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10 Bits: The Data News Hotlist

by Aswin Prabhakar

This week’s list of top data news highlights covers February 17, 2024 to February 23, 2024 and includes articles on using virtual reality to help astronauts exercise and improving forest fire detection using AI.

1. Detecting Forest Fires

Beeline Kazakhstan, a telecom operator in Kazakhstan, has implemented a novel AI-based forest fire detection system, Orman-AI, using cameras mounted on antenna masts. This effort, in collaboration with the Kostanay Region’s environmental department, enhances the early detection and response to forest fires, aiming to mitigate the escalating threat posed by climate change.

2. Improving Access to LLMs

Google has unveiled open-source AI models, Gemma 2B and 7B, which provide developers with a more accessible alternative to its larger, closed AI model, Gemini. Google designed these lighter models to be run on standard computers, offering a blend of performance and affordability.

3. Advancing Women’s Health

The Myna Mahila Foundation, an India-based non-profit, introduced a chatbot for women’s reproductive health queries. The foundation seeks to dismantle barriers to information access, fostering a well-informed and empowered female population.

4. Enhancing IoT Connectivity

BT Group, a British telecom operator, has unveiled a narrowband IoT network designed to offer Internet connectivity to IoT devices across the UK. Covering 97 percent of the country, this network will support the advancement of smart cities by providing an Internet connection to low-data infrastructure such as underground water sensors and streetlights.

5. Diagnosing Heart Conditions

Researchers at the University of Texas at San Antonio are training AI to detect heart disease from arterial scans. The AI system learns to recognize early plaque buildup, a warning sign of possible heart attacks. This tool aims to help doctors catch heart risks sooner and save lives.

6. Writing Faster Online

Google has launched “Help me write,” an AI-powered feature for Chrome designed to assist users with composing text for online forms, emails, and reviews. Integrated within Chrome’s latest update, this tool leverages generative AI to provide context-aware writing suggestions, aiming to streamline the writing process and save time.

7. Improving Astronauts Workouts

Astronauts on the International Space Station are using a virtual reality headset in tandem with an exercise bike to simulate cycling on Earth, boosting their workout motivation and providing mental health benefits by virtually connecting them with natural environments.

8. Detecting Flaws in Wind Turbines

Researchers from École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne, Switzerland and the University of Glasgow, Scotland, have created a new AI tool to find flaws in wind turbine blades. This method uses radar and a computer program to check the insides of the blades without damaging them. It is a quick and energy-efficient way to check the integrity of the blades and can prevent expensive repairs.

9. Increasing Compute Power

Researchers at the University of California, Riverside, have introduced “simultaneous and heterogeneous multithreading” (SHMT). This new computer architecture method can double processing speeds while reducing power consumption using existing hardware in devices like smartphones and computers. This approach allows for the simultaneous use of GPUs, AI hardware accelerators, and other processing units, enabling parallel processing and avoiding data transfer bottlenecks.

10. Finding Prime Factors

Researchers at the University of Trento in Italy have developed a new method for prime factorization using quantum computers. This method can speed up the factorization process and has wide-ranging applications in optimization and computational problem-solving.



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