Issue 160: CognitionX Data Science, AI and Machine Learning

As we’ve seen time and again, AI is having a tremendous impact on healthcare. This is both in regards to medical research (such as with peer review) and in regards to assisting doctors with medical treatment.

We also discuss below Oracle’s partnership with NTT Data to integrate the cloud into healthcare analytics platform. This is an important step forward in bringing the cloud and big data to healthcare.

Don’t forget to enter our exclusive raffle for a chance to win 50% off vendor/practitioner tickets to Wired Health. Share, follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram to increase your chance of winning!


Tabitha UntiltheBotsTakeOver Goldstaub 


AI being used to assist in peer review

Recently, a competition called ScienceIE challenged teams to create programs that could extract the basic facts out of sentences in scientific papers, and compare those to the basic facts from sentences in other papers. “The broad goal of my project is to help scientists and practitioners gain more knowledge about a research area more quickly,” says Isabelle Augenstein, a post-doctoral AI researcher at University College of London, who devised the challenge.

That’s a tiny part of AI’s biggest challenge: processing natural human language. Competitors designed programs to tackle three subtasks: reading each paper and identifying its key concepts, organizing key words by type, and identifying relationships between different key phrases. And it’s not just an academic exercise: Augenstein is on a two-year contract with Elsevier, one of the world’s largest publishers of scientific research, to develop computational tools for their massive library of manuscripts.

Future of Health

NTT Data-Oracle partnership to integrate cloud into healthcare analytics platform

NTT Data and Oracle have expanded a partnership with the intent to incorporate end-to-end cloud computing features into the latter’s unified healthcare analytics platform. Both companies aim to help healthcare organizations merge, expand or replace data warehouse and data aggregation tools with Oracle’s Healthcare Foundation platform, NTT Data said Monday.

Dan Allison, president of NTT Data’s global healthcare and life sciences practice, said the partnership will offer a cloud-based system that will work to help providers manage patient outcomes and business performance.

Business Impact of AI

Redfin CTO says machine learning needs human help

As Redfin began building its own machine-learning capabilities, it ran into a problem: Employees weren’t using them. Bridget Frey, the firm’s CTO, said in an interview that there was a key reason for that: At first, Redfin didn’t leave room in these systems for the real estate agents who were supposed to use them to make modifications.

For example, a Listings Matchmaker feature generated a list of personalized recommendations for homebuyers, based on their interests. In its initial iteration, agents weren’t able to add recommendations they thought would be useful.

“And the agents were saying ‘I’m an expert in this neighbourhood, I know that this house is perfect, why are you not letting me add it in?’ And we just realized that our engineers … were relying too much on the machine learning,” Frey said. “We needed to take what was special about our agents and use that to enhance the algorithm and enhance the experience for our customer.”

Tools of the Trade

Nvidia Tesla K80 GPUs added to Google Compute Engine and Cloud Machine Learning

Google has added beta support for Nvidia Tesla K80 GPUs to allow Cloud Platform customers to get extra computational power for deep learning tasks.

Support for the Nvidia GPU-powered virtual machines will be available in three Google Cloud Platform regions with support for creating GPU virtual machines
using the Cloud Console being coming next week.

Users can now attach up to eight GPUs (four Nvidia Tesla K80 boards) to any custom Google Compute Engine virtual machine. Each GPU has 2,496 stream processors and 12 GB of GDDR5 memory.

These GPUs can be used to accelerate a variety of computing and analysis workloads, from basic tasks such as video and image transcoding, to more complicated processes such as seismic analysis, molecular modelling, finance, fluid dynamics, and visualization.

Products We Love

Blueprint Reality’s MixCast tool lets you broadcast from VR

Blueprint Reality is launching a tool dubbed MixCast VR that lets both game developers and consumers create their own mixed reality videos from within VR.

The Vancouver, Canada-based company recently released its first title, the Awaken VR puzzle game, on the HTC Vive VR headset. And now it is releasing one of the tools that it used to build that game.

MixCast VR is the first in a suite of tools. It is a VR broadcast and presentation system that enables VR to be an enhanced, shared, and seamless experience and simplifies the process of creating mixed-reality videos. The software development kit (SDK) is available for developers on the Unity Asset Store, and the application for end users is available on Steam.


Make your drawings come alive with pix2pix

pix2pix is a program that lets you draw something in a box and have a computer turn it into a photo, using conditional adversarial nets. There is now a website version of it, and it is kind of addictive. You can transform labels into a picture of a building facade or a drawing of a cat/shoe/handbag into a picture (which can turn out quite horrifying!).

The models were trained and exported with the script from pix2pix-tensorflow. The interactive demo is made in javascript using the Canvas API and talks to a backend server that runs the images through Tensorflow. The backend server can run Tensorflow itself, or forward the requests to Cloud ML a hosted Tensorflow service run by Google.

Ethics Question for the Day

Transhumanists, biohackers, grinders: Who are they and can they really live forever?

Can transhumanists, biohackers and grinders live forever? The answer is maybe soon — at least according to them.

Transhumanists, like some scientists, believe that ageing is a disease, and they are not afraid of taking human evolution into their own hands by harnessing genetic engineering, nanotechnology and artificial intelligence.

Sydney-based IT innovation manager and self-described transhumanist Peter Xing says Australians aged in their 20s and 30s could now end up living long enough to live forever. “That means staying healthy for as long as you can until such a point that there’s the technology to enable you to live indefinitely,” Xing explains.


Visual discovery at Pinterest

Over the past three years Pinterest has experimented with several visual search and recommendation services, including Related Pins (2014), Similar Looks (2015), Flashlight (2016) and Lens (2017).

This paper presents an overview of their visual discovery engine powering these services, and shares the rationales behind their technical and product decisions such as the use of object detection and interactive user interfaces. They conclude that this visual discovery engine significantly improves engagement in both search and
recommendation tasks.

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