New AI computing power and technology is being developed to meet the demands of scientists for more efficient computing and processing of advanced research data via a new scientific partnership. The initiative, a marriage between the needs of PlantTech Research Institute in Tauranga and the expertise of New Zealand eScience Infrastructure (NeSI), is accelerating innovative research, starting in the agritech sector.
The new tech aims to remove computer processing bottlenecks that limit the ability of data scientists to train artificial intelligence models that learn from high volumes of complex and tightly coupled data. It will also greatly reduce the turnaround time for current AI research.
Horticulture and produce are among the first New Zealand industries to benefit from this faster AI computing infrastructure, with scientists using it to explore new approaches to data-driven horticulture in key sectors, including kiwifruit.
PlantTech and NeSI signed a Memorandum of Understanding in November 2020. NeSI has procured the first tranche of Nvidia A100 general-purpose Graphics Processing Units that are now being commissioned. NeSI is working with early adopter communities, including PlantTech, to pioneer and to use these technologies in the next few months and improve workflow and assess public and private research sectors’ demands.
The research institute says the MoU was the start of an exciting strategic partnership with NeSI to better understand and cater to the developing needs of New Zealand’s AI researchers. NeSI continues to ensure New Zealand’s research community is well catered for in traditional supercomputing driven by Central Processing Units, the field of AI research is driving demand for high-performance computing-based around GPUs.
The strategic alliance and MoU will see the research institute’s insights as a preeminent developer of AI solutions coupled with NeSI’s solution expertise as a preeminent provider of computational capability to ensure New Zealand has the right AI research platforms to take it to the next level of international competitiveness, now and into the future.”
NeSI director Nick Jones says the partnership provides NeSI with an opportunity to extend its national platform to be fit-for-purpose for data-intensive agritech workloads. For NeSI, this is a special collaboration, enhancing the capabilities and support they offer to New Zealand’s agricultural research communities, particularly those working in emerging technologies, such as AI and deep learning. It also gives them the opportunity to extend their reach, beyond the public research sector, to positively impact research in the horticulture industry, which is discovering that its pressing challenges can be solved by more precise technologies.
For the research institute, having access to the latest generation of systems brings capabilities that will enable new approaches to highly complex data challenges that will deliver step-change benefits across productivity, profitability, sustainability, provenance, and biosecurity. Particularly as the Government focuses on New Zealand’s economic recovery post-COVID-19 and executes the Agritech Industry Transformation Plan to build stronger and more productive horticulture and agriculture sectors. In its first year, the research institute has trialed innovative solutions to various challenges affecting the kiwifruit industry, including crop estimation and fruit maturity testing.
Through this strategic partnership, the two parties will ensure that New Zealand has the tools in the future to sustain the momentum. Achieving the transfer 80-100 times faster is hugely beneficial – a day-and-a-half becomes an hour. But for large data packages, the transfer is simply not practically achievable over the internet. However, there are challenges that they simply cannot address without the step up to a true supercomputing architecture. They expect that the new platform will act as a catalyst for boundary-breaking science in New Zealand.
PlantTech is sending its research data to NeSI’s platform with support from Research and Education Advanced Network New Zealand (REANNZ). The not-for-profit Crown-owned company operates a super-fast network and serves the unique demands of scientists, researchers and educators by helping them move and share data-intensive research around New Zealand and the world.
The number of data breach alerts that the Personal Data Protection Commission (PDPC) of Singapore received, tripled in the February-March period compared with the previous two months.
This comes amid a string of potential personal data leaks reported in recent months. Legal and information technology security experts said the increase could have been due to a new data breach notification requirement companies must follow as well as rising cyber-security threats.
As per reports, the PDPC stated that the February-March breach alerts it received involved organisations such as those from the finance, retail and manufacturing sectors. The personal data compromised in those cases included names, e-mail addresses, personal identity numbers, financial details, phone numbers and postal addresses. Experts said the data could be used for attempts to, for instance, take over victims’ online accounts to spread malware or transfer money to hackers.
PDPC added that data breaches are often caused by human error as well as malicious activities such as phishing or cyber-attacks.
Meanwhile, a United States-based cyber risk analytics firm said while it does not have comprehensive data for Singapore, it still recorded at least three data breaches in the first quarter. This is already a third of the at least nine cases it logged for Singapore for the whole of last year.
The biggest case recorded in Singapore for January to March this year was that for a furniture retailer. In that data breach, a hacker group claimed to have stolen the data of more than 300,000 customers.
Other cases reported in the last three months include those that affected third-party vendors of Singtel, Singapore Airlines and the National Trades Union Congress’ Employment and Employability Institute, as well as a breach that hit a local security firm.
The Cyber Security Agency of Singapore (CSA) said that, for now, the local security firm and Singtel incidents, as well as one affecting e-mail servers have not affected Singapore’s critical information infrastructure, like those in the transport and telecoms sectors.
Also, for Singapore, the ransomware detection number increased by 45% in the second half of last year compared with the first half.
As reported by OpenGov Asia, cybersecurity has risen to the top of both national and international agendas. Government leaders from all over the world said that without cybersecurity there is no real national security. The boom of the digital economy and the digitalisation of businesses and society especially during the COVID-19 pandemic has now put the private sector at the centre of cybersecurity debates. Recent data mismanagements, or the revelations that social media sites compromised the data of millions of their users, highlight the central role that the private sector plays in cybersecurity. Undeniably, corporations are key players in the digital realm whether it is as distributors of malicious software, victims of cyber-attacks, or first responders to security breaches.
A partnership between both public and private sectors can help in trying to boost cyber resiliency policies and programmes. A lot of the technologies coming out are from industries, academes, and civil societies.
Therefore, Mr David Koh from the CSA believes that a multi-stakeholder engagement is an ideal method to improve cyber resilience on a bigger scale. Mr Koh noted that at an intellectual level, everyone understands cyber so everyone must also be committed to trying to find viable solutions.
He also emphasised that cybersecurity is the key factor in achieving an open and secured internet environment that can help boost domestic and international economies. Mr Koh and the CSA view cyber capacity building as a collective effort.
The Center for Service Support releases a brand-new mobile app consisting of Rate Training Manuals (RTMs) for 12 ratings and a variety of general Navy manuals. The active-duty and reserve personnel throughout the fleet use those manuals.
The app is the new RTM home for various specialists ranging from culinary specialist to religious programmes specialist. This app enables them to study on the go without a CAC card or an internet connection. CSS staff and fleet SMEs began creating this app in September 2019 and conducted testing for more than five months. They aim to achieve maximum functionality, review the app’s content and examine the user interface.
The app features include a resources link in every RTM to their respective rating Navy COOL site, contact information for feedback and emergency support. Another feature is the ability to receive credit for the completed course directly into their Electronic Training Jacket by entering their DODID number rather than completing the course via Navy eLearning. It also serves as the host for up-to-date versions of the RTMs and NRTCs. By moving to a digital format, the app allows CSS to work with type commanders and fleet subject matter experts (SME) to change content as needed and deliver updates to the fleet faster.
The CSS commanding officer said they are continuing positive movement and growth in the 21st century for how their Sailors will be preparing for their advancement exams. Early estimates foresee that 32,000 sailors will be affected by this new app. This shows that the scope is wide and something this major will have a direct and immediate impact on sailors throughout the fleet. As a result, they will be well-crafted in their respective fields.
The CSS program manager for Non-Resident Training Courses acknowledged that everyone involved has taken immeasurable efforts in creating this app. Countless man-hours have been put in to ensure this contains the best possible material. The sailors conducting the tasks in these manuals daily are those who will use this app and each one of them deserves the highest-quality work they can possibly provide.
U.S. Navy is America’s primary forward deployed force. As stated on their page, their mission is to protect America at sea as The United States is a maritime nation. Alongside their allies and partners, they defend freedom, preserve economic prosperity, and keep the seas open and free. To defend American interests around the globe, the U.S. Navy must remain prepared to execute its timeless role, as directed by Congress and the President.
U.S. Navy need to prepare for decentralised operations, guided by the commander’s intent. The ability to achieve this end is reliant on the trust and confidence that is based on a clear understanding, among peers and between commanders and subordinates, of the risk that can be tolerated. This trust and confidence are enhanced by their actions, which must reflect their core values of honour, courage, and commitment. Four core attributes of their professional identity will help to serve as guiding criteria for their decisions and actions.
According to A Design For Maintaining Maritime Superiority, the current security environment demands that the Navy be prepared at all levels for decentralised operations, guided by the commander’s intent. This operating style is reliant on clear understanding up, down, and across the chain of command. It is also underpinned by trust and confidence created by demonstrating character and competence. Leaders at all levels must continue to educate and focus their Sailors through example, education, and dialogue.
U.S. Navy will always be ready to conduct prompt and sustained combat incident to operations at sea. The Navy will protect America from attack, promote American prosperity, and preserve America’s strategic influence. U.S. naval operation will deter aggression and enable the resolution of crises on terms acceptable to the United States and their allies and partners. If deterrence fails, the Navy will conduct decisive combat operations to defeat any enemy.
The Electronics & ICT Academy in the Indian Institute of Technology, Roorkee (IIT-Roorkee) has launched online certification programmes in software development, cloud computing, and data science in collaboration with Great Learning. It is designed to make learners industry-ready, building the technical skills that will help them become productive, reliable software developers by building end-to-end full-stack software applications.
IIT-Roorkee will offer two types of programmes. The first is a 10-month advanced certificate programme in full-stack software development with a specialisation in either cloud computing or python for data science. The second is shorter duration certificate programmes in front-end software development, back-end software development, cloud computing, and Python for data science.
Learners will be taught by solving real-world problems, which will require planning, design, coding, code reviews, and testing. They will receive periodic and constant support from faculty and industry experts via live sessions and webinars. Students will also receive extensive career and placement assistance from Great Learning to crack their next dream job in tech, the Institute said.
According to a news report, the courses would be curated and delivered by a collaboration of experts from IIT-Roorkee, other academic institutions, and industry experts through online, self-paced, or hybrid modes. The programmes will consist of online content, weekend live sessions, and a series of practical projects.
The IIT-Roorkee Director, Ajit K Chaturvedi, said that with the world rapidly progressing towards a digital economy, these skills are required to enhance India’s workforce. The programmes are specially designed for recent graduates who are looking to add value to their profiles and early-stage working professionals aspiring to become full-stack developers, back-end developers, SDE, front-end developers, cloud engineers, or data analysts. On the completion of the programmes, participants will receive a certificate from IIT-Roorkee’s Electronics & ICT Academy.
The Electronics & ICT Academy at IIT-Roorkee provides training programmes with an emphasis on hands-on learning in basic/advanced topics and emerging technologies in the electronics and ICT domain. The project is sponsored by the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology.
Last month, the Institute launched online certification programmes in data science and machine learning on Coursera. It will help learners to understand the algorithms used in data analytics. It will also help to build knowledge about the selected ML algorithms such as linear models, kNN, SVM, Decision Trees, and neural networks, among others.
More recently, the Indian Institute of Bombay (IIT-Bombay) also announced its free online course on advanced technologies. It is accepting applications for an online course on how to create an Android application using Kotlin software, a news report informed. Kotlin software is a new open-source programming language that runs on the Java Virtual Machine (JVM). It is an official language on Android by Google.
The course consists of ten audio-video spoken tutorials that can be taken up by learners at their convenience once they register on the government’s SWAYAM platform. The programme is an All-India Council of Technical Education (AICTE)-approved FDP course, which will be conducted by a professor at IIT-Bombay. The course could take approximately eight weeks to finish and is targeted toward undergraduate and post-graduate students.
The Philippines’ Department of Science and Technology – National Research Council of the Philippines (DOST-NRCP) – initiated its call for proposals for 2023 funding. NRCP will start receiving project proposals at the DOST Project Management Information System (DPMIS) portal.
The NRCP continuously provides financial support to relevant fundamental/basic research and policy research with socio-economic benefits for the people to ensure that new knowledge and information are generated. NRCP has 13 areas for research which are clustered in six (6) priority areas under its National Integrated Basic Research Agenda (NIBRA). Aside from generating new information or new research areas for further development, it is expected that projects also strengthen governance through the fusion of science and the arts, technology and innovation and subsequently increase productivity and ensure efficient processes in the delivery of research results for the public good.
The priority research areas and programmes of the council should be aligned to the NIBRA which is part of the existing Harmonised National Research and Development Agenda (HNRDA) of DOST. The six components of NIBRA are:
- (1) Sustainable Community (SAKLAW Programme),
- (2) Food and Nutrition Security (SAPAT Programme),
- (3) Water Security (TUBIG Programme),
- (4) Clean Energy (ALERT Programme),
- (5) Inclusive Nation Building (ATIN Programme) and
- (6) Health Sufficiency (LIKAS Programme).
This SAKLAW programme focuses on assessment studies of vulnerable ecosystems particularly lakes and mined-out areas. Research topics include risk-assessment, social and environmental (water quality parameters and biomonitoring indicators), carrying capacities, hydrological dynamics (surface waters, flood and sediment), and economic resource valuation for the lakes, as well as the reduction of heavy metals exposure among communities and policy studies on bioremediation strategies for the programme on Greening the Mined-out Areas in the Philippines (GMAP).
It also focuses on risk communication studies for disaster management which will generate risk communication plans and strategies for local government units.
The expected deliverables include assessment reports of vulnerable ecosystems, remediation strategies, and policy recommendations for development and conservation as well as inclusive and sustainable development.
The SAPAT programme focuses on the food safety of raw or processed food products (particularly on contaminants and adulterants. It likewise includes taxonomic studies of flora and fauna (e.g. genetic analysis, morphological, allelopathic, bioecology studies) for food security and sustainability which will generate policy recommendations. The expected deliverables are regulatory policies and policy recommendations.
The TUBIG programme will put its efforts into studies of water quality, and its accessibility and availability for safe drinking purposes. It also includes characterisation of water resources (pollutants/contaminants/toxicity, physicochemical, socio-economic, biological and morphological). It will address the impacts of La Nina, El Nino, Climate Change threats, regional climate and saltwater intrusion on potable water supply.
The deliverable outputs will eventually address water quality issues for policy recommendations per geographical area and may generate standards on water availability and quality indices. The Clean Energy ALERT priority programme covers resource assessment of potential alternative sources of energy (wind, solar, biofuels, hydro and others) for Geographically Isolated and Disadvantaged Areas (GIDA). The expected output includes prototypes of commercially viable alternative energy technology.
The ATIN programme gives attention to documentation on Philippine indigenous knowledge, culture, and heritage; national security and sovereignty studies; “Filipinnovation” of Arts, Culture and Heritage for Creative Industries; and “Kapakanan ng Tao sa Oras ng Pandemya” (KTOP) research initiatives dealing with the social dimensions of the pandemic. The expected deliverables include creative works (i.e., documentaries, monographs, dictionaries and others), models and systems, case studies, assessment reports and policy recommendations.
Lastly, the LIKAS programme will concentrate on fundamental and taxonomic studies on potential sources of natural products from the rare environment (e.g., volcanoes, caves, mud springs, lahar, marine sediments, mined-out areas, mesophotic reefs, mangroves and others), and also on basic veterinary studies – zoonotic diseases (etiology, transmission and control). The deliverable outputs will be policy recommendations and new bioactive compounds for potential medicinal use.
Aside from studies that generate new knowledge and discoveries, the Council prioritises proposals that forge linkages between the government particularly local government units (LGUs), academe, industry sector, and civil society. It also looks for proposals that will ensure translation and transfer of social technologies to the people and various publics. These are aligned to NRCP’s mandate to promote frontier and problem-oriented research in the sciences and humanities that provide solutions to pressing and national issues.
Deep learning has become a popular emerging technology in recent years. Many university students are eager to equip themselves with such knowledge and skills in order to capture the opportunities brought about by the development of innovation and technology in various industries.
The Hong Kong Polytechnic University (PolyU) and a Chinese multinational technology company jointly organised an Artificial Intelligence (AI) Bootcamp in late April to share the latest developments of leading technologies such as digitalisation, machine learning and deep learning.
Participants exchanged views on how to integrate digital technologies into different disciplines and facilitate interdisciplinary learning at local universities in order to create a “digital + talent” ecosystem.
In the bootcamp, participants got hands-on experience through the use of Huawei Ascend series products for different deep learning model training and reasoning experiments, including image classification, object detection, and mask-wearing detection.
Moreover, the tech giant’s Cloud’s ModelArts, a one-stop model automatic learning platform, can also be used for model training where the trained deep learning model will be converted to Atlas development kit to complete the inference process.
The Interim Vice President (Research and Innovation) and Associate Vice President (Undergraduate Programme) of PolyU stated that the cooperation between PolyU and the tech company in research development has been ongoing since 2007.
“In the past few years, we have advanced a variety of innovative technologies in different fields, including optical communications, microwave communications, big data, crowdsourcing platforms, wireless network surveying as well as automatic navigation, that pioneered the development of information and communication technology (ICT),” he said.
It was also noted that by leveraging the innovative research applications of PolyU and the industry-leading competitiveness of the tech giant, the bootcamp aimed to develop those AI systems that support impactful research with the ultimate goal of benefitting society with technologically advanced applications.
Meanwhile, the Head of Applied Physics of PolyU stated, “Physics and AI are mutually related. While Physics helps formulate better AI models, AI can solve complicated Physics problems more efficiently, resulting in more new discoveries.”
The General Manager of the tech company’s Hong Kong Representative Office noted that talent is one of the cores that supports the development of the digital industry, and universities are the base for talent cultivation.
He said the tech company is honoured to cooperate with PolyU in deepening the integration among industry, academia and research sectors to nurture talent to meet industry needs.
The aim is to foster the development of smart industries and support digitalisation in different industries by building a local ‘digital + talent’ ecosystem.
Various departments of PolyU, including the Department of Building and Real Estate, the Department of Mechanical Engineering, and the Department of Health Technology and Informatics, have worked together with the tech giant on a number of research projects on digitalisation with different scopes such as activity tracking on construction sites, object lifting function of robotic arms, and medical imaging analysis.
PolyU will continue collaborative research in AI-related disciplines with Huawei, which has been providing invaluable advice and support to the University.
PolyU believes the joint efforts in offering professional training and establishing innovation laboratories will help nurture digitalisation and AI talent and develop more impactful technologies and applications for the development of the local technology ecosystem.
According to research funded by the National Natural Science Foundation of China, Ministry of Science and Technology, ultrahigh-speed, nonvolatile floating-gate memory devices can be achieved without the need to modify commercial device architecture. It can be done by employing 2D van der Waals heterostructures with improved interfacial coupling and atomically sharp interfaces.
In particular, ultrahigh-speed operations with nanosecond write and read times that is limited by instrumentation response, the extremely high extinction ratio of 1010 and a 10-yr retention time have been successfully achieved. This enhanced performance enables new device capabilities such as multi-bit storage, thus opening up applications in the realm of modern nanoelectronics and offering future fabrication guidelines for device scale-up.
The development of high-performance memory devices has played a key role in the innovation of modern electronics. It is critical to developing ultrafast and non-volatile memory devices driven by the explosive growth of massive data storage and the desire for ultrafast data processing. The current bottleneck in the memory field includes operation speed, data retention, endurance and extinction ratio.
In particular, while the scaling of devices continues, silicon-based technology will soon reach a critical limit to meet the increasing demands for memory capacity. One of the key challenges is related to the unavoidable interfacial dangling bonds in ultrathin-body silicon, which causes substantial degradation in device performance. It is thus an urgent need to seek atomically sharp interfaces and integrate them seamlessly into the device architecture.
Among all of the candidates, the emerging two-dimensional (2D) materials and their heterostructures represent ideal atomically flat in-plane surfaces potentially free from surface dangling bonds and are immune to short-channel effects that can allow effective electrostatic control and mechanical flexibility. Indeed, a few examples employing 2D materials for flash memory devices have been recently attempted but with limited device performance.
For example, a very long write time on the order of milliseconds to seconds was observed in the 2D materials based floating-gate memory devices, while alternative semi-floating-gate configurations have shown improved write time (nanoseconds) but extremely short retention time in the range of seconds, making them unsuitable for long-term storage.
Theoretically, an ideal floating-gate memory device based on planar layer materials should allow nanosecond order operational time, but the ultrahigh-speed floating-gate memory has not yet been reported so far.
Floating-gate memory devices based on van der Waals heterostructure with atomically sharp interface have comparable program speed with dynamic randomly accessed memory (DRAM), and simultaneously possessed non-volatile and large storage capacity. This is important for developing future high-performance non-volatile memory devices and provides an alternative route for the development of high-performance electronic devices based on van der Waals heterostructure. The main challenge for further application lies in the epitaxial growth of high-quality and large-scale hBN and two-dimensional atomic crystal materials and their device integration.
Development of Nanoscience and Technology in China
China is consistently committed to the development of nanoscience and technology and has set up research plans keeping up with the international pace of progress. For instance, China established the National Steering Committee for Nanoscience and Technology in 2000 and founded the National Center for Nanoscience and Technology in 2003. The national medium and long-term development program includes nanoscience
By looking at publications of high-quality academic papers, patent applications, key areas of development, international collaborative networks and other aspects, it reveals recent trends of China’s development in nanoscience and technology in comparison to the world. Having also incorporated experts’ interpretations and views, the study applies both qualitative and quantitative analysis.
China has become a strong contributor to nanoscience research in the world and it is a powerhouse of nanotechnology R&D. Some of China’s basic research is leading the world. China’s applied nanoscience research and the industrialization of nanotechnologies have also begun to take shape, with nano-related patent applications leading the world.
These achievements are largely due to China’s strong investment in nanoscience and technology. China’s nanoscience research is also moving from quantitative increase to quality improvement and innovation, with greater emphasis on the applications of nanotechnologies.
India and the United Kingdom recently announced they would expand bilateral defence cooperation, including through technology collaboration, in developing combat aircraft and complex weapons. The agreement was made during a virtual summit between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his British counterpart Boris Johnson.
According to news reports, a ten-year roadmap was unveiled at the summit to boost overall India-UK ties. Under it, the two countries will strengthen cooperation to take “decisive and concerted actions” against globally proscribed terrorists and terror entities. They also agreed to increase maritime co-operation while India invited the UK’s liaison officer to the Indian Navy’s information fusion centre, a key facility that monitors the developments and movement of ships in the Indian Ocean region.
The roadmap will also broaden the dialogue on “combat air collaboration to determine how the UK can support India’s ambitions for their light combat air MK2 programme”. A statement explained that both prime ministers agreed to deepen their defence and security cooperation through the India-UK defence and international security partnership framework and welcomed the finalisation of the new logistics memorandum of understanding (MoU).
It said the two leaders agreed that there is a promising new era ahead for India-UK collaboration on key military technologies including combat aircraft, maritime propulsion systems, and complex weapons, harnessing the strengths of Indian and British industries, government laboratories, and academia.
The statement said such collaborations will help in delivering the next generation defence and security capabilities through co-development and co-production. The Joint Secretary in the Europe West division in the Ministry of External Affairs, Sandeep Chakravorty, said at a media briefing that the two sides discussed the co-development and co-production of military hardware.
They agreed to increase maritime co-operation, inviting the UK’s Liaison Officer to India’s information fusion centre, establishing an annual India-UK maritime dialogue, and strengthening operational coordination, the statement said.
“During the deployment of the UK’s Carrier Strike Group in the Indian Ocean Region in 2021, they agreed to hold joint exercises that will deepen cooperation in a region of critical strategic importance to both countries,” it said. The roadmap said India and the UK will work in a strategic partnership to strengthen efforts to tackle cyberspace crime and terrorist threats and develop a free, open, and secure Indo-Pacific region.
“Our shared interests will underpin greater cooperation in multilateral fora where a strengthened UK India relationship will build understanding among diverse partners on international security and will help set global rules for cybersecurity and space taking into account their respective interests,” it said.
The two sides will aim to further enhance cooperation to promote international security and stability in cyberspace including through bilateral cooperation on critical national infrastructure, healthcare, and vaccines.
The joint statement said both leaders reiterated their full support to a free, open, peaceful, and secure cyberspace and agreed to strengthen cooperation through an enhanced India-UK cybersecurity partnership to tackle growing cyber threats.
The statement noted that they affirmed their shared vision of an open, free, inclusive, and rules-based Indo-Pacific region. Underpinned by respect for territorial integrity and sovereignty, rule of law, transparency, freedom of navigation, and overflight in the international seas. Unimpeded lawful commerce and peaceful resolution of disputes.