Pubblicato in: Cina, Persona Umana, Scienza & Tecnica, Stati Uniti

Persone di Talento. È in corso una competizione mondiale per reclutarli.

Giuseppe Sandro Mela.

2022-01-02.

2021-12-30__ Talento 001

«I greci ci criticano perché siamo così severi con i nostri figli e così lassi con gli schiavi: non hanno capito che i nostri figli dovranno dominare il mondo»

«When a true genius appears in the world you may know him by this sign; that the dunces are all in confederacy against him»

Il vero tesoro di una nazione è costituito dai suoi uomini di talento. Dopo la fine della guerra mondiale Germania, Giappone ed Italia erano distrutte, prive di risorse, ma avevano conservato con cura le loro persone di talento. Quindici anni dopo si assistette al loro ‘miracolo economico’.

Un Newton oppure una Md Curie fanno una nazione. Un milione di mediocri non fa un genio.

Il problema è identificarli, lasciarli crescere e, sopratutto, non ostacolarli.

* * * * * * *

«Is the U.S. Losing the War for Global Talent?»

«International students, particularly those coming from societies and cultures dramatically different from the US, are still not fully prepared for the vastly different academic culture»

«Students are quite different in how they’re approaching the idea of a foreign credential»

«Should I go to the U.S.? Is that the best return on investment for my family’s money? Or am I going to go to the U.K. or some other country?»

«Until about a decade ago, international students in the U.S. were dominated by those coming to the U.S. to pursue a master’s or Ph.D.»

«Then, with the huge growth in the Chinese middle class, there was this big influx of young Chinese students at the undergraduate level»

«foreign undergraduates, for the most part, have been full-fee paying students»

«Many families are now rethinking whether they have the resources to pay for their children’s education abroad»

«→→ What is it that Americans don’t understand about the experiences of international students? ←←»

«People don’t often appreciate how important international students have been to the post-1960s history of success of the U.S., from technology to academia to medicine»

«in the U.S., we do not want to have a candid conversation about the pathway from higher education to skilled talent and how countries grow their talent pool»

«If we look at the statistics, 70 to 80 percent of international students continue to stay on in the U.S. after their studies»

«More generally, we need to smooth that pathway from being a student to joining the workforce»

«When you’re an international student, everything you do in your program of study is governed by immigration rules»

«The policies in Canada are much friendlier to international students because of that clear understanding that education is a pathway to careers and the workforce»

* * * * * * *

Cina. Di gran lunga i migliori studenti al mondo.

Italia. Un addetto alla scuola ogni 5.57 studenti, sei volte più che in Cina.

Scuola Italiana. Fotocopie di una burocrazia satanica.

Invalsi 2019, l’Italia divisa in due. Quasi la metà dei maturandi «analfabeta» in matematica

Nuova Zelanda. Cresce il numero di studenti con proficiency in Cinese.

Cina. I grandi Atenei inglesi stanno trasferendosi in Cina.

Coronavirus e Cina mettono in dissesto le Università inglesi.

Conoscere e capire la Cina. Test di ammissione in seconda elementare.

* * * * * * *

Università. Rank mondiale. Irrompono le cinesi e declinano le liberal.

«Irrompono a viva forza le università cinesi nelle top 100.

Peking University, 27°, richiama il 16% di studenti stranieri;

Tsinghua University, 30°, richiama il 9% di studenti stranieri;

University of Hong Kong, 40°, richiama il 42% di studenti stranieri;

Hong Kong University of Science and Technology, 44°, richiama il 31% di studenti stranieri;

Chinese University of Hong Kong, 58°, richiama il 31% di studenti stranieri

* * * * * * *

I dati dei Rank mondiali sono inequivocabili.

Le università cinesi attirano gli studenti molto di più di quelle americane, che una volta erano posto mitico ed ambito ove andare a studiare.

Non è tempo e luogo per una analisi approfondita, ma almeno un elemento salta immediatamente agli occhi.

«in the U.S., we do not want to have a candid conversation».

«Stati Uniti d’America dove un professore viene licenziato per aver detto che “L’uragano Harvey è la risposta del karma al voto repubblicano del Texas”. Il tutto è avvenuto all’Università di Tampa, il nome del professore di sociologia è quello di Kenneth L. Storey»

Privare l’università della possibilità di esprimere liberamente le proprie opinioni la denatura e la rende solo strumento di azione politica, ossia tutto tranne che ‘università’: logico quindi che gli studenti esteri le evitino.

* * * * * * *


Is the U.S. Losing the War for Global Talent?

International students, particularly those coming from societies and cultures dramatically different from the US, are still not fully prepared for the vastly different academic culture.

* * *

This is one of a series of interviews by Bloomberg Opinion columnists on how to solve the world’s most pressing policy challenges. It has been edited for length and clarity.

Virginia Postrel: You came to the U.S. as a graduate student in psychology in 1992 and worked for many years at the Institute of International Education, as well as other jobs in international education. Your new book, “America Calling,” is a memoir of your own experiences and a report on the general state of foreign students in the U.S. How is the experience of current students different today from when you came? 

Rajika Bhandari, author, “America Calling: A Foreign Student in a Country of Possibility”: Students are quite different in how they’re approaching the idea of a foreign credential. They’re seeing it from the perspective of a very savvy consumer. Should I go to the U.S.? Is that the best return on investment for my family’s money? Or am I going to go to the U.K. or some other country? Students are armed with information in a way that they never were before.

However, there’s a lot that hasn’t changed. First and foremost are the enduring challenges around immigration, which rule the existence of an international student’s life in the U.S. in a way that most people who don’t have to experience it will never fully understand.

The other piece that remains the same is that international students, particularly those coming from societies and cultures dramatically different from the U.S., are still not fully prepared for the vastly different academic culture: the idea of a college classroom as a very open, democratic environment; the idea of really being independent in your learning; the idea that you can and should question your professor because you will actually be assessed on how well you’re able to articulate your ideas and to think critically. That can really be a shock for many students coming from highly traditional Asian cultures, where there are strict hierarchies in the classroom — and God forbid you ever question the professor.

VP: What is the current breakdown between graduate and undergraduate international students?

RB: Until about a decade ago, international students in the U.S. were dominated by those coming to the U.S. to pursue a master’s or Ph.D. Then, with the huge growth in the Chinese middle class, there was this big influx of young Chinese students at the undergraduate level. Over the past few years, we’ve seen more undergraduates coming to the U.S. However, according to some of the statistics for this year, it seems like that gap may be narrowing once again.

One reason is that foreign undergraduates, for the most part, have been full-fee paying students. They’re the ones who really fund the bottom line of U.S. institutions. Yet those are also the ones whose families have really been economically impacted by the pandemic. In many countries, the middle class itself has shrunk. Many families are now rethinking whether they have the resources to pay for their children’s education abroad.

VP: What is it that Americans don’t understand about the experiences of international students?

RB: People don’t often appreciate how important international students have been to the post-1960s history of success of the U.S., from technology to academia to medicine. One of the co-founders of Moderna was an international student. The new CEO of Twitter was an international student. Many Americans know that these individuals are immigrants, but what that journey has been — and why education has been a really critical aspect to that journey — is not well understood.

VP:  There’s a kind of pantomime, enacted by everyone involved, which holds that students come to the U.S. to study and then go back to their home countries. That’s what the student visas are based on. When you came, that was your intention as well. In what ways is that model not realistic?

RB: That question really gets at the heart of why I wrote this book. I felt a growing sense of frustration that in the U.S., we do not want to have a candid conversation about the pathway from higher education to skilled talent and how countries grow their talent pool.

In almost every developed country—look at the U.K. Australia, New Zealand, Germany, many others—the pathway from education to immigration has been omnipresent for a very long time. In the U.S., that’s not the case. If we look at the statistics, 70 to 80 percent of international students continue to stay on in the U.S. after their studies. Yet the flow of international students is still viewed within this framework of “exchange,” this pantomime, as you said earlier, of bilateral exchange. But it’s not an exchange. Many more students are coming than going. The number who come on exchange programs, like the flagship Fulbright Program, is very, very small. Most students who are coming here are individually motivated students funding their way.

One of the biggest challenges is that the F-1 international student visa continues to remain what’s called a “single intent visa,” which means that an undergraduate student at the age of 17 has to stand before a consular affairs officer in their home country and say, “Yes, I’m fairly certain that after four years, I’m coming back.” How can you know? We don’t ask 17-year-olds in the U.S. to know exactly what they’re going to decide four years down the line. I think most students are being honest, stating what they think is the right thing for them. It was true for me. But you evolve and change.

VP: So what reforms to the system what would you propose?

RB: First, remove that single-intent requirement of the student visa. Another issue is that currently, the applied work opportunities that international students have after their studies, through the Optional Practical Training Program, are incredibly fraught. The program was not created by legislation. So it’s like a sword hanging over every international student: Will I be able to pursue this one year of work after studies or not? What’s going to happen?

More generally, we need to smooth that pathway from being a student to joining the workforce. The restrictions and backlogs right now are really significant. It’s an issue of looking at the talent that the U.S. is losing — talent that’s been trained in the U.S.

VP: How does the U.S. immigration system shape the experience of international students while they’re here? How do they have a different experience from a similarly situated American student who might be in the same program with them?

RB: There’s this crippling sense of uncertainty that governs your entire time in the U.S. There are so many immigration rules to abide by, for example, in how much coursework you need to take each semester. Most American students are free to take the semester off, particularly graduate students: “I’ll continue to enroll, but I’m going to go work for two years at the World Bank.” None of that freedom exists for international students. When you’re an international student, everything you do in your program of study is governed by immigration rules.

I say sarcastically in the book that many people have the stereotype that “Oh, international students are brilliant, they finish their doctoral degrees in just five or six years, they’re so smart.” It’s not that they’re smart. They don’t have a choice. There is no option but to keep marching along and to meet those requirements, or you immediately fall out of status and have to head back to your country.

This sense of uncertainty hovers over you as you go through that pathway. It’s an endless process of waiting and not knowing. You’re applying for your Optional Practical Training work permit, and then you’re waiting and waiting, because you don’t know when it’ll come through. Then you might apply for an H1-B work permit. And that comes with its own uncertainties. It’s really something that governs an international student’s entire existence in the way that American students don’t even have to ever think about.

VP: How does that compare to say, the experience in Canada?

RB: The policies in Canada are much friendlier to international students because of that clear understanding that education is a pathway to careers and the workforce.

VP: Many people who want to restrict but not eliminate immigration want to skew it toward highly educated individuals who bring lots of human capital. But I worry about some of the potential side effects of that model. Part of the implicit American social contract—which is not always honored—is that we respect each other as individuals, and especially in the context of work. We respect the person who’s doing a job. We don’t look down on them because it’s a lower-paid job or requires less education. The work itself is worthy of respect. Does taking in lots of privileged people from hierarchical societies like India’s risk eroding the egalitarian relationships of everyday American life? Do people who come from the elite of highly hierarchical societies bring that elite view with them and inject it into daily American life?

RB: That is a fabulous question. And I do not put myself above that. I do think that there’s something special about entering a new society as a student, because you’re like a sponge, and you’re at an age where your values and ideas and beliefs are still being shaped. And so the experience can have a profound and transformative impact on a person. And it definitely did on me.

I realize that I came in with a lot of those ideas that you just laid out, from a society that was very rigidly structured across class lines. I had my own biases and beliefs, whether it was about race and skin color, or the dignity of labor. Being in the U.S. really forced me to confront my own biases, and to evolve and change into being more open in my thinking, and hopefully being a better human being.

And so that’s one thing that I’m imparting to students these days, when they ask me, I want to come to the U.S. and study, how can I succeed? One of my challenges to them is really think about making yourself open to how a society can actually transform you.

VP: How did studying and living in the U.S. help you understand India better?

RB: When you leave your home, and you’re away for sufficient enough period of time, it really gives you that sense of objectivity and the feeling of being an outsider looking in — knowing that society really well, but still being one step removed. For me, those learnings were largely around sexism and my place in the world as a young woman: seeing my homeland and my society for what it is and realizing that that’s not what I wanted for myself, that I wanted something different.

VP:  Even though there are certainly negative experiences in the book, it did make me feel good about the country. It was a positive view of America—not a beautiful fairy tale, but if you want to come here and then you end up staying, there must be something good about the country.

RB:  I’m really happy to hear you say that. What draws people to the U.S.? I say in the book that it’s the country that gave the world Indiana Jones. I wasn’t trying to be flippant — but just to say that there’s this idea of freedom embodied in different ways: freedom of thought, the freedom to pursue one’s aspirations, freedom to reinvent yourself.

VP: You have a great example of your surprise at seeing somebody in the U.S. who had braces as an adult. You see it as a sign of reinventing yourself.

RB:  It’s that freedom, manifested in many different ways, that students also encounter as soon as they arrive here. They are pushed to think in ways they had not experienced before. And I think it’s what really draws people here. It’s still present, despite all of the challenges that the country has had over the past four or five years.

This column does not necessarily reflect the opinion of the editorial board or Bloomberg LP and its owners.

Virginia Postrel is a Bloomberg Opinion columnist. She is a visiting fellow at the Smith Institute for Political Economy and Philosophy at Chapman University and the author, most recently, of “The Fabric of Civilization: How Textiles Made the World.”

Pubblicato in: Problemia Energetici, Scienza & Tecnica

Calotta Artica. Spessore del ghiaccio in aumento. Qualcuno lo dica a Greta.

Giuseppe Sandro Mela.

2021-11-14.

2021-11-08__ Polar Portal 010

La campagna mediatica sul ‘clima’ propone con toni sempre più melodrammatici lo apocalittico surriscaldamento del globo terraqueo. L’Oceano Artico disciolto, con innalzamento dei ivelli del mare. Una catastrofe immane.

Al contrario, lo spessore dei ghiacci artici, anziché diminuire, è in costante aumento fatto che questo che non corrobora simili asserzioni.

2021-11-08__ Polar Portal 011

* * * * * * *


                         The state of the sea ice is determined by its extent, thickness and volume

 The ice cover in the Arctic grows throughout the winter, before peaking in March. Melting picks up pace during the spring as the sun gets stronger, and in September the extent of the ice cover is typically only around one third of its winter maximum.

Differences may occur in terms of the position of the edge of the ice in the two maps, “Extent of the sea ice” and “Thickness and volume of the sea ice”, as the model calculations do not always correspond exactly to the satellite sensors’ registration of the extent of the ice.

Ice concentrations are based on satellite data and are from the Ocean and Sea Ice Satellite Application Facility project (OSISAF).

The thickness of the ice shown is calculated by means of the HYCOM-CICE model of sea ice at DMI. The model calculates various oceanographic values, including sea ice, in a grid with cells of 10 x 10 square km. The model is driven by meteorological data from ECMWF (European Centre for Medium-Range Weather Forecasts). In each grid cell the ice is classified into 5 thickness categories, with thickness, concentration, movement and heat balance of the ice being calculated for each category. The map of the ice thickness shows the mean thickness of ice in each grid cell.

The graph on the right shows the annual variation of the volume of the sea ice in the Northern Hemisphere, excluding the Baltic Sea and the Pacific. The volume of the ice is calculated on the basis of the ice thicknesses from the HYCOM-CICE model. In each grid cell the volume is calculated as thickness multiplied with concentration and with area, with contributions from all grid cells to the total volume. The grey band around the climatologic mean value corresponds to plus/minus one standard deviation based on the 10-year average 2004-2013.

Pubblicato in: Devoluzione socialismo, Economia e Produzione Industriale, Scienza & Tecnica

G5. Il bluff di cui quasi nessuno se ne accorto. Non funziona.

Giuseppe Sandro Mela.

2020-10-23.

G5 e Grid 001

Il lezioso gusto del particolare ed irrealistiche attese trionfalistiche sulle ricadute del progresso tecnico sono purtroppo una caratteristica generalizzata di gran parte delle popolazioni occidentali.

Ciò costituisce un insormontabile handicap a rappresentarsi una visione sintetica e globale dei problemi, conducendo così a fare svarioni colossali.

Un caso classico, da manuale, è costituito dalla generazione di corrente elettrica. L’attenzione della massa si focalizza sulle centrali senza tener presente che senza gli elettrodotti, il grid, la corrente generata non arriva agli utenti finali. Ma il grid è costoso, molto costoso.

*

Adesso il problema si ripropone con il G5, diventato persino oggetto del contendere tra i paesi occidentali e la Cina.

Eppure è tutto un bluff.

* * * * * * *

«5G will finally get its U.S. closeup with the expected debut of Apple Inc’s next iPhone on Tuesday. But the blazing speeds promised will not materialize for most people»

«The device, dubbed the iPhone 12 by analysts, can tap into 5G, or fifth generation wireless technology, that theoretically operates as much as 10 to 20 times faster than current 4G wireless networks»

«Using the next iPhone or any 5G enabled device on today’s network, however, will be “like having a Ferrari … but using it in your local village and you can’t drive to up to 200 miles per hour, simply because the roads cannot maintain those speeds,”»

«Current 5G U.S. networks mostly use low-band wireless spectrum, or airspace, that is slower than high-band spectrum, but more reliable over longer distances»

«It will likely take years before the massive speed boost phone carriers promise will make augmented reality and real-time cloud gaming seamless.»

«Several U.S. telecom operators have deployed networks based on lower spectrum bands, with slightly higher speeds than 4G»

«A noticeably faster variant of “mid-band” 5G is also being rolled out, but it is unlikely to reach three-quarters of Americans until 2025»

«The fastest speeds touted by carriers are a type of 5G called millimeter Wave, or mmWave, that work over shorter distances»

«On average, AT&T Inc and Verizon customers with 5G phones saw only a small bump up from 4G speeds, according to the same study»

«But Apple will be competing against local brands including Samsung in South Korea, which is already on its second line of 5G phones, and China’s Huawei Technologies Co Ltd, whose sales have surged after the telecom giant was banned in the United States.»

«The other big letdown is that applications using higher speeds to deliver something new have yet to be created»

«There’s going to be relatively little that you can do on a 5G iPhone you can’t do on a 4G iPhone today.»

* * * * * * *

Cerchiamo di ricapitolare.

Per poter funzionare, la telefonia cellulare necessita di un terminale allo stato dell’arte, di una  fitta selva di colonnine ripetitrici ed, infine, di veloci reti dati.

Ciascuno di questi tre punti può diventare un severo collo di bottiglia.

Sarebbe come avere una autostrada a dieci corsie, con un ampio tratto a corsia unica alternata. Le dieci corsie sono state una spesa inutile.

Che vada più che bene, il grid potrebbe essere aggiornato per il 2025, ma nessuno ci metta sopra il cuore. Con i tempi che corrono ben pochi hanno intenzione di investire cifre del genere.

La rete delle colonnine ripetitrici è infatti di proprietà delle società telefoniche, che al momento attuale non navigano in buone acque. Aggiornare il grid al G5 sarebbe in occidente una spesa per loro insostenibile.

Bene.

Questo è quanto.

Tanto gli illusi persisteranno nel loro stato.

*

Analysis: New Apple ‘iPhone 12’ to offer 5G speeds U.S. networks can’t deliver.

5G will finally get its U.S. closeup with the expected debut of Apple Inc’s next iPhone on Tuesday. But the blazing speeds promised will not materialize for most people.

The device, dubbed the iPhone 12 by analysts, can tap into 5G, or fifth generation wireless technology, that theoretically operates as much as 10 to 20 times faster than current 4G wireless networks.

Using the next iPhone or any 5G enabled device on today’s network, however, will be “like having a Ferrari … but using it in your local village and you can’t drive to up to 200 miles per hour, simply because the roads cannot maintain those speeds,” explained Boris Metodiev, associate director of research firm Strategy Analytics.

Apple, which is expected to unveil the new phone at a virtual event on Tuesday, will need to walk a tightrope between enticing consumers to upgrade their phones while not over-promising what 5G can do today.

Current 5G U.S. networks mostly use low-band wireless spectrum, or airspace, that is slower than high-band spectrum, but more reliable over longer distances. It will likely take years before the massive speed boost phone carriers promise will make augmented reality and real-time cloud gaming seamless.

Several U.S. telecom operators have deployed networks based on lower spectrum bands, with slightly higher speeds than 4G. A noticeably faster variant of “mid-band” 5G is also being rolled out, but it is unlikely to reach three-quarters of Americans until 2025, estimated longtime Apple analyst Gene Munster of venture capitalist firm Loup Ventures.

The fastest speeds touted by carriers are a type of 5G called millimeter Wave, or mmWave, that work over shorter distances. Verizon Communications Inc has the largest current mmWave network, available only in limited areas.

Although Verizon 5G users could connect almost 10 times faster than on Sprint and T-Mobile, actual average speeds were far lower, according to research firm OpenSignal’s mobile signal experience report in June.

On average, AT&T Inc and Verizon customers with 5G phones saw only a small bump up from 4G speeds, according to the same study.

In South Korea and in China, faster 5G networks are more pervasive. But Apple will be competing against local brands including Samsung in South Korea, which is already on its second line of 5G phones, and China’s Huawei Technologies Co Ltd, whose sales have surged after the telecom giant was banned in the United States.

The other big letdown is that applications using higher speeds to deliver something new have yet to be created. It is a chicken and egg problem at this part of the tech cycle, executives said, noting that interest in 4G was fueled by Facebook Inc’s mobile apps and Alphabet Inc’s YouTube.

“The applications we will be dazzled by, that will really take advantage of the network, will only be developed once the network and devices are available,” said Morgan Kurk, chief technology officer of CommScope, a telecom equipment maker.

U.S. consumers most motivated to buy a 5G phone would be those who need a new smartphone right now and are looking to protect their investments.

“If you’re buying a phone that you’re going to have for three years, you’re going to want to make sure that it’s going to support the latest networks,” said Geoff Blaber, vice president of research at CCS Insight.

Just know what to expect, Blaber added. “There’s going to be relatively little that you can do on a 5G iPhone you can’t do on a 4G iPhone today.”

Pubblicato in: Demografia, Scienza & Tecnica

Università. I professori maschi sono più produttivi e citati delle femmine.

Giuseppe Sandro Mela.

2020-10-05.

2020-0925__ Guy Madison 001

Maria Skłodowska nel 1903 fu insignita del premio Nobel per la fisica (assieme al marito Pierre Curie e ad Antoine Henri Becquerel) per i loro studi sulle radiazioni e nel 1911 del premio Nobel per la chimica per la sua scoperta del radio e del polonio. Unica donna tra i quattro vincitori di due Nobel, è la sola ad aver vinto il Premio in due distinti campi. La sua tomba è al Pantheon di Parigi.

I suoi lavori ricevettero un plauso generalizzato ed è uno degli scienziati di quell’epoca più citata da quanti abbiano poi proseguito sulle sue orme.

Nonostante che a quell’epoca fosse inusuale trovare donne nelle università, Maria Skłodowska si impose per la potenza del suo ingegno: delle quote rosa non avrebbe proprio saputo cosa farsene. Tutti ne ammiravano l’ingegno.

* * * * * * *


Guy Madison & Pontus Fahlman.

Sex differences in the number of scientific publications and citations when attaining the rank of professor in Sweden.

https://doi.org/10.1080/03075079.2020.1723533.

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                         ABSTRACT

The proportion of women tends to decrease the higher the academic rank, following a global pattern. Sweden has taken comprehensive measures to decrease this gap across 30 years, and many countries are following a similar path. Yet today only 27% of faculty with the rank of professor in Sweden are female. A common explanation is that academia is biased against women. According to this hypothesis, women have to reach higher levels of scholarly achievement than men to be appointed to the same academic rank. Publication metrics when attaining the rank of professor were compiled from the Web of Science for samples of the whole population of 1345 professors appointed at the six largest universities in Sweden during a six-year period. Men had significantly more publications and citations in both medicine and in the social sciences, rejecting the hypothesis that women are held to a higher scholarly standard in this context.

*

Introduction.

The majority of university students in Sweden are female, but the proportion of females amongst faculty members tends to decrease as academic rank increases. Across all disciplines the majority of professor-rank faculty in Sweden are male (Statistics Sweden 2015). This is also a consistent global pattern (Lariviere et al. 2013). Although Sweden has been implementing policies to increase female representation in academia for more than 30 years, its proportion of females amongst professor-rank faculty remains lower (27%) than amongst junior faculty (47%), doctoral students (48%), and freshmen (59%) (Universitetskanslersämbetet 2018). A common explanation is that females are disadvantaged in various ways, which may manifest as the proverbial ‘glass ceiling’ (e.g. Bukstein and Gandelman 2019; Yousaf and Schmiede 2016). Accordingly, academia is described as a patriarchal and male-dominated system by academics (e.g. Fahlgren 2013; Seierstad and Healy 2012; Sköld and Tillmar 2015, 16; Van den Brink and Stobbe 2014, 165) and politicians (Ericson et al. 2013; Justitiedepartementet 2016; Socialdemokraterna 2016). ….

In other words, females are considered to be disadvantaged through sex-biased evaluation and male in-group support, all of which are based on incorrect stereotypes, and decreases research quality. Any bias that selects less able academics over abler ones is a serious problem. ….

A sex bias in granting access to a desired position will manifest itself in preferentially hiring or promoting members of one sex at a higher rate than equally or more qualified members of the other sex. The male power-system theory therefore predicts that females who reach the rank of professor will have objectively higher merits than males. Such a comparison can readily be made, because scientific publications are the central merit for this position, and publications can be quantified in terms of their number, their number of citations, and the status of the journals they are published in. ….

One may argue that publication metrics are questionable as an index of scientific competence or quality. …. Publishing more indicates you have created more knowledge and also made a greater effort to share it, and being cited and published in journals with higher impact factors indicate that experts in your area find this knowledge relevant and valuable. ….

We also make the point that publication metrics are formally instituted and generally accepted as central criteria for evaluating academics that apply for a higher rank. ….

The magnitude of sex discrimination against female academics, based on the power-system theory, can thus be estimated by their greater scientific productivity. Specifically, we predict that females will have published more scientific papers that are more frequently cited and published in journals with higher impact factors, compared to males.

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Results.

2020-09-25__ Madison 001

2020-09-25__ Madison 002

2020-09-25__ Madison 003

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Discussion.

We tested the hypothesis that when appointed to the rank of professor, females have higher publication merits than males, reflecting a sex bias favouring males at Swedish universities. The data falsified this hypothesis, in that none of the 12 comparisons (2 discipline clusters × 6 metrics based on WoS data) exhibited any significant effect in this direction. In contrast, six of these metrics exhibited significantly (p < .05) higher values for males after Holm correction. In terms of magnitude, males had 64%–80% more scientific publications that had attained 42%–260% more citations, resulting in a 72%–83% larger h-index (Table 7). While these are quite large differences, their effect sizes were more moderate, due to the large variability stemming both from individual differences (Simonton 2014) and differences between disciplines, in the case of the Social Sciences. ….

The results show that at this point, and regardless of other potential differences in age, funding, number of children etc., female professors had, on average, lower levels of scholarly achievement than male professors. The result can be an effect of promoting females to professor at an earlier stage in their career. Other variables that might affect productivity, or whether some faculty faced greater challenges or had to work harder than others to obtain the same apparent academic merit, is irrelevant for the conclusion that the publication criteria for becoming a professor were effectively lower for females. ….

Sixth and finally, it could be argued that even if there were no difference in productivity, female authors might be less cited due to some unidentified bias. ….

female academics were appointed on the basis of generally having higher merits apart from publications. ….

It is frequently argued in the media and the public debate that academia of today is a hostile environment for females (Lawrence 2006), that academia discriminates against females (Johnson, Hekman, and Chan 2016), and that academic quality would increase if academia fostered more of a gender perspective (Alnebratt 2011). ….

Recent empirical studies that employ more objective measures indicate that female academics are often favoured. In sociology, for example, females get a permanent position with 23%–44% fewer publications than males, and are overall 1.4 times more likely to get tenure (Lutter and Schröder 2016). ….

university administrations somehow increase the proportion of female professors by non-meritocratic means, in accord with government goals to achieve sex equality ‘in purely numerical terms, [concerning] the sex distribution amongst PhD students, teachers, and researchers’ (Utbildningsdepartementet 1994, 26, 2004, 46).4 Indeed, the Swedish government has decided that the less represented sex shall constitute at least 40% in all areas of education (Delegationen för jämställdhet i högskolan 2011, 166, 2009, 5; Utbildningsdepartementet 1994, 37), and that all official statistics should be broken down by sex in order to monitor this. ….

* * * * * * *


Cerchiamo di concludere.

Il numero delle citazioni che una pubblicazione riceve sanziona senza possibilità di appello il livello scientifico degli autori e della ricerca. Con questo metro barare è impossibile: l’audience è mondiale, ed è anche selettiva e severa.

Le elucubrazioni sulla imperiosa necessità di procedere ad un equilibrio numerico tra maschi e femmine risultano essere demolite da questi risultati.

Non solo, proseguendo di questo passo altro non si ottiene che un processo di dequalificazione delle università e degli enti di ricerca.

Torniamo a ripetere: aver abbandonato la meritocrazia per il regime delle quote è il modo più sicuro ed efficiente per distruggere le università.

Pubblicato in: Cina, Devoluzione socialismo, Scienza & Tecnica, Stati Uniti

Cina supera USA per numerosità dei brevetti internazionali.

Giuseppe Sandro Mela.

2020-09-12.

2020-08-22__ Brevetti 001

Il concetto insito nel termine brevetto è ben riassunto da Treccani.

«È il titolo rilasciato da un’autorità amministrativa di uno Stato, denominata generalmente Ufficio brevetti, a seguito di apposita domanda di tutela legale di un trovato. Il brevetto conferisce al suo richiedente la facoltà esclusiva di attuare il trovato e di trarne profitto nel territorio dello Stato in cui si presenta domanda. Possono formare oggetto di brevetti sia le invenzioni industriali sia i modelli di utilità. Nel primo caso la tutela decorre dalla data di deposito della domanda e si protrae per 20 anni; nel secondo, essa termina improrogabilmente alla scadere del decimo anno. ….

«Esistono procedure di brevettazione di tipo sovranazionale. In particolare, vanno ricordate la procedura europea gestita dall’Ufficio europeo dei Brevetti, con sede a Monaco di Baviera, e quella internazionale gestita dall’Organizzazione Mondiale della Proprietà Intellettuale, con sede a Ginevra.»

* * * * * * *

«La Wipo (dall’inglese World intellectual property organization) è l’agenzia delle Nazioni Unite che si occupa di tutelare la proprietà intellettuale. È quindi l’organo a cui si rivolgono le maggiori aziende mondiali per la registrazione di brevetti e copyright internazionali»

«La Wipo dopo aver analizzato le richieste di brevetto produce un report annuale … Queste classifiche non hanno esclusivamente una valenza statistica. L’innovazione è infatti tornata al centro delle agende dei governi internazionali»

«Il report testimonia come il continente asiatico sia ormai diventato il principale polo innovatore a livello mondiale e sia destinato a rimanere tale. Questa egemonia è testimoniata sicuramente dal numero di brevetti presentati da aziende cinesi, giapponesi e sudcoreane, rispettivamente prima, terza e quinta forza mondiale»

«si nota in primis l’avvicendamento al vertice tra Cina e Stati Uniti avvenuto durante lo scorso anno»

«In secondo luogo si nota come i livelli di crescita tra occidente ed oriente siano completamente antitetici. Mentre infatti Cina (+10.6%), Giappone (+5.9%) e Corea del Sud (+12.8%) sono caratterizzati da un elevato aumento di domande presentate, gli Stati Uniti (+2.8%) presentano una crescita più contenuta ed infine il continente europeo è contraddistinto da una fase di stagnazione»

* * * * * * *

Se vuole essere competitiva, l’industria deve sapersi mantenere allo stato dell’arte, condizione che si fonda sulla generazione di brevetti, ossia di nuove tecnologie produttive.

Se sicuramente questa fase di ricerca, progettazione e sviluppo costituisce un onere passivo per l’industria, questo costo risulta poi essere ammortizzato con il trasferimento dalla ricerca alla produzione, e da questa alla commercializzazione.

Ma se si considerasse questo argomento a livello nazionale invece che a livello aziendale, ecco che il numero dei brevetti diventerebbe un valido indicatore dello stato di salute del sistema produttivo. In questa ottica, si dovrebbe constatare come la Cina abbia raggiunto il volume egli Stati Uniti, mentre l’Europa ristagni in una inedia produttiva che non promette nulla di buono.

*


Grafico della settimana: la Cina batte gli Usa nei brevetti.

La Wipo (dall’inglese World intellectual property organization) è l’agenzia delle Nazioni Unite che si occupa di tutelare la proprietà intellettuale. È quindi l’organo a cui si rivolgono le maggiori aziende mondiali per la registrazione di brevetti e copyright internazionali.

La Wipo dopo aver analizzato le richieste di brevetto produce un report annuale concentrandosi sulle aziende richiedenti, il loro settore di appartenenza e la loro nazione di origine.

Queste classifiche non hanno esclusivamente una valenza statistica. L’innovazione è infatti tornata al centro delle agende dei governi internazionali. Al giorno d’oggi inoltre, non solo le aziende vengono coinvolte maggiormente nel dibattito pubblico locale ed internazionale, ma vengono strumentalizzate per esercitare pressioni politiche. Sono quindi un termometro degli equilibri diplomatici tra le potenze mondiali.

Le nazioni innovatrici

Il report testimonia come il continente asiatico sia ormai diventato il principale polo innovatore a livello mondiale e sia destinato a rimanere tale. Questa egemonia è testimoniata sicuramente dal numero di brevetti presentati da aziende cinesi, giapponesi e sudcoreane, rispettivamente prima, terza e quinta forza mondiale. Se l’analisi fosse esclusivamente annuale si potrebbe obiettare come l’egemonia sopra citata sia interrotta da Stati Uniti e dal continente europeo, con Germania come rappresentante principale.

Tuttavia se si considera l’evoluzione dell’innovazione nei Paesi considerati, si nota in primis l’avvicendamento al vertice tra Cina e Stati Uniti avvenuto durante lo scorso anno. In secondo luogo si nota come i livelli di crescita tra occidente ed oriente siano completamente antitetici. Mentre infatti Cina (+10.6%), Giappone (+5.9%) e Corea del Sud (+12.8%) sono caratterizzati da un elevato aumento di domande presentate, gli Stati Uniti (+2.8%) presentano una crescita più contenuta ed infine il continente europeo è contraddistinto da una fase di stagnazione, dalla quale si erge esclusivamente il Regno Unito (+2.9%).

L’analisi settoriale

Questi Paesi inoltre non si differenziano esclusivamente per il trend di crescita o decrescita che li caratterizza, ma anche per i settori sui quali le aziende nazionali si concentrano.

Nel continente asiatico l’innovazione si concentra in particolare sulla comunicazione digitale. Dei brevetti presentati da aziende cinesi e sudcoreane infatti, rispettivamente il 16% ed il 10% provengono da quel campo.
Questi numeri sono sicuramente influenzati dalla presenza di due colossi del tech, quali Huawei, che per il terzo anno consecutivo è stata l’azienda ad aver richiesto più brevetti (4.411), Samsung, che ha conseguito una crescita del 16% rispetto al 2018, ed LG. Le aziende nipponiche operano invece diversamente, concentrandosi maggiormente sull’innovazione energetica, dal cui settore provengono circa l’11% dei brevetti presentati.

Le aziende statunitensi sono invece leader mondiali per quanto riguarda l’innovazione medica. Infatti, nonostante la maggior parte dei brevetti provenga dal settore degli hardware tecnologici (12%), tra le nazioni che vengono considerate più innovatrici, le aziende americane sono le uniche ad aver presentato più di cinquemila brevetti in campo medico.
In particolare si osserva come esse contribuiscano a quasi il 40% dei brevetti presentati nel settore sanitario a livello mondiale. Attualmente invece il continente europeo risulta concentrato soprattutto nell’innovazione meccanica.
Questo fenomeno è dovuto in particolare alla presenza della Bosch (1.524 brevetti nel 2019), che è ormai una costante tra le più importanti aziende innovatrici a livello mondiale.

Nonostante le differenze fra i vari attori internazionali sono molto marcate, nei prossimi anni saranno destinate ad affievolirsi. In particolare a seguito della scelta del Regno Unito di escludere Huawei dalle proprie reti telefoniche, aziende come Ericsson saranno chiamate ad un grandissimo sforzo innovatore, che valuterà l’indipendenza tecnologica dell’Europa dal polo asiatico.

Pubblicato in: Arte, Scienza & Tecnica

Lidar Mapping. Scoperti 60,000 nuovi templi Maya. – Nature.

Giuseppe Sandro Mela.

2020-09-06.

2020-06-05__Nature Lidar Mapping 013

«In archaeology, there are few watershed moments, when a technological breakthrough changes everything. But the invention of radiocarbon dating in the 1940s brought one such revolution, by providing a consistent, worldwide system for placing archaeological material in chronological order»

«A more-recent transformative innovation is the airborne application of a remote-sensing technique called light detection and ranging (lidar) to create a model (also known as a digital-elevation model) of the bare-surface terrain that is hidden by trees in forested areas»

«Lidar is changing archaeological study of the ancient Maya in Mexico and Central America»

«It is increasing the speed and scale of discovery, and reshaping our understanding of the antiquity of monumental-scale landscape alteration»

«Lidar requires an aeroplane or drone to fly over the area of interest. Laser pulses are emitted and signals bouncing back generate what is termed a point cloud of data points»

«Expert image processing and prodigious computer capacity can then yield models of bare terrain from which the vegetation has been digitally removed. In areas where dwellings, platforms, pyramids and even palaces can be obscured by high-canopy vegetation, a bare-terrain model yields something close to a topographic map of the surface. Straight lines and corners in a bare-terrain model suggest elements that have human rather than geological origins»

«Generating such models might not sound impressive for arid landscapes, but it is a game changer where high-canopy trees obscure the view. Lidar images from one plane flight can provide more information than can be generated by decades of conventional archaeological surveys»

2020-06-05__Nature Lidar Mapping 014

* * * * * * *

2020-06-05__Nature Lidar Mapping 015

«Advanced laser mapping has revealed more than 60,000 ancient Mayan structures beneath the jungles of northern Guatemala.

Set across dozens of hidden cities, the discoveries include houses, palaces and a 90-foot-tall pyramid that was previously thought to be a hill.

Made possible through special laser-equipped airplanes that can “see” through dense jungle, the groundbreaking research suggests that Mayan metropolises were far larger and more complex than previously thought.

Evidence of agriculture, irrigation, quarries and defensive fortifications were widespread, and extensive road networks point to initially unknown levels of interconnectivity between settlements.»

«Known as the earliest form of non-residential architecture in the Maya lowlands, E Groups were used for naked-eye astronomy. Some, such as those found by Inomata and colleagues, were built up to 3,000 years ago and, interestingly, they pre-date even a clear footprint of settlement in the form of dwellings and villages»

2020-06-05__Nature Lidar Mapping 016

2020-06-05__Nature Lidar Mapping 017

*


Patricia A. McAnany. Large-scale early Maya sites in Mexico revealed by lidar mapping technology

Nature. doi: 10.1038/d41586-020-01570-8

In archaeology, there are few watershed moments, when a technological breakthrough changes everything. But the invention of radiocarbon dating in the 1940s brought one such revolution, by providing a consistent, worldwide system for placing archaeological material in chronological order. A more-recent transformative innovation is the airborne application of a remote-sensing technique called light detection and ranging (lidar) to create a model (also known as a digital-elevation model) of the bare-surface terrain that is hidden by trees in forested areas1. Lidar is changing archaeological study of the ancient Maya in Mexico and Central America. It is increasing the speed and scale of discovery, and reshaping our understanding of the antiquity of monumental-scale landscape alteration. Writing in Nature, Inomata et al.2 provide a prime example of this in their study of the region of Tabasco in Mexico that borders the Usumacinta River.

Lidar requires an aeroplane or drone to fly over the area of interest. Laser pulses are emitted and signals bouncing back generate what is termed a point cloud of data points. Expert image processing and prodigious computer capacity can then yield models of bare terrain from which the vegetation has been digitally removed. In areas where dwellings, platforms, pyramids and even palaces can be obscured by high-canopy vegetation, a bare-terrain model yields something close to a topographic map of the surface. Straight lines and corners in a bare-terrain model suggest elements that have human rather than geological origins.

Generating such models might not sound impressive for arid landscapes, but it is a game changer where high-canopy trees obscure the view. Lidar images from one plane flight can provide more information than can be generated by decades of conventional archaeological surveys. As a veteran of pre-lidar survey techniques and an archaeologist who works in the humid tropics that are associated with ancient Maya civilizations, I have spent thousands of hours of fieldwork walking behind a local machete-wielding man who would cut straight lines through the forest. This process creates a grid within which we archaeologists proceed on foot to locate any structures present. Then, after more machete-cutting to reveal the corners, shape and height of ancient constructions, the structures could finally be mapped.

This time-consuming process has required years, often decades, of fieldwork to map a large ancient Maya city such as Tikal in Guatemala and Caracol in Belize. At Caracol, laborious clearing and mapping were under way for decades before lidar quickly revealed the full extent of the agricultural terraces and settlement1. Bare-terrain models produced by lidar imagery include coordinate information (such as latitude and longitude) that can be used to ‘ground-truth’ the results by examining the specific physical site. Machete-cutters are still needed during this ground-truthing step.

Airborne lidar has been of benefit for the study of other archaeological sites in tropical forests, such as those at Angkor Wat in Cambodia3. Lidar data have revealed artificial reservoirs built around the temples there, yielding subtle hints about the limits to the resilience of this complex hydraulic system. This research has also underlined the vastness of the landscape modifications undertaken by people of the Khmer Empire4.

Back in the tropical forests of Petén in Guatemala — the heartland of Maya ‘divine’ rulers during the Classic period (ad 250–800) — is a region called the Maya lowlands that archaeologists have studied nearly continuously since the mid-twentieth century. Intriguing because of its hieroglyphic writing system, naturalistic sculpture and painting style, and adroitness in maize (corn) farming, Classic-period Maya society was organized politically around dozens of royal courts. Archaeologists have lavished much attention on these courts, but only a small fraction of the landscape beyond and between them has been mapped using conventional methods.

To remedy this, a large lidar programme was initiated5. The resultant bare-terrain models show a landscape that was intensively and deliberately modified by humans in a way that would easily have escaped detection by even the most seasoned conventional field mappers. The spatial continuity of landscape modifications can be more obvious when viewed from above rather than at ground level. Inomata and colleagues echo this point in reference to their key finding: the discovery of massive, ancient platforms made of clay and earth, measuring about 400 metres across and 1,400 metres in length, at Aguada Fénix in the Usumacinta region of Tabasco, which lies at the western boundary of the Maya lowlands. These platforms date to between 1000 and 800 bc. In the northern part of the Maya lowlands, where the forest is more scrubby but no less impenetrable than the Tabasco forest, a similar lidar ‘reveal’ is happening with equally profound results69.

In comparison with the Maya region farther east and the region to the west associated with Olmec societies (known for colossal stone heads from the second to first millennium bc), Tabasco has taken a back seat in terms of archaeological investigations during the past century, despite its position between those two regions. That changed when Inomata and colleagues decided to conduct a survey in twenty-first-century style using lidar. This was not a random ‘fishing expedition’ to discover whatever they could find. Instead, their search focused on a type of construction called an E Group (Fig. 1). Known as the earliest form of non-residential architecture in the Maya lowlands, E Groups were used for naked-eye astronomy10. Some, such as those found by Inomata and colleagues, were built up to 3,000 years ago and, interestingly, they pre-date even a clear footprint of settlement in the form of dwellings and villages.

Archaeologists seek to understand which came first in the development of community life — sedentary life in a fixed dwelling, or periodic gatherings for group-based ritual activities, such as religious or astronomical observances. The former was generally thought to have paved the way for the latter, but newer evidence is emerging to suggest it was the other way around.

Human ancestors might first have come together to mark the change of seasons observable in the movement of the Sun or other celestial bodies across the sky or along the horizon. E Groups (Fig. 1) contain a low mound or pyramid on the western side of an architectural complex with an elongated platform on the eastern side. Looking from the western structure aids the viewer to witness sunrise during the winter and summer solstices, which are visible along the northern and southern corners, respectively, of the eastern platform (which is elongated from north to south). Brilliantly simple in design, this type of construction was built, over and over again, up and down the Usumacinta region and throughout the Maya lowlands to the east.

Using the revealing ‘eyes’ of lidar, Inomata and colleagues document 16 instances of E-Group constructions during the first millennium bc. These were built on top of massive rectangular platforms. The platform at Aguada Fénix is the largest of any such platform discovered from this early time period, and Inomata and colleagues suggest that it might be the largest Maya construction built before Spanish invaders arrived. On the basis of the site’s absence of excavated stone sculpture depicting rulers — such as the colossal heads found from the same time period in the Olmec region — the authors argue that these constructions were truly public architecture and not built at the behest of rulers. If so, then why were they built so large, and abandoned only hundreds of years later (as indicated by radiocarbon-dating information from the authors’ excavations)? And how far to the east and west of Aguada Fénix can such arrangements of a huge platform with an E Group be found? Strictly speaking, this architectural pattern is not a strong characteristic of the central Maya lowlands to the east nor of the Olmec region to the west.

Many questions remain for further research, but there is no doubt that lidar is continuing to transform archaeological research in forested regions. At Aguada Fénix, in particular, the lidar data coupled with Inomata and colleagues’ excavations substantially deepen our understanding of the social transformations that occurred there, and strengthen the argument that public architecture on a monumental scale pre-dated village life in eastern Mesoamerica. These findings will lead some to cast a critical eye on the proposed link between public architecture and hierarchical rulership, given that the latter seems to have commenced in the Maya lowlands hundreds of years after the construction of the Aguada Fénix site. The fact that Inomata and colleagues’ research took three years, rather than three decades, also demonstrates the powerful way in which lidar is facilitating the rapid detection and investigation of the past by offering a way of peering through the veils of the forest canopy.

Pubblicato in: Cina, Istruzione e Ricerca, Scienza & Tecnica

Occidente che punzecchia la Cina, con risultati controproducenti. Riviste scientifiche.

Giuseppe Sandro Mela.

2020-08-30.

2020-08-28__ Sorgente 001

Gli occidentali, meglio i liberal democratici negli Stati Uniti e quelli socialisti in Europa, hanno il vezzo di voler fare sempre la morale a tutti gli altri. Si ritengono depositari della verità assoluta, ritengono di essere non solo infallibile, ma anche di dover predicare il loro credo religioso – politico, lanciando anatemi a destra e manca.

Poi passano molto tempo a lamentarsi che gli altri li mandino a quel paese.

Ma non è mica che siano stinchi di santi.

Germania. Nel 2019 15,000 casi di pedofilia.

Germania. Pedofilia. Un vaso di Pandora di raccapriccianti orrori.

Berlino. Da trenta anni le Autorità affidavano i trovatelli ai pedofili.

Se  tedeschi facessero un po’ di pulizia in casa loro prima di pontificare, non sarebbe male.

* * * * * * *

L’ultima trovata sarebbe questa.

Molte riviste internazionali, quasi tutte a dire il vero, mettono in rete gli indici delle pubblicazioni effettuate e, di norma, ne permettono la visualizzazione dei testi, sia pure parziale.

Ma il mondo è curioso.

Chiunque si pigliasse la briga di esaminare con cura i codici sorgenti delle loro pagine, troverebbe una istruzione più o meno equivalente a questa:

«<!– Removed due to network issues when loading in China –>»

Nei fatti, ogni codice sorgente contiene molte righe analoghe: questo è solo un esempio.

* * * * * * *

È solo una banalissima puntura di spillo, che chiunque sarebbe in grado di risolvere, ma nel suo complesso è solo irritante.

Ci si domanda: ne valeva la pena?

Pubblicato in: Brasile, Istruzione e Ricerca, Scienza & Tecnica

UCL. Nuovo record velocità su internet. 178 terabit al secondo.

Giuseppe Sandro Mela.

2020-08-30.

2020-08-26__IEEE 001

Nuovo record di velocità su Internet, 178 terabit al secondo.

«Stabilito il nuovo record mondiale di velocità nella trasmissione dati su Internet: è di 178 terabit al secondo (pari a 178 milioni di megabit al secondo), quanto basta per scaricare l’intero catalogo di Netflix in meno di un secondo. Il primato è stato conquistato dai ricercatori dell’University College di Londra, che hanno così migliorato del 20% il record precedente detenuto da un team giapponese. Il risultato, che aiuterà a potenziare le attuali infrastrutture della Rete, è stato ottenuto in collaborazione con le compagnie Xtera e KDDI Research, ed è pubblicato sulla rivista IEEE Photonics Technology Letters.

“Mentre le attuali interconnessioni dei data center in cloud sono in grado di trasportare fino a 35 terabit al secondo – spiega la coordinatrice dello studio, Lidia Galdino – noi stiamo lavorando con nuove tecnologie che usano in modo più efficiente le infrastrutture già esistenti, facendo un uso migliore della larghezza di banda della fibra ottica e rendendo possibile una trasmissione record di 178 terabit al secondo”. Il primato è stato ottenuto trasmettendo dati attraverso una più ampia gamma di lunghezze d’onda rispetto a quelle usate tipicamente nella fibra ottica. La tecnica può essere applicata alle attuali infrastrutture in modo economicamente vantaggioso, aggiornando gli amplificatori posizionati lungo le fibre ottiche a intervalli di 40-100 chilometri.

I servizi di comunicazione in banda larga sono sempre più richiesti dall’inizio della pandemia, “ma al di là della crisi di Covid-19 – sottolinea Galdino – il traffico Internet è cresciuto esponenzialmente negli ultimi dieci anni è questa crescita è legata alla riduzione del costo del bit. Lo sviluppo di nuove tecnologie è cruciale per mantenere questa tendenza verso costi più bassi andando incontro alle future domande di dati che continueranno ad aumentare, con applicazioni ancora impensabili che trasformeranno la vita delle persone”.»

*

Questo è un gran bel risultato, specialmente perché:

«La tecnica può essere applicata alle attuali infrastrutture in modo economicamente vantaggioso, aggiornando gli amplificatori posizionati lungo le fibre ottiche a intervalli di 40-100 chilometri»

*


Lidia Galdino et Al.

Optical Fibre Capacity Optimisation via Continuous Bandwidth Amplification and Geometric Shaping.

IEEE Photonics Technology Letters (Volume: 32 , Issue: 17 , 1021 – 1024, Sept.1, 1, 2020)

DOI: 10.1109/LPT.2020.3007591

*

Abstract:

The maximum data throughput in a single mode optical fibre is a function of both the signal bandwidth and the wavelength-dependent signal-to-noise ratio (SNR). In this paper, we investigate the use of hybrid discrete Raman & rare-earth doped fibre amplifiers to enable wide-band signal gain, without spectral gaps between amplification bands. We describe the widest continuous coherent transmission bandwidth experimentally demonstrated to date of 16.83 THz, achieved by simultaneously using the S-, C- and L-bands. The variation of fibre parameters over this bandwidth, together with the hybrid amplification method result in a significant SNR wavelength-dependence. To cope with this, the signal was optimised for each SNR, wavelength and transmission band. By using a system-tailored set of geometrically shaped constellations, we demonstrate the transmission of 660 ×25 GBd channels over 40 km, resulting in a record single mode fibre net throughput of 178.08 Tbit/s.

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UCL engineers set new world record internet speed.

The world’s fastest data transmission rate has been achieved by a team of UCL engineers who reached an internet speed a fifth faster than the previous record.

Working with two companies, Xtera and KDDI Research, the research team led by Dr Lidia Galdino (UCL Electronic & Electrical Engineering), achieved a data transmission rate of 178 terabits a second (178,000,000 megabits a second) – a speed at which it would be possible to download the entire Netflix library in less than a second.

The record, which is double the capacity of any system currently deployed in the world, was achieved by transmitting data through a much wider range of colours of light, or wavelengths, than is typically used in optical fibre. (Current infrastructure uses a limited spectrum bandwidth of 4.5THz, with 9THz commercial bandwidth systems entering the market, whereas the researchers used a bandwidth of 16.8THz.)

To do this, researchers combined different amplifier technologies needed to boost the signal power over this wider bandwidth and maximised speed by developing new Geometric Shaping (GS) constellations (patterns of signal combinations that make best use of the phase, brightness and polarisation properties of the light), manipulating the properties of each individual wavelength. The achievement is described in a new paper in IEEE Photonics Technology Letters.

The benefit of the technique is that it can be deployed on already existing infrastructure cost-effectively, by upgrading the amplifiers that are located on optical fibre routes at 40-100km intervals. (Upgrading an amplifier would cost £16,000, while installing new optical fibres can, in urban areas, cost up to £450,000 a kilometre.)

The new record, demonstrated in a UCL lab, is a fifth faster than the previous world record held by a team in Japan.

At this speed, it would take less than an hour to download the data that made up the world’s first image of a black hole (which, because of its size, had to be stored on half a ton of hard drives and transported by plane). The speed is close to the theoretical limit of data transmission set out by American mathematician Claude Shannon in 1949.

Lead author Dr Galdino, a Lecturer at UCL and a Royal Academy of Engineering Research Fellow, said: “While current state-of-the-art cloud data-centre interconnections are capable of transporting up to 35 terabits a second, we are working with new technologies that utilise more efficiently the existing infrastructure, making better use of optical fibre bandwidth and enabling a world record transmission rate of 178 terabits a second.”

Since the start of the COVID-19 crisis, demand for broadband communication services has soared, with some operators experiencing as much as a 60% increase in internet traffic compared to before the crisis. In this unprecedented situation, the resilience and capability of broadband networks has become even more critical.

Dr Galdino added: “But, independent of the Covid-19 crisis, internet traffic has increased exponentially over the last 10 years and this whole growth in data demand is related to the cost per bit going down. The development of new technologies is crucial to maintaining this trend towards lower costs while meeting future data rate demands that will continue to increase, with as yet unthought-of applications that will transform people’s lives.”

This work is funded by the Royal Academy of Engineering, The Royal Society Research grant, and the EPSRC programme grant TRANSNET (EP/R035342/1).

*


Biography.

Lidia Galdino

Lecturer and a Royal Academy of Engineering Research Fellow

Dr Lidia Galdino received the M.Sc. and Ph.D. degrees in electronic and electrical engineering from the University of Campinas, Brazil, in 2008 and 2013, respectively. Dr Galdino commenced a lectureship and a Royal Academy of Engineering Research Fellowship in September 2018 on the topic of “Capacity-approaching, Ultra-Wideband Nonlinear optical Fibre Transmission System”, and a co-investigated in the EPSRC TRANSNET programme grant. She previously worked as a Senior Research Associate on the EPSRC UNLOC programme grant.

She is Associate Editor of Optical Fiber Technology and worked on the Technical Programme Subcommittee for several international conferences

Dr Galdino was a co-recipient of the RAEng Colin Campbell Mitchell Award in 2015 for pioneering contributions to optical communications technology

Pubblicato in: Istruzione e Ricerca, Scienza & Tecnica

Informatica neuromorfa. Neurotransistor plastici capaci di memoria ed elaborazioni. – Nature.

Giuseppe Sandro Mela.

2020-06-01.

2020-05-29__Transistor Nature 013

Coordinati dalla Technische Universität Dresden, un team di scienziati del Centro Helmholtz di Dresda-Rossendorf, della Tschingua di Pechino, dell’Università di Calcutta, del Postech a Pohang in Corea e di Berkeley in California ha prodotto un transistor neuromorfo, capace di memorizzare, di elaborare e di rispondere sulla scorta dei dati memorizzati in tempo reale.

«Un passo importante verso l’informatica neuromorfa»

«Ricercatori della TU di Dresda hanno pubblicato un articolo rivoluzionario sull’informatica neuromorfica»

«Uno degli obiettivi dichiarati della ricerca nel campo del calcolo neuromorfico è quello di mappare la natura auto-organizzante e autoregolante del cervello sia nei circuiti che nei materiali – da qui il termine neuromorfico»

«I computer risultanti dovrebbero essere in grado di adattare e ottimizzare le loro prestazioni e i loro compiti durante il funzionamento in base alle esigenze ed essere in grado di risolvere problemi per i quali non sono stati originariamente programmati»

«Sono costantemente in apprendimento e hanno la cosiddetta plasticità di un sistema nervoso biologico»

«La plasticità si riferisce alla capacità di modificare la struttura e la funzione del circuito elettronico al fine di adattare i processi in corso alle esigenze dell’utente – in altre parole, di riallineare e ricostruire il circuito elettronico dai suoi singoli elementi di commutazione, se necessario.»

«Un ulteriore vantaggio dei computer neuromorfi è la loro struttura di base»

«Nel cervello umano, le informazioni vengono memorizzate ed elaborate nella stessa posizione, simultaneamente e in parallelo, attraverso una complessa rete di connessioni sinaptiche tra più di cento miliardi di neuroni»

«Questo distingue fondamentalmente il cervello dai computer di oggi. Funzionano secondo il principio di von Neumann, in cui le due funzioni elementari di memorizzazione e di calcolo vengono eseguite in unità separate»

«Le architetture informatiche neuromorfiche, invece, come reso possibile dalla scoperta di Dresda, mirano ad andare ben oltre i computer di von Neumann»

«Essi combinano l’immagazzinamento e l’elaborazione delle informazioni all’interno di un’unità funzionale in grado di apprendere – in questo caso specifico, un transistor basato sui fili quantistici di silicio costruiti in modo elaborato con un rivestimento in sol-gel che fornisce plasticità modellata sui neuroni.»

«Ciò consente di eseguire a livello hardware algoritmi potenti, veloci e flessibili, come quelli necessari per l’intelligenza artificiale»

* * *

«Neuromorphic architectures merge learning and memory functions within a single unit cell and in a neuron-like fashion»

«Research in the field has been mainly focused on the plasticity of artificial synapses»

«However, the intrinsic plasticity of the neuronal membrane is also important in the implementation of neuromorphic information processing»

«Here we report a neurotransistor made from a silicon nanowire transistor coated by an ion-doped sol–gel silicate film that can emulate the intrinsic plasticity of the neuronal membrane»

«The neurotransistors are manufactured using a conventional complementary metal–oxide–semiconductor process on an 8-inch (200 mm) silicon-on-insulator wafer»

«Mobile ions allow the film to act as a pseudo-gate that generates memory and allows the neurotransistor to display plasticity»

«We show that multiple pulsed input signals of the neurotransistor are non-linearly processed by sigmoidal transformation into the output current, which resembles the functioning of a neuronal membrane»

«The output response is governed by the input signal history, which is stored as ionic states within the silicate film, and thereby provides the neurotransistor with learning capabilities»

* * * * * * *

A nostra conoscenza, questo è il primo neurotransistor progettato, costruito e funzionante, capace sia di memoria locale sia della capacità di utilizzare le informazioni memorizzate per modulare la risposta, in un processo continuo di apprendimento e di utilizzo immediato di quanto imparato.

Pensando ai primi trasistor degli anni cinquanta ed agli sviluppi che hanno mostrato fino ai circuiti integrati, non si osa pensare quale possa essere il futuro del neurotransistor.

Si noti come le Università Tschingua di Pechino, quella di Calcutta ed il Postech di Pohang siano centri di ricerca asiatici: in meno di trenta anni sono diventati tra le migliori istituzioni del settore.

*


Eunhye Baek, Nikhil Ranjan Das, Carlo Vittorio Cannistraci, Taiuk Rim, Gilbert Santiago Cañón Bermúdez, Khrystyna Nych, Hyeonsu Cho, Kihyun Kim, Chang-Ki Baek, Denys Makarov, Ronald Tetzlaff, Leon Chua, Larysa Baraban & Gianaurelio Cuniberti.

Intrinsic plasticity of silicon nanowire neurotransistors for dynamic memory and learning functions.

Nature Electronics (2020)

«Abstract.

Neuromorphic architectures merge learning and memory functions within a single unit cell and in a neuron-like fashion. Research in the field has been mainly focused on the plasticity of artificial synapses. However, the intrinsic plasticity of the neuronal membrane is also important in the implementation of neuromorphic information processing. Here we report a neurotransistor made from a silicon nanowire transistor coated by an ion-doped sol–gel silicate film that can emulate the intrinsic plasticity of the neuronal membrane. The neurotransistors are manufactured using a conventional complementary metal–oxide–semiconductor process on an 8-inch (200 mm) silicon-on-insulator wafer. Mobile ions allow the film to act as a pseudo-gate that generates memory and allows the neurotransistor to display plasticity. We show that multiple pulsed input signals of the neurotransistor are non-linearly processed by sigmoidal transformation into the output current, which resembles the functioning of a neuronal membrane. The output response is governed by the input signal history, which is stored as ionic states within the silicate film, and thereby provides the neurotransistor with learning capabilities.»

*


«Informazioni per i giornalisti.

Un passo importante verso l’informatica neuromorfa: un lavoro di seminale da Dresda

Ricercatori della TU di Dresda hanno pubblicato un articolo rivoluzionario sull’informatica neuromorfica. Nel loro lavoro pubblicato sulla rinomata rivista “Nature Electronics”, mostrano come i transistor fatti di fili quantistici possano imitare importanti funzioni del cervello umano – la memoria dinamica e l’apprendimento. Il lavoro è stato sviluppato in stretta collaborazione con gli scienziati del Centro Helmholtz di Dresda-Rossendorf, della Tschingua di Pechino, dell’Universita` di Calcutta, del POSTECH a Pohang in Corea e di Berkeley in California. 

“Uno degli obiettivi dichiarati della ricerca nel campo del calcolo neuromorfico è quello di mappare la natura auto-organizzante e autoregolante del cervello sia nei circuiti che nei materiali – da qui il termine neuromorfico”, dice il Prof. Gianaurelio Cuniberti professore ordinario di Scienza dei Materiali e Nanotecnologie, che ha coordinato il lavoro. I computer risultanti dovrebbero essere in grado di adattare e ottimizzare le loro prestazioni e i loro compiti durante il funzionamento in base alle esigenze ed essere in grado di risolvere problemi per i quali non sono stati originariamente programmati. Sono costantemente in apprendimento e hanno la cosiddetta plasticità di un sistema nervoso biologico. La plasticità si riferisce alla capacità di modificare la struttura e la funzione del circuito elettronico al fine di adattare i processi in corso alle esigenze dell’utente – in altre parole, di riallineare e ricostruire il circuito elettronico dai suoi singoli elementi di commutazione, se necessario.

Un ulteriore vantaggio dei computer neuromorfi è la loro struttura di base. Nel cervello umano, le informazioni vengono memorizzate ed elaborate nella stessa posizione, simultaneamente e in parallelo, attraverso una complessa rete di connessioni sinaptiche tra più di cento miliardi di neuroni. Questo distingue fondamentalmente il cervello dai computer di oggi. Funzionano secondo il principio di von Neumann, in cui le due funzioni elementari di memorizzazione e di calcolo vengono eseguite in unità separate. Le connessioni aggiuntive richieste tra memoria e unità di calcolo limitano la capacità di risolvere problemi complessi in modo flessibile e causano un enorme consumo di energia e di materiale.

Le architetture informatiche neuromorfiche, invece, come reso possibile dalla scoperta di Dresda, mirano ad andare ben oltre i computer di von Neumann. Essi combinano l’immagazzinamento e l’elaborazione delle informazioni all’interno di un’unità funzionale in grado di apprendere – in questo caso specifico, un transistor basato sui fili quantistici di silicio costruiti in modo elaborato con un rivestimento in sol-gel che fornisce plasticità modellata sui neuroni. Ciò consente di eseguire a livello hardware algoritmi potenti, veloci e flessibili, come quelli necessari per l’intelligenza artificiale. “Grazie al lavoro del nostro team, questa visione di lunga data si è avvicinata molto di più”, conclude Cuniberti.»

Pubblicato in: Medicina e Biologia, Persona Umana, Scienza & Tecnica

Archivio delle mutazioni del genoma umano in 141,456 soggetti. – Nature.

Giuseppe Sandro Mela.

2020-05-30.

2020-05-29__Nature geetic variation 013

«E’ pronto il più grande catalogo delle varianti genetiche umane: basato sull’analisi del Dna di oltre 140.000 persone di tutto il mondo, è come una Stele di Rosetta che aiuterà a interpretare il genoma per scoprire la funzione dei geni, identificando quelli responsabili di malattie che possono essere colpiti con farmaci. Il risultato è pubblicato in sette studi sulle riviste Nature, Nature Communications e Nature Medicine dal consorzio di ricerca internazionale gnomAD (Genome Aggregation Database), guidato dal Broad Institute e dal Massachusetts General Hospital. Anche l’Italia partecipa con il cardiologo Diego Ardissino dell’Azienda Ospedaliero-Universitaria di Parma.

Il catalogo, frutto di otto anni di lavoro, contiene oltre 443.000 varianti che determinano la perdita di funzione del gene e quindi impediscono la produzione della forma corretta della proteina corrispondente. I ricercatori guidati da Konrad Karczewski hanno provato a stabilire se le varianti potessero avere effetti sulla salute, arrivando così a identificare geni particolarmente sensibili che potrebbero essere legati a gravi condizioni come le disabilità intellettive.

Lo studio principale è accompagnato da altri due che arricchiscono il catalogo con ben 433.000 varianti genetiche strutturali, ovvero delezioni, duplicazioni o inversioni d’orientamento dei geni, che sono tra i principali ‘motori’ dell’evoluzione umana oltre che delle malattie.

Le altre ricerche pubblicate dal consorzio mostrano invece come le varianti genetiche che danno perdita di funzione possano essere utilizzate per diagnosticare malattie e per riconoscere nuovi target genetici da colpire con i farmaci. E’ il caso del gene Lrrk2 associato al Parkinson: studiando le sue varianti, i ricercatori hanno capito che il gene può essere colpito con farmaci che ne riducono l’attività senza causare gravi effetti collaterali.» [Fonte]

*

«In this paper and accompanying publications, we present the largest, to our knowledge, catalogue of harmonized variant data from any species so far, incorporating exome or genome sequence data from more than 140,000 humans. The gnomAD dataset of over 270 million variants is publicly available»

«Although the gnomAD dataset is of unprecedented scale, it has important limitations. At this sample size, we remain far from saturating all possible pLoF variants in the human exome»

«Examples such as PCSK9 demonstrate the value of human pLoF variants for identifying and validating targets for therapeutic intervention across a wide range of human diseases»

*

«Each dataset, totalling more than 1.3 and 1.6 petabytes of raw sequencing data»

Peta è il prefisso che indica 1015, ossia un milione di miliardi.

Dire che questo lavoro sia mastodontico sarebbe persino restrittivo.

Decisamente la genetica è una scienza assai complessa.

*


Konrad J. Karczewski, Laurent C. Francioli, […] Daniel G. MacArthur.

The mutational constraint spectrum quantified from variation in 141,456 humans.

Nature volume 581, pages 434–443 (2020).

«Abstract.

Genetic variants that inactivate protein-coding genes are a powerful source of information about the phenotypic consequences of gene disruption: genes that are crucial for the function of an organism will be depleted of such variants in natural populations, whereas non-essential genes will tolerate their accumulation. However, predicted loss-of-function variants are enriched for annotation errors, and tend to be found at extremely low frequencies, so their analysis requires careful variant annotation and very large sample sizes1. Here we describe the aggregation of 125,748 exomes and 15,708 genomes from human sequencing studies into the Genome Aggregation Database (gnomAD). We identify 443,769 high-confidence predicted loss-of-function variants in this cohort after filtering for artefacts caused by sequencing and annotation errors. Using an improved model of human mutation rates, we classify human protein-coding genes along a spectrum that represents tolerance to inactivation, validate this classification using data from model organisms and engineered human cells, and show that it can be used to improve the power of gene discovery for both common and rare diseases.»

«The physiological function of most genes in the human genome remains unknown. In biology, as in many engineering and scientific fields, breaking the individual components of a complex system can provide valuable insight into the structure and behaviour of that system. For the discovery of gene function, a common approach is to introduce disruptive mutations into genes and determine their effects on cellular and physiological phenotypes in mutant organisms or cell lines»

«However, recent exome and genome sequencing projects have revealed a surprisingly high burden of natural pLoF variation in the human population, including stop-gained, essential splice, and frameshift variants, which can serve as natural models for inactivation of human genes»

«Here, we describe the detection of pLoF variants in a cohort of 125,748 individuals with whole-exome sequence data and 15,708 individuals with whole-genome sequence data, as part of the Genome Aggregation Database (gnomAD; https://gnomad.broadinstitute.org), the successor to the Exome Aggregation Consortium (ExAC)»

«We aggregated whole-exome sequencing data from 199,558 individuals and whole-genome sequencing data from 20,314 individuals. These data were obtained primarily from case–control studies of common adult-onset diseases, including cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes and psychiatric disorders. Each dataset, totalling more than 1.3 and 1.6 petabytes of raw sequencing data, respectively, was uniformly processed, joint variant calling was performed on each dataset using a standardized BWA-Picard-GATK pipeline»

«Among these individuals, we discovered 17.2 million and 261.9 million variants in the exome and genome datasets, respectively; these variants were filtered using a custom random forest process (Supplementary Information) to 14.9 million and 229.9 million high-quality variants»

«Some LoF variants will result in embryonic lethality in humans in a heterozygous state, whereas others are benign even at homozygosity, with a wide spectrum of effects in between»

«we developed the loss-of-function transcript effect estimator (LOFTEE) package, which applies stringent filtering criteria from first principles (such as removing terminal truncation variants, as well as rescued splice variants, that are predicted to escape nonsense-mediated decay) to pLoF variants annotated by the variant effect predictor»

«Applying LOFTEE v1.0, we discover 443,769 high-confidence pLoF variants, of which 413,097 fall on the canonical transcripts of 16,694 genes. The number of pLoF variants per individual is consistent with previous reports»

«The LOEUF metric can be applied to improve molecular diagnosis and advance our understanding of disease mechanisms. Disease-associated genes, discovered by different technologies over the course of many years across all categories of inheritance and effects, span the entire spectrum of LoF tolerance»

«In an independent cohort of 5,305 individuals with intellectual disability or developmental disorders and 2,179 controls, the rate of pLoF de novo variation in cases is 15-fold higher in genes belonging to the most constrained LOEUF decile, compared with controls»

«Schizophrenia and educational attainment are the most enriched traits (Fig. 5c), consistent with previous observations in associations between rare pLoF variants and these phenotypes»

«In this paper and accompanying publications, we present the largest, to our knowledge, catalogue of harmonized variant data from any species so far, incorporating exome or genome sequence data from more than 140,000 humans. The gnomAD dataset of over 270 million variants is publicly available»

«Although the gnomAD dataset is of unprecedented scale, it has important limitations. At this sample size, we remain far from saturating all possible pLoF variants in the human exome»

«Examples such as PCSK9 demonstrate the value of human pLoF variants for identifying and validating targets for therapeutic intervention across a wide range of human diseases»