Teacher.

Award winner Louise Puslednik gives Mathematics real world context, particularly for girls.
Photo: ©Diego Cervo/Shutterstock

Each year, the Australian Mathematical Sciences Institute announce winners to a range of ChooseMaths awards. At the 2019 award ceremony 11 educators were acknowledged and among them was Louise Puslednik. She took home the $20 000 award for mentoring girls in maths and she joins me in today’s episode.

She’s made a real impact on girls’ involvement in maths at her school, St Matthew’s Catholic School in Mudgee, New South Wales, which teaches around 900 students from K-12. Her work extends beyond the school, which is about three hours from Sydney, to the wider Mudgee area and Bathurst region. 

The Australian Mathematical Sciences Institute Schools Program Manager and ChooseMaths Project Director labelled her a champion for engagement of girls in maths, saying ‘Louise is a powerhouse mathematics mentor and educator whose innovation, passion, leadership and contributions to regional education have and will continue to transform engagement for the benefit of many’. 

Louise says forming relationships with students is paramount for her. In this episode, we’re going to find out a little bit more about the initiatives she’s implemented at her school in order to empower girls by highlighting the relevance of mathematics to the real world, and what careers they could have in maths or science once they leave school. Before we get started though, I just thought I’d mention, like many across the world Teacher magazine is now working remotely. So for the time being, all of our podcast episodes are going to be recorded in our home studios. To kick off this episode, let’s hear about why engaging girls in maths became so important to her.

Source: Teacher Magazine 

Wednesday, April 22, 2020

Robots help care home residents stay in touch | Click - BBC News

Many elderly people living in care homes are often at increased risk from the coronavirus and the "shielding" measures designed to help keep them safe mean being separated from their loved ones...

Photo: Screenshot from BBC Click’s Video

BBC Click’s Jen Copestake find out more.

Source: BBC News

This robot is helping astronauts on the space station with tasks, stress and isolation | Space + Science - CNN

Ashley Strickland, space and science writer for CNN notes, Along for the ride with the astronauts on the International Space Station is a bit of a talking head called CIMON-2.
This robot will help astronauts feel less lonely
Designed to interact with the astronauts, the ball-shaped robot is helping them manage tasks, stress and the isolation of living more than 200 miles above their home planet.
Isolation is something many people are dealing with on Earth due to the pandemic. The project leads for the CIMON project think that lessons learned in space during this experiment could be applied on Earth.
"While in space, CIMON provides a possible basis for social assistance systems, which could reduce stress caused by isolation or group dynamic interactions during long-term missions, for example, to the moon or Mars, not dissimilar to situations on Earth," Matthias Biniok, IBM project lead for CIMON in Germany, said in an email...
"CIMON is a technology experiment to find out how virtual agents can support astronauts and increase the efficiency of their work," Biniok said. " Another important topic is research on isolation and loneliness and the effects of stress on the physical body and how virtual assistants can help astronauts cope with these problems."

Source: CNN

8 Free E-Books To Learn Deep Learning | Deep Learning Books - Analytics India Magazine

Deep Learning is a powerful method when it comes to dealing with unstructured data, inform Ambika Choudhury, Technical Journalist.

Free E-Books To Learn Deep Learning
This technique helps a machine learn from its own experience and solve complex problems. Some of the breakthroughs accomplished through deep learning techniques are self-driving cars, virtual assistants, Google’s AlphaGo, among others. 

In this article, we list down – in no particular order – eight free e-books to deep dive into Deep Learning.

Source: Analytics India Magazine

Machine learning makes building rocket engines easier | Science and Technology - Futurity: Research News

Methods from scientific machine learning could address the challenges of testing the stability of rocket engines, researchers report, says John Holden, Communications Strategist at Oden Institute for Computational Engineering and Sciences UT Austin.
Photo: laboratorio linux/Flickr
Time, cost, and safety prohibit testing the stability of a test rocket using a physical build “trial and error” approach. But even computational simulations are extremely time consuming.
A single analysis of an entire SpaceX Merlin rocket engine, for example, could take weeks, even months, for a supercomputer to provide satisfactory predictions.

Scientific machine learning is a relatively new field that blends scientific computing with machine learning. Through a combination of physics modeling and data-driven learning, it becomes possible to create reduced-order models—simulations that can run in a fraction of the time, making them particularly useful in the design setting...

But these models do more than just repeat the training simulation.

They also can simulate into the future, predicting the physical response of the combustor for operating conditions that were not part of the training data.

Although not perfect, the models do an excellent job of predicting overall dynamics. They are particularly effective at capturing the phase and amplitude of the pressure signals, key elements for making accurate engine stability predictions.

Source: Futurity: Research News

Artificial intelligence passes on skills at the workplace | Machine learning & AI - Tech Xplore

How can the knowledge and skills of an experienced employee be effortlessly passed on to new employees? 

The application gives instructions of the worksteps, detects mistakes and shows the correct workflow.
Researchers at Aalto University have tackled this problem that many industrial companies have experienced by developing a toolchain based on artificial intelligence and computer vision. It would automatically create training materials such as instructional video and augmented reality (AR) based real-time assistance applications. 

Many have started to make video recordings of their employees' executing assembly or maintenance processes. When given such a video, the toolchain can automatically extract workflow information, including the sequence of work steps and the operations in each step. The employees can review the workflow before it gets converted into an instructional video or AR application.

"We estimate that this tool will make it possible to save 7-10 times the amount of time that it would take if employees had to label the and create an AR-based assembly or maintenance assistance application manually. An experienced employee only has to check that the instructions created by the system are correct," says the head of the research, Yu Xiao, professor of electrical engineering at Aalto University...

Saving time and money in the training of employees
The tool has been developed over the last year and a half with funding from Business Finland for the commercialization of the research, and companies will soon begin piloting it. Taking part in the steering group of the project are three mechanical engineering companies that have drawn attention to the needs of users.

Source: Tech Xplore

Statistics flatter only to deceive | Books and Publishing - BusinessLine

Jinoy Jose P, Journalist and Screenwriter at Business Line summarizes, A mathematician demystifies the glitz around stats and exposes the underbelly of the numbers world.

The jury is still out on who is the real owner of the quote: “In God we trust. All others must bring data”, but in all probability, it would be a statistician. ‘Stats’ explain the world by adding accuracy and certainty to its affairs. A news story that says the coronavirus impact will shrink global GDP by 1 per cent would add a lot more value than a headline that says ‘Covid-19 to dent global GDP deeply’.

Numbers are charming when they fall in the right place, and can be alarming when they get cocktailed with bad news. For policymakers, planners and businesses, numbers are crucially sacred. They complete their story. Plato may have said a good decision is based on knowledge and not numbers. But number mavens and data doctors won’t agree. For them, numbers never lie. They represent the truth. Two plus two equals four, not six.

In recent years, the advent of modern computing and the rapid emergence of allied segments such as big data analytics has added an extra layer of intrigue and many layers of intricacy to the world of numbers, making rapid number-crunching a glamorous vocation. Statisticians and mathematicians are today paid more than ever. And their services transcend disciplines. Some statisticians are like Francis Galton, a cousin of Charles Darwin and an obsessive number lover, who said: “Nothing in human nature is indeterminate. Anything and everything can be measured.”...

In this context, understanding statistics becomes an essential evolutionary skill. In Something Doesn’t Add Up: Surviving Statistics in a Post-Truth Age, mathematician Paul Goodwin offers us an exciting handbook to understand the world of numbers. “I now realise that my mathematical colleague who argued that there are two worlds — mathematics and waffle — was wrong,” writes Goodwin in the introduction to the book. “There are two worlds, but they are the world of reality and the world of numbers. And the second world is usually at best a simplification of the first and at worst a gross distortion of it.”
Read more... 

Recommended Reading

Something Doesnt Add Up
Source: BusinessLine

Tuesday, April 21, 2020

Matheminecraft: Where math and Minecraft meet | Mathematics -

Mathematician David Strütt, a scientific collaborator at EPFL, worked for four months to develop Matheminecraft, a math video game in Minecraft, where the gamer has to find a Eulerian cycle in a graph. 

Photo: Ecole Polytechnique Federale de Lausanne

Minecraft is a sandbox video game released in 2011, where the gamer can build almost anything, from simple houses to complex calculators, using only cubes and fluids. These countless possibilities are what lured David Strütt into Minecraft's universe: "the game might be first intended for kids but I was studying for my Bachelor's degree in mathematics when I discovered it. I fell in love with the game when I realized there is all the necessary blocks to build a Turing machine inside the game. It was a long time ago, so I have since forgotten what a Turing machine is. But the gist of it is: anything is possible inside the game."

Matheminecraft, now freely available to everyone, is a around Eulerian graphs with a tutorial and four levels. The project was made for the Maths Outreach team with the idea that it should be ready for the EPFL Open days in September 2019. After the success encountered at the Open Days, it was decided that the game will be proposed to classes of the region as a series of ateliers organized by the Maths Outreach Team and the Science Outreach Departement (SPS). During 4 weeks, 36 classes of children—8 to 10 years old– registered to visit EPFL and took part in a two hours matinée where they played Matheminecraft and did various chemistry experiments. Minecraft is a very popular game and has been described as one of the greatest games of all time. Children immediately recognize the game and a growing roar of "are we going to play Minecraft" fills the air as they enter the room. "I think Minecraft digitally plays the same role LEGO did in my childhood. It appeals to anyone who takes a bit of their time to dive into it," speculates David...

Graph theory
The behind the is vast and well known. It's and was first mentioned as such in 1736 by Leonhard Euler. Euler laid the foundations of graph theory in his paper about the Seven Bridges of Königsberg (now Kaliningrad in Russia). This is a famous problem related to the urban geography of the city: can we found a walk through the city that would cross each bridge once and only once.


Mathematicians explain how we should exit the coronavirus lockdown | Syndication - The Next Web

The COVID-19 pandemic has put the world to the test. Never before have we been so aware of the many ways we come into contact with innumerable others by The Conversation.

Mathematicians explain how we should exit the coronavirus lockdown
We have been forced to reassess and retrain common habits, from the handshake to the simple act of opening a door.

This is because the virus spreads via physical proximity: direct contact between people (handshakes, kisses, and hugs), coughs, or even touching objects with contaminated droplets. The sum of all of these contacts forms a large and dynamic network – just like Facebook maps out our social interactions online. Disconnecting or weakening this extensive network is the key purpose of social distancing measures, currently experienced across the world.

How we come out of lockdown is the next challenge. It is important to avoid a resurgence of the virus while minimizing the societal and economic damage. Proposals range from creating herd immunity to keeping the lockdown intact until the development of a treatment or vaccination...

The time has come to consider an exit strategy. Our mathematical modeling suggests that some version of green zoning would offer this. Through the progressive enlargement of green zones, we would able to rebuild our social and economic interaction in a safe, efficient, and rapid way.
Read more... 

Source: The Next Web

Online learning: how to acquire new skills during lockdown | Internet - The Guardian

Millions of users are signing up for free courses taught by professors from Harvard and other top universities, according to David Robson, science writer specialising in psychology, neuroscience and medicine.

 Deep concentration of study is more rewarding than scrolling through social media.
Photo: Fizkes/Getty Images
For many of us in self-isolation, it can feel like the coronavirus has put the world on hold as we wait for release from our temporary imprisonment. But increasing numbers of people are using the time to build their skillset, with an upsurge in enrolments on online learning platforms such as edX, FutureLearn and Coursera, which offer “massive open online courses” – or Moocs.

Coursera, for instance, has seen an eightfold increase in enrolments for social science, personal development, arts and humanities courses since the start of the coronavirus outbreak. “It’s unprecedented,” says the company’s chief product officer, Shravan Goli. (In late March, its Science of Well Being course saw 500,000 new enrolments in a single weekend.)

Devoting some of our quarantine time to self-education makes sense. Besides helping to bolster your career during this economic uncertainty, learning a new skill can give you a sense of control that will help cope with anxiety engendered by the epidemic.

As James Wallman says in his book Time and How to Spend It, personal growth is central to many psychological theories of long-term happiness. So although an hour listening to a lecture may not be as enticing as the instant gratification of reality TV or social media, it will lead to greater life-satisfaction in the long term. “...

What do I do after completing the course?
For some, this may be just the start of the journey – furnishing you with a greater confidence to learn and the motivation to take it further. If you find that you’re hooked, many of the platforms also provide accredited bachelors and master’s degrees from selected universities, though this will be more expensive.

For others, the completion of a single course will be enough. But whatever your goals, the quest to learn a new skill or discipline may be the perfect distraction from the frustrations of self-isolation – allowing you to connect with new people and transforming this period into a time of enlightenment and self-discovery. 


Additional resources

Time and How to Spend It:
The 7 Rules for Richer, Happier Days
Source: The Guardian

6 Free Courses to Help Leaders Clearly Communicate and Influence Positive Change in Times of Crisis | LinkedIn Learning Resources - The Learning Blog

Leaders are being asked to do a lot right now—to play an even bigger role as a manager and as a leader to navigate the impacts of this crisis—all while dealing with the change on a personal level by Hari Srinivasan, Vice President of Product Management - Linkedin Learning.

6 Free Courses to Help Leaders Clearly Communicate and Influence Positive Change in Times of Crisis

It's tough and can be overwhelming, and Linkedin Learning is here to help. 

The number of leaders (professionals Director-level and above) taking a course on LinkedIn Learning has increased 41% faster month-over-month than all other seniority levels. Leaders around the world are turning to online learning to cultivate the communication, leadership, and management skills they need to lead teams through this uncertain time. 

Dive into the free courses helping leaders learn how to: 
Read more... 

Source: The Learning Blog

Sunday, April 19, 2020

Ex-Hong Kong bookseller to open store in Taiwan | #Asia - NHK WORLD

A former manager of a Hong Kong bookstore that sold titles critical of the Chinese Communist Party is set to reopen the store in Taiwan.

Photo: Screenshot from NHK WORLD's Video
Lam Wing-kee was detained by Chinese authorities along with other people linked to the Hong Kong store five years ago.

He was later released and returned to Hong Kong and hoped to reopen the bookstore there.

But he gave up the idea last year after the Hong Kong government submitted a bill that would enable criminal suspects to be sent to mainland China...

Lam says the store will open next Saturday in central Taipei.


Italy’s bookstores are figuring out how to reopen a business after a lockdown | Lifestyle - Quartz

After experiencing a severe coronavirus outbreak—with almost 170,000 people infected and more than 22,000 killed—things have started to improve in Italy over the past couple of weeks, observes Luiz Romero, Reporter at Quartz. 

A man at the Feltrinelli bookstore in Rome.
It recorded its lowest number of new cases in one month earlier this week.

The government has now started to ease its strict lockdown measures. It has allowed some businesses to reopen, including bookstores, which are now having to figure out how to reignite their operations and start welcoming customers again.

China is the only country that had as severe an outbreak as Italy, managed to control it, and is now trying to reopen. China’s main lesson might be that the behaviors that businesses need to protect against are so omnipresent—being together, breathing, touching things—that changes are radical...

Where are the readers?
One question now is what Italians will be buying once they’re inside—beyond the books about the pandemic, which are already being written here. If the current bestseller charts are any sign, they will be looking for interminable book series to entertain their children, like the Harry Potter series, and themselves, with the Neapolitan tetralogy by Elena Ferrante.

Some will be looking for an immersion in the world of infectious disease, with Albert Camus’ Plague and José Saramago’s Blindness, while others, also based on the current rankings, will use the detective stories of Michael Connelly, Carlo Lucarelli, and Georges Simenon to find a escape.

Source: Quartz

Hitting the Books: How 'universal' stem cells might fix our brains | Tomorrow - Engadget

Andrew Tarantola, Senior Editor at Engadget recommends, All it takes is a bit of genetic manipulation.

3d cells and connections
Photo: enot-poloskun via Getty Images
The impact that stem cell therapies could have on the worst diseases known to humanity is hard to overstate. From debilitating genetic disorders to currently incurable maladies like Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s disease — even the ability to restore mental and physical functions after a stroke — stem cells could one day treat them all. Of course, with the intensity of interest in this rapidly maturing scientific discipline comes grifters, shams, quacks and snake-oil salesmen; like the Florida clinic that nearly blinded three women last year after injecting stem cells into their eyes to treat their Macular Degeneration.

In his latest book, The Future of Brain Repair - A Realist’s Guide to Stem Cell Therapy, neurobiologist Jack Price takes readers on a deep dive of the state of the art in advanced therapies while walking them through the field’s recent advancements, current capabilities and limitations and, in the excerpt below, the potential to directly reprogram mature cells into any other cell-type you need...

Excerpted from The Future of Brain Repair - A Realist’s Guide to Stem Cell Therapy by Jack Price. Reprinted with permission from The MIT PRESS. Copyright 2020.

The work of Gurdon, Thomson, and Yamanaka revealed something quite remarkable: if a cell can be induced to express the appropriate factors, then its fate can be fundamentally transformed. In the case of iPS cells, terminally differentiated cells—from blood, skin, or endothelium—were reprogrammed into pluripotent cells: that is, from cells with the most restricted of fates to cells with the most expansive. This was a shock to conventional embryologists, who had come to consider certain developmental steps irreversible. It was believed by many that once cells had been channeled during early development into one of the three primary germ layers (ectoderm, mesoderm, endoderm) then that step could not be reversed. Reprogramming destroyed that argument, but it raised an even more provocative question: if the correct genetic formula could be found was there any cell transplantation that could not be engineered?
Read more... 

 Recommended Reading

The Future of Brain Repair:
A Realist's Guide to Stem Cell Therapy
(The MIT Press)
Source: Engadget

Never a better time to discover the joy of words: Top books to read during lockdown | Features -

You’ll never be without a friend if you have a good book by Andy Richardson, Feature Writer at Express & Star.

Top books to read during lockdown
At times of great happiness or sorrow, of joy or depression, books will offer companionship and support, a sense of perspective and a friend who leads the way.

To steal from the Oxford-educated essayist Logan Pearsall Smith: “People say that life is the thing, but I prefer reading.” And as we prepare ourselves for a long-time in lockdown, books have never been more relevant...

The result was a new set of friends. I’d look at books and be grateful for the lessons they’d taught, fun they’d provided and journeys they’d taken me on.

So as we all look ahead to lives irrevocably changed by covid-19, it’s time to rediscover the joy of words. All of us will spend more time at home during the coming year, almost all of us (NHS staff excluded) will have more time on our hands.

There’s never been a better time to rediscover the joy of words.


Saturday, April 18, 2020

Free Music Lessons Online For Students During COVID-19 BY Fort Lauderdale Music School | KISS PR, Press Releases -

McKay’s Music Lessons Launches FREE Online Music Lessons for Students during the COVID-19 Pandemic.

Photo:  McKay Music Lessons
Due to the COVID – 19 Pandemic over 47 million people across our nation have lost their jobs. As stress, anxiety, and depression are on the raise the team at McKay’s Music Lessons has decided to join in the fight against COVID-19 by launching “Generation Musician”. This program offers free online piano and guitar lessons for students of all ages.  According to research learning to play a musical instrument can help reduce feelings of stress, anxiety, and depression while regulating our emotions, improving concentration and our ability to process information...

The team at McKay's Music Lessons intends to keep the music education alive to help members of our community mentally cope in these challenging times while protecting the health and welfare of our students. 

Benefits of Generation Musician:
  • Live Online Piano and Guitar Lessons 
  • Learn from a professional musician
  • Help keep music educators employed
  • Lessons are Free of charge; donations are welcome
  • Students of all ages can join
For educators who would like to join our mission to help keep music education alive at a time when our students need a creative outlet the most you can do so by visiting our website


P.E.I. music teachers turn to online learning amid pandemic | Local - The Guardian

Grace Biswas, Student journalist observes, Many music students across the Island haven’t missed a beat since the province declared a public health emergency last month.

A lot of music instructors are now teaching their students online, via conferencing apps such as Zoom.
Photo: Grace Biswas
To adhere to social distancing measures during the coronavirus (COVID-19 strain) pandemic, instructors have moved their lessons online.

At Holland College School of Performing Arts (SoPa), students have been recording and submitting performances online, and instructors are recording lectures and have set up a chat room for students to ask questions...

Corcoran said close to 70 per cent of the students in the program have returned to their homes.

"We have quite a lot of international students who decided to return back home to the 
Bahamas, several students went back to the U.S.,” he said. 

“Some students are not international but live on the other side of Canada, so we have to work with so many time zones and co-ordinate sessions."

Source: The Guardian

Life on the inside: 10 educational activities to make the best of lockdown | National - Echo

People in the UK are spending more time at home than ever before during the coronavirus lockdown by Press Association 2020.

Photo: JumpStory
While this may mean less activity outdoors, it can also be the perfect opportunity to learn something new.

Here are 10 educational activities to try during lockdown:...

...learn to play your favourite instrument.

...books probably lying around the house unread, so now is the best time to start reading them.
Read more... 

Source: Echo

Friday, April 17, 2020

Suggested Books Today | Books - Helge Scherlund's eLearning News

Check out these books below by Springer

Photo: JumpStory
With more than 2,900 journals and 300,000 books, Springer offers many opportunities for authors, customers and partners. 

Fundamentals of Artificial Intelligence

Fundamentals of Artificial Intelligence
Fundamentals of Artificial Intelligence introduces the foundations of present day AI and provides coverage to recent developments in AI such as Constraint Satisfaction Problems, Adversarial Search and Game Theory, Statistical Learning Theory, Automated Planning, Intelligent Agents, Information Retrieval, Natural Language & Speech Processing, and Machine Vision...

The book is intended primarily for students who major in computer science at undergraduate and graduate level but will also be of interest as a foundation to researchers in the area of AI.
Read more... 

 Linear Algebra and Optimization for Machine Learning

Linear Algebra and Optimization for Machine Learning
This textbook introduces linear algebra and optimization in the context of machine learning. Examples and exercises are provided throughout this text book together with access to a solution’s manual. This textbook targets graduate level students and professors in computer science, mathematics and data science. Advanced undergraduate students can also use this textbook. The chapters for this textbook are organized as follows: 
Read more... 

 Advances in Deep Learning

Advances in Deep Learning
This book introduces readers to both basic and advanced concepts in deep network models. It covers state-of-the-art deep architectures that many researchers are currently using to overcome the limitations of the traditional artificial neural networks. Various deep architecture models and their components are discussed in detail, and subsequently illustrated by algorithms and selected applications. In addition, the book explains in detail the transfer learning approach for faster training of deep models; the approach is also demonstrated on large volumes of fingerprint and face image datasets. In closing, it discusses the unique set of problems and challenges associated with these models.

Robotic Musicianship - Embodied Artificial Creativity and Mechatronic Musical Expression 

Robotic Musicianship
Embodied Artificial Creativity
and Mechatronic Musical Expression
This book discusses the principles, methodologies, and challenges of robotic musicianship through an in-depth review of the work conducted at the Georgia Tech Center for Music Technology (GTCMT), where the concept was first developed. Robotic musicianship is a relatively new research field that focuses on the design and development of intelligent music-making machines. The motivation behind the field is to develop robots that not only generate music, but also collaborate with humans by listening and responding in an expressive and creative manner. This combination of human and machine creativity has the potential to surprise and inspire us to play, listen, compose, and think about music in new ways.  
Read more... 

During Coronavirus - Social Distancing:
Stay home and switching to eLearning and read

Source: Springer

Europe’s digital future: Robotics and artificial intelligence | Technology - Open Access Government

Here, we chart some of the European Commission’s policies around robotics and artificial intelligence (AI) that will positively shape Europe’s digital future, as Open Access Government reports.

Europe’s digital future: Robotics and artificial intelligence
The European Commission’s policies on the areas of robotics and artificial intelligence will continue to positively shape Europe’s digital future.
In the upcoming Horizon 2020 calls, future plans for robotics and its vast roles are more important than ever, and the European Union has Four Priority Areas (PAs) targeting: healthcare inspection and maintenance of infrastructure, agri-food, and agile production...

Artificial intelligence (AI) has become an area of strategic importance and a key driver of economic development bringing the possibility of solutions to many societal challenges from treating diseases to minimising the environmental impact of farming. However, socio-economic, legal and ethical impacts must be carefully addressed. Therefore, the European Commission has stated that it is essential to join forces within the European Union to stay at the forefront of this technological revolution, to ensure competitiveness and to shape the conditions for its development and use (by ensuring respect of European values).

Source: Open Access Government

How deep learning algorithms can be used to measure social distancing | Syndication - TNW

This article is republished from The Conversation by Ronnie Das, Lecturer in Digital & Data Analytics, Newcastle University and Philip James, Professor of Urban Data, Newcastle University under a Creative Commons license. 
Read the original article.

Many countries have introduced social distancing measures to slow the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic by To understand if these recommendations are effective, we need to assess how far they are being followed.
Photo: Screenshot from Phil James Video
To assist with this, our team has developed an urban data dashboard to help understand the impact of social distancing measures on people and vehicle movement within a metropolitan city in real time.

The Newcastle University Urban Observatory was established to better understand the dynamics of movement in a city. It makes use of thousands of sensors and data sharing agreements to monitor movement around the city, from traffic and pedestrian flow to congestion, car park occupancy and bus GPS trackers. It also monitors energy consumption, air quality, climate and many other variables...

Tools for the future 
A World Health Organization expert has claimed that the UK was ten days late in implementing strict social distancing measures. This was perhaps due to a lack of insight into widespread public behavior. Observational infrastructure developed through technology may lie at the heart of future crisis management responses.

The Newcastle Urban Observatory is part of a global movement to develop what are known as smart cities: where embedded sensors provide real-time data on city systems to optimize performance and enable evidence-based decision making.
Read more... 

Source: TNW

Using artificial intelligence against the spread of COVID-19 | Artificial Intelligence - JD Supra

“Artificial intelligence is developing fast”, reports Fabia Cairoli, Data protection specialist and Giangiacomo Olivi, Partner at Dentons - Head of TM. 

Photo: raymond wijaya via Flickr
The introduction to the White Paper on Artificial Intelligence, issued by the European Commission in February 2020, makes it very clear why this technology is becoming a hot topic.

This is confirmed during these challenging times, with an increasing consensus about the importance of using AI to fight against COVID-19: we need predictive technology to support us in determining how the virus is spreading, what are its mutation patterns, as well as who are the people mostly at risk...  

An overview of the uses of AI against the pandemic AI-based projects against the pandemic are steadily increasing as the virus spreads throughout the world. The main projects and purposes include the following:

  • Tracking of patients and potentially affected people: This requires the use of citizens’ localization data in order to assess whether a person may have been affected and warn them. The implication of using such a technology is the potential reduction in the citizens’ rights to freedom and privacy;
  • Detection of symptoms and primary care of patients: Asking citizens to complete a questionnaire and having an AI system analyze the data, can significantly alleviate the workload of the health care system. Among the implemented / discussed solutions are:
  • Interactive voice response systems and chat-bots for patient self-triage (as reported by the Harvard Business Review, the use of such tools is increasing);
  • Image-based medical diagnosis (e.g. chest x-rays) and forecasts of the impact of the virus on patients, based on their symptoms;
  • Monitoring of public areas and transportation means in order to detect situations where people are not complying with public order rules;
  • Hindering fake news, by adding fact-checker systems (e.g. Whatsapp has started a pilot project called Facta, which watches the news and provides an analysis of those items that are found to be fake);
  • Forecasting the epidemic’s spread over time and space. This purpose is probably one of the most difficult as there is no historical tracking of the pandemic, as it is an extraordinary event.

  • The race is on: Many institutions and universities, that were already implementing AI systems, are currently speeding up their finalization / conversion to make them an appropriate tool to fight the pandemic.
    Read more... 

    Source: JD Supra