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Wednesday, May 13, 2020

Old math reveals new secrets about these alluring flowers | Science - National Geographic

A model developed by Alan Turing can help explain the spots on these astoundingly diverse flowers—and many other natural patterns as well, as Katherine J. Wu, Boston-based science journalist reports.

The monkeyflower species Mimulus pictus, with a unique pattern displayed on the petals.
Scientists who study monkeyflowers sometimes feel as though the plants are looking back at them. The blooms are said to resemble the faces of playful monkeys—hence the name—complete with a speckled central region that looks like a gaping mouth, helping bees zero in on their nectar-rich targets.

“It's like a friendly smile indicating safe harbor for pollinators,” says Benjamin Blackman, a plant biologist at the University of California, Berkeley. By attracting these pollinating insects, the speckled petals help ensure the plants will go on to bloom another day.
“The color contrast makes pollination more efficient, more effective,” says Yaowu Yuan, a biologist at the University of Connecticut... 

Mimulus mysteries
With models that simulate the colorful clash between activator and repressor, Yuan and Blackman can reproduce the freckles of Mimulus plants. But there’s almost certainly more to the story. “It’s a simple model,” Yuan says. “But if I’ve learned anything in biology, it’s that … in a real biological system, it’s never going to be as simple as that. The details will always be different.”

Source: National Geographic

Numeracy skills remain the key to a better life | Opinion - City A.M.

Fiona McDonnell, Director of Customer Retail at Amazon UK explains, As a parent under lockdown, I count myself among the many thousands of people who have added ‘home schooling’ to their list of responsibilities at home, at least temporarily. I take my hat off to teachers who do this normally. 

Photo: via Getty Images
Reflecting on the way we educate children and engage them in a subject like numeracy, many more of us will have become aware of the challenges involved in building and maintaining core skills. These are skills which set the next generation on a path into the future world of work.

But as we celebrate National Numeracy Day, I was reminded of some shocking statistics about the reality of numeracy in the UK.

Independent charity National Numeracy reported that low numeracy costs the economy around £3.2bn per year, nearly half of all working-age adults have the numeracy level of a primary school child, and three quarters of working adults would struggle to pass a maths GCSE.

That represents a serious challenge for both employers and employees alike – especially when considering the extent to which numeracy underpins the technology that shapes the modern world...

At the same time, maths plays a role in all our everyday lives. You might be measuring the front room for a new sofa, budgeting the weekly food shop or splitting the bill over dinner. Good numeracy also helps us find the best deals on financial products like mortgages, business loans and insurance.

So to build a strong workforce of numeracy-empowered people, we all need to take action both collectively and individually.  
Read more

Source: City A.M.

The healing power of data: Florence Nightingale’s true legacy | Statistics - The Conversation AU

When you’re in a medical emergency, you don’t typically think of calling a statistician by Associate professor, Australian National University, Senior lecturer, Monash University and
Biostatistician, University of Melbourne. 

However, the COVID-19 outbreak has shown just how necessary a clear understanding of data and modelling is to help prevent the spread of disease.
One person understood this a long time ago. Were she alive today, Florence Nightingale would understand the importance of data in dealing with a public health emergency.

Nightingale is renowned for her career in nursing, but less well known for her pioneering work in medical statistics. But it was actually her statistical skills that led to Nightingale saving many more lives...

A trailblazer for women 
In 1858, Nightingale’s achievements in statistics were recognised by the Royal Statistical Society in the UK, when she became the first woman Fellow of the Society.

After Nightingale’s fellowship, it would be more than 100 years before a woman was elected President of the Royal Statistical Society, with Stella Cunliffe’s election in 1975. It was only in 1995 that the Statistical Society of Australia had a woman as president, with the election of Helen MacGillivray.
Read more... 

Source: The Conversation AU 

Masterclass: Understanding Algorithms | Masterclass - MrFixItsTips

At one time, the term “algorithm” was reserved solely for computer programmers and mathematicians by MrFixItsTips.

It is now commonplace throughout numerous sectors, notably online gambling.

From commodity-based investment platforms to bookmakers that have the capability to obtain the latest odds in terms of an upcoming horse race, the average consumer is now able to take advantage of these unique digital entities.

Even those who are relatively unfamiliar with how algorithms function can still leverage numerous advantages. How are these lines of code impacting the online sports sector and what might we expect in the future?

Smarter Than You May Think
Any algorithm is heavily designed around the notion of probabilities. From a very basic standpoint, they are engineered to accurately predict a specific behaviour based off of any data that is present. For instance, an algorithm can be used to determine how the value of a certain stock may change within a 24-hour period...

Already Making Their Presence Known   
Most consumers are unaware of how common algorithms have become. Every time an individual searches for a subject on Google, the most relevant results based off of past searches will be displayed. These are normally referred to as “predicted algorithms”.

Smartphone apps will be recommended to individuals as a result of their past interests or purchases. Certain games may also use algorithms to present the player with more challenges.
Read more... 

Source: MrFixItsTips

Tuesday, May 12, 2020

Professor: We can learn from 1918 flu pandemic | Coronavirus - The Herald

When talking about the current COVID-19 epidemic, many tend to mention the 1918 flu pandemic that also swept across the world.

In this 1918 photo, volunteer nurses from the American Red Cross tend to influenza patients in the Oakland Municipal Auditorium, used as a temporary hospital. 
Photo: courtesy Library of Congress via The Associated Press
“Both viruses spread rapidly to all areas of the world, although some people in 1918 had partial immunity to that strain of influenza,” said Ann Carmichael, a professor emerita at Indiana University-Bloomington’s Department of History and Philosophy of Science and Medicine. “They were older and/or lived in some rural areas where the strain of influenza prior to 1889-91 still circulated. So, 1918 was devastating for younger adults.”

The 1918 flu pandemic was caused by an H1N1 virus with genes of avian origin, according to information from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Although there is not universal consensus regarding where the virus originated, it spread worldwide in 1918 and 1919...

The pandemic is also known as the Spanish flu, though the exact origin of the flu is not fully known.

“It became the Spanish influenza because Spain didn’t join the war, and thus reported the flu in newspapers months before others did,” Carmichael explained.


Source: The Herald

Expert Alert: The Math Behind Social Distancing | Mathematics and Statistics - UMM News

A UMD faculty member's expertise illuminates the impact of social distancing during a pandemic by Richard Buckalew, Assistant Professor of Mathematics. 

Duluth's Portman Park during COVID-19
1. What does the math tell you about the impact of social distancing?
The math tells us that, given all the complex ways that people can interact and spread the pathogen, reducing this by even relatively small amounts can have a huge impact on the felt reality of an epidemic. 

In the real world, that translates to two things: We need fewer interactions with others, and when interaction must happen, we need safer ones – i.e., social distancing. And we need people who are contagious (‘testing’) or who might be (‘tracing’) to self-isolate and take more precautions than they otherwise would. Small changes in those two factors can have huge effects on the trajectory of the model...

3. What else would you like people to know?
 What I’d really like is for people to get to know their friendly neighborhood epidemiologist. Or mathematician, or whomever. People get into epidemiology, or epidemiological modeling, because they want to make the world a better place. When people have questions, I want them to feel empowered to ask someone who would know – and to know the difference, because unfortunately there are plenty of people who pretend to be experts when they aren’t.

Source: UMM News

World’s Women in Mathematics Day: Mirzakhani, a genius who shattered stereotypes | Mathematic - Tehran Times

The second year of World’s Women in Mathematics Day will be celebrated through video conferencing on May 12, which is the birthday of late Maryam Mirzakhani, the Iranian-born genius mathematician who shattered stereotypes about women's ability in mathematics, notes Faranak Bakhtiari, Tehran Times.

Maryam Mirzakhani
At 2018 World Meeting for Mathematics held in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, Iranian Mathematical Society proposed designating Maryam Mirzakhani’s birthday (May 12) as a day for celebrating women in mathematics. The proposal was approved. 

Still, some believe that studying math is not appropriate for a girl, and to justify their beliefs, they are making biological differences between men and women.

They generally refer to global scientific awards for their claims. Awards that are less than 200 years old, while many women throughout history have struggled with the stereotype and their work is a refutation of statements denying women's ability in mathematics.

The presence of women in mathematics has a long history. From Hypatia, a Greek mathematician who lived about 1,500 years ago, to 19th-century English mathematician and programmer Ada Lovelace. Iranian women have also had a hand in the world of mathematics for centuries, from Bi Bi Monajemeh Nishaburi, the seventh-century mathematician and astronomer to Farideh Firoozbakht, who became famous for her theory of Firoozbakht's conjecture on the distribution of prime numbers in 1982. But perhaps no Iranian female mathematician in the world has been mentioned as much as Maryam Mirzakhani...

In memory of Mirzakhani 
The United Nations Women, a UN entity for gender equality and women's empowerment, have honored seven women scientists, including Iran’s Maryam Mirzakhani, who have made significant contributions to the field of science, highlighting their world-altering and trailblazing careers.
The National Academy of Sciences of the United States has launches an award named after Maryam Mirzakhani for her efforts and achievements, which are awarded each year to exceptional contributions and advances in mathematics.

Source: Tehran Times

Why the “IT skills crisis” isn’t what it seems | Data Centre - Techerati

What exactly is driving the IT skills crisis? Simon Ratcliffe, Principal Consultant at Ensono, searches for the source.

Why the “IT skills crisis” isn’t what it seems - Techerati

Whatever the company, whatever the sector, there’s one phrase at the top of the agenda for every IT director: the ‘skills crisis’.

Undeniably, the crisis is a very real problem for IT, with significant consequences for the competitiveness of UK businesses and the economy at large. Recent Cloud Industry Forum (CIF) research starkly illustrated this problem, revealing that 40 per cent of organisations believe their efforts to implement digital transformation are hampered by a lack of staff and skills.

As the coronavirus emergency develops, these skills challenges are set to aggravate further. Mainframe operations, in particular, may be put under pressure, creating issues for mission critical workloads like on-premise SAP.

Needless to say, businesses need to address the skills crisis at its root? But what exactly is the root?...

The education problem 
The third and final cause of the skills crisis is, of course, education.

Currently, IT education in schools still focuses on the absolute basics: Microsoft Word, Microsoft Excel, and so on. For a generation that is digitally native and already familiar with these programmes, this kind of curriculum is disappointing and pitched far below where it should be.

Source: Techerati

How to improve your digital skills for free in lockdown |

As lockdown continues, now is a good time to upskill yourself. Digital skills are highly prized by employers - here's how to gain them, according to Katie Russell, Digital Lifestyle Writer at The Telegraph. 

We have rounded up some of the best courses for how you can improve your digital skills in lockdown
Photo: PeopleImages/iStockphoto
Whether you have been furloughed, or simply want to capitalise on the time you’ve saved on your commute, lockdown is a great opportunity to upskill yourself

One of the best ways to do this is to improve your digital skills. At the beginning of the year, some of the most in-demand hard skills were cloud computing, artificial intelligence, analytical reasoning, blockchain and user experience design, according to LinkedIn.

“Digital skills are one of the hottest topics,” agrees Simon Nelson, CEO of FutureLearn. He cites data analysis, data visualisation, coding, understanding digital business, and digital and social media marketing as some of the most in-demand skills in the modern workplace...

If you want to improve your skills, you don’t need to go back to university. There are a number of online courses available for gaining digital skills - many of which are free. 


Why 'Giving and Receive Feedback' is Trending (and Free Courses to Help You Upskill) | Top Skills - The Learning Blog

Online learning continues to surge globally with 3X the number of professionals using LinkedIn Learning in April versus February, says Hari Srinivasan, Vice President of Product Management - Linkedin Learning.

The Top Skill this Week: How to Give and Receive Feedback (And Free Courses to Help You Get Better at It)
When we looked into the skills our members were learning, we saw an interesting one rise in popularity: Feedback -- how to give and 
receive it.   

Now, it’s no secret that this is an important skill to have in order to be successful in your career. In fact, when managers provide performance feedback to employees, those employees are 2x more likely to believe that they can meet their personal career goals, according to recently released Glint data

Why might this skill be even more important to master now? Many of us are in a virtual workplace and have lost some of the natural interactions and feedback loops that tend to happen in the office. Giving and receiving both positive and constructive feedback in the right way can go a long way towards keeping people engaged and motivated...

Here are four courses that can help you give and receive feedback, which are free for you through the end of June:
Read more... 

Source: The Learning Blog

Sunday, May 03, 2020

What Is Mathematics, Really? | Books - Questia

Photo: Reuben Hersh
Check out this book about Mathematics-Philosophy by Reuben Hersh. 

What Is Mathematics Really

Platonism is the most pervasive philosophy of mathematics. Indeed, it can be argued that an inarticulate, half-conscious Platonism is nearly universal among mathematicians. The basic idea is that mathematical entities exist outside space and time, outside thought and matter, in an abstract realm. In the more eloquent words of Edward Everett, a distinguished nineteenth-century American scholar, "in pure mathematics we contemplate absolute truths which existed in the divine mind before the morning stars sang together, and which will continue to exist there when the last of their radiant host shall have fallen from heaven." In What is Mathematics, Really?, renowned mathematician Rueben Hersh takes these eloquent words and this pervasive philosophy to task, in a subversive attack on traditional philosophies of mathematics, most notably, Platonism and formalism. Virtually all philosophers of mathematics treat it as isolated, timeless, ahistorical, inhuman. Hersh argues the contrary, that mathematics must be understood as a human activity, a social phenomenon, part of human culture, historically evolved, and intelligible only in a social context.

Thus Hersh's argument has educational and political ramifications. Written by the co-author of The Mathematical Experience, which won the American Book Award in 1983, this volume reflects an insider's view of mathematical life, based on twenty years of doing research on advanced mathematical problems, thirty-five years of teaching graduates and undergraduates, and many long hours of listening, talking to, and reading philosophers. A clearly written and highly iconoclastic book, it is sure to be hotly debated by anyone with a passionate interest in mathematics or the philosophy of science.

Source: Questia

Sarum Academy teams up with bookshop to provide students with free reads | Salisbury - Salisbury Journal

Martina Moscariello, Reporter at Salisbury Journal inform, SARUM Academy has teamed up with The Rocketship Bookshop on Bridge Street to make sure pupils in Year 7-10 will be receiving a piece of fiction. 

Photo: Sarum Academy
The books, which include titles such as RJ Palacio’s Wonder and Cosmic by Frank Cottrell Boyce, will be distributed to students over the coming week.

The school says it will also make sure students have the basic stationary to continue with their studies from home.

Deputy Headteacher Jen Moore said: “Our students have been working on some fantastic resources set by our teachers, but one thing we know we cannot send them over the internet is the pleasure and excitement of holding a quality novel in their hands. Developing confident and enthusiastic readers is key to great learning. We also want families to know we are thinking of them, all of the staff are missing our amazing students.”...

Owner Jo Boyles said: “We’re getting ready to open and will be offering delivery once the supply chain is operational and once we know we can adhere to government guidelines and best practices.

Source: Salisbury Journal

Bookstore worry about the ‘medium run’ post pandemic | Entertainment - CT Insider

Roxanne Coady is worried about the future of her business, but that’s nothing new by Amanda Cuda, Health editor and reporter at Connecticut Post.
The exterior of RJ Julia Booksellers in Madison. 
Photo by Mara Lavitt.
“I’ve been worried for 30 years,” says Coady, the founder of R.J. Julia Booksellers in Madison.

Of course, the COVID-19 pandemic has brought with it a new layer of worry for her and other independent booksellers. As the state issued stay-at-home orders, people were less likely to shop at most non-grocery stores. That included bookstores.

Bookstore events, such as author appearances, also got canceled as a result of the pandemic.

And yet, R.J. Julia and other small bookstores in the state have found a way to remain open, by providing delivery and curbside pickups of books; offering phone and online consultations for those seeking recommendations and even offering virtual author events using Zoom and other video conferencing applications.

But what does the future hold?...

“I love algebra,” she says. “And one of my favorite things about algebra is when you have to solve simultaneous (problems). In real life, though, that’s hard.”

Source: CT Insider 

Running out of books to read? | Sunday Herald Books - Deccan Herald

You can neither go out to buy a new book nor can you swap with friends. But, there's no dearth of stories and book-related events out there, suggest Shruthi Rao, Deccan Herald.

Many books are available for free on Audible.
What do you do when a bibliophile child runs out of books? When they’ve read every book in the house multiple times and there’s no way to go out and get new books or swap with friends? You get creative, of course!
Read more... 

Source: Deccan Herald

Sarah Perry: what good are books, in a situation like this? | Books - The Guardian

The Essex Serpent author has been filling her days with sewing, baking and music - but not writing. How can you find meaning in work that feels useless? by Sarah Perry.

‘As lockdown continues, I find my imagination has not faltered against this hard reality, but has itself grown harder’ ... Sarah Perry.
Photo: Julian Simmonds/REX/Shutterstock
Some months ago I stood in the pulpit of Lancaster Priory and spoke on the virtue of art. What do we mean, I said, by “a good book”? I proposed that literature had use beyond pleasure, and that moral purpose was intrinsic to any book worth the cover price: the only way is ethics. I quoted Aristotle; I burnished my halo. My duty, I said, was to write good books, and this was an act of love. Well, a haughty spirit comes before a fall, and I tripped on a virus, and fell into believing that literature was useless and I’d wasted my life in its pursuit. Even before the lockdown began I could not write. It baffled me that I’d ever done such a trivial thing. I have a banner hanging on my study door: “L’amour c’est tout”. It bloody isn’t, I thought. I never went in.

This is not to say I have been unable to create at all. With the privileges of comfort and time, I sew patchwork quilts, make bread, play the piano. This is common: “Everybody is feeling the same thing,” wrote Virginia Woolf of Londoners in the second world war, “therefore nobody is feeling anything.” Social media has become a village hall for the display of sourdough loaves and cross stitch samplers: fear and love sublimated into all the things we think our mothers did. What else can we do, inhabiting a place of present or anticipated grief?

But these are crafts, which distinguish themselves from art by their utility. A quilt will keep you warm; a book can do so only if you burn it. What I felt when I looked at my shelves was not consolation, but contempt. What good were books, in the end?...

In her poem “David’s Boyhood”, Adrienne Rich writes: “Lying against the throne-room wall, / Let David play the harp for Saul”. I put these verses where I see them every day. David played for the consolation of the king, and in due course wore the crown himself, and in this way the music did the rounds and comforted its maker. So I am going to tune up my harp, I’m going to keep my hand in.
Read more...  

Source: The Guardian 

'Intrusive addition': Antony Gormley’s memorial to mathematician Alan Turing draws fire | Sculpture - Art Newspaper

Gareth Harris, Chief contributing editor at The Art Newspaper notes, Some critics endorse the proposed sculpture for Cambridge University while others question the competition process.
Left: Alan Turing in 1930. Right: Antony Gormley's proposed sculpture to commemorate Turing Sculpture rendering:
Photo: courtesy of the Antony Gormley Studio/Cambridge City Council

Antony Gormley’s proposal for a sculpture commemorating the Second World War code-breaker Alan Turing has run into trouble after the heritage body Historic England criticised the 12-feet high memorial piece planned for the University of Cambridge. The abstract metal figure made of 19 steel slabs would “harm” King’s College, where Turing read mathematics in the 1930s, says Historic England. But other cultural figures, including the directors of both Tate Modern and Tate Britain, back Gormley’s vision.

The sculpture of Turing—a brilliant mathematician who deciphered military codes used by Germany in the war—would be located in the south-east corner of the Great Lawn court near to the Wilkins building. “The pose of the Turing sculpture is inspired by the work and life of Alan Turing himself,” says Adam Gardner, the deputy clerk of works at King’s College, in a letter posted online as part of the planning application.

Gardner adds: “The proposed Turing sculpture is a continuation of Antony Gormley’s Slabworks series. It will be 3.668m high and will weigh 3,123kg. It is made from Corten weathering steel slabs assembled from separate elements: 19 gas-cut blocks, 140mm thick. Its architectural language is that of stacking, propping and cantilever, and the provisional relationship of balance between the blocks should be able to be felt as well as seen.”

But Clare Campbell, the development advice team leader at Historic England, says in correspondence to the city council that “the introduction of the sculpture would affect the architectural, landscape and aesthetic significance of the college...

Cambridge city council has not yet reached a decision on the planning application.

Source: Art Newspaper

Saturday, May 02, 2020

DePaul fine arts students adjust to remote learning | Music - The Depaulia

Due to campus lockdown, many theatre, music, CDM and other fine arts students aren’t getting the in-person aspect that is needed for success. So, how are professors trying to make classes feel the same for their students? by Emily Reilly, Contributing Writer.

Photo: Brenden Moore / The DePaulia
Students are seeing both positive and negative changes associated with online learning. 

Adjusting to a remote schedule has led to more individualized feedback, but also hasn’t successfully replicated in-person performance. The typical layout of a remote class differs for each branch of the fine arts. Professors are changing their curricula to fit remote learning. 

“In light of the emergency, the layout this term always consists of checking in with one another to see how we are managing and how we can help,” said Rob Adler, an acting professor at DePaul...

DePaul’s music students are also enduring considerable changes to their usual schedule. Audio disruptions on conferencing sites and lack of in-person help have made it more difficult for them to learn. The sound quality and connection disruptions can make it harder to distinguish if an instrument is being played to its best potential. 
Read more... 

Source: The Depaulia

Learning music online is keeping international students of this Florida university positive | Online Learning - Study International

Sandra Escribano has been playing the violin since she was eight years old, but this is her first time learning music online, says Theresa Belle Hyacinth, Education Journalist.

Sandra Escribano is a junior violin performance student at the Bower School of Music.

She logs in every week for one-on-one sessions with Associate Professor Dr Kyle Szabo from the Bower School of Music & the Arts at Florida Gulf Coast University (FGCU).

Having come to the US from Cuba on a music scholarship, it is vital for Sandra to continue her education against all odds.

“I spent all my childhood making music, learning, improving myself, and working hard to pursue my dream of becoming a professional artist,” she told Study International...

Music is important in any circumstance’ 
With social distancing in place and public spaces closed, many performers and artists are now without gigs.

To adapt, they’re taking their art to the rooftops, driveways, balconies and ultimately, to the Internet.

“Everybody seems to have latched on to the arts to keep themselves sane and connected,” Dr Szabo opined.

Source: Study International

Alumnus, wife fund new scholarship for international computer science students | Science & Technology - Binghamton University News

Chris Kocher, Communications Manager at Binghamton University inform, Chandra Family Scholarship will go to a first-year international graduate student majoring in computer science.

Photo: Subhachandra Chandra, MS ’95, and Nandita Dukkipati (seen here at the Konark Sun Temple in India) endowed a new scholarship at the Watson School earlier this year.
International students can face extra challenges when coming to U.S. universities, leaving behind family and friends for educations that lead to successful careers.

In early 2019, Subhachandra Chandra, MS ’95, and his wife, Nandita Dukkipati, made a significant stock donation to the Thomas J. Watson School of Engineering and Applied Science that will fund the Chandra Family Scholarship. It will go to a first-year international graduate student majoring in computer science, with a preference for a female student.

Since graduating from the Watson School, Chandra earned his PhD in computer science from the University of Michigan in 2000, and he has worked as a program- mer and manager at several Silicon Valley startups. He is currently the director of engineering at Ghost Locomotion.
Read more... 

Source: Binghamton University News

Google's Top Quantum Scientist Explains In Detail Why He Resigned | Editors' Pick - Forbes

Note: Moor Insights & Strategy writers and editors may have contributed to this article.

Analyst Paul Smith-Goodson interviews Professor John Martinis, who had recently resigned from Google which sent ripples through the entire quantum community. Paul thought more detail was needed, and Professor Martinis agreed to clarify the record by Moor Insights and Strategy.

Photo: Professor John Martinis 
University of California Santa Barbara
A few days after the announcement, I was on two previously scheduled calls with quantum executives and a call with another quantum CEO. Each was as baffled and as curious about Professor Martinis' departure from Google as I was.

I had read a few quotes attributed to Professor Martinis as the reason he resigned. Somehow the remarks seemed to lack enough  justification for such a big move on his part. I thought more detail was needed, and Professor Martinis agreed to clarify the record.

We are in an era of quantum experimentation and development. There are a handful of quantum scientists today that I believe will be historical figures a hundred years from now. John Martinis is one of those people. He has made monumental contributions to quantum computing, including handing Google the title to the historic achievement of quantum supremacy. 

For those reasons, instead of an article with a few quotes by him, I decided to publish the full transcript of our conversation, and Professor Martinis gave his permission. In the interview, he describes details of his complex situation and why he ultimately decided to resign.  Additionally, you'll find many nuggets and surprises in the  interview.

Small parts of the transcript have been edited for clarity and I have entered notes where appropriate. My original plan was to provide a summary of my thoughts and conclusions.

Source: Forbes

Online course trains students in the bizarre world of quantum computing | Space -

A new online training course introduces students to quantum concepts, including superposition, qubits, encryption and many others, as Diane Lincoln, Live Science contributor reports.

Photo: © Shutterstock
When the bizarre world of quantum physics — where a "cat" can be both alive and dead, and particles a galaxy apart are connected — is merged with computer technology, the result is unprecedented power to anyone who masters this technology first. 

There is an obvious dark side. Imagine a world where online bank accounts could be easily hacked into and robbed. But this power can also be turned to good, allowing new drugs to be designed with unprecedented speed to cure disease. To prepare for such a future, many countries are investing billions to unlock the potential of what is called quantum computing. With an eye toward the future, a group of researchers at Fermilab,a particle physics laboratory in Batavia, Ill., has worked with high-school teachers to develop a program to train their students in this emerging field.

This program, called "Quantum Computing as a High School Module," was developed in collaboration with young students in mind. But it's also a perfect diversion for science enthusiasts of any age who suddenly have a lot of time on their hands.

This online training course introduces students to quantum concepts, including superposition, qubits, encryption, and many others...

In 1994, Peter Shor invented an algorithm that revealed the power of quantum computing. His algorithm would allow quantum computers to factorize a number enormously faster than any classically known algorithm. Factorizing numbers is important because the encryption system used by computers to communicate securely relies on the mathematics of prime numbers. Prime numbers are numbers that are divisible only by one and themselves. 


Attending Conferences and Workshops Remotely via Telepresence Robots | Technology - Medium

Telepresence robots are much like “Skype-on-wheels.”, summarizes Dr. Carman Neustaedter, Professor in the School of Interactive Arts & Technology (SIAT) at Simon Fraser University (SFU). Expert in HCI and connecting over distance 

Attending a conference remotely through a telepresence robot.

They consist of a display that runs a video conferencing system which is attached to a type of robotic body. This body can be driven around remotely from any location, provided there is an Internet connection. A variety of telepresence robots have been created, including Beams from Suitable Technologies and Doubles from Double Robotics. You may have even seen them on television shows like Modern Family or the Big Bang Theory. Telepresence robots have been studied and used in many different fields and environments, including education, health care, tech companies, etc. You can watch two videos of telepresence robots in action here and here to get a better understanding of how they are used and what they look like.

Telepresence robots are great in that telecommuters who are working from home can use them to connect to an office environment, drive to meeting rooms, and talk with colleagues. The value that is added beyond just a normal video conferencing system is mobility. The act of moving between locations creates opportunities to bump into others and engage in casual conversations. These have been shown to foster workplace camaraderie and collaborations. Using a telepresence robot in meetings means that the remote person takes up space because they have a body. This is important because it helps remind people who are physically in the room that the remote person is also present and a part of the meeting. The remote person can easily turn their robot different directions to face people who are present in the meeting room...

We found that telepresence robots worked best in social settings with a small number of people. This included workshops with 10–30 people, as well as social interactions in hallways and foyers. For example, at the conferences we studied, each had several breaks during the day where attendees would come and get coffee and snacks. The telepresence robots were especially valued during these times by remote attendees because they could easily move around, mingle, and talk with people. They used these interactions to meet new people and reconnect with colleagues. Of course, they couldn’t indulge in the coffee, tea, or snacks remotely.

Source: Medium

IUPUI launches new institute on artificial intelligence | Science and Technology - IU Newsroom

The new institute will focus on the development of major research initiatives and collaborations for high-impact AI technologies and applications at IUPUI, as IU Newsroom reports.

IUPUI campus gateway at Michigan Street
IUPUI is launching a new research institute that will take an integrative approach to the development of cutting-edge artificial intelligence technologies, programs and applications. The Institute for Integrative Artificial Intelligence at IUPUI will capitalize on a rich interdisciplinary tradition and create an environment for the discovery of new and innovative approaches and applications for AI.

At Indiana University, what sets AI research apart is collaboration -- both interdisciplinary work among AI faculty experts and work with government and industry partners -- and access to IU's world-leading university IT infrastructure.

The mission of the institute, set to launch in early June, is to act as a catalyst for the promotion and coordination of AI and AI-related research activities at IUPUI and beyond, and to develop major research initiatives for high-impact AI technologies and applications...

"These two key ingredients -- along with IUPUI's proven record of collaborative, interdisciplinary approaches to research spanning life sciences, engineering, the arts, humanities, medicine and more -- ideally position IUPUI to launch this institute.

"Add to this Shiaofen Fang's leadership, and this is the right time, the right place, with the right people to accelerate AI innovation on a local, national and global scale."

Source: IU Newsroom  

Data Science And Machine Learning. With Java? | Artificial Intelligence and Financial Services - Finextra

In this blog, I outline briefly: - Common Applications of Data Science - Definitions: Machine learning, deep learning, data engineering and data science - Why Java for data science workflows, for both production and research.

Steve Wilcockson, Senior Director - Java Products at Azul Systems explains,  Common Applications of Data Science
-      Definitions: Machine learning, deep learning, data engineering and data science
-      Why Java for data science workflows, for both production and research.

Photo: JumpStory

Common Applications of Data Science
The blogosphere is full of descriptions about how data science and “AI’ is changing the world. In financial services, applications include personalized financial offers, fraud detection, risk assessment (e.g. loans), portfolio analysis and trading strategies, but technologies are relevant elsewhere, e.g. customer churn in telecomms, personalized treatment in healthcare, predictive maintenance for manufacturers, and demand forecasting in retail...

Key Definitions: Machine Learning, Data Science, etc
For practitioners, definitions are well understood. For those less familiar and curious, here are some quick definitions and introductions to baseline everyone.
At their heart, data science workflows transform data, from heterogenous sources of information, through models and learning, to derive information from which “useful” decisions can be expedited.
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Source: Finextra

Ruha Benjamin on deep learning: Computational depth without sociological depth is ‘superficial learning’ | AI - VentureBeat

Princeton University associate professor of African American Studies and Just Data Lab director Dr. Ruha Benjamin said engineers creating AI models should consider more than data sets when deploying systems, observes Khari Johnson, Senior AI Staff Writer at VentureBeat.   

Ruja Benjamin urged engineers to consider historic and sociological factors when building deep learning systems in her keynote address at ICLR.
She further asserted that “computational depth without historic or sociological depth is superficial learning.”

“An ahistoric and asocial approach to deep learning can capture and contain, can harm people. A historically and sociologically grounded approach can open up possibilities. It can create new settings. It can encode new values and build on critical intellectual traditions that have continually developed insights and strategies grounded in justice. My hope is we all find ways to build on that tradition,” she said.

In a talk that examined the tools needed to build just and humane AI systems, she warns that without such guiding principles, people in the machine learning community can become like IBM workers who participated in the Holocaust during World War II — technologists involved in automated human destruction hidden within bureaucratic technical operations...

Benjamin explored themes from her book Race After Technology, which urges people to consider imagining a tool for counteracting power imbalances and examines issues like algorithmic colonialism and anti-blackness embedded in AI systems, as well as the overall role of power in AI. Benjamin also returned to her assertion that imagination is a powerful resource for people who feel disempowered by the status quo and for AI makers whose systems will either empower or oppress.
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Race After Technology:
Abolitionist Tools for the New Jim Code
Source: VentureBeat