Follow the news on Sudan News April 10, 2020 Find out more Organisation SudanAfrica News to go further Coronavirus infects press freedom in Africa SudanAfrica News April 6, 2020 Find out more Sudan : Press freedom still in transition a year after Omar al-Bashir’s removal March 11, 2003 – Updated on January 20, 2016 Seizure of a daily Receive email alerts News Covid-19 in Africa: RSF joins a coalition of civil society organizations to demand the release of imprisoned journalists on the continent On 9 March the Sudanese authorities confiscated the print-runs of the daily Khartoum Monitor, even before it was circulated.’We denounce this constant policy of harassment against independent newspapers. Summons, veiled threats, seizures-such has been the lot, for too long now, of this press which consequently incurs huge financial losses. We call on the Sudanese authorities to put an end to these practices’, said Robert Ménard, secretary-general of Reporters Without Borders.On 9 March the Sudanese authorities confiscated the English-language daily the Khartoum Monitor at the newspaper printworks. The same day, in the afternoon, Nhial Bol, the editor of the daily, was summoned by the security services. The following day, the latter declared that this censure was due to an article mentioning that the history of Islam in Sudan had not always been peaceful. Nhial Bol told Reporters Without Borders: ‘The aim of this type of confiscation was to make the newspaper incur financial difficulties’ RSF_en Help by sharing this information March 29, 2020 Find out more
The U.S. federal government has awarded more than $28 million to Harvard’s John A. Paulson School of Engineering and Applied Sciences (SEAS), Center for Brain Science (CBS), and Department of Molecular and Cellular Biology to develop advanced machine learning algorithms by pushing the frontiers of neuroscience.The Intelligence Advanced Research Projects Activity (IARPA) funds large-scale research programs that address the most difficult challenges facing the intelligence community.Intelligence agencies today are inundated with data — more than they are able to analyze in a reasonable amount of time. Humans, naturally good at recognizing patterns, can’t keep pace with the influx of new information. The pattern-recognition and learning abilities of machines, meanwhile, still pale in comparison to even the simplest mammalian brains.IARPA’s challenge: figure out why brains are so good at learning, and use that information to design computer systems that can interpret, analyze, and learn information as successfully as humans. To tackle this, Harvard researchers will record activity in the brain’s visual cortex in unprecedented detail, map its connections at a scale never before attempted, and reverse-engineer the data to inspire better computer algorithms for learning.“This is a moonshot challenge, akin to the Human Genome Project in scope,” said project leader David Cox, assistant professor of molecular and cellular biology and computer science. “The scientific value of recording the activity of so many neurons and mapping their connections alone is enormous, but that is only the first half of the project. As we figure out the fundamental principles governing how the brain learns, it’s not hard to imagine that we’ll eventually be able to design computer systems that can match, or even outperform, humans.”“This project is not only pushing the boundaries of brain science, it is also pushing the boundaries of what is possible in computer science.” — Hanspeter PfisterThese systems could be designed to detect network invasions, read MRI images, drive cars, or anything in between.The research team tackling this challenge includes Jeff Lichtman, the Jeremy R. Knowles Professor of Molecular and Cellular Biology; Hanspeter Pfister, the An Wang Professor of Computer Science; Haim Sompolinsky, the William N. Skirball Professor of Neuroscience; and Ryan Adams, assistant professor of computer science; as well as collaborators from MIT, Notre Dame, New York University, the University of Chicago, and Rockefeller University.The multi-stage effort begins in Cox’s lab, where rats will be trained to visually recognize various objects on a computer screen. As the animals are learning, Cox’s team will record the activity of visual neurons using next-generation laser microscopes built for this project with collaborators at Rockefeller, to see how brain activity changes. Then, a substantial portion of the rat’s brain — 1 cubic millimeter in size — will be sent down the hall to Lichtman’s lab, where it will be sliced ultra-thin and imaged under the world’s first multi-beam scanning electron microscope, housed in the Center for Brain Science.“This is an amazing opportunity to see all the intricate details of a full piece of cerebral cortex,” says Lichtman. “We are very excited to get started but have no illusions that this will be easy.”This difficult process will generate over a petabyte of data — equivalent to about 1.6 million CDs worth of information. This vast trove of data will then be sent to Pfister, whose algorithms will reconstruct cell boundaries, synapses, and connections, and visualize them in three dimensions.“This project is not only pushing the boundaries of brain science, it is also pushing the boundaries of what is possible in computer science,” said Pfister. “We will reconstruct neural circuits at an unprecedented scale from petabytes of structural and functional data. This requires us to make new advances in data management, high-performance computing, computer vision, and network analysis.”If the work stopped here, its scientific impact would already be enormous — but it doesn’t. Once researchers know how visual cortex neurons are connected to each other in three dimensions, the next task will be to figure out how the brain uses those connections to quickly process information and infer patterns from new stimuli. Today, one of the biggest challenges in computer science is the amount of training data that deep-learning systems require. For example, to learn to recognize a car, a computer system needs to see hundreds of thousands of cars. But humans and other mammals don’t need to see an object thousands of times to recognize it — they only need to see it a few times.In subsequent phases of the project, researchers at Harvard and their collaborators will build computer algorithms for learning and pattern recognition that are inspired and constrained by the connectomics data. These biologically-inspired computer algorithms will outperform current computer systems in their ability to recognize patterns and make inferences from limited data inputs. Among other things, this research could improve the performance of computer vision systems that can help robots see and navigate through new environments.“We have a huge task ahead of us in this project, but at the end of the day, this research will help us understand what is special about our brains,” Cox said. “One of the most exciting things about this project is that we are working on one of the great remaining achievements for human knowledge — understanding how the brain works at a fundamental level.”The Institute for Applied Computational Science (IACS) symposium on the Future of Computation in Science and Engineering will be held from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Friday in Science Center Hall B, 1 Oxford St., Cambridge. It will focus on the converging fields of neuroscience and computer science and machine learning. For more information, visit IACS.
Last week I penned a blog on what it’s like being a member of a credit union. I shared my feeling that most of us do not know what the experience is like because we are in fact employees with an account where we work. An entirely different experience.The day after that story ran I experienced first hand how awful it is to be an anonymous member. And it was my fault – I admit it. I totally forgot that I had scheduled my quarterly taxes to debit my checking account this month and it overdrew me. Luckily I had money in savings so my credit union transferred money to cover my house payment, which came in right after the taxes. They charged me $3.00 for the transfer. Not bad. But the next day three items came in and instead of transferring one time, the computer was set up to transfer individually so the credit union could collect $3.00 each time, and, for you compliance geeks out there you know what’s about to happen next … I’m dangerously close to my 6 unauthorized transfer limit from shares. The Reg D debacle.And so it happened the next day, two more transfers and also the day when I happen to check my balance. Not only did I hit magic number six, but then courtesy pay kicked in and the fee jumped to $30.00 to cover my cell phone bill. I’m out $48.00 in fees and I am now unable to make a transfer from shares to keep this from happening again. I call the 800 number (that boasts 24 hour service) but of course this is out of their realm of assistance and I’m told a note has been put on my file for them to transfer tomorrow for another $3.00 fee. continue reading » 7SHARESShareShareSharePrintMailGooglePinterestDiggRedditStumbleuponDeliciousBufferTumblr