Monday, March 11, 2019

DATAx Singapore Continues to Shape the Data Science Community

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LONDON, March 8, 2019 PRNewswire -- More than 500 engaged data community members gathered together on March 5 & 6 to celebrate the latest instalment of the global series of data-driven festivals, DATAx Singapore, with the theme "Data Science in the Real World". With delegates in attendance including technology leaders, financial innovators and smart cities experts, as well as representatives from emerging startups and Singapore government bodies, the event looks to have caught the imagination of Singapore's booming data sector. Leadership Panel - Machine learning & AI from a leader's perspective, panellists including Head of Data Science from Danone Nutricia; Diniel Kusmanto, Global Head, HR Analytics, ASM; Paul HodgeUniversity Lecturer & Data Visualisation Evangelist, Analytics Guest Speaker, & Premkumar Chandra Shegaran, Lead Product Data Scientist, The Center of Applied Data Science More Organized by Innovation Enterprise, DATAx Singapore 2019 featured 70 speakers across four stages, covering Asia's critical data solutions and valuable business practices, and included leading brands such as Amazon, IBM, Netflix, Oracle, AIA, Axiata, Dyson, Singapore Exchange Limited, Boston Consultant Group, Citibank, American Express and many more. With more than 30 hours of unrivalled content covering topics from machine learning and data analytics, to automation and the cloud, those in attendance learned about cutting-edge technologies and the latest data solutions being implemented at businesses around the globe. Speaking on the DATAx Leadership and Innovation stage, Dr. Meri Rosich, CDO and Head of Data Science at Visa, spoke about today's biggest challenges in respect to the scale of data, which she stated were: "Explainability and ensuring there isn't human bias." Dr. Rosich also explained to delegates that when hiring, she "looks for people who come from different backgrounds such as airlines, mobile and gaming" as the payments giant looks to address some of the data talent and knowledge issues it faces. The AI in Finance afternoon session grabbed the attention of the fiscally-focused delegates in attendance with speakers from the likes of Standard Chartered Bank and Singapore Exchange Limited, while the Woman in AI Lunch brought some of the major issues facing gender disparity in the tech world to the fore, and offered solutions on how to solve them. Speaking on the Data-Driven Marketing stage at DATAx Singapore, Pedro Uria-Recio, Group VP and Head of Analytics at Axiata, declared: "Hey millennials! You'll be dead before the end of offline marketing." During his session entitled "Leveraging analytics for more efficient media attribution and allocation", Uria-Recio reassured delegates that the world of offline marketing remains alive, having measured the impact and performance of offline media such as TV over the last 40 years, with each of Axiata's companies spending about $10m a month on advertising, of which 50% goes into offline media. The Smart Cities stage during the second afternoon session of this year's event, featured presentations from Jim Roovers, Head of Applied Data Science of Dyson, who spoke on "Smart manufacturing -- Dyson digital motor" and shared the journey of the development and manufacturing of the Dyson digital motor. Chris Clarke, Head of Events at DATAx Singapore organizers Innovation Enterprise, remarked: "DATAx Singapore has brought 500 multidiscipline data scientists from across the AC region to share challenges and work together to push data science forwards through intra-industry collaboration. " "Real-life practitioners from Visa, Axiata, World Vision and American Express have been sharing their ground-breaking success stories and we are delighted that DATAx is continuing to shape the data science community." Story continues Luke Bilton, Managing Director of Innovation Enterprise, commented: "DATAx is a new style of event, designed to arm early adopters with the tools they need to move fast. We are excited to welcome the world's most innovative brands and partners to build something unique." "While AI has now become a real opportunity, it also brings real 'survival of the fittest' challenges -- only fast-moving businesses are most likely to succeed," Bilton added. To continue and extend the success of DATAx Singapore, DATAx is proud to reveal that this global series of data-driven festivals will return to Singapore's Suntec Singapore Convention and Exhibition Centre next year. Early registration for DATAx Singapore 2020 is now open. Check out the festival website for more information.  


Advice from a past science fair champion 

Jim Mitchell, guest columnist Forty-one years ago, when I was 17, I worked on something that made my heart beat faster each time I thought of it. I worked on this idea after my work chores on the farm were complete, and with a great amount of passion. The project did not originate with my school. I began it in the summer of 1977. I had been fixing television sets and reading my uncle’s Air Force television theory book. Back then, TVs ran on tubes and required a lot of maintenance. This was a skill I independently developed that helped carry me into college and pay the bills. It followed the time I built a digital clock and calculator from parts and chemicals ordered from a Popular Electronics magazine. While reading a 1977 issue of Popular Electronics, I saw a new part: A LED dot matrix display for displaying the alphabet, not just numbers. From that I had an epiphany of building a large, flat screen television out of my own custom field of LEDs. Back then there was nothing remotely projecting the advent of a flat screen TV — this was an original idea. I worked all summer on the project. No one quite understood what I was doing. By the fall I had the small prototype working in my bedroom. I used a new computer memory addressing chip to “address” a custom field of LEDs on a custom circuit board I had etched myself. I used my mother’s transistorized kitchen television set to drive the necessary signals into my custom synchronization circuit and LED matrix. The flat LED TV screen design took a lot of time and effort to solve the synchronization challenges, but it finally worked and surprised my family. I entered the project into the Westinghouse Science Talent Search as a paper that November. It won the honors group in January 1978. That got me invitations to scholarships and colleges. I worked on plans to build a larger one. That March I was asked if I had anything for a science fair project. My first answer was no because I felt the design was a bit of a secret — not originally intended for the fair. I was asked again a week later and I agreed. ARTICLE CONTINUES BELOW ADVERTISEMENT 
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 Thank you for signing up for our e-newsletter! You should start receiving the e-newsletters within a couple days. It won the state science fair competition. I had judges that included local Rockwell Collins engineers that appreciated it. The most rewarding aspect was the trial and error and discovery. The advice I have for young science fair participants is to think original. Hanging a television on the wall was my stated goal to my family, and I did just that with my model at a time when television picture tubes weighed well over 100 pounds. I recommend, if in your gut you believe you have a “home run,” to consult a patent professional. I have twice been a judge at the International Science and Engineering Fair. They take intellectual property seriously. I do wish I had the professional help they have today given the commercial outcome of the flat screen — mine was the front-runner. I know competition is near and I wish everyone the best of luck with their projects. I encourage contestants to use their intuition to envision a “profound idea” — be original, you have the ability to breakdown difficult problems. • Jim Mitchell is retired and has 50 patents with Rockwell Collins. His 1978 breakthrough was a “Flat Low-Power Light Emitting Diode Television Screen.” He wishes all competitors good luck in the March 16 science fair.


Maine science center to study warming impact on cod, lobster 

Published 10:28 am PDT, Sunday, March 10, 2019 PORTLAND, Maine AP — The National Science Foundation is awarding nearly $800,000 to an ocean science center in Maine that studies the warming of the sea and its impact on fisheries. The foundation is giving the money to the Gulf of Maine Research Institute for work the center is doing on the impact of climate change on the growth and population patterns of cod and lobster. Cod and lobster were once both major fisheries in Maine, but their productivity has gone in opposite directions in recent years. The cod fishery collapsed, but the lobster catch grew at a record pace this decade. Republican Sen. Susan Collins and independent Sen. Angus King say the money helps the institute "better understand and mitigate the impacts of changing ocean conditions on our communities, marine ecosystems, and economy." '; window._taboola = window._taboola || ; _taboola.push{ mode: 'thumbnails-a', container: taboolaBATContainerLabel, placement: taboolaBATPlacementLabel, target_type: 'mix' };


University of Wisconsin-Green Bay offers water science major 

GREEN BAY, Wis. — The University of Wisconsin-Green Bay plans to offer a new undergraduate degree in water science this fall in part to fill a worker shortage as the state invests more into water quality programs. The school's new water science major is the first of its kind in the University of Wisconsin system, said John Luczaj, a geoscience professor at the Green Bay campus. The major will combine science with courses in public policy, Luczaj told Wisconsin Public Radio . "There's no one particular field called water science that the U.S. Department of Labor classifies," said Luczaj, who's also helping coordinate the degree. "But what we see is that water touches nearly every field of science and technology and public policy." The new degree comes as Gov. Tony Evers recently included borrowing up to $70 million in the state budget for water quality programs. Evers pledged to address drinking water contamination during his first year in office. But the industry is struggling to meet the demands for the programs with an aging workforce and a shortage of trained new talent. The water science degree "will give our students something new, that they can package together and go out in the working world and focus on water problems," he said. Students have bodies of water such as Green Bay and Lake Michigan in the campus' backyard, and can study groundwater issues related to nitrates, bacteria and viruses in the karst areas of eastern Wisconsin, Luczaj said. "Nutrient runoff problems with nitrogen and phosphorus in the bay of Green Bay that produce cyanobacterial blooms and cause a hypoxic zone or a dead zone in the bottom of Green Bay — these are all big challenges that are going to continue for some point in the future," he said.


For Bayer Crop Science, decision science breeds success 

James Swanson’s deep belief in analytics began with a sensor in the back of a truck that was moving seeds from the farm to the processing plant. The idea was simple: Use the data from the sensor to prevent seed loss. "It was a sensor with a GPS location on it," says Swanson, CIO and head of digital transformation at Bayer Crop Science. "We could track the truck and put a little model together to see if the truck was getting hot. If so, the grains could get destroyed, so move that truck to the head of the queue before it does." Since then, Swanson and his team have applied analytics to every aspect of the business, from full-scale logistics and routing, to demand forecasting and planning. “Once you get the data and you apply a few models, people start to understand it," Swanson says. Today, Bayer Crop Science is leveraging artificial intelligence AI and machine learning to apply data-driven decision-making to R&D, supply chain, commercial salesmarketing, and digital farming. Dubbed Integrating Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning into Every Business Decision, the project earned Bayer Crop Science a 2019 Digital Edge 50 Award for digital innovation.


Trump Administration Shortcuts Science To Give California Farmers More Water 

When then-candidate Donald Trump swung through California in 2016, he promised Central Valley farmers he would send more water their way. Allocating water is always a fraught issue in a state plagued by drought, and where water is pumped hundreds of miles to make possible the country's biggest agricultural economy. Now, President Trump is following through on his promise by speeding up a key decision about the state's water supply. Critics say that acceleration threatens the integrity of the science behind the decision, and cuts the public out of the process. At stake is irrigation for millions of acres of farmland, drinking water for two-thirds of Californians from Silicon Valley to San Diego, and the fate of endangered salmon and other fish. Farmers will only get more water after federal biologists complete an intricate scientific analysis on how it would affect endangered species. But an investigation by KQED finds that analysis will be done under unprecedented time pressure, with less transparency, less outside scientific scrutiny, and without, say federal scientists, the resources to do it properly. "It's a very aggressive schedule," says a former federal biologist familiar with the matter who did not want to be named for fear of retribution. "And I think it runs the risk of forcing them to make dangerous shortcuts in the scientific analysis that the decisions demand." That concern is shared by others. According to internal emails obtained under the Freedom of Information Act, federal scientists have raised two major concerns: that their agency lacks the staff to undertake the analysis, and that the Trump Administration is skewing the rules to boost the water supply for Central Valley farms. Some see the fingerprints of acting interior secretary David Bernhardt, who once helped lead the charge to increase water pumping and weaken environmental standards in the Delta. At the time he was a lawyer for the Fresno-based Westlands Water District, the largest agricultural water agency in the country. Bernhardt is already under scrutiny after a recent New York Times story found that, shortly after joining the Interior Department in 2017, he directly advocated on Westlands' behalf to get more water for farmers at the expense of endangered fish, even though federal rules precluded him from lobbying. The Campaign Legal Center, a non-profit ethics organization in Washington, D.C., filed a complaint demanding that the Interior Department's inspector general open an investigation into whether Bernhardt is using his public office to benefit his former client. Bernhardt now oversees two of the three agencies under orders from the White House to expedite the new rules shaping California's water future: the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation. What we decide to do in the Delta really will determine if we drive our native species extinct and threaten thousands of fishing jobs. - Doug Obegi, attorney, Natural Resources Defense Council Fish vs. farms Just five years ago, Bernhardt stood before a panel of judges on the Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals. He was there arguing on behalf of Westlands Water District, and its 600,000 acres of farmland, that federal environmental rules protecting salmon should be thrown out. Now, as head of the agency that controls decisions affecting his former client, Bernhardt is leading the charge to replace those rules. Agricultural water districts have long disdained the current rules, officially called "biological opinions" and written in 2008 and 2009. They require state and federal water pumps in the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta, an estuary east of San Francisco Bay, to slow down when endangered salmon, smelt and other fish are nearby. That's because the pumps are so powerful, they reverse the natural flow of water in the estuary, killing the fish and altering their habitat. But limits on water pumping can diminish the water supply for Central Valley farmers, leaving them scrambling to fill the gap. This tension is often expressed in terms of "fish vs. farms." In October 2018, President Trump signed a memo ordering these pumping rules be rewritten more quickly than in the past. "I look at these incredible, beautiful fields and they're dry as a bone," Trump said just after signing the memo. "It's a disgrace." "That's definitely on our mind," says Erin Curtis, spokeswoman for the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation. "The president has outlined in his memo that we need to take a new look at how we're operating these projects in a way that we can maximize water deliveries." As a first step, the Bureau, which operates a sprawling network of dams and water pumps, released an 871-page proposal in February for how it would like the rules to operate. This new "biological assessment" calls for providing billions of gallons more water for agricultural and urban water districts, an increase of 10 to 15 percent depending on the year. That would leave less in the Delta for endangered fish. Environmental groups are alarmed at the plan. "I think this is a proposal for extinction," says Doug Obegi, an attorney at the Natural ResourcesDefense Council in San Francisco. "What we decide to do in the Delta really will determine if we drive our native species extinct and threaten thousands of fishing jobs." I look at these incredible, beautiful fields and they're dry as a bone. - President Trump in October 2018, as he ordered a fast-paced push to allocate more water for California farmers Not enough staff to do the job According to federal law, two federal wildlife agencies, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, must now review the Bureau of Reclamation's plan. If it doesn't do enough to protect threatened fish, the agencies have the obligation and legal authority to write rules that do. These biological rules will replace the current ones, although they could be challenged in court. Under President Trump's decree, federal biologists must write those opinions in 135 days, the minimal amount of time guaranteed under the Endangered Species Act. Given the complexity of the issues, the agencies have previously needed more time than that to complete their analysis, from 60 to 80 percent more time. They must look at how water flows across hundreds of miles through different rivers, dams and levees, and then forecast how it would affect the life cycle of half a dozen threatened species. These include endangered Chinook salmon and threatened steelhead and green sturgeon, as well as endangered killer whales in the Pacific Ocean, which depend on salmon for food. "How often does the Interior Secretary write a memo forcing that an opinion happens in 135 days?" says Cay Goude, former assistant field supervisor for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service office in Sacramento. "It's never happened to my knowledge." Goude worked on previous biological rules for the agency, on the Delta smelt, before retiring. "You don't want to rush anything and do a poor job," she says, "because it's very important to have the scientific facts accurate and appropriate." Even before Trump tightened the timeline one of the agencies, NOAA Fisheries, warned that it did not have the resources to do the analysis. In July 2018, Maria Rea, the assistant regional administrator in the California Central Valley Office of NOAA, described the agency's dilemma in an email to her internal staff. "We do not have resources to undertake this consultation," Rea wrote. She said the previous biological opinion in 2009 took 30 part-time staff and 10 full-time staff, and they needed 246 days to complete the process. NOAA is working to reassign staff, currently on other projects, to at least achieve similar staffing levels, according to agency staff who were not authorized to speak publicly. The federal government shutdown in January slowed that process. Eliminating protections for threatened fish According to the emails obtained by KQED, federal wildlife scientists also are concerned that the Bureau of Reclamation is pushing to give more water to agriculture at the expense of threatened species. In an email to fellow NOAA Fisheries staff last summer, Water Operations and Delta Consultations Branch Chief Garwin Yip outlined his misgivings about cases where there is scientific debate on what the fish need. "Absence of definitive science should not be the reason to propose actions more aggressive towards water supply," Yip wrote. Both Yip and Rea declined to comment about their emails. While the Bureau of Reclamation has updated its proposal since then, it's unclear whether those concerns have been addressed. Some environmental groups say the agency has cherry-picked the science in favor of boosting water for farmers. "It's not science, basically," says Jon Rosenfield, senior scientist with San Francisco Baykeeper, an environmental group in San Francisco. "It's an extraordinarily selective read and deliberate misinterpretation of the information that we have." Rosenfield points to several of the protections the Bureau of Reclamation is proposing to eliminate, such as rules that guarantee water flows through crucial parts of the estuary when fish are most at risk because they are closer to the pumps. The agency says "dynamic rules," which rely on new technology that monitors where the fish are in the Delta, can do a better job than fixed rules. "We feel that what we've proposed both helps protect listed species as well as provides more water supply flexibility," says Russ Callejo, assistant regional director for the Mid-Pacific Region of the Bureau of Reclamation in Sacramento. "We think it does both." Environmental groups are skeptical of that claim, saying the Bureau is proposing to dial back water pumping only after the fish are significantly harmed. The wildlife agencies will have to evaluate that during their biological reviews. This is where some see the influence of Bernhardt, who told The New York Times that he directed a senior official to weaken protections for fish, and divert water to farms, as part of a broader administration policy to help rural America. No time for public review The internal emails also show the new environmental rules will receive less outside scientific review than before, which eliminates public involvement. Peer review, in which independent scientists assess other researchers' work, is a core practice of science, and previous biological rules have received that scrutiny. When the current rules were written in 2008, the draft biological opinion from NOAA Fisheries underwent an independent review by a panel of scientists. The process included a meeting where the public could attend and comment. This time, wildlife agencies say the Trump Administration's deadline won't allow for that. NOAA Fisheries, which is writing the environmental rules for salmon and other fish, plans to have some independent scientific review, according to agency staff. They say the draft biological rules will be sent out to individual scientists, but without public involvement or comment. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, which is writing the environmental rules for delta smelt, says the agency is planning some form of peer review as well. "We intend to incorporate peer review into the development of our biological opinion," says Shane Hunt, spokesman for the federal agency's Bay-Delta Fish and Wildlife Office. "We are still ironing out the details." Water districts have more say Meanwhile, as the public is frozen out, water districts will be given unprecedented access. For the first time, public water agencies, keen to maximize the amount of water pumped out of the Delta, are invited to be heavily involved in the development of the environmental rules. Theirfuture water supply depends on how the rules are crafted. "It's always a red flag when you have the regulated entity, the entity that stands to lose something, having control over the regulation process," says Rosenfield. "We don't let the tobacco companies determine what level of smoking is safe." It was a shift made in 2016 when Congress passed, and President Obama signed, the WIIN Act, giving water contractors the power to "have routine and continuing opportunities to discuss and submit information" to federal agencies developing the biological opinions. The act, pushed by Senator Dianne Feinstein and Central Valley Republicans, was an effort at compromise after years of water battles in California. Before the Bureau of Reclamation even finished its recent proposed plan, water agencies had the chance to submit their take on endangered species protections. "We have adhered to the WIIN Act," says the Bureau's Callejo. "We have involved the public water agencies." Westlands Water District, which previously employed Bernhardt, did not respond to questions about its involvement. Water agencies will also receive drafts of the biological rules from wildlife agencies. Under the law, their comments must be "afforded due consideration" by wildlife biologists. If the comments aren't adopted, those biologists must explain why. There are no plans to release the drafts to the public.


Essential Science: Listening to music impairs creativity 

The opinion that music boosts creativity has overturned by scientists from Lancaster University in the U.K. Not only is there no strong evidence that creativity is boosted, the researchers find that the opposite is often true: that listening to music disrupts the creative process. by researchers who say it has the opposite effect. The research is the outcome of a psychological study, assessing the effect of background music on people's performance. The study involved giving test subjects various verbal insight problems designed to tap into creativity and then seeing what the effect of background music was. For the test, the scientists ran three experiments involving verbal tasks. These were conducted in either a quiet environment or while subjects were exposed to background music with foreign unfamiliar lyrics; instrumental music without lyrics; or music with familiar lyrics. The actual tests consisted of activities like each participant being given three words such as dress, dial, flower and asked to find a single associated word in this case "sun" that can be combined to make a common word or phrase like sundress, sundial and sunflower. On assessing the results, lead researcher Dr. Neil McLatchie noted: "We found strong evidence of impaired performance when playing background music in comparison to quiet background conditions." It is reasoned that creativity is stymied because music disrupts the verbal working memory. The experimental outcomes are expanded on in the following video: This finding contrasts with other studies that show the opposite. For example, different research from Radboud University Nijmegen suggests that listening to happy music defined as classical music high on arousal and positive mood promotes more divergent thinking, which is seen as a key element of creativity. See: "Happy creativity: Listening to happy music facilitates divergent thinking". published in PLoS One. Research paper The research has been published in the journal Applied Cognitive Psychology, with the peer reviewed paper titled "Background music stints creativity: Evidence from compound remote associate tasks." Essential Science Neisseria meningitidis, often referred to as meningococcus, is a Gram-negative bacterium that can cause meningitis and other forms of meningococcal disease such as meningococcemia, a life-threatening sepsis. Xishan01 This article is part of Digital Journal's regular Essential Science columns. Each week Tim Sandle explores a topical and important scientific issue. Last week we profiled a new rapid microbiological method that can be used to determine if bacteria carry a gene that can cause resistance to two common antibiotics. The test has been trakled against ‘strep throat’ and other respiratory illnesses. The week before we found out that the chemical triclosan, found in many household products, like toothpaste and mouthwash, has can inadvertently make some bacteria more resistant to antibiotics.


Bringing the science of learning and development to more classrooms 

The Chan Zuckerberg Initiative CZI announced $3.72 million in grants to two initiatives working to further the understanding of how students actually learn and help educators translate that research into practices that support the needs of all students. “This body of work is rooted in an appreciation for the complexity of what teachers do everyday in the classroom, and a belief in the transformative potential of learning and developmental science,” said Sandra Liu Huang, head of education at CZI. “These organizations bring an understanding of what is grounded in evidence with an understanding of the real-world challenges –and opportunities–to help teachers and school leaders bridge the gap between research and practice.” The grants to the Science of Learning and Development Initiative and the Aspen Commission on Social, Emotional and Academic Development will be highlighted today during a keynote with Dr. Priscilla Chan, Dr. Brooke Stafford-Brizard and Dr. Bror Saxberg at SXSW EDU. The conversation will be moderated by Betsy Corcoran from EdSurge. The keynote will focus on the importance of providing educators access to new tools and research that help apply the principles of the science of learning and development in practical ways in the classroom. The grants reflect CZI’s larger mission in education to help more young people enter adulthood with the skills and abilities they need to reach their full potential. 
 
 
 
 These initiatives have partnered experts in educational practice, child and adolescent development and policy to produce findings and recommendations. The recommendations focus on how learning environments and experiences can be designed to best support student development and learning. The grants go beyond furthering the research that deepens our understanding of how children and adolescents develop key skills over time. The grants also will allow the Initiatives to develop and share concrete supports with teachers–and those who prepare and support our educators–to improve and expand effective integration of social emotional and cognitive development within academic instruction. It also will support the creation of safe, supportive and rigorous school environments through attention to relationships, and to prioritize whole adult development. Science of Learning and Development Initiative CZI has awarded $3.6 million in grants to support members of the Science of Learning and Development Initiative, a collaboration of education organizations, including the American Institutes for Research AIR, Learning Policy Institute LPI, Populace, Turnaround for Children and Education Counsel, committed to dramatically improving equity and outcomes for all students through the advancement of learning science. These grants support the work of these organizations to increase public awareness of the science of learning and development, to assemble a field-level landscape analysis of efforts to use this evidence, and to support better alignment and integration of this evidence in educator preparation programs. “Over the past two years, we have affirmed that the science of learning can have a profound impact on the educational outcomes for all children,” said Linda Darling-Hammond, President and CEO of the Learning Policy Institute and a leader of the collaborative’s work. “This investment will support the next phase of our work, which is focused on the alignment of science, practice, and policy in ways that enable broad-based, sustained — and scalable — outcomes.” The Aspen Institute National Commission on Social, Emotional, and Academic Development The Aspen Institute National Commission on Social, Emotional, and Academic Development aims to strengthen and accelerate efforts to meet students’ comprehensive learning and developmental needs. The Commission does this by learning from communities about how to re-envision how learning can fully integrate social, emotional, and cognitive development so that all children can succeed in school, careers, and life. CZI’s $120,000 grant has supported the Commission’s landscape analysis of efforts in the field to support children’s social, emotional, and academic wellbeing, recommendations in research, practice, and policy to support children’s development and success in these areas. The grant also will support the Commission’s ongoing efforts to share the recommendations based on what they’ve learned from experts and communities. “Social and emotional competencies equip students for better outcomes in learning, and ensure they are better prepared for life,” said Jacqueline Jodl, Executive Director, National Commission on Social, Emotional, and Academic Development. “The Chan Zuckerberg Initiative’s support will allow the Commission to continue to explore, activate, and connect social, emotional, and academic learning in classrooms across the country.” About Chan Zuckerberg Initiative The Chan Zuckerberg Initiative, founded by Mark Zuckerberg and Priscilla Chan in December 2015, is a new kind of philanthropic organization that brings together world-class engineering, grant-making, impact investing, policy, and advocacy work. Our initial areas of focus include supporting science through basic biomedical research and education through personalized learning. We are also exploring other issues tied to the promotion of equal opportunity including access to affordable housing and criminal justice reform. For more information, go to .chanzuckerbergm.


‘Past the breaking point’: UC Berkeley computer science students push back on 80-hour work week 

A UC Berkeley undergraduate student’s tweet criticizing electrical engineering and computer science, or EECS, professor Anant Sahai recently gained traction among the campus community, raising questions regarding the pressure and high expectations computer science students face. On March 2, Claire Dubin, a UC Berkeley senior studying microbial biology and data science, posted a tweet expressing her frustration with the time commitment required of computer science students, highlighting a culture considered by many to be inconsiderate of student well-being and the time needed to work part-time jobs. Dubin’s tweet came in response to a now-deleted Reddit post on rberkeley and received more than a hundred retweets and 533 likes as of press time. Dubin’s tweet included a screenshot of a computer science, or CS, 70 course capture video from 2014 that showed Sahai presenting a PowerPoint slide, providing his “perspective on your time” — a daily sample schedule allotting two hours for “sustenance,” one hour for “serenity,” a half-hour for exercise and one hour for miscellaneous activities. He designated the entire remaining time — 11 12 hours a day — to studying, for a weekly total of 80.5 hours devoted toward academics. “I posted the tweet because I was shocked that the professor is so out of touch with the lives of his students,” Dubin said in an email. “Telling students that they should work 80 hoursweek promotes an extremely unhealthy work-life balance that few people can actually achieve.” Dubin added that the CS department has “a long way to go” to accommodate students from nontraditional backgrounds, adding that nearly all her friends have to work a job outside of classes to make ends meet. Though Sahai said in his lecture that “it is possible to pass” the course by putting in just 12 hours per week, successful students would spend far more time on the material. Both the campus’s online Academic Guide and Academic Senate require less time from students than Sahai does. The Academic Guide approximates about 14 hours of commitment per week, higher than the Academic Senate’s policy, which states that “units shall be reckoned at the rate of one unit for three hours’ work per week.” “You might know that the class is officially four units and four units officially translates to 12 hours a week. That is different from 20 — I know this,” Sahai said in the recorded lecture. “So technically, I believe it is possible to pass at 12 hours per week. It should be possible to pass, but hopefully most of you don’t just want to pass and you might have to work harder and that’s fine. That’s why you’re here.” Assuming students take four technical courses per semester, he added that students could “sustainably operate” working a total of 80.5 hours per week for all of their classes. ASUC President Alexander Wilfert, who retweeted the post, said this tweet reflects a culture that pushes students past their breaking point. “In short, it’s particularly disadvantageous to students who have to work,” Wilfert said. Kavi Gupta, a senior studying EECS and an undergraduate student instructor for CS 61A, said that in addition to pressure levied upon students by individual faculty members, there is an inherent pressure for students to succeed in order to meet the minimum 3.3 G necessary to declare the CS major. CS 70 — the class Sahai taught — is one of three classes whose grade counts toward this G minimum. Gupta added that the department is optimized for students who have prior experience in computer science and for those who program in their free time. Some students, he said, get discouraged by the workload. Nicholas Weaver, a visiting lecturer who received his doctorate in computer science from UC Berkeley, said in an email that the major is overall “very demanding,” adding that projects at times require a more rigorous schedule for a couple weeks.   “At the same time, as an instructor, I need to understand that students have other demands as well,” Weaver said in the email. “Students need to work, they need to relax, they need to actually enjoy their college experience. And they have other classes!” Sahai was not available for comment as of press time. Sasha Langholz at email protected and follow her on Twitter at LangholzSasha‏.


Sioux City youth have fun while learning about science from Morningside professor, students 

No result found, try new keyword!SIOUX CITY -- After several attempts at sinking a marshmallow in a glass of water, Sofia Sedano said she is officially stumped. "Nope, I try to hold it down," the 7-year-old Sioux City girl said.


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