August 3, 2021 Spotlight

aug 3 2021

Take a look at our August 3, 2021 Spotlight with updates from the Ken Kennedy Institute about our new Medium channel.

Check out the new Ken Kennedy Institute Medium channel
At the Ken Kennedy Institute we use interdisciplinary and multi-sector collaborations in innovative artificial intelligence, data, and computing research to create solutions designed to improve the human condition. Through united and collective efforts, we know that computing and data innovation have global impacts which will affect generations to come.

Follow us on our new Medium channel to explore fascinating blog posts about data science, ai, computing, healthcare, COVID-19, and technology. We discuss global challenges and the way AI and data can be used to create social impact.
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Featured Articles

By Angela Wilkins, Executive Director, Ken Kennedy Institute

The progress of high performance computing can seem dizzying to outsiders. Yet, some argue that the rate of progress has been slipping in recent years. As supply chains grow more complex, primary building materials become more difficult to source, the R&D process lengthens, and corporate interests lead the way, the development of general-purpose technology has faltered. However, two pieces of recent research by researchers from Google and Rice University signal that the plateau in progress may just be a bottleneck to overcome.

Read more about several approaches to this problem such as Google's RL approach which would be applied to parts of the chip design processing, significantly reducing the time it takes to design a chip.
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By Angela Wilkins, Executive Director, Ken Kennedy Institute

Modern developments in quantum computing are consistently advancing due to the efforts of diverse players from around the world. While the progress of quantum computing may be incrementally measured, qubit by qubit, the pace of the development has been advanced consistently by a number of diverse players across the globe. To date, 46 countries are engaged in national or international quantum R&D projects. However, most of the action is happening in academia and industry. Companies like IBM, Google, Microsoft and Honeywell are all building quantum computers, and researchers from universities around the world have founded quantum computing startups.

Previously, a quantum computer’s ability to demonstrate ‘supremacy’ over classical computers at calculating the solution to a specific, narrow function was thought to represent an important benchmark in the development of quantum computing. However, once Google claimed quantum supremacy it became clear that while impressive, the accomplishment demonstrated little real-world value.

The destination of quantum computing — the finish line of the quantum ‘race’ — is still unclear.
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By Anton Zhang, Ken Kennedy Fellow/Data Scientist, Ken Kennedy Institute

The fight against the Covid-19 pandemic is still ongoing in many parts of the world. Whether we will see its end soon is still a matter under debate. But one thing is certain — its impact on many aspects of our lives, especially the healthcare industry, will outlast the pandemic itself. Covid-19 exposed many gaps in the healthcare industry, inadvertently providing an opportunity to fix, enhance, and innovate.

While we are finally seeing a surge in its supplies, the CDC still recommends N95s to be prioritized for healthcare workers. This guideline is based on multiple considerations. Apart from the obvious need to conserve N95s, there is also the fact that in order to achieve a meaningful level of protection, a complete seal with the face must be achieved— This is called mask fitting. In this article, we explore and compare the standard procedures of checking the fit of N-95 respirators, identify aspects for improvement, and name a potential candidate for revamping the procedures.

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By Angela Wilkins, Executive Director, Ken Kennedy Institute

How has the noise of humanity changed during COVID-19?

A group of seismologists posed this question after noticing the impacts of COVID-19 via global decreases in human noise measurements. This has raised potential groundbreaking insights for monitoring seismic events without the influence of noise pollution. Has the pandemic permanently changed us and the noise we make? Read more about Thomas Lecocq's research (Seismologist from the Royal Observatory of Belgium) and his talk at the 2020 Ken Kennedy Data Science Conference.
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Let us know if you have something you want featured in the next Ken Kennedy Institute Spotlight! Email kenkennedy@rice.edu.
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