Scientists use super-resolution microscopy to study previously undiscovered cellular worlds, revealing nanometre-scale details inside cells. The method revolutionised light microscopy and earned its inventors the 2014 Nobel Prize in Chemistry. Single-molecule localisation microscopy (SMLM) is a type of super-resolution microscopy. It involves labelling proteins of interest with fluorescent molecules and using light to activate only a few molecules at a time. Using this method, multiple images of the same sample are acquired.
The Van Wijngaarden Awards 2021 are awarded to computer scientist Marta Kwiatkowska and mathematician Susan A. Murphy for the numerous and highly significant contributions they made to their respective research areas: preventing software faults and improving decision making in health. The five-yearly award is established by CWI, the national research institute for mathematics and computer science in the Netherlands, and is named after former CWI director Aad van Wijngaarden. The winners receive the prize during a festive soirée on 18 November in Amsterdam. Marta Kwiatkowska (University of Oxford) is a computer scientist who pioneered research on modelling, verification, and synthesis of probabilistic systems. She led the development of the highly influential PRISM probabilistic model checker, which is widely used for research and teaching and which has been downloaded over 80,000 times. In her research Kwiatkowska showed the relevance of PRISM by applying it in several areas, including ubiquitous computing, system biology, DNA computing, and most recently, safety for AI.
Beards aren't just cool and trendy -- they might also be an evolutionary development to help protect a man's delicate facial bones from a punch to the face. That's the conclusion of a trio of scientists from the University of Utah who are among the winners of this year's Ig Nobel prizes, the Nobel Prize spoofs that honor -- or maybe dishonor, depending on your point of view -- strange scientific discoveries. The winners of the 31st annual Ig Nobels being announced Thursday included researchers who figured out how to better control cockroaches on U.S. Navy submarines; animal scientists who looked at whether it's safer to transport an airborne rhinoceros upside-down; and a team that figured out just how disgusting that discarded gum stuck to your shoe is. For the second year in a row, the ceremony was a roughly 90-minute prerecorded digital event because of the worldwide coronavirus pandemic, said Marc Abrahams, editor of the Annals of Improbable Research magazine, the event's primary sponsor. While disappointing in many ways because half the fun of a live ceremony is the rowdy audience participation, the ceremony retained many in-person traditions.
Welcome to our August 2021 monthly digest where you can catch up with any AIhub stories you may have missed, get the low-down on recent events, and much more. In this edition we cover IJCAI 2021, find out about new grants for climate research, hear about RoboCupJunior, and celebrate a significant birthday. The big event this month was the International Joint Conference on Artificial Intelligence (IJCAI-21), held virtually from 19-26 August. Gathertown played host to proceedings and participants were treated to eight invited talks, panel discussions, poster sessions, and more. We're covering the invited talks in a series of articles.
AI and Machine Learning systems have proven a boon to scientific research in a variety of academic fields in recent years. They've assisted scientists in identifying genomic markers ripe for cutting-edge treatments, accelerating the discovery of potent new drugs and therapeutics, and even publishing their own research. Throughout this period, however, AI/ML systems have often been relegated to simply processing large data sets and performing brute force computations, not leading the research themselves. But Dr. Hiroaki Kitano, CEO of Sony Computer Science Laboratories, has plans for a "hybrid form of science that shall bring systems biology and other sciences into the next stage," by creating an AI that's just as capable as today's top scientific minds. To do so, Kitano seeks to launch the Nobel Turing Challenge and develop a AI smart enough to win itself a Nobel Prize by 2050.
The IJCAI-2021 awards were announced during the opening ceremony of the International Joint Conference on Artificial Intelligence (IJCAI-21). The honours included the 2021 AIJ classic paper award, the AIJ prominent paper award, and the IJCAI-JAIR best paper prize. This award recognizes outstanding papers, exceptional in their significance and impact, that were published at least 15 years ago, in the journal Artificial Intelligence (AIJ). This paper brought partially observable Markov decision processes (POMDPs) from the field of operational research to the field of AI. It provides an excellent account of the theory behind POMDPs, which demystified the field for a generation of researchers, and popularised their use in both AI and robotics.
In 1972, Anfinsen won a Nobel prize for demonstrating a connection between a protein's amino acid sequence and its three-dimensional structure. Since 1994, scientists have competed in the biannual Critical Assessment of Structure Prediction (CASP) protein-folding challenge. Deep learning methods took center stage at CASP14, with DeepMind's Alphafold2 achieving remarkable accuracy. Baek et al. explored network architectures based on the DeepMind framework. They used a three-track network to process sequence, distance, and coordinate information simultaneously and achieved accuracies approaching those of DeepMind. The method, RoseTTA fold, can solve challenging x-ray crystallography and cryo–electron microscopy modeling problems and generate accurate models of protein-protein complexes. Science , abj8754, this issue p.  DeepMind presented notably accurate predictions at the recent 14th Critical Assessment of Structure Prediction (CASP14) conference. We explored network architectures that incorporate related ideas and obtained the best performance with a three-track network in which information at the one-dimensional (1D) sequence level, the 2D distance map level, and the 3D coordinate level is successively transformed and integrated. The three-track network produces structure predictions with accuracies approaching those of DeepMind in CASP14, enables the rapid solution of challenging x-ray crystallography and cryo–electron microscopy structure modeling problems, and provides insights into the functions of proteins of currently unknown structure. The network also enables rapid generation of accurate protein-protein complex models from sequence information alone, short-circuiting traditional approaches that require modeling of individual subunits followed by docking. We make the method available to the scientific community to speed biological research. : /lookup/doi/10.1126/science.abj8754
The phrase "data science" is used every day, including in this very publication. We feel like we have an idea what it is. But what exactly is it? For one answer, we turn to Jeffrey Ullman, who won the Turing Award in 2020. "Where does data science come from?" asked Ullman, a Stanford University computer science professor, during his keynote address at the 27th ACM Special Interest Group on Knowledge Discovery and Data Mining (SIGKDD) conference on Monday.
In the 1950s, the two British physiologists and biophysicists Alan Hodgkin and Andrew Huxley conducted a study of the giant axons in the neurons of the squid. The squid is convenient for neuroscience research because its axons are visible to the naked eye. The researchers measured the voltage across neurons, and were able to measure the voltages needed to excite a neuron and induce it to transmit a signal to its neighbors. The critical voltage is called the action potential. Later, together with their Australian colleague John Eccles, the team was awarded the 1963 Nobel Prize in Physiology for their work.