New Zealand's most powerful supercomputer for artificial intelligence applications has been installed at the University of Waikato as part of its commitment positioning New Zealand as a world leader in AI research and development. The NVIDIA DGX A100 is the first computer of its kind in New Zealand and is the world's most advanced system for powering universal AI workloads. The machine has been referred to as the Ferrari of computing because of how fast it can rapidly and efficiently process massive amounts of data, allowing students and researchers at the University to process at lightning-fast speeds, enabling machine learning and artificial intelligence that can solve problems from addressing climate change to managing our biodiversity. Machine learning uses algorithms to explore huge data sets and create models that provide answers or outcomes mirroring human decision making. Models can be trained to recognise things like patterns, facial expressions, and spoken words – or they can find anomalies like credit card fraud.
New Zealand's most powerful supercomputer for artificial intelligence applications has been installed at the University of Waikato as part of its commitment positioning New Zealand as a world leader in AI research and development. The NVIDIA DGX A100 is the first computer of its kind in New Zealand and is the world's most advanced system for powering universal AI workloads. The machine can rapidly and efficiently process massive amounts of data, allowing students and researchers at the University to process at lightning-fast speeds, enabling machine learning and artificial intelligence that can solve problems from addressing climate change to managing biodiversity. Professor Albert Bifet says that students and researchers could take months, or even years, to process the data needed to create models like the one they are working on if they had to use more traditional computing: "This computer will allow our researchers to process that data in a matter of days. It will enable them to gain insights and progress their research at an unprecedented scale."
If you have ever used Google Maps on your phone without fiddling with the location settings, it goes without saying that the tech giant knows everywhere you've been. The really bad news is that even if you have previously tried to stop Google tracking your every movement, the company may have done so anyway. On Friday the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) won a legal action in the federal court, which ruled that, thanks to a peculiar set-up that required a user to check "No" or "Do Not Collect" to both "Location History" and "Web & App Activity" on some Android and Pixel phones, someone who ticked "No" to just one would still end up being tracked. We asked Dr Katharine Kemp, a legal academic from the University of New South Wales whose focus is consumer law, and the Australian cryptographer Vanessa Teague for their thoughts on the significance of the decision and how a person might go about securing their devices. Kemp, an Apple user herself, says that for many consumers, today's decision may not actually mean much, as the decision only related to Android users and Google has since updated the settings that formed the basis of the ACCC's complaint.
Researchers at UniSA have developed a cost-effective new technique to monitor soil moisture using a standard digital camera and machine learning technology. The United Nations predicts that by 2050 many areas of the planet may not have enough fresh water to meet the demands of agriculture if we continue our current patterns of use. One solution to this global dilemma is the development of more efficient irrigation, central to which is precision monitoring of soil moisture, allowing sensors to guide'smart' irrigation systems to ensure water is applied at the optimum time and rate. Current methods for sensing soil moisture are problematic – buried sensors are susceptible to salts in the substrate and require specialised hardware for connections, while thermal imaging cameras are expensive and can be compromised by climatic conditions such as sunlight intensity, fog, and clouds. Researchers from The University of South Australia and Baghdad's Middle Technical University have developed a cost-effective alternative that may make precision soil monitoring simple and affordable in almost any circumstance.
A physicist has used the power of artificial intelligence (AI) to solve the age-old debate about whether Jaffa Cakes are biscuits or cakes. Dr. Héloïse Stevance, an astrophysicist at the University of Auckland in New Zealand, trained algorithms with nearly 100 recipes of traditional cakes and biscuits. She then ran two Jaffa Cakes recipes through the algorithms, which recognised them unambiguously as cakes'without a doubt'. Jaffa Cakes, which are made by Edinburgh-based manufacturer McVitie's, consist of a disc of orange-flavoured jelly, milk chocolate and a mysterious spongy base. But fans of the popular British snack have passionately debated whether they're biscuits or cakes due to their unique texture and appearance.
The Victorian government will be introducing new legislation to allow its "distracted driver" technology to be rolled out on certain roads in the state. The tech will capture drivers using their mobile phones while driving. The government will be investing AU$33.7 million to develop and implement it. It is understood the tech uses high-definition cameras and artificial intelligence to detect offending drivers illegally using their phone behind the wheel. It incorporates two cameras and an infrared flash to work both day and night. Images that are deemed likely to contain a mobile phone offence are then verified by appropriately trained personnel.
Researchers from the Queensland University of Technology (QUT) have touted the use of artificial intelligence to determine the feasibility of autonomous cars on Australian roads. The QUT Centre for Robotics has conducted research projects into mapping for autonomous cars using AI. The centre's acting director Professor Michael Milford said map updating is a major challenge for autonomous vehicle adoption. Milford said given mapping isn't a globally mature field, there are opportunities for Australia to catch up quickly. "Current out-of-the-box European mapping solutions don't recognise unique Australian signs or infrastructure and require customisation," he said.
ADELAIDE, AUSTRALIA--Cosmos Magazine reports that Daryl Wesley of Flinders University and Mimal and Marrku Traditional Owners of the Wilton River area used machine learning to analyze changes in rock art styles in northern Australia's Arnhem Land. The computer was supplied with information of more than 1,000 types of objects and a mathematical model to determine how similar two images are to one another. The model was then applied to images of the rock art. "One amazing outcome is that the machine learning approach ordered the styles in the same chronology that archaeologists have ordered them in by inspecting which appear on top of which," said team member Jarrad Kowlessar of Flinders University. Styles of artwork that are closer to each other in age are also closer to each other in appearance, he explained.
During a visit to Adelaide last week, chief scientist of Australia Dr Cathy Foley very kindly agreed to join a taped panel discussion at the Royal Institution of Australia about some of her favourite science topics – AI and machine learning, and quantum computing. Hosted by Adelaide journalist and broadcaster Tory Shepherd, a regular contributor to cosmosmagazine.com, the panel included Foley, Dr Johan Verjans and Dr Vikram Sharma. Verjans is a medical specialist who combines clinical and research work. Sharma is a quantum physicist and the founder and CEO of Canberra-based QuintessenceLabs, which is a world leader in the quantum cybersecurity industry. Foley is a physicist and Australia's ninth chief scientist; her three-year term began in January 2021.
To say COVID-19 has had an impact on Australian universities is quite an understatement. As borders around the world went up during 2020, the rivers of money streaming into local campuses from international students dried up, with local students having to rapidly shift from traditional face-to-face learning to a new world of online interaction. In June, Universities Australia pinned the cost of coronavirus to the tertiary education sector at AU$16 billion until 2023, with almost AU$5 billion pinned on 2020 alone. For La Trobe University, these factors have translated to a 20% revenue drop across that period and a cutback on real estate usage by a quarter. Rather than change direction, vice-chancellor and president of La Trobe University John Dewar told Cisco Live the university was accelerating its existing plans.