Research collaboration on geotechnical structures in hydraulic engineering and another one on video coding technology developed at City University of Hong Kong (CityU) have won major Ministry of Education awards.
The two projects took home the 2020 First Class and Second Class Awards, respectively, in the Natural Science category at the Higher Education Outstanding Scientific Research Output Awards (Science and Technology).
Winning the First Class Award was the project “Uncertainty Analysis and Reliability Control of Geotechnical Structures in Hydraulic Engineering” by Professor Wang Yu of the Department of Architecture and Civil Engineering and his team.
The research team focuses on the study of reliability and safety of dams and reservoirs, with particular reference to the many structures related to water conservation and hydroelectric engineering, collectively termed hydraulic structures, in mainland China. After more than 10 years’ hard work, the team has developed quantitative and highly efficient characterisation and simulation methods for uncertainty in subsurface rocks and soils.
By assessing the impact of these geotechnical uncertainties on hydraulic structures, they have established standards and design method for improving the safety and reliability of those structures. Their research offers new theories and methods for uncertainty analysis and reliability control. In addition, they have provided the theoretical basis and technological support for related evaluation, design and safety control.
Five representative academic papers produced by their project have been highly cited in the Web of Science Core Collection, and the findings are highly regarded by eminent scholars around the world, winning Sloan Outstanding Paper Award from the international journal Computers and Geotechnics and the Best Paper Award from Georisk.
Members of the collaborative research team include Professor Li Dianqing, Professor Cao Zijun and Professor Tang Xiaosong from Wuhan University and Professor Jiang Shuihua from Nanchang University. Professor Cao, a CityU PhD graduate supervised by Professor Wang, helped facilitate the collaboration.
The Second Class Award was won by a project titled “High-efficiency Computing Theory and Method for Video Coding” conducted by Professor Sam Kwong Tak-wu, Chair Professor of Computer Science in the Department of Computer Science (CS), Professor Wang Hanli from Tongji University, Professor Pan Zhaoqing from Nanjing University of Information Science & Technology, Professor Zhang Yun from Shenzhen Institutes of Advanced Technology of the Chinese Academy of Sciences, and Professor Zhao Tiesong from Fuzhou University.
Professor Wang, Professor Pan and Professor Zhao are PhD graduates of CS, while Professor Zhang was previously a research assistant with the department.
Video coding converts the original form into another format, which is convenient for storage and transmission via compression. The arrival of the multimedia big data era means video data flow is expected to increase sharply, especially with the rise in live broadcasting, online learning, self-driving cars, and other new technologies. After more than 10 years of extensive research, the team has contributed to the ultra-high-definition video industry by developing new theories and methods for enhancing the algorithm efficiency for video coding on three key issues: optimal mode decision, sparse transformation quantisation, and motion estimation optimisation.
Published in journals included in the Science Citation Index, the team’s 59 academic papers have been cited positively by fellows of academies of science and engineering around the world as well as over 50 IEEE and Association for Computing Machinery fellows.
The Higher Education Outstanding Scientific Research Output Awards (Science and Technology) set up by the Ministry of Education are presented to individuals and units of higher education institutions for their outstanding contributions in the areas of scientific discovery, technological invention, promotion of scientific and technological advancement, and the implementation of patented technologies.
The U.S. Department of Commerce’s National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) announced a new competition for awards to support industry-driven consortia in developing technology roadmaps. The roadmaps must address high-priority research challenges to grow the advanced manufacturing sector in the U.S.
NIST’s Manufacturing USA Technology Roadmaps (MfgTech) program anticipates awarding up to eight awards with a period of performance of up to 18 months each, with individual awards of up to $300,000 and no cost-share requirement. The competition is open to all nonfederal U.S. entities, including accredited institutions of higher education; nonprofit organisations; for-profit organisations incorporated in the U.S. (including U.S. territories); and state, local, territorial and tribal governments.
Technology roadmaps are proven, strategic tools to identify barriers and related development steps to achieve grand challenges. Prior roadmap activities have been instrumental in establishing productive consortia and initiatives, including foundational planning for future Manufacturing USA institutes. Benefits of technology roadmaps include:
- Addressing major technological barriers that inhibit the growth of advanced manufacturing in the U.S. that no single organisation could tackle on its own;
- Identifying and prioritising research projects supporting long-term industrial research needs including but not limited to those identified in the Strategy for American Leadership in Advanced Manufacturing;
- Creating new or updating broadly available industry-driven, shared-vision technology roadmaps to support strategic and long-range planning; and
- Catalysing development and supporting the maintenance of technology infrastructure and American excellence in advanced manufacturing, including identifying technology areas appropriate for potential new Manufacturing USA institutes.
The Manufacturing USA institutes have demonstrated that consortia can play a key role in developing and transitioning new manufacturing technologies critical to America’s future competitiveness. These roadmaps can help ensure that they have a clear vision of what challenges are before us to ensure U.S. manufacturing is competitive.
Organisations that submit MfgTech proposals are encouraged to develop partnerships across an industry ecosystem to bring together expertise in facilities, supply chain, or specialised goods and services to produce a valuable roadmap that takes all of these elements into consideration. Proposals are due by Aug. 16, 2021. Details about the competition, including eligibility, selection criteria, legal requirements and the mechanism for submitting proposals are found in the Notice of Federal Funding Opportunity posted at Grants.gov
The Manufacturing USA institutes and their sponsors — the U.S. Departments of Commerce, Defense or Energy — connect more than 2,000 organisations across hundreds of major projects to quickly move technology from laboratory prototypes to industrial capabilities and provide thousands of people with advanced manufacturing knowledge and skills. NIST promotes U.S. innovation and industrial competitiveness by advancing measurement science, standards and technology in ways that enhance economic security and improve quality of life
Developing technology roadmaps is important to pinpoint the direction of sci-tech development. As reported by OpenGov Asia, the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) and the National Science Foundation (NSF) created Task Force to write the roadmap for Artificial Intelligence (AI). The roadmap aims to expand access to critical resources and educational tools that will spur AI innovation and economic prosperity nationwide.
As directed by Congress in the National AI Initiative Act of 2020, the Task Force will serve as a Federal advisory committee to help create and implement a blueprint for the National AI Research Resource (NAIRR) – a shared research infrastructure providing AI researchers and students across all scientific disciplines with access to computational resources, high-quality data, educational tools, and user support.
America’s economic prosperity hinges on foundational investments in technological leadership. NAIRR will expand access to the resources and tools that fuel AI research and development, opening opportunities for bright minds from across America to pursue the next breakthroughs in science and technology.
A new smartphone app called NKT aims to make the lives of disabled people in Vietnam easier by giving them better access to support. The app gives people with disabilities, particularly survivors from accidents with explosive ordnance, the chance to provide and access data about their disabilities. They can obtain a disability certificate to receive government assistance and communicate other needs to authorities. The application is currently being upgraded with additional support functions to assist people during registration.
The digital platform for registry and information management for persons with disabilities (PwD) was launched on 15 June in Hanoi as part of the Korea-Vietnam Mine Action Project (KV-MAP). The project partners are the Korea International Cooperation Agency (KOICA), the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), and the Vietnam National Mine Action Centre (VNMAC). It is also supported by the Ministry of Labour, Invalids, and Social Affairs (MOLISA). An estimated six million people in Vietnam, accounting for 7% of the population, live with a disability. The digital platform aims to make their lives easier and support the provision of needs-based assistance.
According to a news report, the information registered in the database will be kept confidential. An official said that the application is user-friendly and easy to navigate. For social protection officers, the digital platform transforms the management of support for citizens with disabilities. It enables MOLISA and its provincial departments to develop the national database with timely and accurate information on persons with disabilities in support of evidence-based policymaking and targeted assistance.
The digital platform has been successfully tested in Quang Binh, Binh Dinh, Khanh Hoa, Thanh Hoa, Quang Ninh, Quang Nam. and Vinh Long provinces. As well as Hue and Da Nang cities; 90,000 persons with disabilities have already agreed to be registered. These include the 75,000 people who decided to register when the initial district-level pilot was scaled up to a provincial-level assessment covering both Quang Binh and Binh Dinh, thanks to the Korea-Vietnam Mine Action Project.
The report claimed that this experience helped make the online platform ready for use throughout Vietnam, and this has become easier with the launch of the app for smartphones using either iOS or Android operating systems. “We will promote these applications widely, while at the same time continue developing the skills of social workers enabling them to meet the needs of those they serve,” said Nguyen Van Hoi, Deputy Minister of Labour, Invalids and Social Affairs.
The platform is entirely web-based, and the data is centrally stored and managed. 70% of the Vietnamese population own a smartphone and that is why the app was developed for electronic devices. It aims to enhance access to government services for the public.
At the launch of the digital platform, UNDP Resident Representative Caitlin Wiesen emphasised the importance of promoting innovative solutions to solve issues for persons with disabilities, who are among the most vulnerable populations in society and have been disproportionally affected by COVID-19. An official said the app is an initiative contributing to the greater goal of making society more inclusive.
Across the world, countries are increasingly using cutting edge tech to aid in solving and managing crime. More recently, law enforcement agencies are adopting artificial intelligence to assist their officers in a number of their tasks. Artificial intelligence in policing is a framework that is evaluated with the help of computers. It can also be used to make final decisions on rulings. It is the technology that holds great promise for the future in crime detection.
Artificial intelligence in policing is expected to bring about changes in security and assurance to a society. In fact, AI is rapidly becoming an indispensable part of law enforcement as it supports them in a plethora of ways.
One such solution is ‘facial recognition,’ which is being widely implemented in a variety of sectors other than the law to maintain security. This type of AI technology is used for surveillance, to monitor the crowd for anomalies or patterns, evaluate video footage for crime and apply facial recognition to optimum effect. More importantly, the technology has the potential to not only prevent and solve crimes but also to preempt them.
In New Zealand, a facial recognition provider had developed a high-tech surveillance tool that is currently being used by the nation’s police. According to New Zealand’s police national manager of criminal investigations, the device will only be utilised if there is a serious crime that requires the device’s assistance. Additionally, its initial use will be limited to 150 searches of police volunteers and approximately 30 searches of persons of interest.
The device is also being utilised in identifying law-abiding people at a protest, providing New Zealand Police with their names, location and a list of contacts. It is commonly used as an after-the-fact investigation, which means only to be used after someone has committed a crime.
More than 600 law enforcement agencies globally, including the FBI, have adopted this high-tech facial recognition device. The device works by scraping publicly available images of people from the internet and storing them in a database. This allows law enforcement to easily match an image and determine who it belongs to, and provide links to where those photos appeared on the internet. It now contains over 3 billion images scraped from websites. As more faces are scanned, the accuracy of the platform increases.
For most countries, facial recognition technology has received a lot of positive attention. Biometric verification technology, which was once confined to dystopian science fiction, is now being used as a trusted, ‘contactless’ payment system or as a means of quick and convenient ID checks in places such as busy airports.
When the coronavirus pandemic broke out in China, authorities upgraded cameras in the country with more sophisticated facial identification tech to be able to capture facial features even when they are obstructed with protective gear such as face masks. Such advanced application of the technology might help with contact-tracing of the virus in a country that was facing high infection rates.
While the pros are obvious, there were several concerns on how the device would or could be used. Other countries have not yet given such high-tech devices the go-ahead to provide live monitoring of public spaces as there is a strong potential and capacity for the technology to be misused.
NOnetheless, Artificial intelligence is slowly but progressively becoming a proficient tool in catching offenders and attempting to prevent unlawful actions. It is no longer just a speculative notion, as now more and more law enforcement agencies around the world start using cutting-edge technology to assist in solving, managing and preventing crime.
To provide an understanding of the patent landscape of artificial intelligence in India, the National Association of Software and Service Companies (NASSCOM) Research and INDIAai unveiled a special report titled ‘AI Patents – Driving Emergence of India as an AI Innovation Hub’.
The report provided a broad outlook of the techno-legal field of AI patents and included the key trends across several patents, assignees, and application areas. The report uncovered insights about the active AI patent landscape driven by the growing awareness to protect intellectual property.
From a vertical perspective, consumer electronics, personal computing devices, and healthcare lead the AI patent filings in India, as per the report. With a 93% share, machine learning is the most popular AI technique while computer vision is the leading functional area with a share of 36%. Moreover, 63% of all granted patents belong to multinational corporations.
According to the report, India is ranked 8th in the world for AI patent filing and 4th in terms of AI research papers. AI patent filing in India will maintain an upward trajectory as the country is emerging as a key destination for AI innovation. The government has identified AI identified as one of the most potent weapons to fight against the multiple challenges that the country is facing. Some of the noticeable examples are tools like the MyGov Corona Helpdesk, Aarogya Setu, and CoWin that the government is leveraging to combat the ongoing pandemic.
However, to stay ahead and build a strong AI-ready future, innovation must be fostered, the report said. Patents are considered as one of the primary ways of measuring innovation and efforts must be channelised to encourage and empower AI innovators in the country. In 2020, the government increased the outlay for Digital India to US$477 million to boost AI, IoT, big data, cybersecurity, machine learning, and robotics. India’s flagship digital initiative aims to make the internet more accessible, promoting e-governance, e-banking, e-education, and e-health.
More than 70% of the technology patents filed in India relate to one or more emerging technology domains. At an international level, patent filing grew by 4% in the year 2020. Interestingly, AI accounts for 6% of all emerging tech patents in India. Further, over 5,000 AI patents were filed over the last decade in India, out of which 94% of them were filed in the last five years.
The report also highlighted some of the successful AI patents in India that have been applied to the industries. The most notable ones being Niramai Health Analytx and Grahaa Space. Niramai Health Analytx has been granted four patents in India and ten in the United States.
The major patent NIRAMAI was developed based on technology for detecting early-stage breast cancer in a radiation-free manner through an AI-based analysis of thermal images. Grahaa Space has done a provisional filing of its system and method to stream high-resolution videos from low earth orbit. The proposed system consists of a cluster of earth observation nanosatellites that is capable of streaming high-resolution videos of client-defined areas of interest.
NASSCOM Research is the in-house research and analytics arm of NASSCOM – the industry association for the IT-BPM sector in India. INDIAai is the national artificial intelligence portal of India set up by the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology.
With COVID-19 dramatically changing the healthcare industry, organisations have been forced to adapt their practices and embrace digital transformation. Hence, Taiwan’s Development Center of Biotechnology (DCB) is prepared to demonstrate Taiwan’s pharmaceutical innovation on new cancer drugs and cell therapies in the world’s largest virtual biotech.
Twelve innovative drug discovery technologies have been selected to be displayed. DCB then invited many government officials, tech and health experts to discuss issues on public health, pharmaceuticals, therapeutics, Artificial Intelligence (AI), and strategies to boost bio-innovation under the pandemic. This initiative is supported by Taiwan’s Department of Industrial Technology (DoIT) under the Ministry of Economic Affairs (MOEA).
To cope with future infectious diseases and the fast-changing COVID-19 variants, Taiwan must utilise its strengths in Information and Communications Technology, AI, and data analytics to improve its healthcare system. These technologies can also minimise physical contact and facilitate smart hospital management in the hospital. Furthermore, the global collaborations between governments and biotech companies have shown the importance of solidarity in combating the pandemic.
The first biotech innovation on display is the FLT3 inhibitor for patients with acute myeloid leukaemia (AML) shows promise in the AML market since its 5-year survival rate is only 15% to 20%, and this drug candidate is proven to be highly specific and can induce high activity.
Next is the Tri-mannosyl-ADC platform, an antibody-drug conjugate (ADC) developed by DCB. It is created by using enzymes to combine chemicals in the form of 4 single molecules (4A) or 2 different molecules (2A2B) with antibodies. Compared to other ADC drugs, the Tri-mannosyl-ADC platform demonstrated a higher potential to increase efficacy and overcome certain adverse events, making it a better candidate to commercialise.
In addition, DCB developed a new CAR-T therapy with an autocrine immune checkpoint inhibitor and new targets. In the lab setting, the therapy expressed high specificity and toxicity toward the solid tumour in gastric cancer, showing 60% effectiveness on tumour inhibition. DCB now is expecting to tackle issues with the tumour microenvironment and leads to a stronger cytotoxic effect on solid tumours. DCB then developed a high throughput CHO cell production system with great potential in the market. The technology would be one of the main focuses in the display and would attract biopharma firms.
During the display, two leading Taiwanese start-ups are also set to exhibit their product portfolios. Taiwan’s medical device company will showcase a smart remote management system including curative effect tracking and treatment management cloud platform. A smart health company will present its digital therapeutics that provide customised, scalable, and data-driven chronic disease management. The platform was deployed across 240 healthcare providers and has been available for more than 650,000 patients in Taiwan and Japan.
The pandemic drove drug discovery and selection to an unprecedented speed. It forced pharmaceutical companies to come up with new drug innovations within months. By utilising the power of AI, data science, and genomics, the fast-paced innovations are feasible. The biotech display is a great opportunity to show the world Taiwan’s unique viewpoints and development in biotech, AI, digital medicine, and drug discovery. Taiwanese firms must venture for more overseas channels and business opportunities.
Taiwan has been focusing on utilising advanced technologies in the health sector including promoting the use of AI. As reported by OpenGov Asia, healthcare is the ideal field to expand the use of AI given the technology’s ability to quickly conduct big data analyses and modelling. Taiwan’s National Health Insurance (NHI) Research Database contains over two decades worth of data and images to assist in this process. Taiwan is also an ideal place to integrate the latest and greatest technologies into the biotech and medical sectors.
Information technology firms are ready to complete e-commerce platforms for farmers, according to the Minister of Information and Communications (MIC), Nguyen Manh Hung, at a teleconference on digital transformation in agriculture and rural development. Businesses’ capacity and infrastructure are also qualified to bring farm produce to each household nationwide, the Minister added.
As per a news report, said e-commerce platforms can help connect farmers with consumers and trusted suppliers to ensure quality, origin, and competitive prices. The Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Le Minh Hoan, said unclear market information is negatively affecting supply and demand in the sector, hence there is a need for data transparency. He added that it is also necessary for the agricultural sector to start building a database and master it, serving information analysis and production planning.
Chu Quang Hao from the council of members of the Vietnam Post Corporation (Vietnam Post) took the occasion to talk about the selling of lychees from Bac Giang province on e-commerce platforms Voso (run by Viettel Post) and Postmart (run by VnPost). According to him, since the beginning of June, more than 4.5 million people have purchased the fruit from these sites. Participants from different localities said they are looking for digital transformation in a series of matters, including pest management, disaster warning, brand protection, and trade promotion.
Earlier in March, the Digital Transformation Alliance for Small and Medium-sized Enterprises (DTS) and the MCV Group signed a cooperation agreement to support small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) to promote digital transformation. A digital transformation department to support SMEs in the fields of communications and TV was also established.
DTS and the MCV Group also signed a strategic cooperation agreement with the Vietnam E-commerce Association (VECOM) to begin a chain of activities this year. The first cooperation programme will be a reality TV show to promote online business and e-commerce, which will be consulted on by DTS and VECOM and produced by the MCV Group. It is scheduled to debut at the end of the second quarter, according to a news report.
The Chairman of the MCV Group Pham Tu Liem said cooperation to support digital transformation in SMEs is an important step for all parties in their upcoming operational strategies. Based on building a sustainable relationship, the three sides will jointly coordinate to promote the development of a diverse range of solutions in the field of complete digital transformation for the TV industry and SMEs in Vietnam, he said. The DTS Chairman Leon Truong noted that the internet and social networks are thriving, and TV digitalisation is key for businesses operating in the field.
DTS, therefore, wants to promote its strengths as a collector of digital transformation ecosystems to support Vietnamese businesses, helping them improve their competitiveness in domestic and international markets. DTS will provide technology platforms, VECOM will provide supply chains and online-offline support ecosystems, while the MCV Group, with its digital TV, will create visual images, thus improving consumer confidence in products and promoting purchasing decisions.
According to a study by Google, Vietnam’s digital economy is forecast to grow to US$52 billion by 2025, an annual 29% increase from 2020. With the gross merchandise value (GMV) of its Internet economy accounting for over 5% of the country’s GDP in 2019, Vietnam is emerging as the most digital of all economies in the region. The Vietnamese government hopes that online shopping would account for 10% of Vietnam’s retail sales, and as much as 50% in Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City by 2025. To create a more transparent modern economy, authorities want to increase cashless payment for public services and improve the regulatory framework for e-payments.
The emergence of cloud services in the digital era is progressing at an incredible pace. Businesses have begun to use cloud services to improve their operations, and other businesses will soon follow suit. A research report indicated that cloud computing is expected to account for 13% of the Philippine IT services market by 2020, driven by government agencies and SMEs.
In a country prone to national disasters, coupled with the current pandemic, and with MSMEs serving as the backbone of the economy, it only makes sense that cloud computing is a key solution to achieving not just business continuity, but a better recovery for the economy in the Philippines. Medium and SME enterprises have reiterated the importance of adopting cloud technology to minimise operational disruptions and ensure data safety amidst uncertain times for businesses in the financial services industry.
Recently experts were brought together from the central bank of the Philippines, Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP), Business Continuity Managers Association of the Philippines (BCMAP) and other SMEs enterprise to introduce other businesses the fundamentals of building an organisation’s business continuity program and harnessing the power of cloud technology, to back up crucial data and enable swift recovery from any disaster.
The Philippines, along with the rest of the world, have fallen into recession, as mobility restrictions due to the pandemic and the lockdowns have slowed down, if not stopped, business operations. In fact, research published in Q4 of 2020 shows that 71% of MSMEs surveyed in the country were forced to halt operations, while the Department of Trade and Industry reported that an estimated 90,000 MSMEs remained closed.
The pandemic emphasised the importance of strengthening financial institutions under the supervision of the BSP in order to meet the increased demands of both customers and employees. BSP-supervised financial institutions augmented their technological capacities by migrating to cloud-based platforms and solutions, in order to address the increased digital demands of their customers and support remote work from home arrangements of their employees.
If the Philippines adopted a cloud computing model, there are numerous potential opportunities. As this cost of new technology would be shifted to service providers, IT users would no longer have to bear it. The country would be able to harness the power of the internet to democratise its access to new technology while making significant economic strides.
With cloud computing, businesses can store and access files and software, especially large ones, without necessarily buying a physical server, saving them office space and cost. Office personnel can also work from home or anywhere else other than their usual workplaces.
Businesses can continue to perform their tasks from any location and conveniently access necessary data as long as an internet connection is available. In addition, cloud tech enables employees to better manage their workflows through improved communication and team collaboration while accessing data from a centralised location. This can prevent organisations from halting operations even in challenging situations such as work suspension and calamity.
The Philippines is a country that believes in IT. Filipinos have a high interest in technology and are eager to learn new computing systems. This positive attitude gives a lot of hope to the future of cloud computing. It also helps that the country already has a talented IT workforce that is comfortable with the predominately English language that dominates the internet.