position:chief scientist

  • Interview with Chief Scientist at #salesforce: Dr. Richard Socher

    Interview with the Chief Scientist at Salesforce: Dr. Richard SocherPart 16 of The series where I interview my heroes.Index to “Interviews with ML Heroes”Today, I’m honored to be talking to the Chief Scientist at Salesforce, one of the best Deep-NLP Teachers: Dr. Richard Socher.Richard is Chief Scientist at Salesforce and has completed his Ph.D. in the Machine Learning domain from Stanford. He has also taught one of the best course and now a MOOC on NLP: CS224nAbout the Series:I have very recently started making some progress with my Self-Taught Machine Learning Journey. But to be honest, it wouldn’t be possible at all without the amazing community online and the great people that have helped me.In this Series of Blog Posts, I talk with People that have really inspired me and whom I look up to (...)

    #salesforce-data-science #artificial-intelligence #deep-learning #machine-learning

  • Why the expected wave of French immigration to Israel never materialized

    It seemed as if the Jews of France would come to Israel in droves after the 2015 attacks in Paris. It turns out that these expectations were exaggerated - here’s why
    By Noa Shpigel Jul 25, 2018


    It was early 2015 in Paris and the attacks came one after the other. On January 7, there was the shooting attack on the editorial offices of the satirical newspaper Charlie Hebdo that took 12 lives; the next day a terrorist shot a policewoman dead, and the day after that brought the siege on the Hypercacher kosher supermarket that ended in the deaths of four Jews.
    To really understand Israel and the Jewish world - subscribe to Haaretz
    On January 11, some four million people marched through the streets of Paris and other French cities in a protest against terror; some 50 world leaders marched in Paris, among them Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who a few hours later spoke at the Great Synagogue in Paris and urged French Jews to make aliyah.

    [You have] the right to live in our free country, the one and only Jewish state, the State of Israel,” he said, to applause from the crowd. “The right to stand tall and proud at the walls of Zion, our eternal capital of Jerusalem. Any Jew who wishes to immigrate to Israel will be welcomed with open arms and warm and accepting hearts.” The Immigration Absorption Ministry estimated that more than 10,000 French Jews would make aliyah that year.
    That forecast was premature. According to the Central Bureau of Statistics, in 2014, there were 6,547 olim from France, while in 2015, the number rose only to 6,628. In 2016, the number of immigrants dropped to 4,239, and last year, there were only 3,157. Based on the first five months of this year, it seems that the downtrend is continuing; in the first five months of 2018, there were 759 olim from France, while during the comparable period in 2017, the number was 958.
    Joel Samoun, a married father of four from Troyes and a nurse by profession, remembers Netanyahu’s speech. “The speech definitely moved me. It was also a period when we weren’t feeling safe in France,” he says. He began the aliyah process: He made contact with the Jewish Agency and even had his professional credentials and recommendation letters translated into Hebrew. But when Samoun discovered what a lengthy procedure he would have to undergo to work in his field in Israel, he decided to give up on the dream, at least for now. “It’s somewhere in my head,” he said. “Maybe when I reach retirement age.”

    Nor is Annaell Asraf, 23, of Paris, hurrying to leave. Her sister made aliyah four years ago, did national service, and somehow managed. She herself worked in Israel for six months, then returned to France, finished her degree in business administration and founded an online fashion business.
    “I have a good life in France,” she told Haaretz. Many of her friends, she said, “tried to make aliyah, waited two years to find work, and came back. On paper it looks easy, but it’s much more complicated.”

    Annaell Asraf, 23, of Paris, prefers to remain in France Luana Hazan
    What are the primary obstacles? Gaps in language and mentality that aren’t easy to bridge, she says, plus, for anyone who didn’t serve in the army, it’s harder to find work. Moreover, she now feels safe in France. “Maybe someday,” she says, when asked if she sees herself returning to Israel to live.
    Ariel Kendel, director of Qualita, the umbrella organization for French immigrants in Israel, says, “On the one hand, we see that aliyah is down, but on the other hand, the potential is great. If you know Jews in the community in France – it’s hard to find people who’ll say they don’t want to come to Israel.”
    According to Kendel, the drop in aliyah has a number of causes. The primary ones are absorption difficulties; transitioning from the welfare state they are used to; and the fact that there are no aliyah programs tailored specifically for the French. “Where will I live, how will I make a living, what happens to my kids between 2 and 6 [P.M.],” he says. “In France, there is a developed welfare state. We don’t expect it to be like that here, but you can’t tell an immigrant at the airport to take the absorption basket [of services] and that’s it. Apparently every office in Israel should be asking itself these questions.”
    Another problem he cites is the process of having professional credentials recognized in Israel. Although certification for physicans has been streamlined (to a trial period), nurses must undergo a test.
    “People are asked to take an exam after 30 years of experience, it’s a scandal,” says Kendel. “We have at least one hundred nurses – 50 in Israel and 50 in France – who cannot work here. I don’t think that anyone in France is afraid to go to the hospital; [health care] is not at a low level. You can’t tell someone, ‘come, but chances are that we won’t accept your diploma.’”

    Daniella Hadad, a bookkeeper who made aliyah with her husband and five children in 2015, works now in childcare. “When we made aliyah, there was a lot of terror and they said that we should immigrate more quickly,” she says. “They told me to work as a bookkeeper I would have to take all the courses from scratch, and that’s hard in Hebrew.” Now she’s looking for new avenues of employment and wants to improve her Hebrew.
    Hadad is convinced that being able to make a living is the most important element in a successful landing in Israel. “I know a woman who made aliyah with her husband and children, but they had a hard time and now they are going back after two-and-half years.
    Olivier Nazé, a father of four, is a dentist who made aliyah eight years ago. He had to invest a great deal in order to be able to work in his profession in Israel. Before moving the family, he came a few times on his own, to pass the required exam. He says his brother and family are worried about making aliyah as a result.
    “If you have a profession, and you’re making money, it’s hard to get in because it’s like starting from zero,” he says. “In France I made a lot of money, and in Israel at the beginning, I was making a tenth of that. Now it’s slowly rising, but not everyone can afford to wait.” Despite everything, he says, “the quality of life is better here, for the children as well.”
    According to a survey conducted by Zeev Hanin, the Absorption Ministry’s chief scientist, the results of which were published in June, 47 percent of French immigrants say their standard of living is not as good as it was in France, while 32 percent said their standard of living had improved. In terms of income, 80 percent responded that their situation was less favorable than in France, whereas 5 percent reported an improvement. But while many people indicated a worsening of various conditions compared to what they had in France, 67 percent said that they felt more at home in Israel, and 78.3 percent said they do not intend to leave.
    Drop in incidents
    It’s not surprising to learn that a drop in the incidents of anti-Semitism in France has been accompanied by a lack in emigration to Israel. Riva Mane, a researcher at the Kantor Center for the Study of European Jewry at Tel Aviv University, says that in 2015, the French Interior Ministry reported 808 anti-Semitic incidents in the country, whereas, in 2016 the number dropped to 355, and in 2017 to 311. Although not all incidents are reported, she said, the trend is clear.
    Nevertheless, Mane says, “There is an increase in the number of violent attacks on Jews; 97 such incidents were reported in 2017, compared to 77 in 2016.” She added that there is still a sense of insecurity in the Jewish community, and that in recent years there has been an increase in internal migration. “Tens of thousands are leaving the poorer neighborhoods that also have a significant Muslim population and where there have been many incidents, for central Paris and other wealthier areas, where there are fewer Muslims,” she says. She also noted that Jewish pupils are increasingly leaving the public schools for private ones, where they are also likely to encounter fewer Muslim students.

    Olivier Nazé, a father of four, is a dentist who made aliyah eight years ago Rami Shllush
    “There’s always a reason for a wave of aliyah,” explained Immigrant Absorption Minister Sofa Landver. “Not all the olim come because of Zionism. There was a reason for this wave from France – fear of terror. Olim came from Ukraine a year ago when there was a security crisis there vis-à-vis Russia. And now people are coming from Argentina and Brazil due to the economic situation.”
    Landver says that her ministry is fighting to remove barriers to successful absorption. “I’m out in the field and I meet with olim from France who are very satisfied,” she reports. Although the minister knows that the immigrants from France cannot receive what the welfare state provides there, such as schools that are open late and two years of unemployment payments, her ministry continues to encourage aliyah.

    Landver says that she has instructed ministry staff to make home visits to people who have opened an aliyah file, and that the ministry provides money for the translation of documents and removes employment barriers insofar as possible. “We, together with the municipalities, are doing everything possible to increase the number of olim. I really want them here and I’ll do everything to ease their absorption and to support this aliyah.”

    Valerie Halfon, a family financial consultant from the organization Paamonim, said she has met with hundreds of families in France before their aliyah, helping them to prepare an economic assessment, so they’ll know what to expect. For example, she says, she consulted with a young couple who were hesitant, because friends told them that they would need 20,000 shekels a month ($5,500) to get by. She said that after making their calculations, “we got to 8,000-9,000 shekels. There are rumors, and they’re not all true. You have to adapt, you have to make changes.”
    Still, whether it’s the improvement in the security situation in France, or the fear of making a new start – or a combination of these – there has been a decline in aliyah. “Today there’s a feeling that things have calmed down in France,” says Arie Abitbol, director of the European division of the Jewish Agency’s Masa programs. “There’s a president [Emmanuel Macron] who’s empathetic, and there’s a sense that he cares about the Jews and wants them to stay. The feeling is that the threat of Islamic extremism is a threat to everyone, and not only to the Jews.”
    He says that from his experience working with young people in France, “People don’t say that they don’t want to come, they say that at the moment the circumstances are unsuitable and they’ll wait a little more – maybe in a few more years.” He doesn’t blame only the Israeli government and absorption difficulties: “When there’s a trigger of a security situation, people find the strength to leave, but the biggest enemy of aliyah is the routine. From 2014 to 2016, there were unusually high numbers, and now there’s a return to ordinary dimensions, because as far as they’re concerned, the situation is back to routine.”

  • Why do male climate change ‘sceptics’ have such a problem with women?

    Although there are women who appear to be sceptical about climate change, anyone who has engaged with ‘sceptics’ will have learned that it is the men who are most vocal about their views. They tend to lack any training or qualifications in climate science, but still appear to believe that they know better than the experts.

    And there is also a degree of male chauvinism that often underlies the arguments put forward by ‘sceptics’ during public discussions. For instance, when Lord Lawson was asked to comment on a statement by Professor Dame Julia Slingo, the chief scientist at the Met Office, about the link between flooding and climate change, he did not refer to her by her professional title but instead as “this Julia Slingo woman”.

    Other climate change ‘sceptics’ routinely refer to female climate scientists in a dismissive way. For instance, Professor Joanna Haigh of Imperial College London was called a “puffed-up missy” in a trademark rant by James Delingpole for the extremist website Breitbart.

    Mr Delingpole also referred on his website to Dr Emily Shuckburgh, an experienced climate scientist who specialises on impacts in polar regions, not by her name or job title but as “some foxy chick from the British Antarctic Survey”.


    Of course not all climate change ‘sceptics’ are male chauvinists, but it is clear that those who most obsessively promote climate change denial are usually male, arrogant, and unable to accept that the experts are right, particularly if they are female.

    #changement_climatique #femmes #hommes #genre #scepticisme #sexisme #science #académie #université

  • Mapping how to feed 9 billion humans, while avoiding environmental calamity

    pas encore lu

    The first step of the “Safety Net” initiative is to identify the best opportunities to protect and restore ecosystems that underpin human well-being and sustain healthy wildlife populations. That means incorporating data on variables ranging from species richness to climate trends to deforestation rates for every point on Earth’s surface.

    That task is being taken up by a consortium of groups led by RESOLVE, a Washington, D.C.-based nonprofit; Globaïa, a Canadian data visualization group; and Brazil’s Universidade Federal de Viçosa. Heading up the terrestrial mapping is Eric Dinerstein, a biologist who formerly served as chief scientist for WWF and now has the same role at RESOLVE.

    Dinerstein answered questions about the Safety Net Map during a November 7, 2017 interview with Mongabay.com.


  • Trump’s latest senior science nominees are a talk-radio ignoramus and a career poisoner / Boing Boing

    The Department of Agriculture’s chief scientist oversees more than 1,000 scientists in 100 research facilities: Trump’s pick to run the agency is Sam Clovis, a climate-denying talk-radio host who not only lacks any kind of scientific degrees — he didn’t take a single science course at university.

    Meanwhile, Trump has nominated Michael Dourson to head the EPA’s Office of Chemical Safety and Pollution Prevention; Dourson’s last job was at the helm of Toxicology Excellence for Risk Assessment, the company that DuPont picked when it needed experts who would claim that its toxic waste wasn’t so bad for the people who were imbibing it.

    Here’s a little taste of Sam Clovis, the talk radio host Trump picked to run the department that keeps us all from starving to death: “After the interviewer highlighted the widespread acceptance of climate change within the scientific community, Clovis responded by saying, in effect, that scientists were trying to fool him. ’I have looked at the science, and I have enough of a science background to know when I’m being boofed,’ he said. (Pro Publica checked and found that Clovis had never even taken an undergraduate level course in any science.).”

  • Spark of Science : France A. Cordova - Issue 38 : Noise

    France A. Cordova, the director of the National Science Foundation of the United States, former NASA Chief Scientist, and former Chancellor of the University of California, Riverside, had to petition to get into her high school physics class because she was a woman. “I think they resented that we were taking the space of boys in the classroom,” she said of the Catholic nuns who ran the school. “In compensation, an equal number of boys were allowed to take the art class.” When she got to Stanford, the expectations were that she study humanities, and she obliged by earning a degree in English. But, driven by a fascination she’d had since early childhood, and by the excitement of the burgeoning space program, she wound her way back to science, to a Ph.D. program at the California Institute of (...)

  • The British government is considering paying out research grants with #bitcoin — Quartz

    Matthew Hancock, the minister for the Cabinet Office and paymaster general, said today the cabinet had begun exploring ways to use blockchains in the government, with a particular interest in how it could be used in the disbursal of government research grants.
    “Monitoring and controlling the use of grants is incredibly complex. A blockchain, accessible to all the parties involved, might be a better way of solving that problem,” Hancock said in a speech at Digital Catapult, a government-funded think tank. Hancock cited bitcoin as a successful example of “distributed ledgers,” another phrase for blockchains, being used to track currency.

    (…) The government’s chief scientist has also studied the technology, publishing a report in January. A chapter of the report was devoted to uses of blockchains within government. “If applied within government it could reduce costs, increase transparency, improve citizens’ financial inclusion and promote innovation and economic growth,” the report said.

  • Shoot down space debris with a fibre optic laser


    In 2013 NASA estimated there are more than 500.000 pieces of space debris in orbit around the earth. This can cause serious damage to satellites and other space vehicles; e.g. in 1996, a French satellite was hit and damaged by debris from a French rocket that had exploded a decade earlier. (cf. also the film “Gravity”)

    Toshikazu Ebisuzaki, Chief Scientist of the Computational Asrophysics Laboratory at the Riken Research Institute proposed a method to eliminate roughly 3.000 tons of debris through a CAN laser mounted onto the ISS. (the Coherent Amplification Network bundles 10.000 fibre optic lasers).

    First the debris is tracked with the existing infrared EUSO telescope (Extreme Universe Space Observatory) :

    Next the laser shoot the objects until they are knocked out of their orbit and destroyed during re-entry into Earth’s atmosphere:

    The new method combining these two instruments will be capable of tracking down and de-orbiting the most dangerous space debris, around the size of one centimetre. The intense laser beam focused on the debris will produce high-velocity plasma ablation, and the reaction force will reduce its orbital velocity, leading to its reentry into the earth’s atmosphere.

    A full-scale version of their system would be armed with a 100,000-watt ultraviolet CAN laser that can fire 10,000 pulses per second, each lasting one-tenth of one-billionth of a second. The researchers say this system could blast debris from a range of about 60 miles (100 kilometers), and the laser would need about 17 lbs. (8 kilograms) of lithium-ion batteries.


    His research paper:
    http://www.docdroid.net/z4wa/space-debris-iss-hirosawa-wako.pdf.html (backup link)


    EUSO — http://www.rssd.esa.int/index.php?project=EUSO&page=index

    CAN laser article in Nature Photonics — http://www.nature.com/nphoton/journal/v7/n11/pdf/nphoton.2013.292.pdf

    Kessler Syndrome : existing debris colliding with one another generates more debris, which would also collide with one another, creating even more junk. — http://www.spacesafetymagazine.com/space-debris/kessler-syndrome

  • BBC News - Researchers ’appalled’ as EU chief scientist role is axed

    “I am appalled at the abolition of the CSA post,” said Prof Nigel Brown, president of the Society for General Microbiology.

    “Many of the major challenges facing Europe - climate change, food security, healthy ageing, disease control - require scientific input to policy at the very highest level. This is disastrously short-sighted.”

    Some British members of the European Parliament were angry about the closing of the post, when they believed they had received assurances from the incoming President that the role would be preserved.

    “I am deeply disappointed by this news. I wait to hear the details but on the face of it this looks like a complete volte face by Mr Juncker,” said Julie Girling, Conservative MEP for South West England and Gibraltar.

    “I fear Mr Juncker has caved in to the green lobby.”

    Environmental groups though were keen to stress that the closing of the post wasn’t a victory for them. They argue that the EU already has a formal system in place gathering evidence and assessing risks. They believe the CSA role distorted the process.

    They pointed to a dispute over endocrine disrupting chemicals, so called gender-benders. According to campaigners, the involvement of the CSA added to confusion over the role of these agents.

    “Scrapping the CSA post was about the integrity of science advice, the clarity and independence and it’s about getting the science right,” said Doug Parr from Greenpeace.

    “Those critical of the decision are misunderstanding what’s going on in Brussels - they think that somehow a CSA equals integrity of the scientific process and good advice, I don’t think it does.”

    Greenpeace share concerns with other researchers that the row may damage the overall role of science within Europe.

    It remains unclear as to what President Juncker will now do, though there are rumours he may appoint advisors across five key areas of policy.

    This might lead, according to Prof Alberto Alemanno, from HEC Paris, to a broader definition of what science means.

    “We only had the chief scientist represent the hard sciences, but not the social sciences,” he said.

    “If we are going to have five policy areas perhaps we will adopt a broader perspective towards the sciences, it is also possible to interpret the Juncker decision in a more positive way.”

  • Talking dogs and behavior alerts: Israel police go high-tech - National Israel News | Haaretz

    In a section entitled Developing and Establishing International Cooperation for the Fight against Organized Crime, Serious Crime and Cross-border Crime,” the document describes an American-Israeli joint project for reading the brain waves of dogs. According to the document, dogs’ brain waves will be translated into human language by a device that resembles the portable microphones worn by stage performers. The day still appears to be far off when dogs owned by Israeli organized-crime kingpins will testify as state’s witnesses, but ministry officials and its chief scientist take the project seriously.
    The brain wave project is not the only one involving canine capabilities. A recent lawsuit against the Israel Police over the awarding of a tender revealed a method called RASCargO, or Remote Air Sampling for Canine Olfaction. Learned in France recently by a local police animal handler, RASCargO involves drawing air from a cargo container and giving it for testing to sniffer dogs in an entirely different location. This method is rapid and efficient, since the dog and his handler are not in contact with the public, and has the advantage of keeping the dog in a sterile environment.