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10 Bits: The Data News Hotlist

by Morgan Stevens

This week’s list of top data news highlights covers May 28, 2022 to June 3, 2022 and includes articles on creating an AI system that can compose music and celebrating pride month with augmented reality.

1. Measuring Coral Reef Health

Researchers at the University of Exeter have created an AI system that uses sound recordings of a coral reef to determine the status of its health. The team trained the system with recordings of healthy and unhealthy reefs. In tests, the system diagnosed the health of reefs with 92 percent accuracy.

2. Reaching Exascale Computing

Frontier, a supercomputer at Oak Ridge National Laboratory, has reached exascale status, a benchmark in which the computer performs one quintillion operations per second. The supercomputer is the first in the world to do so.

3. Recreating Val Kilmer’s Voice

Val Kilmer, an American actor known for playing Tom “Iceman” Kazansky in Top Gun, partnered with Sonantic, a U.K.-based AI voice platform, to digitally recreate his voice. Kilmer lost his voice to throat cancer in 2014. Sonantic used an AI system and archival footage of his speaking voice to create a digital version, which Kilmer used to reprise his role in Top Gun: Maverick.

4. Delivering Food

Chick-fil-A, a U.S.-based chicken sandwich chain, has launched a trial to use sidewalk delivery robots at certain locations in California, Texas, and Florida. Nearby customers can use the robots to receive food within minutes.

5. Predicting Opioid Overdoses 

Researchers at the University of Pittsburgh, Carnegie Mellon University, University of Arizona, University of Utah, and University of Florida have created a machine learning model that can predict the risk of Medicaid beneficiaries overdosing on opioids within the next three months. The team trained the model to predict risks across different state lines and time periods by using pharmaceutical and health data from Medicaid beneficiaries in Pennsylvania and Arizona. 

6. Monitoring Air Quality

Researchers at Makerere University in Kampala, Uganda have created sensors that can collect data on air quality in the city. The sensors cost $150 a piece and can withstand extreme conditions. Previously, city officials collected data on air quality with sensors that cost $30,000 a piece and required frequent, expensive maintenance.

7. Writing Music

Researchers at Idaho State University have created an AI system that can compose pop music. The system, named Pop*, uses lyrics and notes from existing music and tweets matching a chosen aesthetic to create lyrics, notes, melody, rhythm, and chords for songs about love, breakups, and new beginnings.

8. Detecting Water Leaks

Sydney Water, a water utility company in Sydney, Australia, has permanently extended a trial to use acoustic sensors to detect leaks in water mains. The company installed 600 sensors on 13 kilometers of water mains in Sydney in 2019. Since the program’s start, the sensors have detected 160 leaks and saved 9,000 megaliters of water, the equivalent of 3,600 Olympic-size swimming pools.

9. Predicting Surgical Complications

Researchers at the University of Florida have created a machine learning model that can predict a patient’s risk of experiencing surgical complications as accurately as medical providers. The team trained the model with clinical, pharmaceutical, and demographic data from 58,000 patients. 

10. Displaying Rainbows

Times Square Arts, a nonprofit organization that displays public art in Times Square in New York City has partnered with Latvian-British artist Kristaps Ancāns to use augmented reality to display a rainbow over the plaza. Visitors can view the rainbow by scanning nearby QR codes with a special app. 

Image credit: Flickr user www.Pixel.la Free Stock Photos

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