Indian and German scientific experts discussed five selected thematic areas of mutual interest related to artificial intelligence (AI) and its implementation at a joint virtual workshop. Participants discussed AI for sustainability, healthcare, autonomous robotics, secure AI, and mathematical foundations. The workshop was organised by the Indo-German Science and Technology Centre (IGSTC), the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF), and the Indian Department of Science and Technology (DST).
The workshop, which was held earlier this week, was organised as a follow-up of the decision to strengthen and enhance the cooperation in the field of AI taken during the governmental consultations between two countries in November 2019. As per a press release, the Indian Co-Chair of IGSTC and Head-International division of DST and the German Co-Chair spoke about strengthening academia and industry partnerships and enhancing cooperation to help society, particularly in the field of AI, machine learning, and robotics.
According to an official, Germany is focusing on expanding its economy with AI. India is a strong partner in AI, and the recommendation of the Scientific Advisory Board from the workshop could maximise the impact of the measures. Head-FFT DST explained that globally AI is a very active research topic, and efforts should be made so that India and Germany can cooperate and augment the collaboration. There are numerous issues to address like upgrading of the technology, skill development, and job creation in this field. Academia and industry need to be leveraged in this field, and products need to be geared up, he said. The workshop was accompanied by two plenary lectures, followed by invited lectures and plenary sessions.
Last year, Germany released a plan for AI with India as a partner. FAIR Forward – Artificial Intelligence for All, a German Development Cooperation initiative, works with five partner nations-Ghana, Rwanda, South Africa, Uganda, and India-to promote an open, inclusive, and sustainable approach to AI globally. One focus area of the programme is to create open voice datasets in Indian languages.
Machine learning, AI, computer programming, and deep learning have become the top online courses taken up by Indians, according to a recent report by an online learning platform, Coursera. About 10.6 million Indians have registered on the platform to date, falling behind only the United States. The findings come at a time when online learning has taken over traditional classroom lessons.
Digital skills have become important as technology is powering most industries. The pandemic also displaced millions of workers worldwide. India showed a 38% proficiency in technology and data science, falling behind countries including the Republic of Korea, Nepal, Malaysia, and Sri Lanka. It showed 13% proficiency in computer programming, 14% in mobile development, and 25% in data analysis. The pace of skills transformation is slower than the pace of digital transformation in India and learners must invest in soft and technical skills to prepare for jobs of the future.
Minnesota is among the latest states to introduce a secure digital option for residents to provide proof of vaccination against COVID-19. Using an app called Docket, Minnesotans can now view and share their immunisation records with local businesses, restaurants and other public venues where COVID vaccination is required.
The release of the app comes after the state Department of Health has been flooded with requests for vaccination records. So far this year, there have been more than 33,000 vaccine record requests, with 19,000 coming since July 1.
We recognise the importance of having a secure and convenient way to find, view, and share people’s their your family’s immunisation records, such as needing records for school or child care.
– Minnesota Department of Health, Infectious Disease Division Director
Residents who were vaccinated within the state can use the app to pull up their records through the Minnesota Immunisation Information Connection (MIIC), a confidential system that stores electronic immunisation records. The app then gives users the option of saving and distributing a PDF document of the record as they see fit.
The app allows residents to access a digital copy of their vaccination records without having to sign up for an app specifically intended for verifying COVID-19 vaccines. Docket uses two-factor security and searches for immunisation records based on a person’s name and date of birth.
The app also gives state residents a faster way to access their immunisation records. The volume of recent records requests to the health department means it is taking weeks for people to get their vaccination records back, but the app gives an option for people to more directly and quickly access their immunisation information.
Efforts to provide U.S. residents with digital versions of their immunisation records have picked up steam in recent months as employers and retail businesses increasingly require such proof. Reports of individuals providing fake COVID vaccine records have pushed states to launch their own verification apps to give residents a state-verified digital option for proving their vaccination status.
Residents who do not have a smartphone or do not want to use the app can still request a record of their vaccinations from the state or their health care provider. Those requests are currently taking weeks because of increased demand.
Virginia has also announced the addition of QR codes to its vaccination records. The code, which can be scanned using a smartphone, provides the same information as the paper records – however, since it is digitally signed by the Virginia Department of Health, it cannot be altered or forged. Virginia is the fifth state to adopt the secure SMART Health format.
As reported by OpenGov Asia, the COVID-19 pandemic revealed how big data and analytics technologies are being used in the public health sector. For example, governments and organisations developed contact tracing, where phone numbers and location data from mobile devices were combined with lab results in public health systems to issue alerts when an individual came in contact with a confirmed COVID patient. This information empowered people to preemptively self-isolate and/or head for rapid testing.
Public health agencies must understand how to use data effectively as the use of big data during the pandemic is essential. They should start working on plans to protect the privacy of the end-user and comply with the evolving laws around personal data privacy.
Additionally, organisations should determine what they will do with the data they are gathering. Data is only worthwhile if the organisations use the right tools to read and interpret it. Artificial Intelligence (AI) is vital for processing the vast amounts of data collected by today’s technology.
China developed a miniaturised quantum satellite ground station. The ground station is light and portable and can be installed within 12 hours, allowing users in remote areas to use quantum communication conveniently. The piece of quantum key distribution equipment is about the same size as a laptop, which can greatly reduce the cost of quantum network building and maintenance.
In recent years, China has achieved a series of breakthroughs in quantum technology, including the world’s first quantum satellite, a 2,000-km quantum communication line between Beijing and Shanghai, and the world’s first optical quantum computing machine prototype.
With the active participation of leading enterprises and the guidance of the government, an industrial chain that covers the equipment, network, safety and standards of quantum communication has been basically formed in China.
– Quantum Scientist, University of Science and Technology, China
A hub for China’s quantum technology is home to over 20 quantum technology enterprises and achieved an output value of some 430 million yuan (about $66.5 million) in 2020. The quantum information technology is to be further integrated, convenient and low-cost, allowing more people to have access to it.
China’s quantum company has tried out the quantum encryption calls in 15 provinces and has garnered some 10,000 users. The users can have secure calls and messages encrypted with quantum keys after inserting a SIM card and installing a related app, which can ensure information security.
Besides quantum communication, quantum precision measurement and quantum computation have also seen great breakthroughs in industrial applications. Quantum precision measurement instruments can achieve nanoscale high spatial resolution and single spin ultra-high detection sensitivity, which has been applied to study magnetic and superconducting materials.
Chinese scientists have set up an integrated quantum network that combines 700 fibre and two ground-to-satellite links and realised quantum key distribution between more than 150 users over a combined distance of 4,600 km.
Based on the laws of quantum physics, quantum communications have ultra-high security. It is impossible to wiretap, intercept or crack the information since the quantum state of a photon that transmits data along optical fibre will collapse once it is wiretapped.
In the quantum network, several services such as video call, audio call, fax, text transmission and file transmission have been realised for technological verification and real-world demonstrations, adding commercial use is expected in the near future.
A global quantum network can be realised by connecting more national quantum networks from different countries via ground connections or ground-to-satellite links. In the future, quantum communication will be applied in fields of finance, political affairs and national defence. A whole industry chain and eventually a truly secure quantum internet will be possible.
As reported by OpenGov Asia, China issued a guideline that detailed measures to promote the region’s economic growth, scientific and technological innovation, urbanisation, green development, opening-up, and people’s well-being. By 2025, the comprehensive strength and competitiveness of the region should be further enhanced, and marked progress should be achieved in innovation capacity, with its proportion of research and development input in the regional Gross Domestic Product (GDP) reaching the national average.
Regarding promoting advanced manufacturing, the guideline urges the building of industrial bases focused on sectors including intelligent manufacturing, new materials, new-energy vehicles and electronic information.
The supply of high-quality public goods, such as world-class universities and large-scale medical institutions, should be increased in the region, the guideline says, specifying that world-renowned universities will be encouraged to run schools in partnership with local institutions and conduct research and develop technology to solve problems. Large-scale comprehensive medical institutions are welcome to set up subsidiaries in the region.
The Department of Industrial Technology (DoIT) of the Ministry of Economic Affairs (MOEA) is supporting the cooperation between Industrial Technology Research Institute (ITRI), the Artificial Intelligence (AI) on Chip Taiwan Alliance (AITA), and the UCLA Center for Heterogeneous Integration and Performance Scaling (CHIPS).
Both organisations signed the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on Cooperation in Heterogeneous Integration Advanced Packaging, aiming to utilise Taiwan’s Artificial Intelligence of Things (AIoT) advantages and the experience of the U.S. in high-performance computing to jointly strengthen complementary forward-looking semiconductor technology R&D. This is expected to add depth to cooperation between Taiwan and the US in supply chains and launch new business opportunities for AI chips.
DoIT supports ITRI, ATIA, and UCLA CHIPS in inking a collaborative agreement, which will help the parties quickly grasp international system specification trends in the areas of design, manufacturing and packaging. The parties will complement each other in working to create the next generation of innovative AI technologies and services, forging reliable partnerships.
– DoIT Science and Technology Advisor
Die-to-die (D2D) interconnection bandwidth plays a vital role in heterogeneous integration. ITRI has over the years created a solid foundation in cultivating packaging technology, and the specifications of the patented high-speed communications interface developed under the AI on Chip initiative already surpass those of major international manufacturers. In the future, these technologies will be used in innovative applications that require high bandwidth, such as 8K high-resolution images and 5G communications.
The partnership with UCLA CHIPS offers two main advantages: First, Taiwan’s D2D technology will be able to be promoted internationally. Second, UCLA CHIPS has the latest heterogeneous integration technology. This will help connect international system integration requirements with Taiwan’s semiconductor ecosystem.
ITRI’s pilot line will verify the functionality of its product prototypes, and further orders for products can be forwarded to Taiwan’s semiconductor manufacturers, assisting the industry in solidifying links with international contacts.
UCLA CHIPS Director stated that their collaboration with ITRI is a centrepiece of their international collaboration in the area of heterogeneous integration and packaging for high-performance computing and AI. The feedback and suggestions from ITRI have had a very positive and meaningful impact on their research direction, execution and most importantly on the education of our students who will lead this work in the years to come.
This collaboration offers opportunities in the development of international specifications for heterogeneous integration and provides a window for technology promotion and exchanges. Taiwan’s mature industry chain and abundant experience in chip production, in conjunction with UCLA’s resources, will pave the way for Taiwan manufacturers to take the lead in creating a strategic blueprint and accelerating development for AI chips.
Taiwan has utilised AI in various fields, including agriculture. As reported by OpenGov Asia, The Taiwanese government has combined Taiwan’s advantages in planting technology with the IT industry by introducing Artificial intelligence technology to transform Taiwanese farms into standardised production and a competitive agribusiness in the global market.
For example, the total dragon fruit farm areas in Taiwan have exceeded over 3,000 hectares, but the output is still less than in many other countries. To solve the issue for dragon fruit farmers, the Industrial Development Bureau (IDB) of the Ministry of Economic Affairs (MoEA) of Taiwan, the promoter of smart applications and technologies, has joined forces with Pingtung county government and a Taiwanese communications company to establish a smart demo field in Taiwan’s largest dragon fruit farm.
A new report showed that Artificial Intelligence (AI) has reached a critical turning point in its evolution. Substantial advances in language processing, computer vision and pattern recognition mean that AI is touching people’s lives daily—from helping people to choose a movie to aid in medical diagnoses.
With that success, however, comes a renewed urgency to understand and mitigate the risks and downsides of AI-driven systems, such as algorithmic discrimination or the use of AI for deliberate deception. Computer scientists must work with experts in the social sciences and law to assure that the pitfalls of AI are minimised.
The report – Gathering Strength, Gathering Storms: The One Hundred Year Study on Artificial Intelligence (AI100) 2021 Study Panel Report – aims to monitor the progress of AI and guide its future development. This new report, the second to be released by the AI100 project, assesses developments in AI between 2016 and 2021.
In the past five years, AI has leapt from something that mostly happens in research labs or other highly controlled settings to something that is out in society affecting people’s lives. The field is coming to grips with the societal impact of this technology. The next frontier is thinking about ways we can get the benefits from AI while minimising the risks.
– Professor of Computer Science, Brown University
Professor of computer science at the University of Texas said that what makes this report unique is the report is written by AI insiders – experts who create AI algorithms or study their influence on society as their main professional activity—and that they are part of an ongoing, longitudinal, century-long study. It also provides a wonderful template for future study panels to emulate by answering a set of questions that we expect future study panels to reevaluate at five-year intervals.
In terms of AI advances, the panel noted substantial progress across subfields of AI, including speech and language processing, computer vision and other areas. Much of this progress has been driven by advances in machine learning techniques, particularly deep learning systems, which have made the leap in recent years from the academic setting to everyday applications.
In the area of natural language processing, for example, AI-driven systems are now able to not only recognise words but understand how they’re used grammatically and how meanings can change in different contexts. That has enabled better web search, predictive text apps, chatbots and more. Some of these systems are now capable of producing original text that is difficult to distinguish from human-produced text.
Elsewhere, AI systems are diagnosing cancers and other conditions with accuracy that rivals trained pathologists. Research techniques using AI have produced new insights into the human genome and have sped the discovery of new pharmaceuticals. And while the long-promised self-driving cars are not yet in widespread use, AI-based driver-assist systems like lane-departure warnings and adaptive cruise control are standard equipment on most new cars.
Some recent AI progress may be overlooked by observers outside the field, but reflect dramatic strides in the underlying AI technologies, Littman says. One relatable example is the use of background images in video conferences, which became a ubiquitous part of many people’s work-from-home lives during the COVID-19 pandemic.
As reported by OpenGov Asia, in the healthcare field, U.S. Scientists have developed a new, automated, AI-based algorithm that can learn to read patient data from Electronic Health Records (EHR). The scientists, in a side-by-side comparison, showed that their method accurately identified patients with certain diseases as well as the traditional, “gold-standard” method, which requires much more manual labour to develop and perform.
The Indian Institute of Science in Bangalore (IISc), in collaboration with a private player, announced it would establish a state-of-the-art artificial intelligence and machine learning (AI/ML) centre at the IISc campus. Spread across approximately 140,000 square feet, the centre will offer Bachelor’s, Master’s, and short-term courses in areas AI/ML, deep learning, fintech, reinforcement learning, image processing, and computer vision.
The centre will also promote research and innovation in AI/ML and develop the talent pool from across the country to provide cutting-edge solutions to meet the industry’s emerging and future requirements. According to a statement, as IISc continues to deliver on its mandate to provide advanced scientific and technological research and education, its partnerships with forward-thinking institutions will help it scale up substantially and position India as a deep tech innovation hub.
As per a recent report, the global AI market size is expected to gain momentum and reach US$360.36 billion by 2028 while exhibiting a CAGR of 33.6% between 2021 to 2028. AI has become immensely popular, and industries across the globe are rapidly incorporating it into their processes to improve business operations and customer experience. The Indian government is developing and implementing several AI-driven initiatives in education, healthcare, agriculture, and finance. Educational institutes and government agencies are launching centres and offering courses in emerging technology to help build a skilled workforce.
For instance, earlier this year, India’s Ministry of Finance entered a strategic partnership with a tech giant to build a Centre of Excellence in AI and emerging technologies at the Arun Jaitley National Institute of Financial Management (AJNIFM). The centre will serve as a central body for research, AI scenario envisioning, and technology-led innovation. The two sides would jointly explore use cases of emerging technologies in finance and related areas, across central and state ministries and public sector enterprises. Also, public sector officials would be trained on the application of emerging technologies in finance management to address potential risks like money laundering, the use of machine learning models for decision making, and the role of responsible tech in finance, among others. As OpenGov Asia had reported, the collaboration would explore the role of cloud, AI, and emerging technologies in transforming and shaping the future of public finance management in India.
More recently, the Indian Institute of Technology in Madras (IIT-Madras), in association with a semiconductor manufacturing company, is offering a free workshop on AI and high-performance computing technology in semiconductor manufacturing. The workshop is being offered under the “National Supercomputing Mission Industry Talks” series. The workshop is free; however, it is mandatory for interested participants to register before attending the workshop online.
According to a news report, the workshop will be conducted from 27 September to 1 October every day for one hour, and the e-meeting details will be sent only to registered participants. The workshop is open to all interested participants, and the following topics will be covered by industry experts over five days:
- Modern artificial intelligence in manufacturing.
- Challenges in adopting machine learning in manufacturing.
- TensorFlow: The path from model to HW.
- Minimising copy overhead while sharing GPUs on a single box.
- Artificial intelligence inference on CPUs.
Self-driving cars are likely to be the future of transportation, but safety concerns are hurdles that researchers have to overcome to make fully autonomous vehicles become a reality. To accelerate that timeline, U.S. researchers have developed the first set of “certifiable perception” algorithms, which could help protect the next generation of self-driving vehicles — and the vehicles they share the road with. When robots sense their surroundings, they must use algorithms to make estimations about the environment and their location.
These perception algorithms are designed to be fast, with little guarantee of whether the robot has succeeded in gaining a correct understanding of its surroundings. This is one of the biggest existing problems. Our lab is working to design certified algorithms that can tell you if these estimations are correct.
– Lead researcher
Robot perception begins with the robot capturing an image, such as a self-driving car taking a snapshot of an approaching car. The image goes through a machine-learning system called a neural network, which generates key points within the image about the approaching car’s mirrors, wheels, doors.
From there, lines are drawn that seek to trace the detected key points on the 2D car image to the labelled 3D key points in a 3D car model. The researchers must then solve an optimisation problem to rotate and translate the 3D model to align with the key points on the image. This 3D model will help the robot understand the real-world environment.
Each traced line must be analysed to see if it has created a correct match. Since many key points could be matched incorrectly. The team’s algorithm smooths the non-convex problem to become convex and finds successful matches. If the match is not correct, their algorithm will know how to continue trying until it finds the best solution, known as the global minimum. A certificate is given when there are no better solutions.
These certifiable algorithms have a huge potential impact because tools like self-driving cars must be robust and trustworthy. The goal is to make it so a driver will receive an alert to take over the steering wheel if the perception system has failed.
The 3D model gets morphed to match the 2D image by undergoing a linear combination of previously identified vehicles. For example, the model could shift from being an Audi to a Hyundai as it registers the correct build of the actual car. Identifying the approaching car’s dimensions is key to preventing collisions.
The lead researcher stated that to achieve trustworthy autonomy, it is time to embrace a diverse set of tools to design the next generation of safe perception algorithms. There must always be a failsafe since no human-made system can be perfect. The safety precautions for self-driving cars will take the power of both rigorous theory and computation to revolutionise what it can be successfully unveiled to the public.
U.S. researchers have been developing robotic technologies for various purposes, including to help people with disabilities. As reported by OpenGov Asia, U.S. Researchers have now developed an alternative approach that they believe could offer much more precise control of prosthetic limbs. After inserting small magnetic beads into muscle tissue within the amputated residuum, they can precisely measure the length of a muscle as it contracts, and this feedback can be relayed to a bionic prosthesis within milliseconds.
In a new study appearing today in Science Robotics, the researchers tested their new strategy, called magnetomicrometry (MM), and showed that it can provide fast and accurate muscle measurements in animals. They hope to test the approach in people with amputation within the next few years.
The Ministry of Agriculture signed five memorandums of understanding (MoUs) with five tech giants. Under the collaborations, the private players will conduct pilot projects to integrate digital technology and other best practices in the agricultural sector.
According to a news report, these MoUs are a part of the digital agriculture mission that was initiated for 2021-25 by the government to integrate emerging technology such as artificial intelligence (AI), blockchain, remote sensing and GIS technology and the use of drones and robots, etc. Establishing a digital ecosystem of agriculture needs to take a long-term view of aspects like interoperability, data governance, data quality, data standards, security, and privacy, besides promoting innovation. A significant requirement is the adoption of a decentralised, federated architecture that assures autonomy to the service providers and all other actors and ensures interoperability at the same time.
To support these projects, the ministry is creating a federated farmers database that will be linked to farmers’ land records from across the country and a unique farmer ID will be created. These technologies will support farmers to make informed decisions on suitable crops to grow, types of seeds to use, and the best practices for maximum yields. The agriculture supply chain players can plan their procurement and logistics on precise and timely information. Farmers can make informed decisions about whether to sell or store their produce and when and where and what price to sell, the report said.
Further, under the unified database for all farmers, users can access the information of all benefits and supports of various schemes of the central and state governments. So far, the database is ready with details of around 55 million farmers. Any attempt to transform the agriculture sector needs to imbibe an ecosystem thinking and a digital ecosystem. The agriculture value chain extends from crop selection to crop management and the market; it involves public and private players in agricultural inputs and services and also logistics.
The country has been using technology to improve crop yield and double farmer incomes. In July, researchers at the Indian Institute of Technology in Mandi (IIT-Mandi) and the Central Potato Research Institute (CPRI) in Shimla developed an AI solution that can detect diseased parts of potato crop using photographs of its leaves. As OpenGov Asia had reported, blight is a common disease of the potato plant. It leads to the rotting of the plant. If left undetected and unchecked, blight could destroy the entire crop within a week under conducive conditions.
IIT-Mandi’s computational tool can detect blight in potato leaf images. The model is built using an AI tool called mask region-based convolutional neural network architecture and can accurately highlight the diseased portions of the leaf amid a complex background of plant and soil matter. In India, as with most developing countries, the detection and identification of blight are performed manually by trained personnel who scout the field and visually inspect potato foliage. This process, as expected, is tedious and often impractical, especially for remote areas, because it requires the expertise of a horticultural specialist who may not be physically accessible.
Automated disease detection can help in this regard and given the extensive proliferation of mobile phones across the country, the smartphone could be a useful tool, according to a researcher on the team. The advanced HD cameras, better computing power, and communication avenues offered by smartphones offer a promising platform for automated disease detection in crops.