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Russian developer collaborates with FB, Google to make ‘machines see’

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A Russian developer here has created an open source computer vision platform, in collaboration with Facebook and Google, that acts as a teaching machine and enables them “see”.

VisionLabs, a solutions developer in the field of computer vision, data analysis and robotics, and a Skolkovo IT Cluster resident have developed this as a global open-source computer vision project with the support of Facebook and Google, an official said.

VisionLabs integrated two popular libraries for developers – OpenCV and Torch. The joint project with Facebook and Google was launched last year. “The two IT giants became interested in the in-depth study of neural networks and artificial intelligence and hence extended their support,” the official told.

The most popular tools for developers in this field are the OpenCV Open Source Computer Vision Library and the Torch Open Source Scientific Computing Framework with wide support for Machine Learning Algorithms. Each of them has thousands of users. VisionLabs initiated integrating the two libraries. Google and Facebook funded the work and tested the results.

Balmanohar Paluri, Research Lead, Facebook AI Research, said: “The project opens up the field of computer vision to a greater audience of developers. Our focus is making machines see. To do that, knowledge needs to be open.”

As a result of the work undertaken, a number of technological barriers the developers had faced within the fields of computer vision and neural networks were lifted. From now on, any start-up in this field can launch a project in a matter of days where it could literally take years previously.

Google, Facebook and VisionLabs do not consider this a commercial project – its purpose is developing the community and its aim is long-term prospects.

The idea of integrating the two popular developer “worlds” had been on the cards for some time. The creators of Torch and OpenCV had been discussing it. But, as is often the case, nobody actually set about making the integration happen, the official elaborated.

In the end, it was VisionLabs, one of the top three world leaders in terms of image recognition, that was willing to realise the project and use its own know-how to do so that had previously only been applied inside the team.

Alexander Khanin, General Director, VisionLabs said they “regularly communicate with the world scientific community and attend all the important international conferences.”

“We are already well-known and we are familiar with the research units of Google, Facebook, Twitter and other large-scale IT-companies. When the closed competition to become the project leader was launched, we put ourselves forward and, in the end, we were chosen. Google and Facebook financed our work, but I would like to reiterate that this is absolutely not a commercial project for us – all funds, that were in fact rather modest, were put to use,” he added.

Albert Efimov, Head of the Skolkovo Robotics Centre, said: “Integration of machine learning and computer vision in a unified development kit is an important step towards stimulating the creation of the new technologies and products in such strategic industries as robotics and artificial intelligence.”

A report on the integration of Torch and OpenCV with examples of the developed recognition software and fragments of source code was published recently in the torch.ch community that reaches 10,000-15,000 people a day.

Tech

Rawalpindi cops banned from posting on TikTok

Police officers in Rawalpindi have been banned from posting on the short video-making app, TikTok, after a video went viral, the media reported on Tuesday

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Police officers in Rawalpindi have been banned from posting on the short video-making app, TikTok, after a video went viral, the media reported on Tuesday.

The police department of the Pakistan twin city has warned that if a video of any officer goes viral on social media, irrespective of whether it is TikTok, Facebook or YouTube, strict departmental action will be taken, The Express Tribune reported.

The new rules were communicated on Monday in a letter issued by Rawalpindi CPO Ahsan Younas to divisional SPs, circle officers and station house officers.

The letter stated that posting videos on social media and going viral presents a negative image of the department.

After the video went viral, at least one officer has been suspended.

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Nature

On the moon, water water everywhere and not a drop to drink (yet)

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Moon image captured by lander Vikram

WASHINGTON : The moon lacks the bodies of liquid water that are a hallmark of Earth but scientists said on Monday lunar water is more widespread than previously known, with water molecules trapped within mineral grains on the surface and more water perhaps hidden in ice patches residing in permanent shadows.

While research 11 years ago indicated water was relatively widespread in small amounts on the moon, a team of scientists is now reporting the first unambiguous detection of water molecules on the lunar surface. At the same time, another team is reporting that the moon possesses roughly 15,000 square miles (40,000 square kilometers) of permanent shadows that potentially could harbor hidden pockets of water in the form of ice.

Water is a precious resource and a relatively plentiful lunar presence could prove important to future astronaut and robotic missions seeking to extract and utilize water for purposes such as a drinking supply or a fuel ingredient.

A team led by Casey Honniball of NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Maryland detected molecular water on the lunar surface, trapped within natural glasses or between debris grains. Previous observations have suffered from ambiguity between water and its molecular cousin hydroxyl, but the new detection used a method that yielded unambiguous findings.

The only way for this water to survive on the sunlit lunar surfaces where it was observed was to be embedded within mineral grains, protecting it from the frigid and foreboding environment. The researchers used data from the SOFIA airborne observatory, a Boeing 747SP aircraft modified to carry a telescope.

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“A lot of people think that the detection I’ve made is water ice, which is not true. It’s just the water molecules – because they’re so spread out they don’t interact with each other to form water ice or even liquid water,” Honniball said.

The second study, also published in the journal Nature Astronomy, focused upon so-called cold traps on the moon, regions of its surface that exist in a state of perpetual darkness where temperatures are below about negative 260 degrees Fahrenheit (negative 163 degrees Celsius). That is cold enough that frozen water can remain stable for billions of years.

Using data from NASA’s Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter spacecraft, researchers led by planetary scientist Paul Hayne of the University of Colorado, Boulder detected what may be tens of billions of small shadows, many no bigger than a small coin. Most are located in the polar regions.

“Our research shows that a multitude of previously unknown regions of the moon could harbor water ice,” Hayne said. “Our results suggest that water could be much more widespread in the moon’s polar regions than previously thought, making it easier to access, extract and analyze.”

NASA is planning a return of astronauts to the moon, a mission envisioned as paving the way for a later journey carrying a crew to Mars. Accessible sources where water can be harvested on the moon would beneficial to those endeavors.

“Water is not just constrained to the polar region. It’s more spread out than we thought it was,” Honniball said.

Another mystery that remains unsolved is the source of the lunar water.

“The origin of water on the moon is one of the big-picture questions we are trying to answer through this and other research,” Hayne said. “Currently, the major contenders are comets, asteroids or small interplanetary dust particles, the solar wind, and the moon itself through outgassing from volcanic eruptions.”

Earth is a wet world, with vast salty oceans, large freshwater lakes and ice caps that serve as water reservoirs.

“As our closest planetary companion, understanding the origins of water on the moon can also shed light on the origins of Earth’s water – still an open question in planetary science,” Hayne added.

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Entertainment

Bigg Boss 14: nepotism trends after Rahul nominates Jaan over nepotism

Rahul’s words shock all housemates and they express disapproval at Rahul’s choice of words. Jaan replies saying he is fortunate that his father is Kumar Sanu.

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The word nepotism once again started trending on Monday courtesy Bigg Boss 14 contestants Rahul Vaidya and Jaan Kumar Sanu.

In an upcoming episode of the controversial reality show, the housemates will be seen nominating fellow constants for eviction.

Rahul, who was the second runner’s up in the first season of the singing based reality show “India Idol”, nominated Jaan over nepotism.

In the episode, Rahul will be heard saying: “Jisko main nominate karna chahata hun woh hai Jaan because mujhe nepotism se sakt nafrat hai. Yahaan pe jitne bhi log aaye hain sab apni apni mehnat karke aaye hai (I want to nominate Jaan because I hate nepotism. All the people here have made it on their own).”

Rahul’s words shock all housemates and they express disapproval at Rahul’s choice of words. Jaan replies saying he is fortunate that his father is Kumar Sanu.

Rahul counters saying that doesn’t need a famous father.

At this, Jaan gets angry and is seen screaming “Baap pe mat jaa”.

Nepotism started trending on Twitter on Monday morning. Many social media users lauded Rahul for calling out on nepotism.

One user said: #RahulVaidya well done, finally someone have guts to say this #Nepotism @rahulvaidya23″.

Another commented: “#RahulVaidya he is so real. I know he was not that strong at first and took his time to open up. But I’ve seen this guy never speaks rubbish like other members. And main thing is he sticks to his every point. We should support him. He is playing alone. #Nepotism #JaanKumarSanu.”

A user said that he stands with Rahul Vaidya.

“Rahul was right , if elimination was done on the basis of votes jaan was the first who was out of the house it’s all nepotism in BB14. #Nepotism,” said another.

A user praised Rahul and said that he nominated “underserving kid” Jaan.

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