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Weekly Discussion Topics and Weekly News Apr 23, 2010 1.) This ...
Weekly Discussion Topics and Weekly News <br />Apr 23, 2010 <br />1.) This Friday we are honored to have Dr. John Salerno as a guest lecturer for QUEST. Dr. Salerno is a world-class expert in many areas that are the focus of QUEST including fusion and situation awareness. For this week’s lecture we’ve asked Dr. Salerno to focus on his work on SITA, Situation Identification and Threat Assessment – understanding the adversary. In addition to QUEST interest with respect to solutions to this area (SITA) as a layered sensing driver problem, I hope to stimulate a discussion of the use of SITA ideas as a means to baseline a Libet soup generation of the competing plausible narratives. The idea being that we need to generate many possible interpretations of the world we are sensing that compete with the winning narrative becoming what we perceive (our qualia). SITA could provide an approach to generate the competing possible plausible narratives.<br />News Stories <br /><ul><li>Social networking makes it easier for patients to ask for help
developing social networking tool for cancer patients, family, friends…network members can offer assistance…not yet available to the public but in development…cancer patients like Bugler have a hard time asking for the assistance they need with household chores and other daily tasks. While patients feel guilty about inconveniencing others, their friends and family often don't know how to best offer their support…Researchers at the University of Washington are trying to bridge that gap with an online system called HealthWeaver. The project, which includes a social networking tool, aims to help cancer patients manage information about their care, get their questions answered and interact with others who can aid them in their treatment…envisioned Web site is a way for patients to ask for help, whether it be grocery shopping or a getting a ride to the doctor's office…Patients can choose from a slew of categories of things they might like assistance with, giving them ideas about what elements of their daily life would be made easier with someone else's help…calendar displays the patient's upcoming events, including upcoming treatments and appointments for each person. Each profile has a "helping quilt" with small photos of everyone who has signed up to help that person in some way…Online social networks are also crucial in helping patients in remote locations connect with others going through the same thing…University of Washington project also has status updates, so users can post how they're feeling or when their treatments are, as well as information about their health and life in general…"One of the participants described this in terms of her garden. She said, 'My garden is important to me. I put a lot of work into it. I really care about it,' " Skeels said. "She envisioned that if she could list her garden on a list like this, if people would remember that her whole life hasn't become about cancer, she still has the other things that she cares about, and they might offer to help her with her garden."… idea is that people would have the option to link their updates on the cancer networking tool to their Facebook profiles…advice to patients is that when someone says "let me know if I can help," take them up on that offer. They want to help and want to feel like they can do something for you…
believe AI has an opportunity to achieve a true breakthrough over the coming decade by at last solving the problem of reading natural language text to extract its factual content…by 2015 we will have a computer program capable of automatically reading at least 80% of the factual content across the entire English-speaking web, and placing those facts in a structured knowledge base…significance of this AI achievement would be tremendous: it would immediately increase by many orders of magnitude the volume, breadth, and depth of ground facts and general knowledge accessible to knowledge based AI programs…computers would be harvesting in structured form the huge volume of knowledge that millions of humans are entering daily on the web in the form of unstructured text…fortunate confluence of three trends. First, there has been substantial progress over the past several years in natural language processing for automatically extracting named entities (e.g., person names, locations, dates, products, ...) and facts relating these entities (e.g., WorksFor(Bill, Microsoft)). Much of this progress has come from new natural language processing approaches, many based on machine learning algorithms, and progress here shows no sign of slowing. Second, there has been substantial progress in machine learning over the past decade, most significantly on “bootstrap learning” algorithms that learn from a small volume of labeled data, and huge volumes of unlabeled data, so long as there is a certain kind of redundancy in the facts expressed in this data. To illustrate, when I type the query "birthday of Elvis Presley" into Google, it returns 437,000 hits. Scanning them, I estimate the web has tens of thousands of redundant expressions of the fact that "Elvis Presley was born on January 8, 1935." Importantly, the different statements of this fact are expressed in widely varying syntactic forms (e.g., "Presley, born January 8, 1935, was the son of ..."). Bootstrap learning algorithms can take great advantage of this kind of redundant, unlabelled data, to learn both the facts and how to extract facts from different linguistic forms. The third important trend is that the data needed for learning to read factual statements is finally available: for the first time in history every computer has access to a virtually limitless and growing text corpus (e.g., the web), and this corpus happens to contain just the kind of factual redundancies needed. These three trends: progress in natural language analysis, progress in machine learning, availability of a sufficiently rich text corpus with tremendous redundancy, together make this the right time for AI researchers to go back to one of the key problems of AI—natural language understanding—and solve it (at least for the factual content of language). *** this is not going to happen – without solving the qualia problem ***…approach it by forming a shared web repository where facts that are extracted from the web by different researchers’ efforts are accumulated and made accessible to all. This open-source shared repository should also accumulate and share learned rules that extract content from different linguistic forms. Working as a research community in this fashion seems the best way to achieve this ambitious goal…
2 Most Wanted Al Qaeda Leaders in Iraq Killed by U.S., Iraqi Forces
Iraq's two most wanted Al Qaeda terrorists were killed in a joint operation by U.S. and Iraqi troops…Vice President Joe Biden called the killing of two top Al Qaeda leaders in Iraq a "potentially devastating" blow to the terrorist network and said the operation signals a significant improvement in Iraq's security and intelligence gathering…U.S. military confirmed Monday that Al Qaeda in Iraq leaders Abu Ayyub al-Masri and Abu Umar al-Baghdadi were killed early Sunday morning in a raid led by U.S. and Iraqi forces, after a week of operations led them to a safehouse where the terror chiefs were hiding…"The death of these terrorists is potentially the most significant blow to Al Qaeda in Iraq since the beginning of the insurgency," the U.S. top commander in Iraq, General Raymond Odierno…Al-Masri's assistant and one of al-Baghdadi's sons were also killed in the raid, according to the U.S. military. Al-Masri became the head of Al Qaeda in Iraq after its former leader, Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, was killed in June of 2006…Odierno said that Iraqi intelligence services and U.S. special forces operations have continued to "degrade" Al Qaeda in Iraq over the past few months
CT scans for lung cancer produce many false positives and much anxiety, researchers say
Smokers who have a single CT scan to look for lung cancer have a one in five chance of having a false positive diagnosis, while those who have two such scans have a one in three chance of a false positive…The false positives, which indicate that a tumor is present when there actually is none, often lead to unnecessary invasive medical procedures and produce high levels of anxiety among patients who fear they may have a tumor…The false positives are twice as likely with a CT scan as they are with a conventional chest X-ray…CT scans, however, can detect much smaller tumors,so there has been a growing trend toward their use in such patients--even though no national body recommends they be used and most insurance companies refuse to pay for the expensive procedure because it has not been demonstrated to be effective…Several studies have produced conflicting results about whether such scans actually save lives, and many researchers are concerned because the high doses of X-rays used in the CT scans can themselves cause cancer…National Cancer Institute is conducting a major clinical trial in nearly 60,000 patients to determine whether CT scans do save lives. Results from the study should be available in another year or two…performed a pilot study on 3,190 patients who were randomly assigned to receive either a CT scan or a chest X-ray…Among those who received CT scans, 21% had a false positive after one scan and 33% after two scans. For those who received chest X-rays, 9% had a false positive after one and 15% had a false positive after two. More than half of those with a positive finding had a follow-up scan or chest X-ray. About 7% in the CT scan group and 4% in the chest X-ray group had an unnecessary invasive medical procedure, typically bronchoscopy…team could not determine whether the scans actually saved lives. That will come in the larger study…Researchers are looking at a variety of other techniques, including sniffing for certain chemicals in a patient's breath and searching for unique chemical markers in their blood. But until more accurate tests are developed, physicians will have to rely on these current flawed tests
http://www.technologyreview.com/computing/25079/?a=f</li></ul>Google's Amit Singhal is mining social networks to generate up-to-the-second search results…Social networking is changing the way we find information…How do you parse a tweet? Five years ago, that question would have been gibberish. Today, it's perfectly sensible, and it's at the front of Amit Singhal's mind. Singhal is leading Google's quest to incorporate new data into search results in real time by tracking and ranking updates to online content--particularly the thousands of messages that course through social networks every second…Real-time search is a response to a fundamental shift in the way people use the Web. People used to visit a page, click a link, and visit another page. Now they spend a lot of time monitoring streams of data--tweets, status updates, headlines--from services like Facebook and Twitter, as well as from blogs and news outlets…Ephemeral info-nuggets are the Web's new currency, and sifting through them for useful information is a challenge for search engines. Its most daunting aspect, according to Singhal, is not collecting the data. Facebook and Twitter are happy to sell access to their data feeds--or "
as they call them--directly to search providers; the information pours straight into Google's computers…What's really hard about real-time search is figuring out the meaning and value of those fleeting bits of information. The challenge goes beyond filtering out spam, though that's an important part of it…Google dominates traditional search by meticulously tracking links to a page and other signals of its value as they accumulate over time. But for real-time search, this doesn't work. Social-networking messages can lose their value within minutes of being written. Google has to gauge their worth in seconds, or even microseconds…Google is notoriously tight-lipped about its search algorithms, but Singhal explains a few of the variables the company uses to analyze what he calls "
Some are straightforward. A Twitter user who attracts many followers, and whose tweets are often "
by other users, can generally be assumed to have more authority. Similarly, Facebook users gain authority as their friends multiply, particularly if those friends also have many friends…sudden spike in the prevalence of a word in a message stream--earthquake, say--may indicate an important event. If a message on a commonly discussed topic includes unusual phrasing, that may signal new information or a fresh insight. Google, says Singhal, continuously scans for shifts in language and other deviations from predicted behavior…company is also working to connect message content to the geolocation data that's transmitted by smart phones…location of someone sending a message can matter a great deal. If you know that a person tweeting about an earthquake is close to the epicenter, chances are those tweets will be more valuable than those of someone hundreds of miles away…Other search providers, including Google's arch rival, Microsoft, are taking a more radical view…Sean Suchter, who runs Microsoft's Search Technology Center in Mountain View, CA, doesn't like the term real-time search, which he considers too limiting. He thinks Microsoft's Bing search engine should not just filter data flowing from social networks but become an extension of them…Ultimately, says Suchter, one-on-one conversations will take place within Bing, triggered by the keywords people enter. Real-time search, he predicts, will be so different from what came before that it will erase Google's long-standing advantages. "
History doesn't matter here,"
he says. After a pause, he adds, "
We're going to wipe the floor with them."
<br /><ul><li>Military Tests High-Tech Dirigibles in Utah
Two unmanned 233-foot-long balloons were launched Wednesday morning by the U.S. military about 80 miles west of Salt Lake City, designed to provide battlefield commanders with a bird's-eye view of cruise missiles or other threats…U.S. military has begun testing massive high-tech dirigibles -- designed to provide battlefield commanders with a bird's-eye view of cruise missiles or other threats -- in the skies over the Utah desert…Known as aerostats, the dirigibles are outfitted with radar and communications systems to provide long-range surveillance targeting threats from aircraft, ballistic and cruise missiles…aerostats were first flight-tested in Elizabeth City, N.J., last summer but were limited to a height of 3,000 feet. In Utah, the dirigibles are expected to fly some 10,000 feet above the U.S. Air Force's Utah Test and Training Range, where air space is restricted up to 58,000 feet, the military said. The dirigibles are tethered to processing stations on the ground, and each is capable of staying aloft for a month…aerostats will be less expensive to maintain and operate than conventional aircraft-based radar while providing battlefield commanders a bird's-eye view of threats in a given area…program is known formally as the Joint Land Attack Cruise Missile Defense Elevated Netted Sensor System, or JLENS</li></ul>Avatars can't hide your lying eyes<br /><ul><li>http://www.newscientist.com/article/mg20627555.600-avatars-cant-hide-your-lying-eyes.html
Spotting when someone is telling the truth could soon become easier, thanks to avatars that can mimic our real-world eye movements…Most virtual worlds, such as Second Life, are populated by avatars with static or pre-programmed gazes…make interactions feel more realistic is to reproduce a person's eye movement on their avatar…asked 11 volunteers personal questions, such as to name their favourite book, and told them to lie in some of their answers. During the interviews, the volunteers wore eye-tracking glasses that recorded their blink rate, direction and length of gaze, and pupil dilation…second group of 27 people then watched a selection of clips of avatars as they delivered the first group's answers. Some avatars had eye movements that mirrored those of the original volunteers, while others had no eye movement at all. The volunteers were asked whether they believed the avatars were being truthful or lying…participants were able to identify 88 per cent of truths correctly when the avatars had eye movement, but only 70 per cent without. Spotting lies was harder, but eye movement helped: 48 per cent accuracy compared with 39 per cent without…Enhancing expressive features such as eye movement could eventually make avatar-mediated communication feel more trustworthy than online video, because only relevant visual cues need to be displayed…technology could help in business meetings held in virtual environments, or to enhance communication between people with social phobias, where face-to-face interaction can seem daunting
Algorithm protects patients' personal information while preserving the data's utility in large-scale medical studies…Researchers at Vanderbilt University have created an algorithm designed to protect the privacy of patients while maintaining researchers' ability to analyze vast amounts of genetic and clinical data to find links between diseases and specific genes or to understand why patients can respond so differently to treatments…While the patient records in these databases are "anonymized," or stripped of identifiers such as name and address, they still contain the numerical codes, known as diagnosis codes or ICD codes, that represent every condition a doctor has detected…problem is, it's not all that difficult to follow a specific set of codes backward and identify a person…found that they could identify more than 96 percent of a group of patients based solely on their particular sets of diagnosis codes…Vanderbilt team designed an algorithm that searches a database for combinations of diagnosis codes that distinguish a patient. It then substitutes a more general version of the codes--for instance, postmenopausal osteoporosis could become osteoporosis--to ensure each patient's altered record is indistinguishable from a certain number of other patients…researchers applied it to 2,762 patients, then went back and tried to reconnect the study participants to their diagnostic codes. They were unable to do so. The algorithm also allows researchers to explicitly balance the level of anonymization according to the needs of their research…An inherent tension lies between using medical records for legitimate clinical research and concerns about patient privacy…researchers want to combine their clinical-code-protecting algorithm with other security mechanisms already in place, like protections for demographic information, to keep patient data as safe as possible…Generating data is expensive, and it's both good science and good etiquette to reuse data. The challenge is to do it while protecting people…
impressive collection of data on IED attacks in southern Afghanistan and western Pakistan that show not only more attacks but an acceleration of bomb making skill and use…IED bomber guild has increased in size and skill and taken their know-how on the road, compressing the training cycle. The rapid pace of innovation in consumer electronics which are used in most triggering devices, has allowed bombers to jump from one triggering method to another as soon as countermeasures show up in the field….an example of the rapid pace of bomber innovation, Barker said it took the Irish Republican Army 30 years to progress from command wire bombs to remotely triggered devices. “By contrast, it took about six years for militants to make the same improvements in Chechnya, three year for fighters in Gaza, and about 12 months for insurgents in Iraq…IED bazaar is found on the internet…How-to manuals and an extensive video catalog of attacks are readily available on the internet. The IED phenomenon has gone global, Meigs said, with drug cartels in northern Mexico now using the weapons…Most Taliban IEDs are detonated by remote radio frequency devices, despite the heavy use of radio frequency jammers there. Some have progressed to using low-metal switches that are difficult to detect with mine detectors…Nearly 80 percent of all casualties in southern Afghanistan are caused by IEDs…troops patrol on foot more in Afghanistan than Iraq…one of the deadliest insurgent weapons from Iraq, explosively formed penetrators (EFPs), a finely-machined, shaped-charge warhead able to penetrate the heaviest armor, have not shown up in significant numbers in Afghanistan…exclusively Shiite weapon…solution to IED attacks is not more spending on new technologies but better human intelligence on the bomber networks, finding a human solution to a human problem…training his teams provided troops in the field greatly decreased the number of lethal IED attacks in Iraq as they learned to better spot the devices
propose a novel form of "arms control"…cyber security equivalent of "arms control" difficult to achieve. But a pair of researchers yesterday proposed methods of deterrence that they believe could work in cyberspace…argue that surveillance on computer networks and other forms of intelligence can often provide the clues needed to expose a potential hacker, and this exposure may often serve as enough of a deterrent…"Sometimes just being identified is enough to prevent an attack from taking place, because hackers depend on anonymity and surprise to succeed,"… another sign that multinational talks are expanding on cyber security, the attendees at the conference included a delegation from the Chinese government as well as the White House senior director for cyber security, Chris Painter. Painter declined to be interviewed…Wingfield noted that countries who want to defend themselves face high hurdles. The threat of a cyber attack can be enormous, but might not be defined under international law as an "armed attack," which would allow for an armed response…."There is no international code of conduct for cyberspace," said Charles Barry, a senior research fellow at the Center for Technology and National Security Policy at National Defense University, in Washington, DC. "Coalescing common rules will be long and arduous, requiring continuous dialogue among nations, the private sector, and international stakeholders."