Collaborating Authors

New program teaches data science for energy and environment research


For the future of the planet, there are few research subjects more important than the global supplies of food, water and energy. To comprehensively study, understand and inform policy around these complex systems, the next generation of researchers in the physical, social and biological sciences will need fluency with data analysis methods that transverse traditional academic boundaries. A new interdisciplinary curriculum will train graduate students from geosciences, economics, computer science, public policy and other programs in computational and data science techniques critical for modern science. With a $3 million award from the National Science Foundation, the new research traineeship grant will combine expertise from across UChicago and Argonne National Laboratory in computing, statistics, social science, climate and agriculture. "This program will equip graduate students with the tools needed to advance the study of issues related to food, energy and water," said Elisabeth Moyer, associate professor of atmospheric science in the Department of the Geophysical Sciences.

New research center will focus on socially responsible artificial intelligence Penn State University


Housed administratively in the College of IST, the Center will bring together researchers from across the University to develop new AI technologies and understand their social and ethical implications. The Penn State Center for Socially Responsible Artificial Intelligence promotes the thoughtful development and application of AI and studies its impact on all areas of human endeavor. In addition to supporting research focused explicitly on AI for social good and mitigating threats from its misuse, through this center, Penn State will encourage that all AI research and development activities consider social and ethical implications as well as intended and possible unintended consequences. "Given the rapid expansion and progression of interdisciplinary research and the wide-ranging impact of artificial intelligence on society, this center will engage and enable Penn State scholars and educators to work together and use AI to address the grand challenges of our time," said Andrew Sears, dean of the College of Information Sciences and Technology (IST), who led the founding of the center. The endeavor will bring together researchers from diverse disciplines across the University, enabling multidisciplinary research and educational programs that will shape the future of AI.

New TRIPODS X Awards Target Big Data Solutions for Research


Building on the success of its 2017 Transdisciplinary Research in Principles of Data Science (TRIPODS) awards, the National Science Foundation (NSF) is awarding $8.5 million in TRIPODS X grants to expand the scope of the cross-disciplinary TRIPODS institutes into broader areas of science, engineering and mathematics. In total, NSF will support 19 collaborative projects at 23 universities. The supported teams will bring new perspectives to bear on complex and entrenched data science problems. "The multidisciplinary approach for addressing the increasing volume and complexity of data enabled through the TRIPODS X projects will have a profound impact on the field of data science and its use," said Jim Kurose, NSF assistant director for Computer and Information Science and Engineering (CISE). "This impact will be sure to grow as data continues to drive scientific discovery and innovation."

Researchers aim to find out whether AI-enhanced robots can ease pain for kids in hospital


A new research collaboration between researchers at the University of Alberta and the University of Glasgow is exploring whether interaction with an AI-enhanced, socially intelligent robot can effectively distract children during painful clinical procedures, reducing their pain and distress. "Pain is much more than just a physical response; we also want to manage a child's stress, anxiety and distress," said U of A medical researcher and pediatric emergency physician Samina Ali. "We want to know if integrating a robot into the clinical setting can create a more positive, meaningful and less traumatic experience for children and their families." The three-year project builds on a series of smaller studies, supported by funding from the Stollery Children's Hospital Foundation, that used programmable humanoid robots named MEDi to deliver cognitive behavioural therapy-based interventions to children as they went through procedures involving needles. In those studies, the MEDi robot was remotely operated and followed a limited script.

Trump unveils $1.15 trillion budget focused on military, Mexico wall at expense of science, health, planet

The Japan Times

WASHINGTON/MIAMI – President Donald Trump unveiled a $1.15 trillion budget Thursday, proposing a far-reaching overhaul of federal spending that would slash many domestic programs to finance a big increase for the military and make a down payment on a U.S.-Mexico border wall. Trump's plan seeks to upend Washington with cuts to long-promised campaign targets like foreign aid and the Environmental Protection Agency as well as strong congressional favorites such as medical research, help for homeless veterans and community development grants. "A budget that puts America first must make the safety of our people its number one priority -- because without safety, there can be no prosperity," Trump said in a message accompanying his proposed budget that was titled "America First: A Budget Blueprint to Make America Great Again." The $54 billion boost for the military is the largest since President Ronald Reagan's Pentagon buildup in the 1980s, promising immediate money for troop readiness, the fight against Islamic State militants and procurement of new ships, fighter jets and other weapons. The 10 percent Pentagon boost is financed by $54 billion in cuts to foreign aid and domestic agencies that had been protected by former President Barack Obama.