EDC Week 11 Summary

Image result for email spam image
Image Source: MarketingLand.com

I would absolutely hate to be a celebrity. Can you just imagine the attention, constant harassment by fans, paparazzi, having to put up with photos pf your naked body all over the tabloids just because you decided to ‘let-go’ for the summer. No thanks!. But probably the worst part of the celebrity gig must be all the fan mail – mountains and mountains of it every day from fans who think you and them share some special bond, some that are total whack-jobs and a fair few, I bet, that want to interest you in a business deal.

These last few weeks of the EDC blogging process has been somewhat of a trench war against an unending barrage of spam, junk mail and totally unwanted commentary. Now, embarking on the clean up before presentation for assessment I have probably received at least three or four spam comments each day trying to sell me everything from Spanish condos, to french language lessons and even muscle gain formula (Has this bot been stalking my Facebook page?)

As educators we often don’t even begin to think about the daily grind that most students have to bear with in terms of the glut of internet marketing, five second intros, spam, junk email and its ilk. It hard enough to concentrate as it is but adding another layer of irritating marketing to the picture really chips away at the nerves after a while. Many folks just filter it out, but, when you really think about it this stuff is contributing to an animosity about the web that doesn’t particularly help in the field we are engaged in. Learners, particularly younger ones, can be disengaged at the best of times, so do we really need to think about how much they are exposed to?

Just like a break in cigarette marketing help to bring down rates of younger smokers could such a ban assist in creating more engaged learners, even if only by one or two percent?

The onslaught continues, but with my trusty spam reporting button in hand I may yet prevail against the tide of nonsensical spammage!


Article: We Just Created an Artificial Synapse That Can Learn Autonomously

We Just Created an Artificial Synapse That Can Learn Autonomously


A team of researchers has developed artificial synapses that are capable of learning autonomously and can improve how fast artificial neural networks learn.

Mimicking the Brain

Developments and advances in artificial intelligence (AI) have been due in large part to technologies that mimic how the human brain works. In the world of information technology, such AI systems are called neural networks. These contain algorithms that can be trained, among other things, to imitate how the brain recognizes speech and images. However, running an Artificial Neural Network consumes a lot of time and energy.

Image Credit: Sören Boyn/CNRS/Thales physics joint research unit

Now, researchers from the National Center for Scientific Research (CNRS) in Thales, the University of Bordeaux in Paris-Sud, and Evry have developed an artificial synapse called a memristor directly on a chip. It paves the way for intelligent systems that required less time and energy to learn, and it can learn autonomously.

In the human brain, synapses work as connections between neurons. The connections are reinforced and learning is improved the more these synapses are are stimulated. The memristor works in a similar fashion. It’s made up of a thin ferroelectric layer (which can be spontaneously polarized) that is enclosed between two electrodes. Using voltage pulses, their resistance can be adjusted, like biological neurons. The synaptic connection will be strong when resistance is low, and vice-versa. The memristor’s capacity for learning is based on this adjustable resistance.

Better AI

AI systems have developed considerably in the past couple of years. Neural networks built with learning algorithms are now capable of performing tasks which synthetic systems previously could not do. For instance, intelligent systems can now compose music, play games and beat human players, or do your taxes. Some can even identify suicidal behavior, or differentiate between what is lawful and what isn’t.

This is all thanks to AI’s capacity to learn, the only limitation of which is the amount of time and effort it takes to consume the data that serve as its springboard. With the memristor, this learning process can be greatly improved. Work continues on the memristor, particularly on exploring ways to optimize its function. For starters, the researchers have successfully built a physical model to help predict how it functions. Their work is published in the journal Nature Communications.

Soon, we may have AI systems that can learn as well as out brains can — or even better

Author Dom Galeon April 5, 2017

Tags: #mscedc
April 06, 2017 at 03:24PM
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Article: Unpaywall Is New Tool For Accessing Research Papers For Free

“Unpaywall” Is New Tool For Accessing Research Papers For Free

April 5, 2017 by Larry Ferlazzo

As anyone who has tried to pursue even a little bit of academic research can attest, publishers charge an arm-and-a-leg to access studies if you are not part of an institution that subscribes to their journals. And the authors of those studies don’t even get any of that money!

Last year, Sci-Hub broke through that barrier in one attempt (which may or may not be legal) to create more access – see The Best Commentaries On Sci-Hub, The Tool Providing Access to 50 Million Academic Papers For Free.

Today, another option was unveiled.

Today we’re launching a new tool to help people read research literature, instead of getting stuck behind paywalls. It’s an extension for Chrome and Firefox that links you to free full-text as you browse research articles. Hit a paywall? No problem: click the green tab and read it free!

The extension is called Unpaywall, and it’s powered by an open index of more than ten million legally-uploaded, open access resources.

Apparently, many institutions now require their faculty upload their published papers to their libraries, and that is a primary source for Unpaywall research.

I just tried it and it seems to work fairly well…

Tags: #mscedc
April 06, 2017 at 03:20PM