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Tuesday, November 20, 2018

The 42 New Skills You Can Now Learn on LinkedIn Learning | Learning Blog - LinkedIn Learning

Each week presents a new opportunity for you and your team to learn the skills necessary to take on the next big challenge, summarizes Paul Petrone, Editor - LinkedIn Learning.

Photo:  Learning Blog - LinkedIn Learning
And, at LinkedIn Learning, we want to do everything we can to help make that happen. 

So, each week, we add to our 13,000+ course library. And this past week was no different, as we added 30 new courses covering everything from writing to CAD to IT networking to overcoming procrastination. 

The new courses now available on LinkedIn Learning are:
Read more... 

Source: Learning Blog - LinkedIn Learning


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Domestic universities offer e-learning to more students | Education - VietNamNet Bridge

More universities in Vietnam are taking advantage of IT to improve access to higher education and the quality of training.

HCM City Open University offers e-learning courses.
Photo: courtesy of the university
Dr Vu Huu Duc, Vice Rector of HCM City Open University, said that the university’s many e-learning courses had helped students save time and money. E-learning courses are provided in accounting, law, auditing of international business, and other majors.

By 2020, the university will expand e-learning courses in technology, Duc said, adding that it had set up an e-learning centre to manage the courses.

At the university’s Department of Accounting and Auditing, for instance, students study 90 percent of theory online and come to the university campus for practical lessons.   

Dr Nguyen Quoc Chinh, Director of the Centre for Educational Testing and Quality Assessment under Vietnam National University - HCM City, said that its three member universities were developing distance learning and blended learning in which students view lectures, access readings, ask questions, and complete assignments online in virtual learning environments...

The e-learning methodology is useful for traditional learning courses, he said, adding that its 2,000 lecturers and officials were asked to help set up an electronic system.
Read more... 

Source: VietNamNet Bridge 


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What’s the secret to Finnish school success? | Education - swissinfo.ch

Isobel Leybold-Johnson, British-trained journalist notes, At a Swiss event, a top Finnish education official explains why the country’s schools are so good - and what the Finns could learn from Switzerland.

Finland on show - the country's stand at Worlddidac
Photo: Worlddidac

Anita Lehikoinen, Permanent Secretary at the Ministry of Education in Finlandexternal link, recently attended the Worlddidacexternal link fair in Bern, which highlights the latest educational trends. Finland, known worldwide for its high-quality public education, was the official guest country for the event.

Switzerland is no slouch in the education stakes either. It came 12th out of all Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) countries in the 2015 PISA educational assessment of 15-year oldsexternal link, whose focus was on science performance.

This compared to Finland’s third place for science among OECD countries. But it was not all jubilation in Helsinki - performance had droppedexternal link by 32 points since Finland’s record high score in 2006, the last time PISA focused on science. Lower performance among boys and differences among the regions were key factors.

We caught up with Lehikoinen at Worlddidac’s Finland stand, which was showing off Finnish innovations in educational technology (“ed tech”), including a “cute robot that can teach you languages”. More on that below.
Read more...

Source: swissinfo.ch


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X-ray imaging reveals the secrets inside the Enigma machine | The University of Manchester

Scientists working at The University of Manchester have shone new light on the Enigma machine used by the German military in World War Two and cracked by Alan Turing and his team of code breakers at Bletchley Park.

Enigma X-ray CT reconstruction - animation 1 


Using X-ray Computed Tomography (CT), features inside the Enigma’s metal casing were revealed, including the wiring and structure of the rotors that encrypted messages sent using the machine.

The CT technology, part of the Henry Royce Institute for Advanced Materials, works by collecting a series of X-ray radiographs which are then reconstructed into a virtual 3D replica.

Professor Philip Withers, Chief Scientist at the Henry Royce Institute and Regius Professor of Materials at The University of Manchester, said: "Normally Royce facilities are probing new materials to solve engineering problems in industry but when we were approached we were keen to help. Gaining a first look inside the Enigma machine required us to take over 1500 separate x-ray radiographs. It is exciting and appropriate to be able to unlock some of the secrets of such an iconic machine here at Manchester."

The 1941 German army Enigma machine was loaned to the University by Bletchley Park and its owner, cryptography enthusiast, David Cripps. It is the latest Enigma machine to be verified and one of only 274 registered. Made in Berlin in 1941, the machine is believed to have been supplied to the Austrian Federal Ministry of the Interior in Vienna...

Professor Gavin Brown, from the School of Computer Science, said: "It is fantastic to unveil this new perspective on the Enigma in the Alan Turing Building, named after the man who played such a large role in cracking its code in World War Two.
"Manchester was an environment where Turing flourished. His legacy can be seen right across the 

University with researchers developing super computers that can model the human brain, exploring number theory and cryptography, as well as training robots to understand language. Right here, people are working on the principles that he laid down and the dreams that he had."
Read more... 

Source: The University of Manchester and University of Manchester Media Relations Channel (YouTube)


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What is digital learning? | The Gardner News

As we begin a new school year at the Ashburnham Westminster Regional School District, we continue to make steady progress in all areas of student and staff development. We are continuing to implement our 5-year Strategic Plan: Ash-West 2021, as well as planning and designing technology integration, researching curriculum and assessment alignment, namely in implementing Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS), and funding extra-curricular activities and athletics. We used a “what we need now mantra” to determine the essential services and experiences that will keep us a vibrant and growing school district today and in the future. We review our district goals each summer, evaluate our outcomes, and plan next steps for the coming school year. Our goal is to offer our students the very best learning experiences that we are able. We are very excited to add two Digital Learning Coaches to our school district who will work with teachers and students with technology in the classroom and as a tool to help them in their planning, studies, and presentations. Here you can learn more about it!
Dr. Gary F. Mazzola, Superintendent


Fifth-grade students create a talking trashcan that reduces litter in the schoolyard. At the middle school, students design tactile wrist watches for people with visual impairments. 

Briggs Elementary School students Savannah Stowell, Isabelle Comeau, Reagan Bouchard, Abigail Silvia and Laycee Lauletta program a sensor.
Photo: Courtesy

In each case, students from the Ashburnham Westminster Regional School District are engaged in “digital learning”—using technology to solve a problem. To create the trash can, elementary students had to collaborate via Google Docs; analyze survey data with Google Sheets; and write an algorithm to program the motion sensor. For the wrist watch project, middle school students had to find and evaluate information about visual impairments; apply knowledge about grid coordinate systems and geometric forms to CAD modeling; and use a 3D printer to produce a model...

In addition to traditional skills like using a spreadsheet or evaluating online information resources, the 2016 standards emphasize programming and computational thinking skills. Students as young as kindergarten use “unplugged” activities, such as writing directions for making a peanut butter sandwich, to learn how to think like a programmer. Older students use robots to tackle more sophisticated skills like writing and debugging code. Whether choreographing a dance and light show with Ozobots or competing in the high school’s VEX Robotics competition, students take away the ability to reason abstractly, define steps precisely, collect and analyze data, and model complex problems.

The district has hired two Digital Learning Coaches to help Ash-West teachers integrate the new standards into the core curriculum.
Read more...

Source: The Gardner News 


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91% of Gen Z-ers consider technology as a factor while choosing jobs | Future of Jobs - People Matters

Abid Hasan, Associate-Editor with People Matters says, The survey of 5,772 high school and college students across nine countries reveals their outlook and expectations on technology, the workplace, and their future jobs.

Photo: People Matters

Generation Z (Gen Z) is entering the workforce, bringing with it a technology-first mentality that will propel businesses further into the digital era while potentially deepening the divide amongst five generations in the workplace.

According to Gen Z: the future has arrived, a study commissioned by Dell Technologies, post-millennials – those born after 1996 and known as Gen Z – have a deep, universal understanding of technology and its potential to transform how we work and live. 

“It’s almost a given that GenZ has and brings in advanced technology and data science skills, however, they also bring with them a level of digital maturity that is now essential for any workplace,” said Alok Ohrie, President and Managing Director – India Commercial, Dell EMC.  “GenZ are the first genuinely digital natives to enter the workplace and hence are confident about their technical skills. They appreciate and look for more human connection and values more than just remuneration. " 

The survey of 5,772 high school and college students across nine countries in Asia Pacific & Japan (APJ) – including Australia, New Zealand, Indonesia, Japan, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam – reveals their outlook and expectations on technology, the workplace, and their future jobs...

The Human Element 
Although they have interacted with electronic devices practically since birth and grown up with social media, Gen Z-ers yearn for human interaction in the workplace.

According to the study, in APJ:  

• 74% expect to learn on the job from coworkers or other people – not online 
• In-person communication is the preferred method for communicating with coworkers (42% in APJ) compared to phone (25% in APJ) or messaging apps and texting (21% in APJ)
• 83% say that social media can be a valuable tool in the workplace 
• More than half (51% in APJ) prefer to go to a workplace versus working from home, and 59% prefer to work as part of team rather than independently. 
Read more...

Source: People Matters


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Monday, November 19, 2018

Why “Many-Model Thinkers” Make Better Decisions | Decision making - HBR.org Daily

Photo:Scott Page
Three ways to construct a powerful combination of perspectives, according to Scott E. Page, Leonid Hurwicz Collegiate Professor of Complex Systems, Political Science, and Economics at the University of Michigan and an external faculty member of the Santa Fe Institute. 

“To be wise you must arrange your experiences on a lattice of models.”
— Charlie Munger

Organizations are awash in data — from geocoded transactional data to real-time website traffic to semantic quantifications of corporate annual reports. All these data and data sources only add value if put to use. And that typically means that the data is incorporated into a model. By a model, I mean a formal mathematical representation that can be applied to or calibrated to fit data.

Some organizations use models without knowing it. For example, a yield curve, which compares bonds with the same risk profile but different maturity dates, can be considered a model. A hiring rubric is also a kind of model. When you write down the features that make a job candidate worth hiring, you’re creating a model that takes data about the candidate and turns it into a recommendation about whether or not to hire that person. Other organizations develop sophisticated models. Some of those models are structural and meant to capture reality. Other models mine data using tools from machine learning and artificial intelligence.

The most sophisticated organizations — from Alphabet to Berkshire Hathaway to the CIA — all use models. In fact, they do something even better: they use many models in combination.

Without models, making sense of data is hard. Data helps describe reality, albeit imperfectly. On its own, though, data can’t recommend one decision over another. If you notice that your best-performing teams are also your most diverse, that may be interesting...

The case for models
First, some background on models. A model formally represents some domain or process, often using variables and mathematical formula. (In practice, many people construct more informal models in their head, or in writing, but formalizing your models is often a helpful way of clarifying them and making them more useful.) For example, Point Nine Capital uses a linear model to sort potential startup opportunities based on variables representing the quality of the team and the technology. 
Leading universities, such as Princeton and Michigan, apply probabilistic models that represent applicants by grade point average, test scores, and other variables to determine their likelihood of graduating. Universities also use models to help students adopt successful behaviors...

The first guideline for building an ensemble is to look for models that focus attention on different parts of a problem or on different processes. By that I mean, your second model should include different variables. As mentioned above, models leave stuff out. Standard financial market models leave out fine-grained institutional details of how trades are executed. They abstract away from the ecology of beliefs and trading rules that generate price sequences. Therefore, a good second model would include those features.

The mathematician Doyne Farmer advocates agent-based models as a good second model. An agent-based model consists of rule based “agents” that represent people and organizations. The model is then run on a computer. In the case of financial risk, agent-based models can be designed to include much of that micro-level detail. An agent-based model of a housing market can represent each household, assigning it an income and a mortgage or rental payment. It can also include behavioral rules that describe conditions when the home’s owners will refinance and when they will declare bankruptcy. Those behavioral rules may be difficult to get right, and as a result, the agent-based model may not be that accurate — at least at first. But, Farmer and others would argue that over time, the models could become very accurate...

The second guideline borrows the concept of boosting, a technique from machine learning. Ensemble classification algorithms, such as random forest models consist of a collection of simple decision trees. A decision tree classifying potential venture capital investments might say “if the market is large, invest.” Random forests are a technique to combine multiple decision trees. 
Read more... 

Recommended Reading

The Model Thinker:
What You Need to
Know to Make Data
Work for You

Source: HBR.org Daily


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Sunday, November 18, 2018

Amateur Mathematician Finds Smallest Universal Cover | Mathematics - Quanta Magazine

Through exacting geometric calculations, Philip Gibbs has found the smallest known cover for any possible shape, argues Kevin Hartnett, senior writer at Quanta Magazine covering mathematics and computer science.

A universal cover such as the hexagon can cover up any shape.
Photo: DVDP for Quanta Magazine

Philip Gibbs is not a professional mathematician. So when he wanted a problem to chew on, he looked for one where even an amateur could make a difference. What he found was a challenge that could drive even the most exacting minds mad. In a paper completed earlier this year, Gibbs achieved a major advance on a 100-year-old question that hinges on the ability to accurately measure area down to the atomic scale.

Amateur mathematician Philip Gibbs reduced the size of the smallest known universal cover using techniques inspired by a compass and protractor.
Photo: Courtesy of Philip Gibbs

The problem was first proposed by Henri Lebesgue, a French mathematician, in a 1914 letter to his friend Julius Pál. Lebesgue asked: What is the shape with the smallest area that can completely cover a host of other shapes (which all share a certain trait in common)?

In the century since, Lebesgue’s “universal covering” problem has turned out to be a mousetrap: Progress, when it’s come at all, has been astonishingly incremental. Gibbs’ improvement is dramatic by comparison, though you still have to squint to see it.

Picture a dozen paper cutouts of different sizes and shapes lying on your floor. Now imagine being asked to design another shape that is just big enough to cover any of those dozen shapes. Through experimentation — by overlaying the shapes and rotating them — you could feel your way to a solution. But once you’d found a “universal” cover, how would you know if you’d found the smallest one? You could imagine returning to your cover throughout the day and finding places to trim a little more here or a little more there.

That is the spirit of Lebesgue’s universal covering problem. Instead of paper cutouts, it considers shapes where no two points are farther than one unit apart...

Over the next 80 years, two other mathematicians shaved slivers from Pál’s universal cover. In 1936 Roland Sprague removed a section near one of the corners; in 1992 H. C. Hansen removed two vanishingly small wedges from the lower right and left corners. Illustrations of Hansen’s area savings would convey something about the locations but inevitably mislead about the size: They had an area of 0.00000000004 units.

“You can’t really draw them in scale because they’d be atom-sized pieces,” said John Baez, a mathematician at the University of California, Riverside.

Baez lifted Lebesgue’s universal covering problem out of obscurity when he wrote about it in 2013 on his popular math blog. He confessed he was attracted to the problem the way you might be attracted to watching an insect drown...

Atomic Scissors 
Early in his life, Gibbs thought he might become a scientist. He received an undergraduate degree in mathematics from the University of Cambridge and a Ph.D. in theoretical physics from the University of Glasgow. But he soon lost his enthusiasm for academic research and instead became a software engineer. He worked on systems for ship design, air traffic control and finance, before retiring in 2006...

In 2014 Gibbs ran computer simulations on 200 randomly generated shapes with diameter 1. Those simulations suggested he might be able to trim some area around the top corner of the previous smallest cover. He turned that lead into a proof that the new cover worked for all possible diameter-1 shapes. Gibbs sent the proof to Baez, who worked with one of his undergraduate students, Karine Bagdasaryan, to help Gibbs revise the proof into a more formal mathematical style.

The three of them posted the paper online in February 2015. It reduced the area of the smallest universal covering from 0.8441377 to 0.8441153 units. The savings — just 0.0000224 units — was almost one million times larger than the savings that Hansen had found in 1992.

Gibbs was confident he could do better. In a paper posted online in October, he lopped another relatively gargantuan slice from the universal cover, bringing its area down to 0.84409359 units...

In 2014 Gibbs ran computer simulations on 200 randomly generated shapes with diameter 1. Those simulations suggested he might be able to trim some area around the top corner of the previous smallest cover. He turned that lead into a proof that the new cover worked for all possible diameter-1 shapes. Gibbs sent the proof to Baez, who worked with one of his undergraduate students, Karine Bagdasaryan, to help Gibbs revise the proof into a more formal mathematical style.

The three of them posted the paper online in February 2015. It reduced the area of the smallest universal covering from 0.8441377 to 0.8441153 units. The savings — just 0.0000224 units — was almost one million times larger than the savings that Hansen had found in 1992.

Gibbs was confident he could do better. In a paper posted online in October, he lopped another relatively gargantuan slice from the universal cover, bringing its area down to 0.84409359 units.
Read more... 

Source: Quanta Magazine


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Twelve philosophy books everyone should read: from Plato to Foucault [slideshow] | Arts & Humanities - OUPblog

Panumas King, marketing executive for philosophy at Oxford University Press inform, This month, to mark World Philosophy Day, we’ve curated a reading list of historical texts by philosophers that shaped the modern world and who had important things to say about the issues that we wrestle with today such as freedom, authority, equality, sexuality, and the meaning of life.

Photo: Book-covered walls by Eugenio Mazzone. Public Domain via Unsplash.

Every year the third Thursday in November marks World Philosophy Day, UNESCO’s collaborative “initiative towards building inclusive societies, tolerance and peace.” To celebrate, we’ve curated a reading list of historical texts by great philosophers that shaped the modern world and who had important things to say about the issues that we wrestle with today such as freedom, authority, equality, sexuality, and the meaning of life.
Read more...

Source: OUPblog


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What Do Our Oldest Books Say About Us? | Culture - The New Republic

On the ineffable magic of four little manuscripts of Old English poetry, according to Josephine Livingstone, culture staff writer at The New Republic.

Codex Amiatinus, the earliest surviving complete Christian Bible in Latin.
Photo: British Library Board

There are four original manuscripts containing poetry in Old English—the now-defunct language of the medieval Anglo-Saxons—that have survived to the present day. No more, no less. They are: the Vercelli Book, which contains six poems, including the hallucinatory “Dream of the Rood”; the Junius Manuscript, which comprises four long religious poems; the Exeter Book, crammed with riddles and elegies; and the Beowulf Manuscript, whose name says it all. There is no way of knowing how many more poetic codices (the special term for these books) might have existed once upon a time, but have since been destroyed.

Until last week, I had seen two of these manuscripts in person and turned the pages of one. But then I visited “Anglo-Saxon Kingdoms: Art, Word, War,” a new show of artifacts at the British Library in London. It’s a vast exhibition, covering the art, literature, and history of the people whose kingdoms spread across Britain between the sixth and the eleventh centuries. The impetus for the show came from the library’s 2012 acquisition of the St Cuthbert Gospel, the “earliest intact European book,” in the words of the show’s catalog...

In 2018, we are in a much more elaborate and abstracted phase of Benjamin’s reproduction theory. We are accustomed to reading without reference to any physical object specific to the act of reading. We might have a romantic association with libraries, or prefer to turn real pages rather than electronic ones, but those are tastes borne of nostalgia. They have no real meaning for our experience of literature’s power.

This is why the reunion of the Old English poetic codices is so overwhelming. We have no mental equipment—or, at best, a very rusty apparatus—to process the existence of a physical original. Even our encounters with paintings in a museum are ultimately filtered through mass media and the devices with which we read the written word. It is difficult even to summon in our minds the circumstances of Benjamin’s 1936 essay; the technology has simply moved too quickly.
Read more... 

Source: The New Republic


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