Government agencies and enterprises are in an unprecedented time, going through the largest digital transformation in history. The pandemic has vaulted the government headfirst into the next stage of digital transformation – catalysed by the need for online delivery and powered by a huge surge in data. Indeed, there is a good case to be made that digital transformation is likely to fall short unless it is based on a solid foundation of “data transformation.”
To become a truly data-driven organisation that operates in real-time, agencies are undertaking multiple modernisation initiatives, including advanced analytics, artificial intelligence, machine learning, .cloud and data management.
Government agencies are beginning to take a deeper look at capturing data about streaming events. Being able to act as soon as events occur improves operational responsiveness and organisational effectiveness. The challenge is moving beyond the limited value that static data assessment provides.
Through strengthening data management, agencies can improve integration in the planning, implementation and evaluation of development policies. All stakeholders believe that implementing e-government (SPBE) will be key to efficient, high-quality, transparent and accountable public services by making use of efficiently integrated data from both central and regional governments.
The Government of Indonesia is taking the right steps in the direction of utilising data to serve its citizens better. Satu Data Indonesia has been established by President Joko Widodo through Presidential Regulation Number 39 of 2019 – the legal foundation for creating accurate, up-to-date, integrated and accountable data.
Satu Data Indonesia is the answer to proper data management, including supporting various urgent government programs such as handling the pandemic, providing social assistance, and digital transformation.
Satu Data Indonesia also plays a strategic role in efforts to develop the digital sector and optimise productive efforts for the advancement of the nation. Therefore, accelerating the implementation of one data policy is the key to the success of digital transformation and supporting the government in resolving strategic issues.
This points to several questions:
- Are the agencies well equipped to manage, process and analyse the volume of data at hand?
- Do the agencies have the technologies to make sure data is standardised and interoperable?
- Are agencies able to uncover insights from those events and make real-time intelligent decisions?
- Can agencies utilise insights to define, test and refine projects?
Government missions are no longer static, but continuously in motion, handling the “now.” To be effective, agencies need to continually innovate to provide seamless and easy-to-use services and improve the resilience and security of digital platforms for citizens, businesses and public officers.
Agencies need a complete streaming data platform that treats data in motion, whether it is driving action or producing real-time analysis. And this platform must be capable of supporting workloads anywhere, anytime across the nation, whether it is in the cloud, on-prem or at the edge and connect them all.
The OpenGovLive! Virtual Breakfast Insight held on 21 April 2022 was aimed at imparting knowledge on how public sector agencies can power mission outcomes, better serve citizens, enhance IT efficiency and maximise productivity with a platform built for data in motion.
Turning government policy into practice
Kicking off the session, Mohit Sagar, Group Managing Director & Editor-in-Chief acknowledges that the pandemic has brought significant changes in culture and perspective. Data is needed everywhere, Mohit asserts, but ‘data is only an asset if you can use it.” He adds that, like oil, data needs to be refined – accurate, accessible, clean and trustworthy.
In Singapore, Singpass allows access to over 2,000 services from over 700 government agencies and businesses and more than 29,000,000 transactions are made per month. Businesses and agencies can tap on Singpass’ application programming interfaces (APIs) to enable access or create new value-added services for Singapore residents.
A single source of truth is critical, Mohit believes. Data is only valuable when institutions have a holistic view of data. “Are organisations able to manage, process and analyse the volume of data at hand? Is the Data standardised and interoperable? Can we make real-time intelligent decisions?”
Size, however, is not a barrier to the adoption of data, Mohit claims, as he shares the example of India’s application of centralised data.
There are several issues at hand. Firstly data has a shelf-life – not all data is valuable for eternity. Secondly, citizens are becoming more demanding and want service any time, anywhere and on any device. Organisations and government services need to adopt technology to keep up with rising expectations. Fundamentally, Satu Data will take time to happen.
Closing his address, Mohit strongly recommends organisations look for specialists to partner with. “Let the experts do what they do best,” Mohit urges. “It not only allows the best systems and infrastructure to be put in place but also frees up organisations to focus on their core.”
Harnessing technology in centralising data
Delvi Eka Putra, Principal Pre-Sales Solutions Architect, SAS Indonesia spoke next about how Data Management and Advanced Analytics can help with mitigating the challenges of realising Satu Data.
He began by elaborating on the challenges of the Satu Data initiative. Firstly, there are diverse sources of data – central government, state institutions, ministries/non-ministries -across a widespread area, consisting of provinces and cities:
- Various applications
- Multiple storages
- Various Formats
- Data Duplication
- Data Provision
- Data Quality & Validity
- Data Security
Those are the areas that SAS is able to provide help in, Delvi further explained. SAS has expertise in data management with AI/ML & in-memory processing that can accelerate the processing of large amounts of data. Some ways SAS is able to provide assistance include:
- Access to multiple sources on the server/cloud in batches/ streaming
- Data Integration
- Data Standardisation, QKB
- Profile and Metadata Management.
- Quality & Integrity
- Master Data Management
SAS Advanced Analytics aids business improvements because it helps with forecast and optimisation, visual investigation, decision management, ML/AI/DL/Statistic and Computer Vision. Delvi shared about the use case of SAS® Data Management and SAS® Advanced Analytics in Government Institutions
- Automation, predictive modelling, text mining, network link analysis to detect fraud in state revenues and expenditures
- Analysis of past data and other factors to improve the accuracy of budget management
- Health and Social Welfare
- Data Management and Analytics accelerate vaccine and drug research
- Contact Tracing to accelerate the tracking of people with infectious diseases
- Forecasting optimises health facilities and personnel as well as pharmaceutical inventory
Civil Defense and Security
- Detection and investigation to solve crimes and terrorism, well as improving strategy, operations and tactics
- Predictive Maintenance to improve combat equipment readiness
- Workforce Analytics to improve quality, quantity, and personnel readiness
- Infrastructure and Smart City
- Analyse IoT sensors, weather data, and other data in real-time for monitoring, predicting, and optimising disaster prevention and management
- Artificial Intelligence/Machine Learning to improve services, health, public safety, more efficiently
In conclusion, Delvi believes that SAS can contribute to government agencies and health institutions in healthcare and education. SAS solutions and technologies have been implemented by governments in various countries and government agencies have benefited from SAS.
Transforming government through data
Chris Buxton, Chief Digital Officer, Statistics New Zealand spoke next about how to harness data-based insights to deliver citizen-centric services.
He began by emphasising that the commercial world is advertising every day on multiple platforms. They practise Next Best Action Marketing, which considers multiple different actions that could be taken for a customer and decides on the best one to provide. From a citizen perspective, this would mean thinking about what would be the next best decision that a government can make around expenditure to have the best outcome – this reduces dependence on the state and extends lifespans.
To do so, institutions need to:
- Predict their interests, values, and needs
- Personalise to each individual and context
- Deliver in moments of need
- Adapt to their changing situation
When understanding what data is available, it can be approached either from the demand or supply perspective. It indicates where data is at, what people are worried about, health and education information, social information and non-government data. Combine that in a centralised data warehouse and it is a powerful advantage.
The reason for this approach, Chris shares, was because the data quality was not conducive to data analytics. There are two ways to approach that:
Solve the data quality issue at the point of analytics, which means everyone must solve it each time they encounter it; or centralise it and resolve it at once
Chris shared his own experience of Integrated Data at Statistics New Zealand. There is a difference between Integrated Data Infrastructure (IDI) and Longitudinal Business Database (LBD).
IDI: An integrated database containing de-identified longitudinal microdata about people and households.
LBD: An integrated database containing de-identified longitudinal microdata about businesses
Statistics New Zealand’s IDI is a large research database containing de-identified microdata about people and households. The IDI contains person-centric microdata from a range of government agencies, whereas LBD complements the IDI with microdata about businesses.
It happens over time, Chris shares; over the years they have acquired more data and are highly exacting about the quality of data that enters the centralised data warehouse – he believes that data needs to have longitudinal data, or it would be difficult to measure the impact of the activity.
Statistics New Zealand has been able to build up a rich picture of the activity of their country and pick out trends.
Accordingly, he shares the two use cases of how Stats NZ have applied data analytics:
Better targeting services to vulnerable children: By looking at data on factors that affect later-life outcomes for children, the insights are informing how policies are angled.
The Virtual Health Information Network: Data is also used to understand the impact of lifestyle on health
In conclusion, Chris suggests that institutions should not try to do everything in one go but understand that it is a relationship between various aspects that institutions need to pay attention to. In terms of recommendations, he suggests starting small, being prepared for surprises, measuring well, getting management on board and focusing on customers.
“Putting the citizen at the heart of everything that the organisation does,” is something that organisations should not lose sight of.
After the informative presentations, delegates participated in interactive discussions facilitated by polling questions. This activity is designed to provide live-audience interaction, promote engagement, hear real-life experiences, and facilitate discussions that impart professional learning and development for participants.
The first poll asked delegates if they thought it is important to have Satu Data repository as a single source of truth. An overwhelming majority (79%) felt that it is very important (79%) while 21% believe it to be important.
On being asked about the initiatives that their organisation have taken to ensure the quality of their advanced data analytics, over a third (38%) indicated that they have implemented data management tools to ensure data quality, governance and lineage. The remaining delegates indicated that they have implemented data warehouse/data lake/big data initiatives (30%), are looking for the right solutions (19%) or have an in-house team of skilled data scientists (13%).
In response to the results, Delvi believes that with a data warehouse, organisations can make quicker decisions and serve the public better. Security is also important in ensuring that there is data protection for the public. He also added that having high-quality data is critical for all organisations.
Mohit added that India has demonstrated that size is not an issue.
For Chris, building skills without a data warehouse would be difficult as people need to have the foundational capability and context that will help them to learn.
On their organisation’s biggest challenge in the application of advanced data analytics, almost half (40%) found the lack of skilled staff a major challenge. Other delegates are challenged by the inability to synchronise disparate data sources (26%), the inability to derive meaningful insights through data analytics (20%), the inability to get voluminous data onto a big data platform (7%) and the lack of quality data and proper data storage (7%).
A delegate shared that his organisation manages a lot of data from another ministry and there are many kinds of data that are missing.
To that, Mohit remarked that the sharing of data and the accessibility of data is an issue that prohibits a central source of truth.
Another participant opined that “mindset is the most important.” Currently, there is no perception and appreciation of how important centralised data is. He echoed the point made by Chris about the need to get management to see the importance of data.
Mohit added that providing them with information will make them realise that “it is not about today, but tomorrow”.
In response to the results, Chris remarked that the skills gap is fundamental and pressing all over the world – few people understand the full data management life cycle.
The next question asked delegates about the data analytics use case that is frequently asked by business users or top management in their organisation. Most of the delegates (67%) found the use case of having a single view of unified information from all lines of businesses the top question. The rest of the delegates found the use cases of financial performance analytics (8%), forecasting business performance (7%) and other unstated use cases (17%) the most sought after.
A delegate remarked that “data is not the end product – knowledge is the end product”.
Mohit concurred, “It is the insights to make informed decisions that are valuable.”
The final poll asked the delegates the criterion for considering advanced analytics as a success in their organisation. Most of the delegates (42%) believe that data accuracy and the ability to drill up to every detail is the benchmark of success. Other delegates opted for being able to get analytics reports promptly (33%), effective dashboard reporting (17%) and real-time updates (8%) as the benchmarks of success.
A delegate expressed that mining precise data and representing the function or information that organisations need is the first step. For him, accuracy is the biggest problem – there are too many data sources, he claims.
For Chris, the criterion for success depends on perspective. Senior executives might measure success through effective dashboard reports. Data scientists might consider the state where users can do analytics without IT’s help as successful. For people who want to make decisions, data accuracy would be the choice.
After the interactive discussion, the session segued into a demonstration by Wibowo Leksono, Senior Customer Advisory, SAS Indonesia, who did a demonstrated how SAS’ software can be used to generate actionable insights.
Febrianto Siboro, Managing Director, SAS Indonesia closed the session by thanking everyone for their enthusiastic participation.
He recognised that there are many concerns with Satu Data, but he shared that SAS would be able to help organisations build a quality database and equip organisations with data processing technology, data control and sovereignty to provide better citizen experiences.
He encouraged delegates to keep the conversation alive and to reach out to him if there are questions they might have.
Both in normal circumstances and in times of crisis, Thai people are known to generate a lot of innovative ideas and continue to develop products that make their lives better. This encompasses and encapsulates the nation’s most recent campaign, Innovation Thailand, which promotes Thai creativity to a global audience.
The Innovation Thailand Alliance consists of partners from a variety of sectors including government agencies, private organisations, educational institutions, and civil societies. Through it, the National Innovation Agency of Thailand (NIA), is expanding the scope of its Innovation Thailand platform.
The fundamental goal is to use national/local ideas to revitalise the nation by promoting awareness of and pride in inventive Thai works. Allies will serve as ambassadors in the effort to promote Thailand as an innovative nation. They will be able to exchange knowledge and skills with one another at the same time.
All stakeholders are enthusiastic to help Thailand achieve its goal of being one of the world’s top 30 innovative nations by 2030 and turning Thailand into an innovation-driven country.
Innovation Capabilities of Thai People
The National Innovation Agency’s mission is to support and develop Thailand’s innovation system to promote economic restructuring and competitive enhancement.
“We began the Innovation Thailand campaign before COVID-19 because we faced a significant challenge in terms of how not only Thai people but also global clients, perceive the nation’s unique products and services,” explains Dr Pun-Arj.
Even though this may not be directly related to innovation, the NIA has attempted to communicate and brand national innovation in such a way that it can be easily connected not only with Thais but also with international customers – this is how they started the Innovation Thailand platform.
Thailand is a tourist destination and one of the top three in the world, which has caused the country to innovate their lifestyle as well as their livelihood.
Thai culture places a high value on craftsmanship and attention to detail. Thai innovation for artful living is a process created exclusively by the fusion of modern technology and knowledge passed down from one generation to the next.
“We have created ingenious solutions through this method that enhances the standard of living in terms of society, prosperity, health, safety, and the environment,” Dr Pun-Arj furthers.
They began to construct a community to exchange ideas, develop, and manage innovation that would result in delivering some information or any significant strategic movement that the government could initiate.
They are recruiting more Chief Innovation Officers from not only the private sector but also the public sector and universities, as part of their primary target group.
Dr Pun-Arj is looking to enhance the opportunities brought in by innovation, particularly at the regional level in the city. This is because they are working not only on economic development but also on the skillset of the social innovation division and platform.
“As a result, our primary focus is on regionalisations of innovation possibilities, as well as startups – innovation-based firms,” reveals Dr Pun-Arj.
He believes that every successful community is built upon a robust and well-functioning infrastructure. Hence, Thailand’s industries and infrastructure will be modernised to meet upcoming challenges.
“In the past, one of our five-year priorities included buildings which we identify as system integrators. As the system and ecosystem become more robust, we are transitioning from system integrators to full core facilitators.”
He emphasised the need to consider the impact of being a system integrator before transforming themselves into focal facilitators. Furthermore, the country wants to make better use of the enormous resource of innovation in universities to conduct research and technology in collaboration with other organisations across the world.
Through the City Innovation Index, which focuses primarily on districts and cities, the NIA promotes and monitors the constant innovation and evaluation of diverse organisations. Periodically, they performed surveys in particular industries to evaluate and propose answers for the difficulties they face.
A strong innovation strategy will evaluate the overall objectives, the target portfolio for innovation initiatives, and the process for allocating the necessary resources. The portfolio clearly defines innovation-critical benchmarks and bounds. Therefore, the nation will become democratic and transparent.
“I believe the government’s most essential innovation strategy focuses on three specific concerns. You must have highly strong and capable businesses of all sizes that will establish a very strong enterprise on its own. And secondly, you must have laws and regulations,” Dr Pun-Arj asserts. “In addition, governance is also required and identifying future risks.”
Thailand is struggling with several issues, including inequality, which includes limited access to public services, digital technology, education, and environmental problems. High manufacturing costs and new types of competition in the global supply chain became challenges for Thailand, with this, innovation has emerged as the country’s answer.
Additionally, there are many challenges in terms of digital transformation and government service and the nation is pushing for innovation that can deliver a good policy and deploy it into practice.
In the previous five-year plan, NIA primarily focused on the job of system integrator into four core facilitators. “That is why the short-term strategy is to train management in the methods, programmes, and activities that we have implemented over the last five years.”
NIA is primarily concentrated on strengthening the potential of regional innovation in several key sectors such as new technologies, assistance for startups, venture capital creation or investment for innovation, and internationalisation of Thailand’s innovation.
Dr Pun-Arj envisions a stronger Thai economy and society, with innovation playing a key role in propelling it. The Bio-Circular-Green Economy (BCG) model is a plan for the country’s growth and post-pandemic recovery. The BCG model focuses on four strategic sectors: agriculture and food, wellness and medicine, energy, materials, and biochemicals and tourism and creative economy.
It emphasises using science, technology, and innovation to turn Thailand’s comparative advantage in biological and cultural diversity into a competitive advantage. The primary aim is to support the sustainability of biological resources, develop local economies and communities and make Thai BCG industries more competitive and resilient to societal changes.
The approach is meant to make Thailand’s economy, society, and environment more sustainable and inclusive. “To achieve the 2030 goal, we must work incredibly hard to encourage innovation in this BCG economy. At the same time, the national policy needs to be improved.”
Dr Pun-Arj has been recognised as a pioneer in the domains of foresight and innovation management in the country. He counsels anyone aspiring to be a great innovator to fully comprehend the concepts of uncertainty and failure.
“Innovation will help us grow as a community or nation by making ourselves and others aware of the importance of innovation,” Dr Pun-Arj concludes.
Seven intelligent robots have been installed in the wards of Yishun Community Hospital (YCH) to welcome patients and bring supplies to the bedside. These brand-new Temi Robots, known as Angel, were introduced to support nursing care so that nurses could focus their time and energy on clinical tasks while still giving patients a personal and meaningful touch.
These robots are loaded with patient education materials that patients and their caregivers can easily access, in addition to providing announcements and reminders throughout the day in all four major languages.
They also have a variety of features like games and entertainment, teleconference tools, and translation capabilities. YCH hopes to further improve patient engagement and satisfaction in its wards with the new addition.
A pilot project using Nao Robots was also used by YCH in previous years to assist dementia patients in their rehabilitation. Robot Therapy, which was started by the staff at YCH in 2018, is now a part of the therapy-related services offered there.
YCH, which is conceived of as a healing space for patients, offers intermediate care for recovering patients who do not require the intensive care services of an acute-care hospital. With rehabilitation and therapy at the heart of the hospital’s mission, the team was eager to investigate the potential of the innovation, Robot Therapy.
Because they can perform a wide range of tasks with little to no value added, hospital robots offer a reliable solution, freeing up doctors, nurses, and surgeons to focus on more high-value work. Robots have become an integral part of the healthcare industry, with many hospitals now using them to perform both surgical and administrative tasks.
In addition, prior to the arrival of Nao Robots in Singapore, a few local nursing homes used Paro, a robot that mimics the appearance, movement, and sounds of a baby seal. The therapeutic robot seal’s use is like animal therapy in that the robot helps to calm elderly people who have dementia or a loss of cognitive function.
The Nao robot, on the other hand, came with higher expectations: it can express emotions like laughter or sadness during interactions; it can interact and communicate with patients in different languages; and it has optic, audio, and impact sensors and motors to detect surroundings, interpret detection, and activate programmed responses.
Various interaction and language modes can be programmed into the Nao robot. The YCH Robot Therapy team took advantage of this by incorporating the robot into specific therapy sessions. This increased efficiency freed up nursing time, which could then be used for other care activities. Nao robot therapy sessions were trialled with 48 patients from the Dementia ward in October 2018.
Patients with Behavioural and Psychological Symptoms of Dementia (BPSD) require more care and attention, so this was chosen as the pilot ward. By introducing the Nao robot, YCH has increased patient engagement, motivate them to engage in social activities, and shorten the time required for social activities so that caregivers could concentrate on other care-related tasks.
The implementation process was divided into three stages: training staff, selecting suitable patients and assessing seniors who participated in the Robot Therapy programme using the Observed Emotion Rating Scale.
Singhealth asserts that the COVID-19 pandemic, which hastened the adoption of these solutions and accelerated the digital transformation of healthcare systems globally, has sparked a tremendous interest in digital technology and virtual health solutions.
A group of clinician innovators from SingHealth sought to ascertain whether digital interventions are more affordable and provide patients with greater value and benefits in anticipation of this continuing upward trend, and they discovered that this may not always be the case for some eye conditions.
Officially launched on 29 November 2022, the ANU School of Cybernetics provides unrivalled teaching and research that pioneers a new approach to engineering and technology design. School Director, ANU Distinguished Professor Genevieve Bell, noted that the School nurtures and trains a new generation of critical thinkers and practitioners who can navigate an increasingly complex world and who are committed to ensuring safe, sustainable, and responsible technology futures.
She said the new School’s leadership is working hard to help transform the way society engages with technology. Their aim is to help ensure that everyone can participate in building the future. And they are working to find new ways to think about and talk about the role of technology in our lives. The ANU School of Cybernetics is dedicated to helping lead and enrich this vital conversation.
The School and its curriculum draw on the rich history of cybernetics globally and reimagine it for the 21st-century challenges. The goal is to make sure major societal transformations can be successfully navigated.
The ANU School of Cybernetics offers the Master of Applied Cybernetics, a PhD program that recruits students as a cohort, and a series of microlearning experiences for organisations, communities, and individuals.
The School’s research program investigates how emerging cyber-physical, technological systems – such as robotics, digital voice assistants, and autonomous systems – operate across a range of settings and sectors including the creative industries, marine sciences, agriculture, and climate change research.
Distinguished Professor Bell said another key focus of the School was examining who is building and managing our AI-enabled future. There is a need to develop the ability to respond quickly to changing situations and complex systems and many, diverse voices must be involved in making those decisions and building new knowledge, she said.
The last few years have shown that better stories about the future need to be told; stories that are more equitable, fair, and just, and that, equally, more work needs to be present to make those stories not just possible but true.
To help launch the School, an inaugural curated exhibition featuring more than 100 historical and contemporary pieces is on display until 2 December in the award-winning Birch Building on the ANU campus.
From the world’s first computer graphics, animations, special effects, and electronic music, Australian Cybernetic: a point through time explores 50 years of technology and creativity in computing that have influenced the technology, cinema, gaming, and television we know today.
The collection of interactive, immersive, and provocative creations also includes an Emmy Award-winning virtual reality film; an acclaimed installation examining the resources, human labour, and algorithmic processing of a virtual assistant technology system; and a kinetic sculpture named ‘Albert’ that has been delighting audiences for 54 years, among many other displays.
The cybernetic futures lead at the School said the exhibition speaks firmly to the School’s approach of observing the past to help shape a course for the role of technologies in today’s world. He noted that for the first time, historic, contemporary, and conceptual cybernetic works are being brought together in a unique exhibition. People are invited to take a tour through time and learn about the history of technology and art and how this contributed to cybernetics and the multimedia, tech and music enjoyed today.
The Indian Space Research Organisation’s (ISRO) Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV) has launched nine satellites, including eight nanosatellites, into space from the first launch pad at the Satish Dhawan Space Centre in Andhra Pradesh.
The 44-metre-long rocket’s primary payload is the Earth Observation Satellite-6 (EOS-6) or Oceansat-3, a third-generation satellite to monitor oceans. It is a follow up to OceanSat-1 or IRS-P4 and OceanSat-2 launched in 1999 and 2009, respectively. Oceansat-3 will provide data about ocean colour, sea surface temperature, and wind vector data for oceanography, climatology, and meteorological applications.
The Oceansat-3 was placed in the polar orbit at a height of about 740 kilometres above sea level. While it weighs approximately 1,100 kilogrammes, which is only slightly heavier than Oceansat-1, for the first time in this series, it houses three ocean observing sensors. These include an Ocean Colour Monitor (OCM-3), Sea Surface Temperature Monitor (SSTM), and Ku-Band scatterometer (SCAT-3). There is also an ARGOS payload, a press release mentioned.
The OCM-3, with a high signal-to-noise ratio, is expected to improve accuracy in the daily monitoring of phytoplankton. This has a wide range of operational and research applications including fishery resource management, ocean carbon uptake, harmful algal bloom alerts, and climate studies. The SSTM will provide ocean surface temperature, which is a critical ocean parameter to provide various forecasts ranging from fish aggregation to cyclone genesis and movement. Temperature is a key parameter required to monitor the health of the coral reefs, and if needed, to provide coral bleaching alerts. The Ku-Band Pencil beam scatterometre will provide a high-resolution wind vector (speed and direction) at the ocean surface, which will be useful for seafarers, including fishermen and shipping companies. Data regarding temperature and wind is also particularly important for ocean and weather models to improve their forecast accuracies.
ARGOS is a communication payload jointly developed with France and it is used for low-power (energy-efficient) communications including marine robotic floats (Argo floats), fish-tags, drifters, and distress alert devices valuable in search and rescue operations.
The Minister of State (Independent Charge) for Science and Technology, Jitendra Singh, stated that ISRO will continue to maintain the orbit of the satellite and its standard procedures for data reception and archiving. Major operational users of this satellite include Ministry of Earth Sciences (MoEs) institutions such as the Indian National Centre for Ocean Information Services (INCOIS) and the National Centre for Medium Range Weather Forecasting (NCMRWF).
INCOIS has also established a state-of-the-art satellite data reception ground station within its campus with technical support from the National Remote Sensing Centre (ISRO-NRSC). Singh asserted that ocean observations such as this will serve as a solid foundation for India’s blue economy and polar region policies. A representative from MoES noted that the launch of Oceansat-3 is significant as it is the first major ocean satellite launch from India since the initiation of the UN Decade of Ocean Science for Sustainable Development (UNDOSSD, 2021-2030).
The Indian Space Research Organisation is the national space agency of India, headquartered in Bengaluru. It operates under the Department of Space, which is overseen by the country’s Prime Minister.
Astronomers from the California Institute of Technology (Caltech) have completely automated the classification of 1,000 supernovae using a machine-learning (ML) algorithm. The Zwicky Transient Facility, or ZTF, a sky survey instrument located at Caltech’s Palomar Observatory, collected data that the algorithm was then used to analyse.
“We needed a helping hand, and we knew that once we trained our computers to do the job, they would take a big load off our backs,” says Christoffer Fremling, a staff astronomer at Caltech and the mastermind behind the new algorithm tagged as SNIascore.
A year and a half after SNIascore classified its first supernova in April 2021, they are approaching the pleasant milestone of 1,000 supernovae. Every night, ZTF scans the night sky for alterations known as transient events. This covers everything, from asteroids in motion to recently devoured stars by black holes to exploding stars known as supernovae.
ZTF notifies astronomers worldwide of these transient events by sending out hundreds of thousands of alerts each night. Other telescopes are then used by astronomers to monitor and learn more about the nature of the shifting objects. Thousands of supernovae have so far been found thanks to ZTF data.
Members of the ZTF team cannot organise all the data on their own due to the constant flow of data that comes in every night. According to Matthew Graham, project scientist for ZTF and research professor of astronomy at Caltech, “the traditional notion of an astronomer sitting at the observatory and sieving through telescope images carries a lot of romanticism but is drifting away from reality.”
Instead, to help with the searches, the team has created ML algorithms. SNIascore was created to categorise potential supernovae. There are two main categories of supernovae: Type I and Type II. In contrast to Type II supernovae, Type I supernovae are devoid of hydrogen.
When material from a companion star flows onto a white dwarf star, causing a thermonuclear explosion, a Type I supernova is produced. When a massive star collapses due to its own gravity, a Type II supernova happens. Type Ia supernovae, or the “standard candles” in the sky, can be classified by SNIascore. These are dying stars that explode with a steady-state thermonuclear blast.
Astronomers can gauge the universe’s expansion rate thanks to Type Ia supernovae. Fremling and colleagues are currently expanding the algorithm’s capabilities to classify additional types of supernovae soon.
Every night, after ZTF has recorded sky flashes that may be supernovae, it sends the data to the SEDM spectrograph at Palomar, which is in a dome a short distance away (Spectral Energy Distribution Machine).
To determine which supernovae are likely Type Ias, SNIascore collaborates with SEDM. As a result, the ZTF team is working quickly to compile a more trustworthy data set of supernovae that will allow astronomers to conduct additional research and, ultimately, learn more about the physics of the potent stellar explosions.
“SNIascore is incredibly precise. We have observed the performance of the algorithm in the real world after 1,000 supernovae” says Fremling. Since the initial launch in April 2021, they have found no clearly misclassified events, and they are now planning to implement the same algorithm with other observing facilities.
According to Ashish Mahabal, who oversees ZTF’s machine learning initiatives and is the centre’s lead computational and data scientist at Caltech, their work demonstrates how ML applications are maturing in near real-time astronomy.
The SNIascore was created as part of the ZTF’s Bright Transient Survey (BTS), which is currently the most comprehensive supernova survey available to the astronomical community. The entire BTS dataset contains nearly 7000 supernovae, 90 per cent of which were discovered and classified by ZTF while the remaining 10 per cent were contributed by other groups and facilities.
A Hong Kong Baptist University (HKBU) collaborative research team has synthesised a nanoparticle named TRZD that can perform the dual function of diagnosing and treating glioma in the brain. It emits persistent luminescence for the diagnostic imaging of glioma tissues in vivo and inhibits the growth of tumour cells by aiding the targeted delivery of chemotherapy drugs.
The nanoparticle offers hope for the early diagnosis and treatment of glioma, especially cerebellar glioma, which is even harder to detect and cure with existing methods. The research results have been published in Science Advances, an international scientific journal.
Limitations of existing diagnostic and therapeutic approaches
Glioma is the most common form of malignant primary brain tumour, accounting for roughly one-third of all brain tumours. While magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) is commonly used to diagnose glioma, the technology lacks sensitivity. Cerebellar glioma, a relatively rare brain tumour, is even harder to detect with MRI. To facilitate early detection and treatment, an alternative method with improved sensitivity and precision is needed to diagnose glioma.
A chemotherapy agent called Doxorubicin is an effective treatment for glioma. However, its application may also damage normal cells, and it is associated with a range of side effects. To enhance doxorubicin’s clinical efficacy and minimise its side effects, a novel approach is needed to apply the drug to tumour cells in a more targeted manner.
In response to the diagnostic and therapeutic needs of glioma, a research team co-led by Dr Wang Yi, Assistant Professor of the Department of Chemistry at HKBU, and Professor Law Ga-lai, Professor of the Department of Applied Biology and Chemical Technology at the Hong Kong Polytechnic University, has synthesised a novel near-infrared (NIR) persistent luminescence nanoparticle called TRZD, which can play a dual role in diagnostic imaging and as a drug carrier for glioma.
An imaging probe for glioma diagnosis
The research team evaluated the efficacy of TRZ (i.e., TRZD without doxorubicin) in diagnostic imaging for glioma with a mouse model. First, TRZ particles were excited by UV light to initiate luminescence. Mice with tumour tissues injected into their cerebrum and cerebellum were then treated with TRZ. Over the next 24 hours, TRZ luminescence was detected at the tumour sites of the mice.
However, when the same experiment was conducted with TRZ without T7 peptides, and TRZ without both the red blood cell membrane coating and T7 peptides, no luminescence was detected at the tumour sites of the mice. The results show that the red blood cell membrane coating can prolong the function of TRZ by stabilising the nanoparticle, and it can slow down its natural uptake by the human body.
The research team further evaluated the anti-tumour efficacy of TRZD using a group of mice who had had their cerebrum and cerebellum injected with tumour tissues.
After applying TRZD for 15 days, the average diameter of their tumours was reduced to 1 mm. They also survived 20 days longer on average compared to the control group, who had not received TRZD. Besides, cell death was observed in the tumour region but not in normal brain tissue.
The results indicate that TRZD’s therapeutic effect on glioma has good selectivity because doxorubicin is brought specifically to tumour cells due to T7 peptide’s strong affinity with tumour cells’ surface receptors and its ability to penetrate the blood-brain barrier. As a result, doxorubicin can be applied in a more targeted manner, and hopefully, its side effects can be minimised with reduced drug dosage.
The team concluded that the nanotechnology demonstrates promising potential, and it could be developed into a new generation of anti-glioma drugs that can perform the dual function of diagnosis and treatment. It also offers hope for the development of treatment protocols for other brain diseases.
The Vietnam Information Security Association (VNISA) surveyed 135 organisations and enterprises in Vietnam on ensuring information security. One out of every four organisations and businesses have had their systems interrupted or attacked in 2022, while 76% of organisations and businesses lack sufficient staff for information security.
The information was revealed by former Deputy Minister of the Ministry of Information and Communications (MIC), Nguyen Thanh Hung, who is chair of VNISA, during a plenary session at an international workshop during the Vietnam 2022 Information Security Day.
The survey found that 58% of organisations have doubts about technology and 47% about security holes. Around 68% of organisations and businesses said they still don’t have enough money to invest in information security annually. At the workshop, Tran Dang Khoa, the Deputy Head of the Authority of Information Security, said that in the last 11 months, the agency has recognised, warned, and instructed companies on how to handle 11,212 cyberattacks. The number of information systems in accordance with the new levels accounts for 54.8%. One of the key tasks of the agency in 2023 is submitting information to the Prime Minister for the issuance of a directive on legal compliance and security.
The workshop was sponsored by MIC and organised by VNISA and MIC and addressed “safe” digital transformation. MIC’s Deputy Minister, Nguyen Huy Dung, stated that ensuring safety in cyberspace is the task of all agencies, units, and people. Dung stressed that digital transformation is a national long-term programme. It means bringing people’s and businesses’ activities into a digital environment. It is necessary to protect more than 3,000 information systems of the state’s agencies, as well as activities in cyberspace of nearly one million businesses, five million business households, 26 million households, and 100 million people.
Dung noted that ensuring safe cyberspace and safety for organisations and people in cyberspace is the responsibility of all agencies, organisations, and people, with the principle ‘like cyberspace, like the real world’. The agencies in charge of certain fields in real life will also be in charge of those fields in the virtual environment, he said.
In October, Prime Minister Pham Minh Chinh issued Directive No. 18/CT-TTg on accelerating the implementation of activities to respond to cybersecurity incidents in Vietnam. The directive states that the government will pay more attention to reviewing, detecting, and fixing vulnerabilities and weaknesses. It will proactively monitor and detect any network information insecurity risks to promptly handle incidents. It will strictly implement regulations on reporting online information security incidents.
As OpenGov Asia reported, the directive describes cybersecurity as an important, cross-cutting pillar in the creation of digital trust. Its promotion will protect the country’s prosperous development in the digital era as the country attempts comprehensive national digital transformation. Chinh urged stakeholders to thoroughly grasp the contents of the Directive and devise measures to address and timely handle cybersecurity incidents. Stakeholders include ministers and heads of ministerial-level agencies, among others.