Collaborating Authors


Interview with Guillem Alenyà – discussing assistive robotics, human-robot interaction, and more


His research activities include assistive robotics, robot adaptation, human-robot interactions and grasping of deformables. We spoke about some of the projects he is involved in and his plans for future work. The SOCRATES project is about quality of interaction between robots and users, and our role is focussed on adapting the robot behaviour to user needs. We have concentrated on a very nice use case: cognitive training of mild dementia patients. We are working with a day-care facility in Barcelona and asked if we could provide some technological help for the caregiver.

Cheating on your Mediterranean diet with traditional Western can speed up brain aging, study reveals

Daily Mail - Science & tech

Cheating on your diet could lead to weight gain, but if you follow the Mediterranean diet and switch to unhealthy foods you may also make your brain age faster. A team from Rush University Medical Center found that adding in foods from the Western diet, such as pizza, sweets and processed meats, reverse cognitive benefits from the Mediterranean diet. The study examined more than 5,000 individuals over the age of 65 from 1993 to 2021 and over the course of three years participants were asked to complete cognitive tests and report on how often the ate certain foods. Researcher recently compiled the data and found those who stuck to the Mediterranean diet had brains that were nearly six years younger than their peers on the Western diet. The Mediterranean diet is inspired by the eating habits of Spain, Italy and Greece, and focuses on consuming more fruit and fish and limiting sugar, dairy and processed foods.

Reading, That Strange and Uniquely Human Thing - Issue 94: Evolving


The Chinese artist Xu Bing has long experimented to stunning effect with the limits of the written form. Last year I visited the Centre del Carme in Valencia, Spain, to see a retrospective of his work. One installation, Book from the Sky, featured scrolls of paper looping down from the ceiling and lying along the floor of a large room, printed Chinese characters emerging into view as I moved closer to the reams of paper. But this was no ordinary Chinese text: Xu Bing had taken the form, even constituent parts, of real characters, to create around 4,000 entirely false versions. The result was a text which looked readable but had no meaning at all.

Spain launches national AI strategy


On December 2nd, 2020 the President of the Government of Spain, Pedro Sánchez, presented the National Artificial Intelligence Strategy (Estrategia Nacional de Inteligencia Artificial (ENIA)). The strategy aims to create an environment of trust regarding the development of inclusive, sustainable artificial intelligence (AI) that places people at its heart. Spain's ENIA seeks to place Spain in line with leading countries in the research and use of reliable AI to serve economic and social development. Besides, support programmes will be launched for companies to incorporate AI in productive processes and value chains. The'Next Tech Fund' will be launched with public-private venture capital to boost digital entrepreneurship and the growth of companies.

Unsupervised Learning of Global Factors in Deep Generative Models Machine Learning

We present a novel deep generative model based on non i.i.d. variational autoencoders that captures global dependencies among observations in a fully unsupervised fashion. In contrast to the recent semi-supervised alternatives for global modeling in deep generative models, our approach combines a mixture model in the local or data-dependent space and a global Gaussian latent variable, which lead us to obtain three particular insights. First, the induced latent global space captures interpretable disentangled representations with no user-defined regularization in the evidence lower bound (as in $\beta$-VAE and its generalizations). Second, we show that the model performs domain alignment to find correlations and interpolate between different databases. Finally, we study the ability of the global space to discriminate between groups of observations with non-trivial underlying structures, such as face images with shared attributes or defined sequences of digits images.

AI: This COVID machine-learning tool helps swamped hospitals pick the right treatment


Spain has been one the European states worst hit by the COVID-19 pandemic, with more than 1.7 million detected cases. Despite the second wave of infections that has hit the country over the past few months, the Hospital Clinic in Barcelona has succeeded in halving mortality among its coronavirus patients using artificial intelligence. The Catalan hospital has developed a machine-learning tool that can predict when a COVID patient will deteriorate and how to customize that individual's treatment to avoid the worst outcome. "When you have a sole patient who's in a critical state, you can take special care of them. But when they are 700 of them, you need this kind of tool," says Carol Garcia-Vidal, a physician specialized in infectious diseases and IDIBAPS researcher who has led the development of the tool.

Spacewell Acquires DEXMA, Provider of AI-Powered Energy Intelligence Software


MUNICH, Germany and ANTWERP, Belgium, Dec 14, 2020 – The Nemetschek Group, one of the world's leading software providers for the architecture, engineering, construction, and building operations (AECO) industry, announced that its subsidiary Spacewell – headquartered in Antwerp, Belgium – has acquired 100% of DEXMA. Based in Barcelona, Spain, DEXMA is a fast-growing provider of innovative SaaS solutions with artificial intelligence and machine learning capabilities for energy data management. The company enables over 4,000 customers in 30 countries worldwide to effectively measure, monitor, and manage their energy consumption and costs. "Buildings account for 30 percent of our total energy use and 28 percent of global carbon emissions. This acquisition is a huge benefit for our customers who are aiming to become more sustainable in their operations. Energy management is an important element in creating truly autonomous buildings that automatically adapt their behaviors to the occupants and stakeholders," says Koen Matthijs, Chief Division Officer, Operate & Manage Division at the Nemetschek Group.

The Morning After: Netflix explains how it uses AI to sell shows


Without revealing all its secrets, Netflix has laid out how it uses AI to market shows and predict their success. We already knew that Netflix shuffles and redesigns its interface and show tiles, apparently on the fly, to hook more viewers. But it also uses AI to compare new shows to those its country-by-country viewership watched in the past and to tap into metadata and information on non-Netflix shows, too. The explanation is a little (well, very) dry, but the AI goes beyond Netflix's own data to hedge the company's bets, for less risk, more profit. If, for example, a drama is likely to fare well in Spain, Netflix could increase marketing in the region and prep dubs and subtitles earlier than usual.

Achieving Security and Privacy in Federated Learning Systems: Survey, Research Challenges and Future Directions Artificial Intelligence

Federated learning (FL) allows a server to learn a machine learning (ML) model across multiple decentralized clients that privately store their own training data. In contrast with centralized ML approaches, FL saves computation to the server and does not require the clients to outsource their private data to the server. However, FL is not free of issues. On the one hand, the model updates sent by the clients at each training epoch might leak information on the clients' private data. On the other hand, the model learnt by the server may be subjected to attacks by malicious clients; these security attacks might poison the model or prevent it from converging. In this paper, we first examine security and privacy attacks to FL and critically survey solutions proposed in the literature to mitigate each attack. Afterwards, we discuss the difficulty of simultaneously achieving security and privacy protection. Finally, we sketch ways to tackle this open problem and attain both security and privacy.

The Aragon Research Technology Arc for Artificial Intelligence, 2020


Aragon Research introduces its 2020 Technology Arc for Artificial Intelligence. AI is finding its way into more new applications as areas such as intelligent content analytics comes online. This edition features 29 technology and market profiles that are split between the emerging, adopting, and mature arcs.