• The Supercomputing Center of Galicia with its partners have designed a new training platform for workers in rural areas and will be tested in the UK, the Netherlands, Finland and Romania.
• The use of mobile technologies will facilitate closer to the target group of the youth and young adults from ages 16 to 24 years.
• The conference begins with this initiative in the Galician capital on October 30th and 31st.

The MOVE IT European project (Mobilizing Opportunities in Vocational Education with Innovative Technologies) will use an effective methodology and innovative e-learning to incorporate mobile technologies to improve the training of young students and workers in rural areas. It’s targeting young people between 16 and 24 years old.

The technology platform is designed by the Supercomputing Center of Galicia (CESGA), which has almost two decades of experience of in the field of e-learning, and that will be in use at the center with faculty project leader, the Myerscough College ( United Kingdom) and the Centrum Praktijk Innovatie Groene Ruimte BV (Netherlands), Rural Institute of Central Ostrobothnia (Finland) and Asociatia pentru Educatie Permanenta (Romania).

This project continues a long line of research that begun in CESGA in 1998 on the application of new technologies to improve teaching and collaboration in the rural countryside, both formal education projects, A Ponte (1999), Rural School Project and Education in the Cloud (2010), and Red Cloud School (2012) for training of workers (Metafor Project, 2001).

In the project MOVE IT, CESGA will participate with transferring technology, due to its successful experience and contribution of e-learning solutions in other European projects, such as YES (Youth Employment Support, Employment Support Youth).
CESGA’s technology transfer and technological tools are appropriate for the new platform to be used in e-learning projects at other institutions, even after September 2014, when the project will end.

Initial Meeting

Twelve representatives of the various institutions involved in MOVE IT will meet in Santiago de Compostela on October 30th and 31st to begin the distribution of tasks, and thereby officially launching the project.

For two years, they discussed how to create quality content for students to access with various courses through distance learning, and they found the best ways to facilitate faculty support and collaboration of students together so that teaching is not problem and attendance is not a problem.

For more information contact:
María José Rodríguez Malmierca, Coordinator e-learning area, CESGA, +34 981 569810, mjrm (at) cesga (dot) com

Numerix signs alliance agreement with Microsoft, commits to developing Windows Azure-enabled solutions for insurance and enterprise risk analytics

Numerix has announced plans to enable additional Numerix solutions for use with Microsoft’s cloud platform, Windows Azure.

According to Steven R. O’Hanlon, President and COO of Numerix, “Evolving derivatives regulations and unpredictable market conditions have fueled demand for more frequent, granular and portfolio-wide valuations and risk analytics. In order to process these calculations for thousands of financial instruments in near real-time, access to on-demand, scalable compute power has become a must-have in today’s financial services and insurance firms.”

Numerix currently offers its CrossAsset XL and Portfolio solutions powered by Windows Azure and Windows HPC Server. These solutions enable users to burst Excel calculations to the cloud and distribute them across a grid or a combination of both private and public cloud compute environments. This allows business agility, reduces capital expenditure, and quickly scales to meet the most compute intensive pricing and calculation demands. Numerix will build on this proven success and extend its use of Windows Azure to include Numerix Leading Hedge, an Asset and Liability Management solution for Variable Annuities and Equity Index Annuities, as well as forthcoming new releases of Numerix CrossAsset.

“Our alliance with Microsoft underscores our commitment to meet customer demand with Windows Azure-enabled solutions,” O’Hanlon continued. “Our ability to burst pricing and risk calculations to Windows Azure is revolutionizing the ways firms can leverage the cloud to manage risk across their diverse portfolios. Looking ahead, cloud enablement will be integral to our new product development efforts.”

“Industry partners like Numerix are essential to widespread adoption of Azure, as their solutions exemplify how traders, risk managers and life insurers can securely perform rapid and consistent risk calculations in the cloud,” said Kim Akers, General Manager, Developer and Platform Evangelism, Microsoft. “We are pleased with Numerix’s commitment to enable leading financial services and insurance firms to confidently tap the power of private, public and hybrid cloud computing.”

“Providing business agility and lowering costs are essential in today’s financial industry,” said Karen Cone, General Manager, Worldwide Financial Services at Microsoft Corporation. “Numerix is a leader in providing analytics and risk management to the market, and we are excited that they are continuing their investment in Microsoft technology.”

Earlier this year Microsoft recognized Numerix as ISV/Software Solutions Industry Partner of the Year for its success developing and implementing Microsoft-enabled software solutions for its customers.

Computer scientists and a doctor are working to mine data from pediatric intensive care units to help doctors treat children and cut health care costs

Computer scientists at the University of California, Riverside are working with a doctor at Children's Hospital Los Angeles to mine data collected from pediatric intensive care units in hopes of helping doctors treat children and cutting health care costs.

The researchers, led by Eamonn Keogh, a computer science professor at UC Riverside's Bourns College of Engineering, have received a four-year, $1.2 million grant from the National Science Foundation.

"This data has the potential to be a gold mine of useful – literally life saving – information," said Keogh, who specializes in data mining, which involves searching for patterns and irregularities in large data sets.

He is working with: Dr. Randall Wetzel, of Children's Hospital Los Angeles; Walid Najjar and Vasilis Tsotras, both computer science professors at UC Riverside; and David Kale, one of Keogh's graduate students.

Today, in pediatric intensive care units across the nation sensors are attached to children to record up to 30 measurements, such as pulse rate, blood pressure and temperature. The sensors allow for real-time monitoring of the child and can trigger an alarm if, for example, a child's temperature exceeds 100 degrees Fahrenheit.

Usually, the sensors only display the last few minutes of data and figures such as the minimum and maximum temperature for that day. In most cases, the rest of the data is discarded.

This is in part due to legal and privacy issues, which the researchers believe can be solved. It's also because computer scientists didn't have the tools to mine the vast amounts of data produced in pediatric intensive care units.

That changed after Keogh and a group of researchers recently developed a new technique, which allows for searching of datasets with more than one trillion objects. That's a larger set than the combined size of all datasets in all data mining papers ever published.

The new technique was outlined in a paper "Searching and Mining Trillions of Time Series Subsequences under Dynamic Time Warping." It was named best paper at the ACM SIGKDD data mining conference in August in Beijing.

During the past five years, Children's Hospital Los Angeles has collected data from its pediatric intensive care units. It's typically sampled once every 30 seconds. This dataset includes more than one billion individual measurements.

With the support of the grant, Children's Hospital Los Angeles plans to explore options to capture and store data from five or more sensors and capture multiple data points per second.

In the coming years, Keogh and the team of researchers plan to investigate two areas, which are interconnected.

One is mining the archived pediatric intensive care unit data from Children's Hospital Los Angeles to find regularities and patterns than can aid doctors in diagnosing and predicting medical episodes.

The second is taking the regularities and patterns they discovered and incorporating them real time into intensive care unit sensors to see if they help doctors.

Keogh plans to use the archived data to develop algorithms that incorporate what he calls "if then rules" that can assist doctors. For example, if a heart beat looks like this, then a child may have difficulty breathing in five seconds.

The difficulty, Keogh said, is to find medically useful patterns because there are an infinite number of trivial patterns, such as people who tend to have babies are female and people over six-feet tall are over five-feet tall.

"We have to find those that aren't known but are useful and that can benefit from intervention," Keogh said. "That will be tricky."

Computer scientists at the University of California, San Diego and at St. Petersburg Academic University in Russia, have developed a one-of-a-kind, hands-on online learning tool that weaves together for the first time science and programming education—and automatically grades homework too.

"While modern biology is inundated with computation, biology students at U.S. universities are taught neither programming nor bioinformatics and as a result are unprepared for the challenges that await them in their own discipline," said Pavel Pevzner, a computer science professor at the Jacobs School of Engineering at UC San Diego. "We provide a tool to fill that learning gap."

The new tool, called Rosalind, diverges from large-scale, online open education platforms such as Coursera and Udacity. Instead of listening to a lecture, students are required to complete increasingly difficult problems at their own pace. Researchers say it's the only online tool using this method to teach science that they know of.

Computer scientists hope to make Rosalind a premier educational resource not only for students lacking access to higher education, but also for universities aiming to update their curricula. The site offers an environment designed for professors that grades homework assignments automatically. This environment promises to help universities offer online courses to a larger student population by creating a "zero-cost teaching assistant." Rosalind also could act as a complement to the lectures offered on Coursera and Udacity.

"In a traditional classroom environment, teaching assistants wind up grading the same homework assignment over and over," said Phillip Compeau, one of Pevzner's graduate students at UC San Diego, who created Rosalind with Nikolay Vyahhi, a graduate student in St. Petersburg. "By automating grading, we hope to foster individualized instruction and fuel the transition from traditional textbook exercises to a programming-driven homework environment."

Rosalind primarily targets biologists who want to learn bioinformatics, and is also helpful for biology or computer science professionals who want to learn more about bioinformatics. The platform has already attracted more than 1,600 beta testers from more than 50 countries. "Rosalind is already helping students who are brave enough to dive into bioinformatics without waiting for their universities to update their curricula, and it's only a matter of time before this model spreads to other disciplines," Pevzner said.

The beta version of Rosalind became available only six weeks ago, but students from six different countries have already solved all the problems in the platform, said Vyahhi. "To keep up with them, the Rosalind team aims to add 100 new problems by the end of the year."

Rosalind begins with a simple computational problem: given a strand of DNA, count the number of times that each of the four nucleotides appears in the strand. Subsequent exercises steadily grow in complexity, creating a problem tree in which the students' biological and computational knowledge is constructed simultaneously. After solving only a few dozen problems, students will possess a wide arsenal of bioinformatics algorithms and will be prepared to tackle advanced problems that even graduate students may find challenging.

"The way in which Rosalind problems build on each other ensures that students are continuing to process the material instead of simply regurgitating notes for a test," said Pevzner. "Completing Rosalind problems constitutes mastery of the subject, which is difficult to achieve with traditional courses online. I am happy to give top Rosalind students an A even though they have not attended my class."

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