Chemicals


NTT to launch trial of farming support service with drones and AI tech in Fukushima

The Japan Times

Nippon Telegraph and Telephone Corp. (NTT) said Thursday it will launch a trial for a farming support service using drones and artificial intelligence technology, with a goal of commercializing the service in Japan and other Asian countries. The new system, which connects drones with GPS satellites, is anticipated to help the farm industry in the nation amid a serious labor shortage. NTT aims to raise crop output by up to 30 percent through the new service. The telecommunications giant will conduct the trial service on 8 hectares of a rice field in Fukushima Prefecture from later this month to March 2021. It aims to launch the service on a commercial basis in Japan in two years.


Noisy Quantum Computers Could Be Good for Chemistry Problems

WIRED

Scientists and researchers have long extolled the extraordinary potential capabilities of universal quantum computers, like simulating physical and natural processes or breaking cryptographic codes in practical time frames. Yet important developments in the technology--the ability to fabricate the necessary number of high-quality qubits (the basic units of quantum information) and gates (elementary operations between qubits)--is most likely still decades away. However, there is a class of quantum devices--ones that currently exist--that could address otherwise intractable problems much sooner than that. These near-term quantum devices, coined Noisy Intermediate-Scale Quantum (NISQ) by Caltech professor John Preskill, are single-purpose, highly imperfect, and modestly sized. Dr. Anton Toutov is the cofounder and chief science officer of Fuzionaire and holds a PhD in organic chemistry from Caltech.


How artificial intelligence is helping farmers and babies in the developing world

#artificialintelligence

Businesses and nonprofits are finding novel ways to employ artificial intelligence in the developing world, using the tools to improve agriculture yields, infant health care, and entrepreneur earnings, according to speakers at MIT Technology Review's EmTech Digital conference in San Francisco on Tuesday. Solomon Assefa, who oversees IBM's research labs in Kenya and South Africa, said the company has been using AI to more accurately predict crop yields in specific regions, based on shifting weather patterns, soil moisture, and other conditions. This insight into growing conditions has helped local farmers raise financing to expand their operations, or make better decisions about the right seeds, appropriate fertilizer, and ideal times to plant and harvest. Separately, the tech giant's research lab has partnered with a startup, Hello Tractor, that links farmers in need of tractors with owners looking to lease equipment. By forecasting demand for the vehicles, IBM has also helped owners raise money to expand their fleet, boosting their profits, Assefa said.


'Cow toilets' to cut farm ammonia emissions by collecting up to 35 pints of urine a day

Daily Mail

A Dutch inventor has developed a'cow toilet' to help cut ammonia emissions from cow urine that cause environmental pollution. Tests on the device, which collects around 26 to 35 pints (15 to 20 litres) of urine produced daily by a single cow, have started on a farm in the country. Inventor Henk Hanskamp claims the device could halve the ammonia emissions from cows, which account for almost half (49 per cent) of agricultural ammonia pollution. This type of contamination has multiple negative impacts on both the environment and human health and can threaten aquatic wildlife and contribute to smog. The small-scale tests are being conducted in the Netherlands, the world's second-biggest agricultural exporter behind the United States.


How Data and Analytics Improve Clinical Care - NEJM Catalyst

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Qualified executives, clinical leaders, and clinicians may join the Insights Council and share their perspectives on health care delivery transformation. Data and analytics are a key means for clinicians, clinical leaders, and executives to transform health care delivery. Yet health care organizations have work to do in getting measures right and much to learn about effective use of data, according to our most recent Insights Council survey. Nearly two-thirds of Council members -- a qualified group of U.S. clinicians, clinical leaders, and executives at organizations directly involved in health care delivery -- say that the current emphasis on data and analytics among health care organizations serves to improve clinical care. Two-thirds of respondents say their organizations are effective in using data to guide business leadership, and 62% say they use data well to guide clinical leadership.


Natural, incidental, and engineered nanomaterials and their impacts on the Earth system

Science

Nanomaterials have been part of the Earth system for billions of years, but human activities are changing the nature and amounts of these materials. Hochella Jr. et al. review sources and impacts of natural nanomaterials, which are not created directly through human actions; incidental nanomaterials, which form unintentionally during human activities; and engineered nanomaterials, which are created for specific applications. Knowledge of the properties of all three types as they cycle through the Earth system is essential for understanding and mitigating their long-term impacts on the environment and human health. Natural nanomaterials have always been abundant during Earth's formation and throughout its evolution over the past 4.54 billion years. Incidental nanomaterials, which arise as a by-product from human activity, have become unintentionally abundant since the beginning of the Industrial Revolution. Nanomaterials can also be engineered to have unusual, tunable properties that can be used to improve products in applications from human health to electronics, and in energy, water, and food production. Engineered nanomaterials are very much a recent phenomenon, not yet a century old, and are just a small mass fraction of the natural and incidental varieties. As with natural and incidental nanomaterials, engineered nanomaterials can have both positive and negative consequences in our environment. Despite the ubiquity of nanomaterials on Earth, only in the past 20 years or so have their impacts on the Earth system been studied intensively. This is mostly due to a much better understanding of the distinct behavior of materials at the nanoscale and to multiple advances in analytic techniques. This progress continues to expand rapidly as it becomes clear that nanomaterials are relevant from molecular to planetary dimensions and that they operate from the shortest to the longest time scales over the entire Earth system. Nanomaterials can be defined as any organic, inorganic, or organometallic material that present chemical, physical, and/or electrical properties that change as a function of the size and shape of the material. This behavior is most often observed in the size range between 1 nm up to a few to several tens of nanometers in at least one dimension. These materials have very high proportions of surface atoms relative to interior ones. Also, they are often subject to property variation as a function of size owing to quantum confinement effects.


The Amazing Ways John Deere Uses AI And Machine Vision To Help Feed 10 Billion People

#artificialintelligence

In just 30 years' time, it is forecasted that the human population of our planet will be close to 10 billion. Producing enough food to feed these hungry mouths will be a challenge, and demographic trends such as urbanization, particularly in developing countries, will only add to that. To meet that challenge, agricultural businesses are pinning their hopes on technology, and that idea that increasingly sophisticated data and analytics tools will help to drive efficiencies and cut waste in agriculture and food production. Leading the way is John Deere – the 180-year-old manufacturer of farming and industrial machinery which has spent the past decade transforming itself into an artificial intelligence (AI) and data-driven business. I have covered John Deere before here.


Exercises in amazement: Discovering deep learning

MIT News

It was standing-room only in the Stata Center's Kirsch Auditorium when some 300 attendees showed up for opening lectures for MIT's intensive, student-designed course 6.S191 (Introduction to Deep Learning). Nathan Rebello, a first-year graduate student in chemical engineering, was among those who were excited about the class, coordinated by Alexander Amini '17 and Ava Soleimany '16 during MIT's Independent Activities Period (IAP) in January. "I hope to go into either industry or academia and to apply deep learning techniques for the design of new materials," Rebello says. He signed up for 6.S191 to learn more about deep learning with the intention of applying it to the design of bio-inspired polymeric materials, adding: "I also wanted to network with students and faculty to explore their ways of thinking on this topic." There were plenty of people available for networking.


Deveron Receives AI for Earth Grant from Microsoft

#artificialintelligence

Toronto, Ontario--(Newsfile Corp. - March 11, 2019) - Deveron UAS Corp. ("Deveron" or the "Company") and Deveron's wholly owned data analytics subsidiary, Veritas Farm Management ()Veritas") have been awarded an AI for Earth grant from Microsoft to help further our efforts in artificial intelligence ()AI") and making recommendations and predictions using agricultural data. This new grant will provide Deveron with Microsoft Azure computing resources and AI tools to accelerate our work on utilizing in-season imagery and AI to apply nitrogen fertilizer to corn. Deveron will help growers more fully utilize the nitrogen credit produced when cover crops are introduced into crop rotation. Additional nitrogen can then be applied as needed using variable rate applications around these credits, insuring that the nitrogen needs of the crop is met in an efficient way across the field. "We are excited to be chosen by Microsoft to participate in this transformational opportunity" reported David Macmillan, President and CEO of Deveron.


Modeling muscle

Science

Adaptive behaviors ranging from self-assembly to self-healing showcase the ability of such systems to sense and adapt to dynamic environments based on signaling between living cells. This signaling takes on many forms--biochemical, mechanical, and electrical--and uncovering it has become as much the purview of regenerative medicine as of fundamental biology. We cannot reverse-engineer native tissues if we do not understand the fundamental design rules and principles that govern their assembly from the bottom up (1). Movement is fundamental to many living systems and driven primarily by skeletal muscle in human bodies. Disease or damage that limits the functionality of skeletal muscle severely affects human health, mobility, and quality of life.