The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) is using machine learning algorithms to help identify veterans at risk of suicide. The VA’s Reach Vet algorithm is the first such program used in daily clinical practice, and is designed to generate a new list of high-risk veterans every month. When someone is flagged at risk, their name appears on the computer dashboard of the local clinic’s Reach Vet coordinator, who contacts them to set up a meeting. The algorithm is based on analysis of thousands of veteran suicides; it considers numerous factors in veteran medical records to focus on those with the strongest cumulative association with suicide risk. Initial results indicate that over six months, high-risk veterans more than doubled their use of VA services—and had a lower mortality rate—with Reach Net installed, compared to a control group.
More info here: The New York Times, Benedict Carey
Google has launched an artificial intelligence (AI) platform that integrates AI with aerial imagery in order to help cities view their current tree canopy coverage and plan future tree-planting initiatives. Los Angeles is the first testbed for Tree Canopy Lab, a component of the Environmental Insights Explorer platform, which was created to ease cities’ ability to measure, plan, and cut carbon emissions and pollution. The platform utilizes a specialized tree-detection AI that automatically scans aerial images, identifies the presence of trees, and generates a map that details the density of tree cover. The search engine giant said Tree Canopy Lab will be made available to hundreds of cities in the future.
More info here: Express Computer (India)
Australian National University’s Giuseppe Barca has broken the world record for the largest Hartree-Fock calculation, using a supercomputer to predict the quantum mechanical properties of large molecular systems. Barca ran his algorithm on the Summit system at the U.S. Department of Energy’s Oak Ridge National Laboratory. The calculation ran for slightly more than 30 minutes, using 26,268 Nvidia V100 graphics processing units, and modeled 20,063 water molecules at a previously impossible resolution. “The new algorithm brings quantum mechanical calculations to the next level in terms of molecular sizes, enabling us to reach scales so large they belong to the domains of biology,” Barca said. “Such computational predictions open entirely new research horizons in areas where experiments are too expensive or simply impracticable. This result sets the benchmark for comparison for years to come.”
More info here: Australian National University
Research by Code.org, the Computer Science Teachers Association (CSTA), and the Expanding Computing Education Pathways Alliance indicates that fewer than half of U.S. schools are teaching computer science (CS). The study “2020 State of Computer Science Education: Illuminating Disparities” found that 47% of U.S. high schools teach at least one CS course, with access to such a course unequal for students across all demographics. Significantly, Native American or Alaskan students, African American students, and Hispanic, Latino, or Latina students are least likely to attend schools that teach CS. The study recommends states, policymakers, and instructional leaders take remedial steps that include bringing CS into new schools, reaching out to underrepresented groups, and developing more robust data systems to evaluate progress.
More info here: eSchool News, Laura Ascione
Officials in the town of Takikawa on Japan’s northern island of Hokkaido are using robots to scare away wild bears. Developed by Ohta Seiko in conjunction with Hokkaido University and the Tokyo University of Agriculture, the so-called “Monster Wolf” robots look like wolves with glowing red eyes. They feature motion detectors that, when activated, move the robots’ head, flash lights, and emit 60 different sounds, including wolfish howling and machinery noises. City officials said no bear encounters have been reported since the robots were deployed, and they will remain in place until bear hibernation season begins in late November. Ohta Seiko head Yuji Ota said, “We want to let the bears know, ‘human settlements aren’t where you live,’ and help with the coexistence of bears and people.”
More info here: Daily Mail (U.K.), Ryan Morrison
Microsoft has partnered with SpaceX and others to make its Azure cloud technology available and accessible to people anywhere on Earth, and potentially those in space. Microsoft will use SpaceX’s forthcoming Starlink satellite constellation to bring customers in remote regions high-speed, low-latency broadband; the satellites will function as a channel for data between Microsoft’s conventional datacenters and matched ground stations, and the company’s modular datacenters. Microsoft also announced an expansion of its Azure Orbital partnership with satellite telecommunications company SES to broaden connectivity between its cloud data centers and edge devices.
More info here: Nextgov, Frank Konkel
Researchers at South Korea’s Korea University, and Germany’s Berlin Institute of Technology and Max Planck Institute for Informatics, developed a deep learning algorithm that enabled a curling robot to beat human players. The team trained the robot, Curly, to evaluate and adapt to uncontrollable environmental conditions using a deep reinforcement learning system to help it compensate for uncertainties and take corrective actions. The scientists integrated this system with a previously developed strategy planning model, with the result that Curly outperformed expert human curlers. Korea University’s Seong-Whan Lee said, “The game of curling can be considered a good testbed for studying the interaction between artificial intelligence systems and the real world.”
More info here: UPI, Brooks Hays
A study by Rutgers University researchers found upcoming 5G wireless networks that expedite cellphone service may lead to inaccurate weather forecasts. Signals from 5G frequency bands could leak into the band used by weather sensors on satellites that quantify atmospheric water vapor. The Rutgers team used computer modeling to examine the impact of unintended 5G leakage into an adjacent frequency band in predicting the 2008 Super Tuesday Tornado Outbreak in the South and Midwestern regions of the U.S. The modeling found 5G leakage of -15 to -20 decibel Watts impacted the accuracy of rainfall forecasting by up to 0.9 millimeters during the tornado outbreak, and also affected forecasting of temperatures near ground level by up to 2.34 degrees Fahrenheit. Rutgers’ Narayan B. Mandayam said, “If we want leakage to be at levels preferred by the 5G community, we need to work on more detailed models as well as antenna technology, dynamic reallocation of spectrum resources, and improved weather forecasting algorithms that can take into account 5G leakage.”
More info here: Rutgers Today
IBM on Thursday announced the establishment of its first IBM Quantum education and research initiative for Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCU), led by Howard University and 12 more HBCUs. The IBM-HBCU Quantum Center will provide access to its quantum computers, and collaborate on academic, education, and community outreach efforts. The initiative aims to prepare and cultivate talent at HBCUs from all science, technology, engineering, and math fields for the quantum era. IBM’s Carla Grant Pickens said, “Diversity and inclusion is what fuels innovation, and students from HBCUs will be positioned to play a significant part of what will drive innovations for the future like quantum computing, cloud, and artificial intelligence.”
More info here: HPCwire
Researchers at the Microsoft Quantum Materials Laboratory and the University of Copenhagen in Denmark have created a material that shows potential for use in future quantum computing devices. The material combines a semiconductor, superconductor, and ferromagnetic insulator into a triple hybrid device that forms a topological superconductor at low temperature. The material uses a thin layer of europium sulfide, whose internal magnetism naturally aligns with the axis of the nanowire to generate an effective magnetic field in the superconductor and semiconductor elements, which seems sufficient to induce the topological superconducting phase. The University of Copenhagen’s Charles Marcus said, “This gives us a new path to making components for topological quantum computing, and gives physicists a new physical system to explore.”
More info here: University of Copenhagen