ISC (Intelligence in Science), a Brussels-based advisory firm specialising in science, technology and R&D research and policy, will organise the second edition of the UNGA76 Science Summit around the 76th United Nations General Assembly (UNGA76) in New York in September 2021.
“Engagement with policy leadership is more important than ever: UNGA76 is a unique forum for science leadership to show how policy and political leadership can benefit from science and the scientific community. Central to this is the role of nonstate actors and the multilateral fora, which increasingly determine how priorities are set. Science needs to be part of this dialogue and at an earlier stage and inform outputs through thought leadership, evidence, insights, analysis, and innovation.We can only tackle the greatest challenges that we face and will face over coming decades – such as climate change, pandemics and biodiversity loss – through transparent, open and agile research collaboration. We must bring the widest possible range of resources, expertise and perspectives to bear on solutions which will benefit people across the globe.”
The virtual meeting aims to raise awareness of the role and contribution of science to the attainment of the United Nation’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). It will demonstrate initiatives that provide models for global science mechanisms and activities supporting the SDGs, particularly in science infrastructure and capacity building. Science is more than a funding prioritisation exercise: it can improve all policy-making areas and play a more critical role in achieving policy objectives and the benefits to people everywhere, including responses to global challenges.
South African students are eligible to register to join the next cohort of the African Launchpad initiative (AAL), which offers free nanodegrees through Coursera, edX, and Udacity. The courses include the fields of artificial intelligence, games and applications development and virtual reality.
The initiative was first announced in Egypt in 2018, and is an Africa-wide platform that aims to build capacity of Egyptian and African youth and foster the establishment of sustainable African startups in the area of the advanced ever-changing app and game technologies. AAL works by availing a high-quality, technology-learning online platform through crowd-sourcing top online content developed by prestigious universities and leading companies, and delivered through three leading MOOCs (Coursera, edX, and Udacity). Participants will need to dedicate approximately 10 hours per week throughout the track duration in order to be able to finish in time.
To register, click here, and to find out more details and available learning tracks, click here.
The latest research published by eResearch Office’s Dr Frederic Isingizwe on detecting defects in fresh agri-food products dealt with detecting soft damage to apple fruit while they are still invisible to the naked eye.
Damage to fresh agri-food products due to brute impact or compression force can occur during handling and transport, can be invisible at an early stage but becomes more pronounced with time, either in the consumer’s hands or on a retailer’s shelf. Such damage to fresh produce accelerates the deterioration of fruit and vegetables and can facilitate infections by micro-organisms, which makes products unsafe to consume.
The research was conducted to aid with sorting and grading fresh products, either at an industrial or smaller scale. We demonstrated that these invisible defects can be detected using shortwave hyperspectral imaging techniques and by using machine learning algorithms, we established the degree to which the differentiation of defective from sound apple fruits is feasible.
As AI continues to mature, nations around the globe are adopting it more and more to drive large-scale transformation and competitiveness; Africa is no stranger to this. From agriculture and health services to translating languages, AI can play an important role in helping Africa tackle economic problems.
Creating an AI ecosystem and forging local and global relationships is vital. During the past decade, local groups of industry practitioners and researchers have been actively hosting events, including Data Science Africa and Deep Learning Indaba, towards this goal. The African machine learning community has been steadily growing.
This August, on 18th and 25th, IBM Research Africa is inviting academics, students, developers, researchers and AI practitioners to a dialogue on the future of AI through this series of seminars delivered by some of IBM Research’s leading Scientists in Africa and other global labs. With a focus on advances in trustworthy AI, neural and symbolic learning, reasoning and language understanding, this series will launch a continent-wide conversation on the future of AI and the role of the African computing community in inventing what’s next for AI in Africa.
To learn more on the event, follow the link here and to register, click here.
Kikapu is UWC’s online institutional research data repository. It is a versatile platform for publishing and accessing research data and scholarly outputs, and accepts a wide variety of non-traditional research outputs and file formats. Research data and any associated documents can be stored and shared in either primary or refined versions.
Introduction to Research Data Management and Kikapu
The webinar will cover the following:
Introduction to Research Data Management (RDM) and Kikapu: – What is research data – Why publish research data – Open Access – FAIR Data principles
Introduction to Kipaku – UWC’s Institutional Research Data Repository – Creating an account – Uploading content (datasets) – Publishing uploaded content (datasets) – Citing published content – Tracking record statistics
UWC’s Forensic DNA Lab (FDL) hosted an eWorkshop (online workshop) on using the Command Line Interface, Unix, shell and other tools for genomics.
The course was aimed at graduate students and research scientists who will work with genomic and bioinformatic datasets for the first time and ran from 10thJune to 15thJuly in two hours weekly sessions.
Seventeen (17) participants were registered, including staff, Honours, Masters and PhD students from different institutions including the South African Biodiversity Institute; University of the Western Cape; Stellenbosch University; University of Johannesburg; University of Pavia (Italy) and ICGEB/UCT.
More about the eWorkshop
Command line interface (CLI) and graphic user interface (GUI) are different ways of interacting with a computer. The CLI ‘is a text-based interface used to interact with software and operating system by typing commands into the interface and receive a response in the same way’. The GUI on the other hand, is a visual-based interface featuring the use of graphic images such as windows, icons and menus, and is navigated mostly using a mouse and the keyboard sometimes.
The CLI is important for proficiency in genomics as most bioinformatics tools use the shell and have no graphical interface. Importantly, CLI is essential for using remote high performance computing centers e.g. ILIFU, CHPC.
The course was designed to impart the following knowledge and skills to the participants:
Discuss practical differences between Unix and Windows;
Navigate and manipulate files and folders using standard bash commands;
Write basic scripts for bash including piping between commands;
Access the ILIFU HPC and submit simple scripts to SLURM; and
Discuss folder/directory structure for genomic projects.
The ilifu cluster computing infrastructure was used for training tasks, which included lessons on basic Unix bash commands and practical activities which required specialised Singularity containerized software.
DIRISA (the Data Intensive Research Initiative of South Africa) has organised a student datathon to showcase how open research data can be used to come up with creative and innovative solutions to some of South Africa’s problems. It is open to undergraduate and graduate students above the age of 18, and is free to enter.
DIRISA is one of the three pillars of South Africa’s National Integrated Cyber Infrastructure System (NICIS), and will be hosting the virtual four day tournament from 26 to 29 July 2021.
In this annual event, student teams from South African universities compete in the development of software applications based on data science, artificial intelligence and other leading edge technologies, to solve relevant South African challenges. Last year’s theme was To provide a South African solution related to the COVID-19 pandemic, and in 2021, participants will be expected to source open datasets to find solutions.
On 15 July, the eResearch Office hosted a NITheCS Roadshow at UWC titled ‘Transition from NITheP to NITheCS and how it can benefit your University‘. The session was moderated by eResearch Director Prof Mattia Vaccari, and Prof Francesco Petruccione (NITheCS Interim Director) gave a presentation and answered questions. Watch the video recording: