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Massachusetts Commissioner of Education: At some point remote, hybrid learning needs to be 'off the table'

Boston Herald

With health metrics improving and mitigation measures in place across Massachusetts schools, Elementary and Secondary Commissioner Jeff Riley said Tuesday it's time to begin the process of getting more students back into classrooms. Riley, who is set to join Gov. Charlie Baker and Education Secretary James Peyser for a 2 p.m. press conference on education and COVID-19, told Board of Elementary and Secondary Education members that he plans to ask them in March to give him the authority to determine when hybrid and remote school models no longer count for learning hours, as part of a broader plan to return more students to physical school buildings. Riley said he would take a "phased approach to returning students into the classrooms, working closely with state health officials and medical experts." He said his plan would focus on elementary school students first, with the initial goal of having them learning in-person five days a week this April. "At some point, as health metrics continue to improve, we will need to take the remote and hybrid learning models off the table and return to a traditional school format," Riley said.


Reinforcement Learning Approaches in Social Robotics

arXiv.org Artificial Intelligence

In order to facilitate natural interaction, researchers in social robotics have focused on robots that can adapt to diverse conditions and to the different users with whom they interact. Recently, there has been great interest in the use of machine learning methods for adaptive social robots [48], [29], [106], [45], [49], [86]. Machine Learning (ML) algorithms can be categorized into three subfields [2]: supervised learning, unsupervised learning and reinforcement learning. In supervised learning, correct input/output pairs are available and the goal is to find a correct mapping from input to output space. In unsupervised learning, output data is not available and the goal is to find patterns in the input data. Reinforcement Learning (RL) [96] is a framework for decision-making problems in which an agent interacts through trial-and-error with its environment to discover an optimal behavior. The agent does not receive direct feedback of correctness, instead it receives scarce feedback about the actions it has taken in the past.


Eye-tracking mask could monitor people's reactions to what they see

New Scientist

An eye-tracking mask that also measures the wearer's pulse could be used to study people's reactions to things they are viewing. Trisha Andrew at the University of Massachusetts Amherst and her colleagues developed two fabric-based electrodes, which enable continuous monitoring of the wearer's eye movements and pulse for up to 8 hours. Because the electrodes are made of fabric, the mask is also washable and reusable. This could make it useful for health monitoring, particularly of sleep. Eye movement changes are important indicators of sleep phase, such as rapid eye movement (REM) and non REM sleep, says Andrew.


Mitigating Class Boundary Label Uncertainty to Reduce Both Model Bias and Variance

arXiv.org Machine Learning

The study of model bias and variance with respect to decision boundaries is critically important in supervised classification. There is generally a tradeoff between the two, as fine-tuning of the decision boundary of a classification model to accommodate more boundary training samples (i.e., higher model complexity) may improve training accuracy (i.e., lower bias) but hurt generalization against unseen data (i.e., higher variance). By focusing on just classification boundary fine-tuning and model complexity, it is difficult to reduce both bias and variance. To overcome this dilemma, we take a different perspective and investigate a new approach to handle inaccuracy and uncertainty in the training data labels, which are inevitable in many applications where labels are conceptual and labeling is performed by human annotators. The process of classification can be undermined by uncertainty in the labels of the training data; extending a boundary to accommodate an inaccurately labeled point will increase both bias and variance. Our novel method can reduce both bias and variance by estimating the pointwise label uncertainty of the training set and accordingly adjusting the training sample weights such that those samples with high uncertainty are weighted down and those with low uncertainty are weighted up. In this way, uncertain samples have a smaller contribution to the objective function of the model's learning algorithm and exert less pull on the decision boundary. In a real-world physical activity recognition case study, the data presents many labeling challenges, and we show that this new approach improves model performance and reduces model variance.


Gessel Robles on LinkedIn: The artificial intelligence Latin America SuMIT

#artificialintelligence

We are excited to announce the first edition of AI Latin American SumMIT at Massachusetts Institute of Technology from Jan 21-23 2020, save the date! The sumMIT is organized by a multidisciplinary team at Massachusetts Institute of Technology coming from all corners of Latin America. The sumMIT aims to bring leaders in government, industry, universities and the non-government sector across the Latin American region to discuss the development, adoption, and risks that Artificial Intelligence is set to have in the region. The sumMIT will be focused on Artificial Intelligence and its relationship to potentially solve some of the most pressing problems in the region such as: No Poverty, Good Health and Well-being, Quality Education, Sustainable Cities and Communities, Climate Action and Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions. We hope you can join us at the sumMIT.


Large expert-curated database for benchmarking document similarity detection in biomedical literature search

#artificialintelligence

Document recommendation systems for locating relevant literature have mostly relied on methods developed a decade ago. This is largely due to the lack of a large offline gold-standard benchmark of relevant documents that cover a variety of research fields such that newly developed literature search techniques can be compared, improved and translated into practice. To overcome this bottleneck, we have established the RElevant LIterature SearcH consortium consisting of more than 1500 scientists from 84 countries, who have collectively annotated the relevance of over 180 000 PubMed-listed articles with regard to their respective seed (input) article/s. The majority of annotations were contributed by highly experienced, original authors of the seed articles. The collected data cover 76% of all unique PubMed Medical Subject Headings descriptors. No systematic biases were observed across different experience levels, research fields or time spent on annotations.


How To Age Independently? Retiring Well Requires More Than Money, Diet And Exercise

Forbes - Tech

Retiring well & aging independently requires more than health and wealth, it requires a supportive community. On an extraordinarily hot Independence Day weekend, I visited my elderly mother-in-law in her quiet suburban community on the edge of Boston, Massachusetts. She lives alone and mostly independently. Part of my wife's and my weekend ritual is visiting and running errands with her. As we walked down her driveway, we saw a black car drive slowly down the quiet, empty street.


Minsky talks about life, love in the age of artificial intelligence

AITopics Original Links

Computer science professor Marvin Minsky of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology is known for feats that range from inventing the ultrahigh-resolution confocal microscope to helping found the field of artificial intelligence, which aims to create computers that mimic the human mind. Subscribers to the Boston Globe get unlimited access to our archives.


Machine Learning in Healthcare Takes Another Step data analytics, technology, readmissions, health plans, population health

#artificialintelligence

Get ready for the next wave of predictive analytics, capable of identifying future admissions and health plan disenrollments. Until recently, many of the machine learning applications talked about for healthcare had been used to teach computing systems enough to be able to suggest a diagnosis on a specific disease. It essentially sent Watson to medical school. IBM had Watson ingest large amounts of medical literature to learn everything physicians are taught about patients' conditions, and then taught it to make diagnoses. But a Harvard professor who leads a startup supplying machine learning technology to Senior Whole Health, a Medicaid managed care organization active in New York state and Massachusetts, says that machine learning will eventually power all technologies we know today as predictive analytics and population health.


'Big Bang Theory,' 'The Office' help couch-potato robots predict the future: MIT

#artificialintelligence

Remember the Jetsons' robot maid, Rosie? Massachusetts Institute of Technology researchers think her future real-life incarnations can learn a thing or two from Steve Carell and other sitcom stars. MIT says a computer that binge-watched YouTube videos and TV shows such as The Office, Big Bang Theory and Desperate Housewives learned how to predict whether the actors were about to hug, kiss, shake hands or slap high fives -- advances that eventually could help the next generation of artificial intelligence function less clumsily. "It could help a robot move more fluidly through your living space," lead researcher Carl Vondrick told The Associated Press in an interview. "The robot won't want to start pouring milk if it thinks you're about to pull the glass away."