Data Science newsletter – February 24, 2020

Newsletter features journalism, research papers, events, tools/software, and jobs for February 24, 2020


Data Science News

Koch-funded center at UNL set to explore future implications of technology

Lincoln Journal Star (NE), Chris Dunker


With the creation of the Nebraska Governance and Technology Center at UNL, approved by the Board of Regents on Feb. 7, Hurwitz wants scholars from “co-equal branches” in the colleges of law, engineering and business to start thinking about the implications of technology on our future.

A Crystallization Robot for Generating True Random Numbers Based on Stochastic Chemical Processes

Cell Press, Matter journal; Leroy Cronin et al.


As chemistry and materials synthesis is starting to embrace an era of automation and the use of machine learning, it is becoming vital that the quality and reliability of that data is assessed. By automating and parallelizing batch chemical reactions, enough samples may be run that statistical data can be obtained on the reaction system. We monitored the crystallization for hundreds of parallel reactions using a webcam and found that crystal features in the images obtained could be used to generate true random numbers. We also found that the approximate entropy of these numbers was different for different types of chemical reaction, and that the encryption capability of these numbers was greater than a commonly used pseudorandom number generator. This is the first time that stochasticity of chemistry has been investigated in large datasets from experimental data.

How Computer Scientists Are Trying to Predict the Coronavirus’s Next Moves

IEEE Spectrum, Emily Waltz


Alessandro Vespignani describes the computational fight against the COVID-19 epidemic

The Man Who Conquered Yale Is Now Taking on Climate Change

Bloomberg Green, Janet Lorin


Dean Takahashi helped make his alma mater one of the world’s richest universities. Now he’s putting his skills toward making carbon-negative tech.

Tokyo on track for smartest Olympics ever

Raconteur magazine, Rebecca Hallett


Robotic guides, crowd control directed by artificial intelligence and immersive virtual reality are among the technologies, enabled by the internet of things, set to excite fans at Tokyo’s 2020 Olympic

JP Morgan economists warn of ‘catastrophic’ climate change

BBC News, Tom Espiner


Human life “as we know it” could be threatened by climate change, economists at JP Morgan have warned.

In a hard-hitting report to clients, the economists said that without action being taken there could be “catastrophic outcomes”.

The bank said the research came from a team that was “wholly independent from the company as a whole”.

Can AI Help Protect Homeowners From Wildfire Risk?

CityLab, Sarah Holder


In fire-prone parts of California, insurance companies are using new AI-powered tools to better estimate the likelihood of a devastating wildfire disaster.

University of Alabama to offer degree in cyber security

Alabama NewsCenter


In response to the growing need for professionals skilled in the protection of digital information, the University of Alabama will offer a degree in cyber security.

The University’s board of trustees recently approved the Bachelor of Science degree, which will be offered this fall. The degree will be housed in the UA department of computer science within the College of Engineering.

Penn State explores different artificial intelligence uses

Centre Daily Times (State College, PA), Sarah Paez


For Penn State, AI isn’t the dystopian technology used for sleep learning and intelligence-based hierarchies depicted in Aldous Huxley’s “Brave New World,” but a tool to make everything from learning and teaching to admissions and hiring easier, Barron said in an interview with the CDT this week.

On Friday, Barron showed the board of trustees how Penn State is using AI to make work more efficient, which has a domino effect on increased student services and better student outcomes, and how it plans to use the technology in a socially responsible way.

R is turning 20 years old next Saturday. Here is how much bigger, stronger and faster it got over the years

R-bloggers, Jozef's Rblog


In this post, we will look back on the 20 years of R with a bit of history and 3 interesting perspectives – how much faster did R get over the years, how many R packages were being released since 2000 and how did the number of package downloads grow.

MTSU unveils Tennessee Data Initiative featuring new degree, certificates, research push

Murfreesboro Voice, Voice Wire


Beginning this fall, Middle Tennessee State University will begin offering a new bachelor’s degree of data science as well as a graduate certificate geared toward working professionals in the emerging field.

MTSU leaders announced its Tennessee Data Initiative at a Tuesday, Feb. 18, news conference at the Nashville Technology Council’s headquarters attended by university and NTC leaders, state officials, as well as a host of representatives and supporters from business and industry.

Lack of funding leaves Dutch AI lagging

Bits&Chips (Netherlands), Jessica Vermeer


Several initiatives to promote AI research in the Netherlands have emerged over the past two years. Bits&Chips asked foremen Max Welling, Frank van Harmelen and Maarten de Rijke to highlight the importance of artificial intelligence for Dutch economy and Dutch society.

There are three major players on the worldwide AI stage: China, the US and Europe. America has been leading in investments. China is quickly catching up as a top contender, specializing in machine learning – which is also the main focus of the US. The power of Europe stems from its broad basis.

Europe’s digital vision, explained

POLITICO; Laura Kayali, Melissa Heikkilä and Janosch Delcker


In the global fight for tech supremacy, Europe is taking its gloves off.

The EU’s executive arm on Wednesday unveiled a series of proposals laying out the bloc’s approach to data, artificial intelligence and platform regulation over the next five years and beyond.

The flurry of policy initiatives aims to wean Europe off its dependence on foreign-owned tech companies while bolstering the bloc’s own tech sector, with the aim of becoming more competitive against rivals in China and the United States.

Presenting the package, which is made up of three documents, European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen underscored that technology should comply with people’s rights.

It’s Not Magic, It’s Science: Predicting the Future

University of Southern California, Viterbi School of Engineering


It could be argued that scientists create superpowers in their labs. If Aram Galstyan, director of the Artificial Intelligence Division at the USC Viterbi Information Sciences Institute (ISI) had to pick just one superpower, it would be the ability to predict the future. What will be the daily closing price of Japan’s Nikkei 225 index at the end of next week? How many 6.0 or stronger earthquakes will occur worldwide next month? Galstyan and a team of researchers at USC ISI are building a system to answer such questions.

For the past two years, Galstyan has led a group of researchers at ISI on a project named Synergistic Anticipation of Geopolitical Events, or SAGE, to attempt to predict the future using non-experts. The SAGE project relies on human participants to interact with machine learning tools to make predictions about future events. Their goal is for the forecasts borne from the combination of human + AI to be more accurate than those of humans alone.

Machine Learning May Support Personalized Mental Health Therapies

HealthIT Analytics, Jessica Kent


Researchers from Penn Medicine leveraged machine learning techniques to identify the size and shape of brain networks in children, which could lead to improved understanding and more personalized treatment of mental health conditions.

Published in the journal Neuron, the study used machine learning tools to analyze the functional magnetic reasoning imaging (fMRI) scans of nearly 700 children, adolescents, and young adults. The analysis is the first to show that neuroanatomy can vary significantly among children, which is refined during development.


Stanford Graduate School of Business Sports Innovation Conference

Stanford Graduate School of Business


Palo Alto, CA February 26, starting at 8 a.m., Stanford Graduate School of Business. [$$$]

Counter-technologies at the Edgelands Conference

Edgelands Collective


San Diego, CA, and Tijuana, Mexico February 28-29. “In this conference, we bring together activists, organizers, academics and artists to interrogate how border communities are particularly affected by new technologies of militarism, police, and border enforcement in San Diego/Tijuana and globally.” [free, registration required]

Seeing Data: A Conversation on Visualization

New York University, Arthur L. Carter Journalism Institute


New York, NY March 4, starting at 6 p.m., NYU Arthur L. Carter Journalism Institute (7th Floor Commons, 20 Cooper Square). “A conversation with Betsy Mason and Enrico Bertini.”

2020 MIT Platform Strategy Summit

MIT Initiative on the Digital Economy


Cambridge, MA July 8, starting at 8 a.m., MIT Media Lab. “This event gathers a global community of executives and academics to explore the economics and management of platform-centered markets and discuss their implications for managers, industry and governmental policy.” [$$$]


Engaging Geography in the Humanities

Boston, MA July 6-24 at Northeastern University. “The Institute will explore the possibilities and productive tensions at the intersection of geography and the humanities. By engaging with readings, lectures, discussions, workshops, and field visits, the Institute will introduce scholars teaching in the humanities (and related disciplines) to concepts and methods from geography, as participants consider how these approaches can enhance their own research and teaching.” Deadline to apply is March 1.

Call for participation at the 2nd Excited Summer School on Research in Computing Education

Trondheim, Norway June 8-12. “The school is intended for PhD students and post docs. There will be varied sessions led by experts in the computing education field, combining presentations with discussion and hands-on groupwork. Topics range from how to teach beginner-level programming courses to the inclusion of environmental sustainability in IT education.” Deadline to apply is March 10.

Organizers of data science and machine learning conferences (NeurIPS, ICML, AISTATS, ICLR, UAI, …): Allow remote paper & poster presentations at conferences – Sign the Petition! via @Change

Call For Papers: Special Issue on AI Fairness, Trust and Ethics

“This Special Issue on AI Fairness, Trust and Ethics calls for research that can unpack the potential, challenges, impacts, and theoretical implications of AI. We welcome research from different perspectives regardless of the approach or methodology. Submissions with novel theoretical implications that span disciplines are strongly encouraged. We seek submissions that can improve our understanding about the impacts of AI in organizations and our broader society.” Deadline for full paper submissions is March 31.
Tools & Resources

Predicting how well neural networks will scale

MIT CSAIL, Adam Conner-Simons


The CSAIL team’s new framework looks at a given algorithm at a smaller scale, and, based on factors like its shape, can predict how well it will perform on a larger scale. This allows a data scientist to determine if it’s worth continuing to devote more resources to train the system further.

“Our approach tells us things like the amount of data needed for an architecture to deliver a specific target performance, or the most computationally efficient trade-off between data and model size,” says MIT professor Nir Shavit.

Remote Work Insights You’ve Never Heard Before

Medium, Better Programming, Sarah Milstein


Indeed, what makes remote teams so effective is that they’re breeding grounds for trust — the key ingredient for high-performing workplaces. That probably sounds counter-intuitive to you. But after more than two decades of working on and running remote teams, I’ve discovered several surprising truths about remote work.

ConvNetJS CIFAR-10 demo

Andrej Karpathy


“This demo trains a Convolutional Neural Network on the CIFAR-10 dataset in your browser, with nothing but Javascript. The state of the art on this dataset is about 90% accuracy and human performance is at about 94% (not perfect as the dataset can be a bit ambiguous). I used this python script to parse the original files (python version) into batches of images that can be easily loaded into page DOM with img tags.”

In depth guide to running Elasticsearch in production

TechNotes, Mattis Haase


“Elasticsearch can be opaque, confusing, and seems to break randomly for no reason. In this post I want to share my experiences and tips on how to set up Elasticsearch correctly and avoid common pitfalls.”


Full-time positions outside academia

Research Fellow – Physiology & Biomedical Engineering

Mayo Clinic, Multimodal Neuroimaging Lab; Rochester, MN

Human Computation Architect – CTO Data Science

Bloomberg LLP; New York, NY

Critical Designer, Data Genesis

New York University, AI Now Institute; New York, NY

Design Director or Senior Digital Designer

Infographics Group GmbH; Berlin, Germany

Postdoctoral Appointee – Machine Learning for Multiphase Flow Modeling

Argonne National Laboratory; Lemont, IL

Postdoctoral Associate

Stony Brook University, Department of Political Science; Stony Brook, NY

Postdoctoral Associate/Senior Researcher

Stony Brook University, Department of Political Science; Stony Brook, NY
Full-time, non-tenured academic positions

Sea Grant Marine Extension Associate (Climate Community Resilience)

University of Maine Cooperative Extension, Maine Sea Grant; Orono, ME

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published.