In this second part of the interview (click here for the first part) with Dato’ Dr. Haji Amirudin Abdul Wahab, Chief Executive Officer of Cybersecurity Malaysia (CSM), we learn about collaboration with over 70 countries around the world through multilateral arrangements and Memorandums of Understanding with countries in the ASEAN region. Dato’ Dr. Haji Amirudin also talks about the milestones for CSM during his tenure and the challenges of changing mindset and culture.
CSM signed an MOU with Cybercrime Investigation and Coordinating Center (CICC) of the Philippines in December 2016. Cyberspace transcends national boundaries. How do you view international co-operation and CSM’s role in the region in creating, facilitating and sharing of knowledge towards a safer regional cyberspace?
International cooperation is essential to help solve cyber threats as Internet security is an issue that transcends borders.
Malaysia through CSM plays a vital role in international cooperation having established collaboration in cyber security with more than 70 countries, including the Asia Pacific region and the Organisation of the Islamic Conference (OIC) nations.
Presently, CSM is involved in various multilateral cooperation arrangements as stated below:
- Asia Pacific Computer Emergency Response Team (APCERT)
APCERT is a collaboration of CERTs established to ensure internet security in the Asia Pacific region are based around genuine information sharing, trust and cooperation. APCERT consists of national CERTs in the Asia Pacific region and currently has 28 members from 20 economies. CSM is a Steering Committee member and involved in formulating general operating policies, procedures, guidelines and other related matters affecting the APCERT as a whole. CSM is also responsible for the APCERT Outreach/Liaison area.
- Organization of the Islamic Cooperation-Computer Emergency Response Team, www.oic-cert.org (OIC-CERT)
Malaysia represented by CSM and Indonesia represented by the Indonesia – Security Incident Response Team on Internet Infrastructure (Id-SIRTII) are the members and currently in the OIC-CERT Board of the Organization of the Islamic Cooperation-Computer Emergency Response Team (OIC-CERT).
The main objective of this collaboration is to assist member countries to build cyber security capabilities and strengthen existing capacity through knowledge sharing and experiences. The international collaboration platform in Computer Emergency Response Team (CERT) will also result in economic value creation by being a platform to foster greater trust, long-term friendship and business cooperation among countries. Other than optimising the dissemination of cyber alerts, it would also provide a platform to exchange ideas and expertise and to promote joint development on measures to deal with large-scale cyber security incidents. The objectives of the OIC-CERT are:
- Strengthening the relationships amongst CERTs in the OIC member countries;
- Encouraging experience and information sharing in ICT security;
- Preventing and reducing cyber-crimes;
- Cultivating and fostering education and outreach ICT security programs;
- Promoting collaborative technology research, development and innovation in ICT security fields;
- Promoting good practices and/or recommendation to help address legal and regulatory issues; and
- Assisting member countries in establishing National CERTs.
To date, the OIC-CERT memberships are from 21 OIC countries.
CSM is also actively involved in the ASEAN Regional Forum (ARF), the Council for Security Cooperation in the Asia Pacific (CSCAP) and the World Trustmark Alliance (WTA).
- Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between Malaysia and ASEAN countries
Based on the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) signed on 7th December 2016 and between Malaysia through Cybercrime Investigation and Coordinating Center, Department of Information and Communications Technology, Republic of the Philippines. CSM is requested to cooperate and collaborate in the area of Cyber Security in Philippines.
The MoU provides a framework for understanding and cooperation between the two organisations for exchange of information on current threats and strategies to increase effectiveness of cyber security incident response; to respond and mitigate cross-border incidents, especially those that affect both countries; and sharing of experiences and knowledge to increase skill and expertise between both parties.
Malaysia can contribute to the collaboration with the Philippines in the areas of:
- Training and capacity building in various cyber security areas for both technical and non-technical;
- Development of Digital Forensics, CERT and other relevant laboratories capabilities;
- Advisory on policy, strategy and relevant cyber security related;
- Encourage activities for strengthening mutual cooperation and relationship; and
- Other forms of collaboration agreed by both parties on a case-by-case basis.
CSM can train Philippine officials on critical infrastructure protection, cryptography, and digital forensics as well as advise and assist them in their policy strategy planning for cybersecurity in the Philippines.
Based on the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) signed on 10th November 2014 and renewed on 14th May 2015 between Malaysia through Indonesia – Security Incident Response Team on Internet Infrastructure (Id-SIRTII), CSM is requested to cooperate and collaborate in the development, capabilities and capacity in information security in Indonesia.
In addition to the MoUs with Indonesia and the Philippines, Malaysia is currently seeking new collaboration with Laos, Myanmar, Cambodia, Thailand and Vietnam. Under the collaboration, Malaysia is proposing Lebahnet as an initiative under APCERT’s Working Group of Malware Mitigation.
The Lebahnet operation is managed by the Malware Research Centre under MyCERT team, a department under CSM which specialises in conducting malware analysis and tracking. LebahNet is a honeypot based distribution system. It is a system that emulates vulnerabilities in the network services.
The LebahNet is managed via collaboration among its members to share malware threat, analysis, response and mitigation against cyber threat attacks. All data (such as source of attack and malware samples) obtained from the distributed sensors will be sent to the centralized reporting server for further inspection and analysis. It will automatically conduct research in malware threats and provide dashboard analysis with information sharing among participating members.
CSM is also working with France. CSM can offer cooperation in the fields of ICT policy and regulations, cyber security and combating cybercrime with relevant organisations in France. The following activities can be considered for collaboration:
- Enhancement of information security governance that will provide countries with the necessary requirements, standards and best practices in managing and securing information;
- The formulation of effective strategies such as harmonization of laws and procedures to deal with cross-border cybercrime and jurisdictional issue;
- The development of collaborative programs in Information Security Awareness and Capacity Building;
- The development of outreach programs to inculcate the culture of cyber security;
- An international collaboration platform in Computer Emergency Response Team (CERT) will also result in economic value creation by being a platform to foster greater trust, long-term friendship and business cooperation among countries; and
- The exchange of experts in information security will be more cost effective than sending trainees to other countries.
What are some of the milestones and achievements in your role as CEO of CSM?
Among CSM’s milestones during my tenure as CEO are as below:
- CyberSecurity Malaysia’s Milestones at the National Level.
- Launched the Malaysia Trustmark for Private Sector in 2013
- Appointed as Co-Chair of Council for Security Cooperation in the Asia Pacific (CSCAP) Study Group on Cyber Security, CSM has served as a cyber expert in CSCAP Malaysia in 2014.
- CSM CEO is a member of the independent panel set up to review the standard operating procedure for public examinations following a leak in examination papers for Ujian Penilaian Sekolah Rendah (UPSR) in 2014. The eight member panel is chaired by former chief justice Tun Zaki Tun Azmi.
- CSM has conducted a National Baseline Survey on the Current Cyber Security Awareness among School Children in 2016. From the findings, CSM in collaboration with the Ministry of Education will formulate modules to be incorporated in the school curriculum.
- CSM was involved in the national cyber crisis exercise or X-Maya 5 in collaboration with the National Security Council in 2013. CSM provided the infrastructure and technical support for the success of the cyber drill based on the experience of organising regional cyber practical trainings with Organisation of the Islamic Conference – Computer Emergency Response Team (OIC-CERT) and Asia Pacific Computer Emergency Response Team (APCERT) as well as CSM’s capability and expertise in handling various cyber security incidents through Cyber999 Help Centre and Malware Research Centre.
- In 2017, X-MAYA 6 was organized by National Security Council (NSC) supported by CSM aimed at assessing the cyber security emergency readiness and preparedness of critical national infrastructure agencies against cyber attacks.
- CyberSecurity Malaysia’s Milestones at the International Level
- CSM is the first organisation to hold the Chairmanship of the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation – Computer Emergency Response Team (OIC-CERT) for 201 3-2015 terms, making Malaysia the first country to Chair of the OIC-CERT
- CSM is the Permanent Secretariat to the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation – Computer Emergency Response Team (OIC-CERT). It leads the cyber drill for OIC-CERT countries.
- CEO of CSM was reappointed as Chairman for for World Trustmark Alliance for a second term in 2015.
- CEO of CSM was honoured as an Outstanding Chief Information/Security Officer Award (CSO Award) in conjunction with the 10th ASEAN CIO| CSO Summit and Awards 2014 held in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam on 2 December 2014.
- CEO of CSM appointed as a Deputy Director of the 32 Global Expert Council Members Of APEC e-Commerce Business Alliance (APEC ECBA)
- As Deputy Chair of APCERT, CSM led Coordinated Malware Eradication (CME) program for Asia Pacific CERT in 2015
- CSM’s digital forensic laboratory was re-accredited by ASCLD/LAB for 'Digital & Multimedia Evidence' discipline in 2016. It was the first forensic laboratory in Malaysia and the Asia Pacific region to be accredited by ASCLD/LAB I 2011.
- It serves as a cybersecurity expert in the Council for Security Cooperation in the Asia Pacific (CSCAP) Malaysia
- CSM is the only Cybersecurity Training Provider in Malaysian Technical Cooperation Programme (MTCP) Under the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.In line with Malaysia Chairmanship for Asean 2015, CSM have been given a mandate to conduct the 1st Cybersecurity Capacity Building Program for Asean.
- Member Country Partnership Strategy (MCPS) – CSM spearheaded cybersecurity area under Reverse Linkage Program. Assist Central Bank of Suriname to established Information Safety Management System (ISMS) Framework
- FireEye Award : Best Cyber Security Innovation Award 2015
- Signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on cooperation between CSM and the Indian Computer Emergency Response Team (CERT-In) of India’s Department of Electronics and Information Technology in 2015
- Signing of MoU between CSM and the Cybercrime Investigation and Coordinating Center (CICC), agency under the Philippines Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT) in 2016
- CSM was conferred the WSIS Champion Prize at the World Summit of the Information Society (WSIS) 2016: “Securing the Cyberspace through International Collaboration of the Computer Emergency Response Teams
Here are some of CyberSecurity Malaysia’s achievements since I have been at the helm:
- More than 80,000 cyber security incidents have been handled by Cyber999 Help Centre under the Malaysia Computer Response Team (MyCERT) which is a department under CSM
- More than 5,000 digital forensics cases have been solved by the Digital Forensics Department
- eight information security guidelines and 11 best practices
- 67 vulnerability assessment and information system technology service and 54 ICT security products
- 5,277 professional certification in information security
- CyberSAFE outreach programs attracted 170,057 participants from schools, universities and organisations
- 12 international strategy affairs
- 8 local engagement strategy
- 33 companies registered under collaboration program with industry
- 40 cyber security products and services
What are the biggest challenges you face as CEO of CSM?
The most challenging part of implementing the CSM’s transformation initiatives, namely Centre of Excellence (COE) initiative and the Business Transformation Plan (BTP), is to change the people’s mindset and culture. For instance, BTP is beyond the development of technical capability as it involves the transformation of mindset and culture of the agency’s employees.&#x
CSM’s workforce will need to be commercially minded, place more emphasis on customer service and be flexible as well as robust to changes. The employees will have to migrate from the Government service mentality to business oriented mentality, change from reactive mindset to opportunity seeking mindset and discard complacency while striving for continuous competency, productivity and innovation. Besides staff readiness, other key challenges are service readiness, benefit for cyber security collaboration program partners and customer perception about CSM’s function.
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.
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.
Aquaculture is important to the Thai economy. To ensure the long-term growth of this important industry, it is necessary to strengthen the production system by increasing farmers’ sustainable farming capacity and implementing Aquaculture 4.0.
To help with this effort, the nation’s National Electronics and Computer Technology Centre under the National Science and Technology Development Agency (NECTEC-NSTDA) created Aqua-IoT, an IoT-based monitoring system for water’s physical, chemical, and biological qualities.
Dr Supanit Porntheeraphat, Principal Researcher of the NECTEC Digital Agriculture Technology Research Team, explained that the project to develop a digital aquaculture system began at NECTEC in 2010 at the height of disease outbreaks that severely harmed Thailand’s aquaculture industry and the overall economy. The system has been constantly developed and improved since then.
The integration of key data – physical, chemical, and biological water qualities, as well as weather – into a single dashboard allows users to understand the relationship between the data, analyse the data, and make informed decisions.
Dr Supanit added that Aqua-IoT is made up of four major systems: the Water and Weather Monitoring System, the MuEye System, the ChemEye System, and the Minimal Lab System. The first system measures water quality (temperature, pH, and dissolved oxygen) as well as weather (wind speed and direction, light intensity, and rainfall).
These variables are critical for aeration and feed management. The MuEye System is intended to track the growth of aquatic animals and parasites, whereas the ChemEye is a chemical reader that measures the levels of nitrite, ammonia, chlorine, phosphate, and pH in the pond.
Minimal Lab is a probiotic application management system that monitors bacteria growth. The system is also integrated with BIOTEC-NSTDA disease diagnostic tests for shrimp and fish, with test results automatically sent to an online database that users can access via a web browser and a message application.
Aqua-IoT technology has already been licenced to businesses, allowing the devices to be sold commercially. Its advantages include energy and feed cost savings, as well as disease risk reduction. On the first crop, a return on investment can be expected.
The research team began introducing Aqua-IoT to aquaculture farmers in the eastern region in 2020. Working closely with farmers, according to Dr Supanit, allows researchers to better understand their requirements and needs, which leads to the development of other technologies to support aquaculture farming.
An automatic shrimp counting machine for managing pond density and a lift net machine that automatically measures shrimp density for feed and water quality management are two technologies under development.
Udon Songserm, the owner of Wasin Farm in Rayong Province, shared his Aqua-IoT experience. He clearly sees the benefits of cost, time, and labour savings after having the system installed in one of his ponds. He no longer needs to be on-site all the time to keep an eye on his ponds.
Dissolved oxygen data enables him to activate aerators only when needed, rather than always having the machines on, significantly reducing energy costs. Data on water’s chemical and biological properties prompt him to take appropriate actions to avoid losses caused by toxic conditions and disease outbreaks.
Udon also stated that some of the data collected from this pond, such as temperature, can be applied to other ponds in the area. The temperature has a direct effect on dissolved oxygen and can thus be used to manage aeration.
The NSTDA is tasked with accelerating science, technology, and innovation development in Thailand to respond to industry needs and improve the country’s competitiveness in the global economy, thereby contributing to national economic and social development. NSTDA is made up of five national research centres and two organisations involved in technology transfer and business development and promotion including the NECTEC.