February 25, 2024

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Amidst the swiftly evolving technological landscape, Malaysia stands at the forefront of a dynamic and transformative era. With a forward-looking approach spanning sectors such as banking, healthcare, and education, the country has embraced innovation through six pivotal measures to propel its digital advancement.

These include enhancing cybersecurity, facilitating digital transformation, advocating for digital literacy, promoting innovation and research, undertaking e-government transformation, and fostering digital entrepreneurship and startup initiatives.

Malaysia is strategically focused on catalysing digital transformation in the public sector, enhancing economic competitiveness through digitalisation, and building robust digital infrastructure. Additionally, the nation is committed to preparing a skilled workforce for the digital age, fostering inclusivity in the digital society, and establishing a secure and ethical digital environment. Through these initiatives, Malaysia aims to assert itself as a leader in the global digital arena.

Leveraging a unified platform for digital transformation offers organisations numerous advantages, fundamentally reshaping operations and fostering innovation. Key benefits include increased productivity and enhanced visibility. By embracing an integrated platform that minimises redundancy, streamlines manual efforts, and amplifies automation, teams can prioritise strategic initiatives over routine tasks.

Furthermore, integrating AIOps with machine learning is a powerful technique for optimising the management of enterprise-distributed settings. The fusion of AIOps and ML enables organisations to cultivate a more adaptable and agile IT environment, ensuring operational excellence amid the evolving dynamics inherent in distributed systems.

Enhanced observability significantly improves operational efficiency by empowering organisations to streamline processes, reduce downtime, and rationalise operations through a comprehensive understanding of system behaviours and potential areas for enhancement.

Observability is also crucial for cybersecurity compliance, offering quick threat detection and real-time monitoring. It enables prompt threat identification and proactive responses by analysing network traffic, records, and user actions.

In today’s rapidly evolving digital landscape, the imperative for observability has become more critical than ever. Organisations must adhere to regulatory compliance, elevate customer and citizen experiences, enhance operational efficiency, and fortify security measures.

Enterprises must integrate on-premises and cloud technologies for improved visibility in today’s tech-driven environment. This integration enables businesses to monitor digital operations, discover performance issues, manage resources, and predict challenges with deep visibility.

AI/ML significantly improves IT resource management and operations in hybrid cloud environments by addressing issues like tool sprawl and resource constraints. This enables IT professionals to prioritise client experience, potentially boosting revenue through enhanced client satisfaction and loyalty.

AI/ML is crucial in swiftly identifying and resolving issues, reducing remediation time, and optimising value delivery in dynamic hybrid cloud environments. Integrating AI and ML enhances operational efficiency, empowering organisations to prioritise customer-centric activities, leading to positive outcomes and potential revenue growth.

The OpenGov Breakfast Insight on 23 February 2024 at Sofitel Kuala Lumpur Damansara delved into the dynamics of the transformative epoch and the potential of AIOps in enhancing IT management.

This gathering convened various experts in Malaysia, fostering the exchange of experiences and the generation of innovative ideas for future strategies to empower IT executives to proactively identify and resolve potential issues, minimising disruptions to critical services.

Opening Remarks

Mohit Sagar∶ Organisations that employ observability are better positioned to improve user experiences and encourage a culture of continuous improvement

Mohit Sagar, CEO and Editor-in-Chief at OpenGov Asia, kicked off the session by extending a warm welcome to all attendees. He expressed gratitude to both the attendees and panellists for their active participation, acknowledging their role as catalysts for change in the future digital transformation era.

Mohit then encouraged participants to share their real-world experiences of integrating AIOps into their organisations, fostering meaningful dialogue and exchanging insights on its impact on their journeys.

“As many of you have incorporated observability and artificial intelligence (AIOps) into your organisations, I request you to share your real-world experiences and their impact on your digital transformation journey,” Mohit asked.

“Integrating AIOps has been a game-changer for us. The predictive analytics and automated response capabilities have significantly reduced our mean time to resolution,” said a representative from a technology company. “It is not just about fixing issues faster but also about identifying and addressing potential problems before they impact our operations. This proactive approach has saved us both time and resources.”

Mohit considered observability in today’s world an important component, providing a framework for this progress and an in-depth knowledge of the intricacy of digital systems. Businesses can acquire real-time insights into their digital operations by utilising tracking and data collection solutions, allowing for proactive issue identification and resolution and making it more efficient in operating its system.

“In today’s world of rapid technology breakthroughs, Digital Evolution through Observability offers a long-term strategy to promote organisational growth and innovation,” Mohit said. “However, the shift toward observability is more than periodic troubleshooting; it represents a broader transformational journey.”

Organisations that employ observability are better positioned to optimise efficiency, improve user experiences and encourage a culture of continuous improvement. In essence, Digital Evolution through Observability highlights the nature of staying ahead in the digital age by embracing a proactive and adaptive approach based on full system visibility.

Malaysia has embraced a strategy that underscores the rapid adoption of digital technology across all sectors of the economy. The government actively invests in developing digital skills, innovative ecosystems, and infrastructure in collaboration with private businesses.

Mohit believed Malaysia must have a system that navigates seamlessly through the dynamics of digital transformation and advocates for the adoption of observability and AIOps as the solution.

“Public and private sector organisations can modernise their IT systems using AIOps. Real-time monitoring of data sources is made possible by observability, which ensures that information will be accessible when needed,” he asserts “It ensures that services can rely on accurate information by assisting in the identification and resolution of problems with data availability, quality, and system integrations.”

Mohit shares that observability and AIOps also help to discover areas for process automation, resource optimisation, and service level enhancements – all of which lead to more effective and efficient services. It can lead to a significant improvement in overall operational efficiency.

“By proactively addressing performance concerns through observability and AIOps, organisations can identify and rectify potential issues before they escalate and ensure a seamless experience,” Mohit explains. “This approach leads to quicker response times, allowing teams to swiftly anticipate and address challenges, resulting in an enhanced user experience with minimal disruptions and efficient, reliable service delivery.”

Welcome Address

Bharat Bedi∶ AI incorporation can minimise reliance on speculation and avoid simple errors and confusion

Bharat Bedi, Managing Director for Asia Pacific & Japan at SolarWinds Inc., stressed that ” artificial intelligence is all-encompassing,” highlighting the transformative influence of AI on the future of technology and its significant impact across diverse industries.

He explored the importance of AI-driven solutions, emphasising their role in revolutionising processes, fostering innovation, and reshaping the landscape of the Asia Pacific & Japan region.

“Investing your energy and efforts in strategic endeavours is more crucial than engaging in repetitive tasks, which lack productivity,” Bedi believes, “In today’s dynamic business environment, leveraging AI is essential. AI-driven solutions not only streamline processes but also pave the way for innovation in new frontiers.”

Bharat urged the audience to recognise AI as a fundamental element for future success in the region, playing a crucial role in efficient resource allocation, promoting innovation, and maintaining a competitive edge in a swiftly evolving business environment.

SolarWinds has improved its monitoring and observability products by integrating advanced AI capabilities. This ensures that customers no longer need to spend excessive time reviewing logs, monitoring performance metrics, or addressing disruptive, low-value alerts.

Their tools autonomously detect anomalies and uncommon patterns amidst the extensive stream of constantly generated data. This empowers customers to focus on tasks delivering significant value to their organisations.

Bedi shared that SolarWinds can provide comprehensive solutions to help organisations enhance system efficiency.

  1. SolarWinds Observability: Provides integrated and extensive visibility for cloud-native, on-premises, and hybrid custom and commercial applications, ensuring optimal service levels and user satisfaction with critical business services.
  2. IT Service Management: Aids in streamlining help desk ticketing, managing IT assets, and supporting end-users.
  3. IT Security Management Tools: Tailored solutions geared towards achieving quicker time-to-value, assisting organisations in maintaining a secure operating environment without needing a fully established security operations centre (SOC).
  4. Database Management: The database solutions aid in overseeing, analysing, diagnosing, and enhancing both database performance and data operations essential for driving critical business applications. They also seamlessly integrate on-premises and cloud database visibility, control, and management across various vendors.

“The current goal is extracting valuable business insights from data to enhance data-driven decision-making, all while minimising reliance on speculation and avoiding misleading leads,” Bedi concluded. “And overcoming this challenge is notably more feasible with the incorporation of AI.”

Power Talk

To stay competitive amidst the rapid shifts in today’s technology landscape, organisations must possess the capability to adapt and evolve. An integral component of effective change management involves ensuring observability and visibility across many domains, spanning infrastructure, applications, IT operations, and data.

A meticulously integrated observability strategy empowers IT professionals to pinpoint the root causes of issues, enhance performance, and make informed decisions that align with business objectives. Moreover, it facilitates seamless collaboration between development and operations teams, cultivating a culture of ongoing enhancement.

Jacky Cheong∶ Cloud services offer features that can enhance data visibility and control

Jacky Cheong, Head of Enterprise, Data Governance (EDG) at CelcomDigi Berhad, emphasises that maintaining robust data governance practices is paramount for organisations in today’s data-driven landscape, and leveraging the scalability and flexibility of cloud services can be instrumental in achieving this goal.

“Cloud services offer a range of features that can enhance data visibility and control, including robust access controls, comprehensive audit trails, and sophisticated encryption protocols,” he says. “By leveraging these capabilities, organisations can effectively monitor and manage their data, tracking who accesses it and how it is utilised.”

Jacky illustrated his point by sharing that cloud providers frequently furnish user-friendly tools allowing organisations to monitor and oversee their data in real-time, thereby ensuring its security and compliance with regulations. This increased visibility empowers organisations to preemptively detect and resolve potential data process issues, mitigating risks and upholding data integrity and dependability.

Moreover, cloud-based data analytics tools can be invaluable in monitoring data quality and flagging anomalies or errors as they occur. This capability enables organisations to take prompt corrective action, ensuring the data remains accurate and trustworthy for informed decision-making.

“Cloud services often include robust disaster recovery and backup solutions, ensuring that data remains available and reliable despite unforeseen events. This can be particularly beneficial for organisations seeking to mitigate the risk of data loss or downtime,” he elaborated.

Vincent Leo∶ Observability helps DevOps teams quickly detect and respond to security incidents meticulously

Vincent Leo, Head of Digital Initiative Studio (IT) at Plus Malaysia Berhad, agrees that observability plays a pivotal role in shaping the customer experience within digital environments, and it offers comprehensive insights into the performance of applications and infrastructure. This visibility empowers organisations to proactively identify and resolve issues, ensuring a reliable and seamless customer journey.

For instance, real-time anomaly detection facilitated by observability enables organisations to rectify errors swiftly before they impact decision-making processes. However, achieving such seamless observability comes with challenges, including the intricate nature of modern applications and the imperative of a cohesive approach between DevOps and security teams.

Vincent acknowledges that security is a paramount concern in digital and cloud realms, given the looming risks of data breaches, financial fraud, ransomware, malware, and phishing attacks. Observability can substantially enhance security postures by furnishing a holistic view of the customer’s digital journey, fortifying customer data protection, and actively thwarting malicious attacks.

Through meticulous data collection and analysis across every system, application, and infrastructure component, observability enables DevOps teams to promptly detect and respond to security incidents at any juncture during the customer journey. Integrating automated testing tools further assures quality maintenance across the entire customer experience development lifecycle.

Nonetheless, he also expressed apprehension that for organisations to harness observability optimally, they must guarantee that data is not solely accessible and precise but also analysed promptly. This instantaneous analysis is pivotal in delivering the necessary level of observability to improve customer experience and reinforce security measures.

Bharat Bedi∶ Organisations can leverage tools and technologies to achieve visibility throughout their IT business

Bharat Bedi, Managing Director of Asia Pacific & Japan at SolarWinds Inc., explained that organisations could proactively align their observability and visibility strategies to effectively manage and navigate change, especially in the context of evolving IT operations and cloud environments, by adopting several key practices.

Firstly, organisations should prioritise establishing a unified approach to observability, ensuring that all relevant teams have access to the same tools and data. This can help streamline communication and collaboration, enabling teams to identify and address issues as they arise quickly.

Additionally, they should invest in technologies that provide comprehensive visibility across their entire IT landscape, including cloud services, hybrid environments and on-premises infrastructure. This holistic approach can help organisations better understand their IT ecosystem, allowing them to make more informed decisions and better manage change.

Organisations can leverage tools and technologies to achieve visibility throughout their IT business. This may include deploying monitoring solutions that provide real-time insights into their IT systems’ performance and implementing analytics tools to help identify trends and patterns in their data.

Moreover, organisations should focus on data integration and interoperability, ensuring their various IT systems can communicate and share data effectively. By adopting these practices, organisations can gain a more comprehensive view of their IT business, enabling them to manage change better and drive productivity gains.

Bharat is convinced that organisations can achieve productivity gains through observability by embracing automation and machine intelligence and eliminating organisational. Automation can streamline repetitive tasks and processes, freeing time for IT teams to focus on more strategic initiatives.

“Machine intelligence can help organisations make sense of the vast amounts of data generated by their IT systems, enabling them to identify patterns and trends that may not be apparent to human analysts,” he opines. “By breaking down organisational styles and fostering a culture of collaboration, organisations can ensure that their IT teams work together towards common goals rather than in isolation.”

Closing Remarks

Bharat expressed gratitude to the participants actively engaged in discussions on this topic, acknowledging their valuable contributions and perspectives that significantly enriched the dialogue. Their enthusiastic participation fostered a productive and practical environment, while their collaborative spirit enhanced collective understanding, providing valuable insights to lay the foundation for future steps in Malaysia.

Bharat reiterated that AIOps, with its artificial intelligence, has the potential to optimise system monitoring and detect anomalies more quickly and accurately. Concurrently, observability, which centres on a thorough comprehension of systems and applications, furnishes a holistic and comprehensive perspective of the entire IT environment.

Amidst the intricacies of the present technological landscape, the significance of integrating AIOps and observability becomes more pertinent. A good understanding of the interconnection between these two tools can serve as a strong foundation for improving operational performance and efficiency.

“We know that cyberattack is possible to occur anytime, and I believe AI will be the solution for it,” Bharat believes. “By harnessing observability, organisations can identify potential issues earlier, reduce downtime, and enhance the user experience.”

Observability, with its focus on gaining in-depth insights into the functioning of systems and applications, becomes a crucial tool in maintaining operational efficiency. Its capability to identify and analyse real-time patterns empowers organisations to proactively address issues, fostering enhanced system reliability and minimising disruptions.

Bharat was delighted that the forum had provided valuable food for thought and ideas for participants from both the private and public sectors. He remains optimistic about the continuity of this constructive spirit, anticipating ongoing engagement and the exchange of innovative ideas in future OpenGov Breakfast Insights.

“It is truly an honour to be among such incredible folks, all united by a common vision and mission in digital transformation preparedness,” Bedi said. “I am confident the insights we have gathered during this forum can seamlessly translate into practical implementation within our respective spheres.”

CSIRO showcased its advancements in digital technologies and innovative methodologies during an open day at its research station near Armidale, situated on Anaiwan Country in New South Wales. The event highlighted ongoing research initiatives aimed at revolutionising livestock monitoring and welfare in agricultural landscapes.

Among the showcased technologies was eGrazor, a digital monitoring system utilising accelerometers akin to pedometers, designed to track the movement patterns of livestock. Enhanced with GPS tracking capabilities, eGrazor provides valuable insights into the behaviours and whereabouts of animals in real-time.

Additionally, CSIRO has embarked on exploring the integration of computer vision and machine learning algorithms to further augment livestock monitoring efforts. By employing cameras equipped with AI-driven recognition systems, researchers aim to identify individual animals and decipher their behaviours, such as grazing, amidst varying environmental conditions.

Despite promising advancements, challenges persist in accurately tracking multiple animals simultaneously and distinguishing them from environmental obstructions. CSIRO is actively developing methodologies to refine the technology’s ability to discern individual animals within herds or flocks, thereby bolstering the accuracy of livestock monitoring systems.

In a pioneering endeavour, researchers are delving into the realm of livestock vocalisations to decode the nuanced expressions of sheep and cattle. By employing microphones and AI algorithms, CSIRO endeavours to discern the emotional states and communication cues embedded within livestock vocalisations. This initiative aims to offer a novel avenue for assessing animal welfare and enhancing productivity within livestock operations.

Furthermore, CSIRO acknowledges the dynamic nature of agricultural landscapes, where soundscapes evolve throughout the day, comprising a multitude of auditory elements. Leveraging AI-driven sound analysis tools, researchers seek to extract meaningful insights from the cacophony of environmental sounds, thereby providing farmers with invaluable real-time data pertaining to livestock well-being and production metrics.

In conjunction with audio monitoring, CSIRO explores the synergistic integration of diverse data streams, including accelerometer readings, video footage, and GPS data, to glean comprehensive insights into animal behaviour and health status. Such holistic monitoring approaches hold the potential to facilitate early disease detection and optimise management practices, particularly during adverse climatic conditions such as droughts.

One notable research endeavour pertains to the strategic destocking of livestock during periods of drought-induced scarcity. By employing targeted selection criteria based on genetic value and performance metrics, researchers aim to optimise herd composition and enhance long-term resilience to climatic stressors. Preliminary findings suggest that value-based destocking strategies yield superior productivity outcomes, particularly in arid conditions, thereby offering a viable pathway for bolstering drought resilience within livestock operations.

In parallel to these endeavours, CSIRO continues to pioneer welfare-friendly technologies, such as virtual fencing systems, designed to guide livestock within designated grazing areas while minimising stress levels. Building upon the success of virtual fencing systems for cattle, researchers are adapting similar methodologies for sheep, utilising wearable collars to delineate grazing boundaries effectively.

Preliminary results indicate that sheep readily acclimate to virtual fencing systems, underscoring the efficacy of such welfare-centric approaches in livestock management. CSIRO’s collaborative efforts with academic institutions and industry partners, supported by funding from the Australian Government’s Future Drought Fund, underscore its commitment to driving innovation and sustainability within the livestock industry.

The multifaceted research initiatives represent a concerted effort to harness cutting-edge technologies and scientific methodologies to enhance livestock welfare, productivity, and resilience in the face of evolving environmental challenges.

Through ongoing collaboration and innovation, CSIRO endeavours to empower farmers with the tools and insights necessary to navigate complex agricultural landscapes while fostering sustainable practices for future generations.

Artificial intelligence (AI) has become an indispensable tool in transforming the landscape of media and communication. With its ability to analyse vast amounts of data, identify patterns, and predict outcomes, AI is revolutionising how we consume and interact with information. Researchers at Nanyang Technological University (NTU) have been at the forefront of pioneering advancements in AI, pushing the boundaries of what is possible in media analysis and content creation.

Image credits: Nanyang Technological University

One of the significant breakthroughs in AI research at NTU comes from the School of Computer Science and Engineering (SCSE), where scientists have developed sophisticated algorithms capable of analysing emotions in text with remarkable accuracy. Led by Prof. Erik Cambria, the team’s innovative platform, known as SenticNet, integrates human learning modes with traditional machine learning approaches, enabling it to decipher emotional tones in written words effectively.

Traditional sentiment analysis models often operate as opaque “black boxes,” providing little insight into their internal reasoning process. However, SenticNet’s logical framework offers transparent insights, ensuring reproducibility and reliability of results. By combining commonsense reasoning with machine learning, SenticNet has demonstrated superior performance, outperforming other sentiment analysis models in recent tests.

The implications of SenticNet’s capabilities are profound, particularly in the realm of media monitoring and content moderation. With the sheer volume of social media posts and information available online, AI’s ability to decode emotions from text could be a game-changer, enabling more effective sentiment analysis and the identification of malicious content.

In addition to text analysis, AI is also revolutionising the way we interact with video content. Assoc Prof. Sun Aixin and his team at SCSE have developed an innovative method to make video content searchable by matching keywords with on-screen images. Traditional computer vision techniques often struggle with searching long videos efficiently. However, the team’s algorithm treats videos as text passages, allowing users to search for specific moments within lengthy clips.

This novel approach enables the seamless segmentation of long videos into shorter clips, enhancing searchability and user experience. Assoc Prof. Sun envisions a wide range of applications for this technology, from educational videos to surveillance footage, where efficient content search is crucial.

Despite the transformative potential of AI, it also presents new challenges, particularly in the realm of authenticity verification. As technology advances, so too do the capabilities of those seeking to deceive audiences with fake images and videos. Addressing this issue, Assistant Professor Liu Ziwei and his team at SCSE have developed Seq-DeepFake, an advanced algorithm capable of detecting digital fingerprints left by facial manipulation in images.

Seq-DeepFake goes beyond conventional methods by identifying alterations sequentially, enabling rapid detection of manipulated content. Moreover, the algorithm can reverse the manipulation sequence, restoring the original image and empowering users to verify the authenticity of visual information effectively.

As AI continues to evolve, NTU researchers remain committed to pushing the boundaries of innovation and leveraging technology to address the complex challenges facing the media industry. Through their groundbreaking advancements in emotion analysis, video searchability, and authenticity verification, they are shaping the future of media and communication, paving the way for a more informed, transparent, and trustworthy digital landscape.

NTU stands at the forefront of pioneering cutting-edge technology innovations, exemplified by its breakthroughs in ultrathin, stretchable electronics. Spearheaded by Professor Chen Xiaodong, NTU’s pioneering research in the field marks a significant step forward in technology innovation, with far-reaching implications across industries such as healthcare and agriculture, bolstering Singapore’s position as a global leader in science and technology.

Telecommunication Engineering Centre (TEC), the technical arm of the Department of Telecommunications (DOT), Ministry of Communications, has inked a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with AMRITA UNIVERSITY, aiming to spearhead innovation in the realm of Trustworthy and Responsible Artificial Intelligence Systems.

Image credits: Press Information Bureau

TEC, as the recognised Standards Setting Organisation (SSO) in the telecommunications and related ICT sector in India, plays a pivotal role in formulating standards for telecom and related ICT equipment, networks, systems, and services deployed across the Indian Telecom Network.

Responsible AI underscores the importance of unbiased and equitable AI/Machine Learning (ML) systems. In response, TEC has introduced a Standard for Fairness Assessment and Rating of Artificial Intelligence Systems.

Drawing from comprehensive stakeholder consultations and domain expert inputs, TEC introduced the New Standard (No. TEC 57050:2023) for “Fairness Assessment and Rating of Artificial Intelligence Systems” on July 7, 2023. This Standard delineates meticulous procedures for evaluating and rating the fairness of artificial intelligence systems.

Through collaboration with Amrita University, efforts are underway to create tools for systematic bias risk assessment and to establish a robust framework for certifying the fairness and reliability of AI technologies.

Amrita Vishwa Vidyapeetham, established under Section 3 of the UGC Act 1956, stands as a multi-campus, multi-disciplinary research university, rated among the top research universities in India.

The collaboration underscores a shared commitment to addressing biases in AI systems and advancing fairness assessments, aligning with the Government of India’s objectives and fostering public trust in these transformative technologies.

At the core of this collaboration lies the endeavour to develop tools for systematic bias risk assessment and establish a robust framework for certifying the fairness and reliability of AI technologies. This initiative gains further significance with the recent release of a Standard for Fairness Assessment and Rating of Artificial Intelligence Systems by TEC, following extensive stakeholder consultations.

Highlighting the transformative potential of this collaboration, Smt Tripti Saxena, Senior Deputy Director General at TEC, emphasised its capacity to drive groundbreaking solutions for fairness assessment and rating of AI systems. By bridging the gap between academia and government bodies, this MoU paves the way for rigorous research and reinforces India’s leadership in AI innovation.

Earlier, TEC forged a partnership with the Indraprastha Institute of Information Technology, Delhi (IIIT-Delhi), aimed at developing innovation in trustworthy and responsible artificial intelligence (AI) systems.

This collaboration, formalised through a memorandum of understanding (MoU), underscores the shared commitment of both entities to pioneer advancements in responsible AI. Highlighting the importance of addressing biases in AI systems and promoting fairness in assessments, the agreement seeks to enhance public trust and confidence in these transformative technologies, aligning with the strategic goals set forth by the government for the AI industry.

Given the increasing adoption of AI and machine learning (ML) across various sectors and their demonstrated efficacy in public service delivery and e-governance, ensuring equality and impartiality in AI systems has become imperative. Unintended biases in AI applications can lead to a myriad of ethical, social, and legal concerns, necessitating proactive measures to mitigate their impact.

Bias can infiltrate AI systems through various pathways and at different stages of the data and AI lifecycle, potentially influencing other components of AI. Algorithms trained on biased data are known to perpetuate disparities in outcomes, placing certain groups at a disadvantage.

Under this collaborative initiative, TEC and IIIT-Delhi will develop tools to systematically assess bias risks and establish a robust framework for evaluating and certifying the fairness and reliability of AI technologies.

Machine learning has emerged as a cornerstone of innovation in this digital world, driving advancements across various fields, from autonomous vehicles to personalised medicine. However, despite its capabilities, traditional machine-learning approaches often need to be revised when confronted with vast datasets or complex patterns. Tahmasebi, an MIT PhD student, has gained new insight inspired by Weyl’s law and promises to overcome these barriers by offering a novel framework for scalable and efficient data processing.

Image credits: news.mit.edu

Tahmasebi has made a breakthrough that could reshape the machine-learning landscape. As a PhD in Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science (EECS) member and an affiliate of the Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory (CSAIL), he found himself at the intersection of mathematics and technology during a differential equations course in late 2021. Here, Tahmasebi encountered Weyl’s law, a mathematical principle formulated over a century ago by the German mathematician Hermann Weyl.

Weyl’s law, originally devised to measure the complexity of spectral information within physical phenomena like the vibrations of strings or electromagnetic radiation, seemed worlds apart from the contemporary challenges of machine learning. However, Tahmasebi’s keen insight led him to explore the potential application of Weyl’s law in artificial intelligence, particularly in understanding the complexity of data input to neural networks.

Driven by the idea of reducing data complexity to enhance machine learning processes, Tahmasebi embarked on a collaborative journey with his advisor, Stefanie Jegelka, an associate professor in EECS and an affiliate of CSAIL and the MIT Institute for Data, Systems, and Society. Together, they sought to bridge the gap between mathematical theory and practical application in machine learning.

Their efforts gave the result when they modified Weyl’s law to incorporate symmetry into the assessment of dataset complexity. This advancement marked the first time Weyl’s law had been applied to enhance machine learning through symmetry. As a testament to its initiative’s potential impact on machine learning, their paper has received a designation as a “Spotlight” at the Machine Learning Conference last December 2023.

Soledad Villar, an applied mathematician at Johns Hopkins University, praised the research for its implications in scientific domains with limited training data. By leveraging dataset symmetries, models can produce predictions with smaller errors, using fewer training points—a crucial advantage in fields like computational chemistry and beyond.

In their paper, Tahmasebi and Jegelka delved into the practical benefits of incorporating symmetries, or “invariances,” into machine learning tasks. They illustrated how algorithms that recognise and exploit symmetries can significantly streamline complex tasks, such as identifying specific objects in images.

One of the key findings of their research is the potential for exponential gains from symmetries operating across multiple dimensions. By harnessing multidimensional symmetries, machine learning algorithms can achieve disproportionately large returns, offering unprecedented efficiency and accuracy in data analysis and prediction.

Their work introduced mathematical theorems and formulas predicting gains from symmetries in various applications, providing a theoretical basis for guiding further developments in “Geometric Deep Learning.” Rooted in differential geometry, this framework lays the groundwork for advancements in graph learning, 3D data analysis, and beyond.

Haggai Maron, a computer scientist, commended their approach for its theoretical contributions, highlighting its potential to shape the future of machine learning. By bridging the gap between mathematical theory and practical application, Tahmasebi and Jegelka’s research offers new insights with far-reaching implications for technology and science.

MIT’s Tahmasebi and Jegelka have opened new frontiers in machine learning, where age-old mathematical principles intersect with cutting-edge technology. As the field continues to evolve, their work promises to pave the way for advancements in artificial intelligence, unlocking new possibilities for data analysis, prediction, and beyond.

A licensed bank incorporated in Hong Kong and Asia’s first online price compares platform instant quote express, air freight, sea freight, rail freight and trucking (the company) have collaborated to employ privacy-preserving technology called “Federated Learning,” developed by the Hong Kong Applied Science and Technology Research Institute (ASTRI).

This technology aims to empower small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in Hong Kong by providing enhanced access to financial products and services, simplifying the financing and credit application procedures for SMEs.

Aligned with the objectives outlined in the 2023 Policy Address to unlock SME potential, Federated Learning technology-driven financial solutions are positioned to address the financing and cash flow needs of SMEs, particularly those in rapidly growing sectors like e-commerce and cross-border trade. SMEs can improve their business development and market expansion plans by overcoming challenges related to financing, cash flow, and information fragmentation.

The company, a comprehensive international supply chain finance platform, seeks to innovate and redefine the logistics experience for individual and corporate clients. The platform offers seamless search and comparison processes for instant freight quotes, enabling businesses to access comprehensive shipment data, track cargo status, and facilitate secure payment and financing.

Through leveraging Federated Learning technology developed by ASTRI, a collaboration between the company and the technology enables collaborative machine learning while keeping all the training data on devices to safeguard data privacy. This enables the generation of predictive machine learning models in an encrypted way, ensuring customers’ privacy and data security throughout the process.

These models can effectively generate lists of prospects best suited for financial products and services based on clients’ behavioural patterns on the company’s platform. This helps address SMEs’ long-standing pain point of information overload in finding suitable financial products and services, ultimately enhancing SMEs’ access to financial solutions that best match their needs.

ASTRI’s Federated Learning technology has garnered notable recognition, including the “Asia FinTech Award 2023 – Data Initiative of the Year” and the “BUSINESS GOVirtual Tech Awards 2023 – Tech Company of the Year (Excellence Award in FinTech)”.

The collaboration underscores the potential of open shared data in the FinTech sector, facilitating the pre-screening of suitable financial services and products for SMEs, enabling financial institutions to evaluate and approve loans effectively.

The use of the Federated Learning technology aligns closely with several key initiatives and goals set forth by the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR) government. Firstly, the partnership resonates with the HKSAR government’s emphasis on promoting innovation and technology as a cornerstone for economic development.

By leveraging advanced technologies like Federated Learning, the collaboration seeks to enhance the efficiency and effectiveness of financial services, particularly for small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs). This aligns with the government’s broader objective of fostering a vibrant ecosystem for technological innovation and entrepreneurship.

Secondly, the collaboration supports the HKSAR government’s initiatives aimed at promoting financial inclusion and supporting SMEs. By simplifying the financing and credit application processes, the use of Federated Learning technology enables SMEs to access financial products and services more easily. This not only addresses the financing needs of SMEs but also contributes to fostering a more inclusive and supportive environment for small businesses to thrive.

Furthermore, the collaboration underscores the government’s commitment to enhancing Hong Kong’s position as a leading financial and trading hub in the region. By facilitating smoother cross-border trade and providing innovative supply chain finance solutions, the partnership helps to strengthen Hong Kong’s competitiveness in the global marketplace.

Overall, the collaboration reflects the HKSAR government’s strategic focus on promoting technological innovation, supporting SMEs, and enhancing Hong Kong’s position as a global financial and trading hub.

An international research endeavour led by the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology (HKUST) has achieved a significant technological breakthrough by introducing an artificial intelligence (AI) model designed to mitigate global ammonia (NH3) emissions originating from agricultural activities.

Image Credits: HKUST, Press Release

Through the innovative use of machine learning techniques, the pioneering study not only identified that global NH3 emissions from croplands are less extensive than previously estimated but also demonstrated the efficacy of optimising fertiliser management in reducing emissions by approximately 38%, without compromising nitrogen fertiliser usage overall.

The implications of this research extend to policymakers globally, offering valuable insights into addressing the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals concerning poverty alleviation, food security, and sustainable agriculture.

The emission of NH3 from diverse agricultural and industrial processes poses environmental hazards, leading to air and water pollution, ecosystem damage, and threats to human health. Although NH3 itself is not a greenhouse gas, its interactions within the soil and atmosphere can result in the formation of compounds such as nitrous oxide, a potent greenhouse gas contributing to climate change.

Significantly, the production of three major crops – rice, wheat, and maize – accounts for more than half of the global cropland NH3 emissions. With increasing food demand amidst global population growth, the imperative to discover methods for reducing these emissions has become paramount for sustainable development. However, the absence of accurate global-scale information hampers countries’ ability to implement effective emission reduction strategies tailored to their specific circumstances.

To confront this challenge, a research consortium spearheaded by Prof. Jimmy FUNG Chi-Hung, Chair Professor of HKUST’s Division of Environment and Sustainability in the Academy of Interdisciplinary Studies and Department of Mathematics, alongside Prof. ZHENG Yi from the School of Environmental Science and Engineering at the Southern University of Science and Technology (SUSTech), curated and synthesised a dataset derived from field observations of NH3 emission rates spanning from 1985 to 2022.

Subsequently, they trained an AI-powered computational model to estimate global NH3 emissions utilising the dataset while accounting for various geographical factors including climate, soil characteristics, crop types, irrigation practices, fertiliser application, and tillage methods.

This model possesses the capability to generate tailored fertiliser management plans for diverse regions. For instance, in Asia, approximately 76% of wheat lands are deemed suitable for implementing enhanced-efficiency fertilisers (EEFs) to mitigate NH3 emissions, particularly due to the influence of global warming where temperature significantly affects NH3 emissions from wheat lands in Asia.

The AI model revealed that by optimising fertiliser management practices – such as adjusting fertilisation timing, utilising specific nutrient blends, and implementing suitable planting and tillage techniques – it is plausible to reduce global NH3 emissions from the three aforementioned crops by up to 38%. Notably, Asia exhibits the highest potential for NH3 reduction, followed by North America and Europe.

This discovery holds particular significance given projections indicating a 4.0% to 5.5% increase in global NH3 emissions from croplands over the 30-year period until 2060. Therefore, even achieving a fraction of this potential reduction could suffice to offset the projected increase.

Prof. Jimmy Fung stressed the challenges faced by current global efforts to mitigate emissions, citing high costs and small farm sizes as significant obstacles. He highlighted the significance of the study’s findings, which offer updated data on NH3 emissions globally. This data can inform policymaking and management practices aimed at reducing haze and ensuring food security. Prof. Fung emphasised the vast potential of leveraging big data and AI in advancing sustainable development.

The study, titled “Fertilizer Management for Global Ammonia Emission Reduction,” has been published in Nature, a premier multidisciplinary scientific journal. The research’s co-first authors included Mr. LI Geng, a PhD student from HKUST, and Dr. XU Peng, a Research Assistant Professor from SUSTech. The research consortium comprised members from Tianjin University, Colorado State University, Peking University, Peking University Shenzhen Graduate School, Oak Ridge National Laboratory, Beijing Forestry University, and Cornell University.

In a groundbreaking initiative, Filipino researchers, led by Dr Erwin P. Enrique from Ateneo de Manila University (AdMU), are harnessing the power of artificial intelligence (AI) and 3D printing technologies to advance bone tissue repair.

Image credits: DOST-PCHRD

This project, supported by the Philippine Council for Health Research and Development (PCHRD) and in collaboration with international experts from the Vellore Institute of Technology in India, aims to revolutionise bone-related treatments caused by ageing, infections, and accidents.

The innovative approach seeks to empower both patients and doctors by offering a more accessible and affordable solution for bone repair materials. By combining AI-assisted design and 3D printing, the researchers are creating tunable bone scaffolds with enhanced performance for complex bone regeneration. The objective is to provide a viable alternative to existing methods, allowing for optimal bone repair based on medical needs and affordability.

Now in its second year, the project has achieved significant milestones. The team has developed a machine-learning model capable of analysing factors influencing the effectiveness of bioceramic precursor materials in the 3D printing process. Simultaneously, researchers are exploring polymer-nano clay materials and 3D-printed frameworks to ensure strength and compatibility with the human body.

Dr Jaime C. Montoya, PCHRD Executive Director, emphasised the transformative potential of integrating AI and 3D printing in healthcare. He stated, “This collaborative initiative, showcasing the dedication and expertise of our team, holds promise in providing accessible and affordable solutions for bone-related challenges.”

In recognising the limitations of traditional transplantation methods, the researchers advocate for a paradigm shift towards regeneration as a more promising solution for damaged tissues and organs. The project, scheduled to conclude in August 2024, focuses on refining additive manufacturing and processing techniques, to significantly reduce fabrication time compared to current technologies.

The initiative not only addresses the technical challenges of bone repair but also aims to democratise access to advanced medical solutions. If successful, the project may empower surgeons with a diverse selection of composite materials, custom-tailored to meet the unique medical and financial needs of individual patients.

As the team pioneers this convergence of AI and 3D printing, the project stands at the forefront of medical advancements, charting a course toward a future where innovative approaches become the cornerstone of healthcare. With a commitment to accessible and affordable solutions, Filipino researchers are poised to make a lasting impact on the landscape of bone-related treatments, offering hope for a more efficient and personalised approach to bone tissue repair.

The Philippines is making significant strides in the realm of technology and information technology to propel digitalisation, empower its citizens, and drive the growth of the digital economy. Recognising the transformative potential of technology, the government has undertaken initiatives to enhance digital infrastructure, expand internet access, and implement e-governance solutions. This comprehensive approach aims to streamline public services, making them more accessible to citizens while fostering efficiency and transparency.

In addition to infrastructure development, there is a growing emphasis on digital literacy programmes and skill development initiatives to empower citizens to actively participate in the digital landscape. By equipping the population with the necessary skills and knowledge, the Philippines is fostering a digitally literate society capable of leveraging technology for personal and professional growth.

Moreover, the deployment of technology in various sectors, including education, healthcare, finance and agriculture is contributing to the digital economy’s expansion, opening up new avenues for innovation, entrepreneurship, and economic development.

OpenGov Asia reported that the Department of Science and Technology is spearheading a comprehensive initiative to revolutionise agriculture in the Cordillera region, with a primary focus on integrating science, technology, and innovations (STI) to address existing challenges related to vegetable overproduction and marketability.

As the Philippines accelerates its digitalisation efforts, it positions itself as a dynamic player in the global digital landscape, harnessing technology to create opportunities and enhance the overall well-being of its citizens.

In a new initiative by the Australian Government, a concerted effort is underway to catalyse technological innovation beyond the confines of major metropolitan areas. Recognising the disparity in access to cutting-edge research and development opportunities, the government has launched the Next Generation Graduates Programme, aimed at nurturing a thriving technology ecosystem in regional Australia.

With a major investment, 162 postgraduate student positions have been allocated to universities across the country under this programme. The strategic collaboration between universities and industry giants ensures direct access to industry expertise for aspiring researchers residing outside capital cities.

According to Aaron Quigley, Science Director at Data61, the programme stands poised to tackle some of the nation’s most pressing challenges by tapping into diverse perspectives. He stressed the importance of regional insights in addressing distinct challenges faced by non-urban areas.

At the forefront of this initiative is Charles Sturt University’s Artificial Intelligence and Cyber Futures Institute (AICF) in Bathurst. Prof Ganna Pogrebna, Executive Director of AICF, underscores the significance of focusing on regional Australia, highlighting the need for collaborative environments across consortium universities.

The programme’s regional focus extends beyond theoretical discourse, offering hands-on experiences for students and researchers. By applying cutting-edge technologies to real-world challenges in agriculture, the initiative not only diversifies the talent pool but also revitalises regional business models, creating job opportunities and attracting investments.

One notable project, the AgriTwins initiative, harnesses AI, machine learning, and cybersecurity to address agricultural industry challenges. Ganna Pogrebna emphasised its pivotal role in ensuring a cyber-secure future for the agricultural sector while enhancing Australia’s competitive edge in global markets.

Dr. Winyu Chinthammit, Research Leader at the University of Tasmania’s Human Interface Technology Laboratory, envisions the programme as a cornerstone for fostering a digital technology industry in regional Australia. His research focuses on leveraging digital technologies to improve worker safety and performance, offering yet another dimension to the programme’s multifaceted approach.

The Next Generation Graduates Programme zeroes in on three key areas of digital technology: immersive Virtual Reality (VR), Augmented Reality (AR), and Artificial Intelligence (AI). By delving into emerging technologies, the programme aims to create a more efficient and effective workforce capable of navigating the complexities of the digital age.

This round of the programme boasts a diverse array of projects, spanning from AI-enabled secure signal processing to continual learning and adaptation of resilient vision models. These initiatives, backed by a network of prestigious universities and industry partners, seek to redefine the boundaries of technological innovation in Australia.

Moreover, the programme’s emphasis on regional development marks a significant departure from previous iterations. By decentralising tech innovation, the Australian Government aims to democratise access to opportunities and empower communities beyond urban centres.

The Next Generation Graduates Programme underscores the government’s commitment to nurturing homegrown talent and bolstering Australia’s position in the global tech landscape. Through strategic investments and collaborative partnerships, the programme lays the groundwork for a vibrant and inclusive technology ecosystem that transcends geographical boundaries.

As the world hurtles towards an increasingly digital future, initiatives like the Next Generation Graduates Programme serve as beacons of hope, promising a more equitable and prosperous tomorrow for all Australians, regardless of their postal code.

The issue of mental health among university students has been gaining increasing attention in recent years. The demanding nature of academic life, coupled with various personal, social, and economic pressures, has contributed to a growing concern for the well-being of students.

Image credits: its.ac.id

One of the primary challenges is the high level of stress associated with academic expectations. The pressure to excel in exams, complete assignments, and maintain a competitive GPA can lead to heightened stress among students. Additionally, the transition from high school to university often involves adapting to a new environment, building new social connections and managing increased independence can further contribute to feelings of anxiety and isolation.

A team of students from Institut Teknologi Sepuluh Nopember (ITS) has unveiled NeuroCube. It is a Rapid Diagnostic Microfluidic Biosensor detection tool that blends cutting-edge technology to address the diagnosis of neurological disorders. This innovative Rapid Diagnostic Microfluidic Biosensor detection tool combines advanced technology to detect neurological disorders within the central and peripheral nervous systems.

Annisa Septyana Ningrum ST, the head of the student team from the ITS Physics Engineering Department Master’s study programme, shared that the inspiration for NeuroCube stemmed from the rising cases of mental disorders among students. Recognising the complexity of diagnosing mental illnesses and the potential for patients to provide inaccurate information during psychological assessments, the team set out to create a tool that could provide more accurate and reliable results.

The biosensor takes inspiration from the concept of litmus paper, which changes colour when exposed to acids or bases. Ne roCube applies this concept to neurotransmitter compounds in urine samples, such as dopamine, glutamate, and Nicotinamide Adenosine Dinucleotide Hydrogen (NADH). The colour changes in the samples indicate the concentration levels of compounds associated with six neurological disorders, including dementia, obsessive–compulsive disorder (OCD), Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, and Alzheimer’s.

The five-person development team successfully integrated four key components – microfluidic biosensor paper, Raspberry Pi miniprocessor, Liquid Crystal Display (LCD) touchscreen, and LED lights – into the NeuroCube. This tool employs colourimetry, allowing for detecting neurological disorders through a simple and efficient method.

The microfluidic biosensor paper indicates colour changes when exposed to neurotransmitter compounds and a reagent. The Rasberry Pi miniprocessor is a central processing unit (CPU) that captures images through a connected camera. These images undergo processing through a programmed algorithm, converting the reaction’s colour into compound concentration. Machine learning then utilises this data to determine the percentage risk of a person developing neurological disorders.

The LED light component controls the camera’s light intensity. NeuroCube is equipped with an LCD touchscreen for an intuitive Graphical User Interface (GUI) to facilitate the entire process of compound detection and prediction of neurological disorders.

Annisa emphasised the added value of this innovation, highlighting its potential to use biosensors and machine learning technology for disease risk detection. She expressed optimism about NeuroCube’s ability to provide further analysis and expand its application to detect various diseases beyond neurological disorders.

This breakthrough earned the team a well-deserved gold medal in the National Student Scientific Week (Pimnas) presentation category within the Student Creativity Programme for Creative Work (PKM-KC). Dr Rer Nat Ruri Agung Wahyuono, the team’s supervisor, was crucial in guiding the students through this achievement.

In the future, Annisa and her team aspire to continue developing NeuroCube, envisioning it as a multiplex detection tool capable of identifying multiple diseases simultaneously. They envisioned that the awareness of this biosensor’s potential would increase, especially among the younger generation in Indonesian society. The success of NeuroCube stands as a testament to the power of combining technology, innovation, and a commitment to improving healthcare outcomes.

PARTNER

Qlik’s vision is a data-literate world, where everyone can use data and analytics to improve decision-making and solve their most challenging problems. A private company, Qlik offers real-time data integration and analytics solutions, powered by Qlik Cloud, to close the gaps between data, insights and action. By transforming data into Active Intelligence, businesses can drive better decisions, improve revenue and profitability, and optimize customer relationships. Qlik serves more than 38,000 active customers in over 100 countries.

PARTNER

CTC Global Singapore, a premier end-to-end IT solutions provider, is a fully owned subsidiary of ITOCHU Techno-Solutions Corporation (CTC) and ITOCHU Corporation.

Since 1972, CTC has established itself as one of the country’s top IT solutions providers. With 50 years of experience, headed by an experienced management team and staffed by over 200 qualified IT professionals, we support organizations with integrated IT solutions expertise in Autonomous IT, Cyber Security, Digital Transformation, Enterprise Cloud Infrastructure, Workplace Modernization and Professional Services.

Well-known for our strengths in system integration and consultation, CTC Global proves to be the preferred IT outsourcing destination for organizations all over Singapore today.

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Planview has one mission: to build the future of connected work. Our solutions enable organizations to connect the business from ideas to impact, empowering companies to accelerate the achievement of what matters most. Planview’s full spectrum of Portfolio Management and Work Management solutions creates an organizational focus on the strategic outcomes that matter and empowers teams to deliver their best work, no matter how they work. The comprehensive Planview platform and enterprise success model enables customers to deliver innovative, competitive products, services, and customer experiences. Headquartered in Austin, Texas, with locations around the world, Planview has more than 1,300 employees supporting 4,500 customers and 2.6 million users worldwide. For more information, visit www.planview.com.

SUPPORTING ORGANISATION

SIRIM is a premier industrial research and technology organisation in Malaysia, wholly-owned by the Minister​ of Finance Incorporated. With over forty years of experience and expertise, SIRIM is mandated as the machinery for research and technology development, and the national champion of quality. SIRIM has always played a major role in the development of the country’s private sector. By tapping into our expertise and knowledge base, we focus on developing new technologies and improvements in the manufacturing, technology and services sectors. We nurture Small Medium Enterprises (SME) growth with solutions for technology penetration and upgrading, making it an ideal technology partner for SMEs.

PARTNER

HashiCorp provides infrastructure automation software for multi-cloud environments, enabling enterprises to unlock a common cloud operating model to provision, secure, connect, and run any application on any infrastructure. HashiCorp tools allow organizations to deliver applications faster by helping enterprises transition from manual processes and ITIL practices to self-service automation and DevOps practices. 

PARTNER

IBM is a leading global hybrid cloud and AI, and business services provider. We help clients in more than 175 countries capitalize on insights from their data, streamline business processes, reduce costs and gain the competitive edge in their industries. Nearly 3,000 government and corporate entities in critical infrastructure areas such as financial services, telecommunications and healthcare rely on IBM’s hybrid cloud platform and Red Hat OpenShift to affect their digital transformations quickly, efficiently and securely. IBM’s breakthrough innovations in AI, quantum computing, industry-specific cloud solutions and business services deliver open and flexible options to our clients. All of this is backed by IBM’s legendary commitment to trust, transparency, responsibility, inclusivity and service.