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Sun Microsystems (often just called "Sun"), the leading company in computers used as Web server s, also makes servers designed for use as engineering workstations, data storage products, and related software. As a leading proponent of open standards , Sun led in the introduction of UNIX -based systems to the marketplace. Sun currently hold the copyright for most of the open source RDMS MySQL. 

Under the leadership of one of its founders, Scott McNealey, the company proposes that "The network is the computer." Sun's Java programming language, offered for use as a cross-platform industry standard, has been widely adopted for applications that run across the Internet.

Incorporated in 1982 with only four employees, Sun Microsystems within several years had captured much of the market for engineering workstations. Its UNIX-based operating system (currently called Solaris ) exploited the client/server model of computing and, for several years, Sun's advocacy of this model seemed to threaten IBM and its centralized mainframes. (In the end, IBM adopted the model itself while continuing to its old model for legacy programs.) As business began to recognize the possibilities of the Internet and the World Wide Web, Sun's workstation became recast as a Web server (often running Apache ) and Sun's revenues grew as Web sites grew. By 2002, still committed to an Internet that was growing at a slower pace, Sun had diversified into data storage products, continued to develop products based on Java, and had built partnerships with AOL and others centered around the promise of e-business and Web services .

Sun is traded on the Nasdaq under SUNW.

This was last updated in December 2008

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Killexams : Astronomy data and the search for habitable worlds

In 1610, Galileo Galilei peered through a telescope and observed, "I have seen Jupiter accompanied by three fixed stars, totally invisible by their smallness. The planets are seen very rotund, like little full moons." In fact, what he saw with his eyes, magnified by his early telescope, were the largest moons of our solar system's largest planet, Jupiter. Galileo eventually identified Europa, Callisto, Io, and Ganymede, and they are now sometimes known as Jupiter's "Galilean' satellites.

Today, Galileo's would seem rudimentary next to the much larger and more powerful instruments that astronomers use. Recently, the most powerful space telescope ever built and launched by humankind released its first images to the public.

For anyone interested in astronomy and astrobiology, what does a mission like the Webb mean? The Webb telescope is not designed to look for life but could unlock important information about the habitability of exoplanets and thus the potential for life beyond our solar system. But what does 'looking' through a telescope like Webb actually entail for scientists today? Jacob Lustig-Yaeger, Erin May, and Laura Mayorga, three early-career scientists from the Johns Hopkins Applied Physics Lab, help to explain what life is like as an today.

What does the data from a space telescope like Webb actually look like for an astrobiologist?

The telescope has many operating modes that astronomers will use for different astronomical investigations. Some of the modes are imaging that will capture stunning details of various objects, similar to the galaxies and nebulae that the Hubble Space Telescope observed. But for astronomers who study exoplanets in other planetary systems (known as exoplanets), we're particularly interested in the mission's spectroscopic capabilities.

Have you ever seen a rainbow dancing on your wall because of light shining through your window? That's a spectrum! A spectrum is a way of breaking up light into all the colors that it's made of so we can better study it. The colorful rainbow we're most familiar with is what happens when you break up sunlight, which is visible to your eyes. But light is also made up of a lot more "colors" than just what our eyes can see. This telescope looks for "rainbows" of infrared light, which is just heat—the type of light that makes the Sun or a hot furnace feel warm.

The telescope isn't your typical camera, though: Its cameras are made up of pixels that are sort of like a bunch of buckets set up in a grid, like an ice tray. After the instruments break the light up into that infrared rainbow, each bucket starts filling up with a specific color of light. Each bucket counts the amount of light that enters it until it fills up, or we tell the telescope to stop collecting light.

In reality, the real data is just a bunch of numbers telling us how much light the telescope observed in the specific colors we wanted to collect. The "image" we get back really just appears as a big black and white stripe, but that's our infrared rainbow! For exoplanets, we often take lots of these pictures, one after another, to see how those colors change over time when the exoplanet crosses in front of or behind its star.

As data is collected, what does work look like for astronomers day in and day out in the years to come?

In short, astronomers these days are data scientists that both analyze data from telescopes, and develop and run simulations of the astrophysical processes that take place in all the different corners of the universe. The majority of astronomers use the programming language Python for day-to-day work, particularly early-career scientists. For exoplanet astronomers, most of our tools are custom software packages designed specifically for exoplanet data analysis and modeling, sometimes even customized to the specific telescope we're using or tailored to the type of exoplanet we're studying.

As the telescope collects exoplanet data over the next few years, astronomers will proceed through many steps to translate the raw telescope data into new knowledge about exoplanets and the nature of their atmospheres. As previously mentioned, the begin as a series of individual images of the infrared rainbow, each taken one after another as an exoplanet crosses in front of or behind its star. But the amount of light each bucket counts also comes with a lot of noise. Think of this like trying to take a selfie in the dark: the picture comes out a little grainy. That's because it's full of noise and very little light! Observational astronomers spend a lot of time trying to find all the sources of noise and coming up with clever ways to remove it using custom computer software tools. After we remove the noise from every infrared rainbow image, we can create what we call a light curve, a way to show how each color of light changes over time.

When we observe exoplanets, typically we're looking for a dip in light when the planet crosses in front of the star, and this dip changes size depending on the color of light. When that planet crosses in front of the star, some stellar light passes through the planet's atmosphere and interacts with the gasses and molecules that it's made of. We can use information about the size of that dip to tell us what is in the planet's atmosphere.

Next, astronomers analyze the exoplanet's spectrum using computer models to understand how the unique characteristics of the atmosphere gave rise to what the telescope observed. From decades of laboratory measurements here on Earth, we know precisely how individual molecules interact with light and that each molecule possesses its own unique spectral fingerprint. That is, every molecule interacts with in a slightly different way, and this allows us to recognize them in our observations. Using these principles, astronomers run computer simulations of millions of different possible atmospheres that contain different mixtures of gasses to identify what cocktail of molecules offers the best agreement with the spectrum that the telescope measured.

Of course, after all of the analysis is complete, aren't quite done. Like any good scientific venture, the final steps are to write up all of the findings into a manuscript that can be peer reviewed, published in an academic journal, and shared across the world.



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Killexams : Survey ‘important’ for gathering Indigenous data

Through a survey focusing on social and economic outcomes related to education, employment, health and access to services, the Canadian government is looking to collect important information about Indigenous peoples.

The Indigenous Peoples Survey (IPS) is a national survey of First Nations people living off reserve, Métis and Inuit living in Canada. The 2022 survey, from Statistics Canada, will collect information regarding language, harvesting, handcrafting, cultural activities, housing and mobility. It is conducted every five years.

Tim Leonard, assistant director of StatCan’s Centre for Indigenous Statistics and Partnerships, said the survey’s purpose is to fill important gaps in data about Indigenous peoples.

Statistics Canada is running a survey that is collecting important data about Indigenous peoples in Canada. (The Canadian Press)

This year’s themes, he said, will focus on where Statistics Canada can dig deeper into data about Indigenous peoples.

“It has 480 questions. It really covers a broad, broad area.”

The survey informs policy and programming activities aimed at improving the well-being of Indigenous peoples. Leonard said it’s an important source of information for a variety of stakeholders, including Indigenous organizations, communities, service providers, researchers, governments and the general public.

“Any good program, any good policy has to be based on data. It’s fundamental. It’s about making evidence-based decisions,” Leonard said. “If you’re going to be investing a lot of money into a program, you want to have some basis and some way of speaking to that issue.”

Leonard said having that data on hand helps policies and programs be implemented more quickly. However, it’s not just about numbers and raw data.

“Our job is to take that data and put it into digestible form,” Leonard explained. “We create a massive data set that people can access and run data runs and tell their own stories, but we also try and disseminate that information into bits and pieces. We’ll take a particular storyline, maybe about Indigenous children … and tell a story about them living across Canada. Then the next story we tell will be a slightly different [one], maybe on Indigenous languages.”

From any given survey cycle, Leonard said, there are 20 to 25 really good stories that can be told from the data.

“That’s what the survey is able to do. It’ll take an issue and dig deeper to really provide a rich story.”

The Congress of Aboriginal Peoples (CAP) is encouraging all of the people that the government randomly selects to participate in the survey.

Elmer St. Pierre, CAP’s national chief, said in a press release on Aug. 2 that the survey is an important tool to identify challenges and issues Indigenous peoples face from coast to coast to coast.

“Indigenous people across the country have very different needs, and it’s crucial governments and organizations are able to clearly identify those needs to ensure the proper supports and programs are in place.”

Kimberly Beaudin, national vice-chief of CAP, told the Sun he’s happy to see the survey include Indigenous peoples living off-reserve.

“Over the years, it’s always been focused on people who live on-reserve or in rural areas … but this is actually better,” Beaudin said of this year’s survey. “It’ll have more of a focus on those who live off-reserve. It’s really important.”

Beaudin said he hopes the survey will give the federal government a much clearer picture of the needs and issues faced by Indigenous peoples who live off-reserve.

“One of the issues that we’ve been dealing with for years is … people who live off-reserve and have a membership for a particular band, and then what happens is that that band doesn’t recognize them or doesn’t want to address needs and issues and things like that that they should be, because they’re too focused on their on-reserve [people].”

Beaudin said CAP has been lobbying Statistics Canada for many years to increase focus on Indigenous peoples living off-reserve.

“I think they’re getting the message from CAP that this is an important survey that needs to be done, and then we can build those kinds of issues into what we’re trying to do as well, for programs and services and that sort of thing.”

The collection period for the 2022 survey started May 11 and will end Nov. 30.

» mleybourne@brandonsun.com

» Twitter: @miraleybourne

Thu, 04 Aug 2022 15:38:00 -0500 en-US text/html https://www.brandonsun.com/local/2022/08/05/survey-important-for-gathering-indigenous-data
Killexams : Youtube for publishers: Sun and Guardian explain how to succeed on video platform

In Press Gazette’s latest Platform Profile we look at how publishers can succeed on Youtube.

Ofcom’s most exact report into the UK’s online habits found the platform had an average daily adult audience of 20.9 million in September 2021. Across that month, Youtube reached 92% of British adults.

But despite its ubiquity there are few news publishers who have purposefully gone after the enormous audiences on Youtube. 

As Press Gazette revealed last month, the very biggest news outlets on Youtube tend to be broadcasters.

There were, though, some traditionally text publishers who appeared conspicuously high on the list.

Previously in Press Gazette’s Platform Profile series: Tiktok, Twitter Spaces, Twitter Moments, Pocket InstagramNewsNowSubstackShutterstockUpdayLinkedInApple News/ Apple News+TwitterAcast and Authory.

Among them were The New York Times (4.1 million subscribers), The Sun (3.1 million), The Guardian (2.6 million) and Vox (10.7 million).

All but one of those (Vox) is associated with a legacy newspaper, but each has dedicated video staff working on content that will predominantly be consumed on Youtube.

Press Gazette has spoken to each about their Youtube success, and found that despite their differences, there are patterns to be found in their work as to what makes a Youtube news effort effective.

Why should news outlets bother with Youtube?

Phil Han, The Sun’s director of video, does not have a classic tabloid background. He joined the red-top from Buzzfeed, and before that worked for Monocle magazine and CNN.

He told Press Gazette: “When I look at all our competitors, they all have Youtube channels, and they all upload content. So I think that they all realise that it's an important platform for them to be on.

“But what I think is somewhat different from some of the other people that we traditionally competed [with is] that you can't necessarily tell if there's a strategy behind the stuff that they're posting [or if] they’re just posting because they feel like they need to be posting to that platform… to reach a certain amount of people.”

Han said there was “so much great, original, exclusive journalism here at The Sun", but the site "needed to be producing a lot more" original video.

“So I wanted to still serve the core of what we do at The Sun - which is that high turnaround content that people use to get entertained or stay informed on what's happening - but also have some original content to start making it seem a little different to, let's say, people like the Mail.

“So I had original video producers embedded in the different teams.”

At first the videos that resulted were being produced for articles on thesun.co.uk. But, Han said, “as publishers evolved, they realised that Youtube is a very important platform for us to be on, both from an audience point of view as well as from a revenue point of view.

“It's still by far and away bigger than Tiktok and the amount of content that's uploaded to Youtube every single minute… it's a crazy, crazy amount.”

[Read more: Journalism has suddenly taken off on TikTok - What publishers need to know]

The Sun scored a exact video coup when, in collaboration with fellow Rupert Murdoch property TalkTV, it hosted a debate between Conservative leadership candidates Liz Truss and Rishi Sunak.

The Sun told Press Gazette that the debate, which aired on its Youtube channel, got 100,000 live views and had a total of 400,000 views less than a day later. (That figure may have been helped by presenter Kate McCann’s dramatic fainting midway into the debate, halting proceedings.)

Han said the investment in video continues: when he joined The Sun’s video team “we had roughly half a dozen people. And now we probably have over two dozen”.

Katie Lamborn, The Guardian’s head of video, echoed the point about evolving toward Youtube.

She told Press Gazette: “We're always about finding new audiences, right? Like, in order to survive, you have to go to where the audiences are and you have to give them the news in a responsible way that they understand.

“And I think how it's changed is kind of us realising that, and senior editors realising that as well, and realising that the first time people may even come across The Guardian will be off-platform…

“I always say the journalism may look different, but it oozes The Guardian’s values, like honesty and integrity and trust. And everything reflects that.”

The New York Times’ head of Opinion Video, Adam B. Ellick, told Press Gazette shortly after the Times won its first Oscar that the publisher was “putting stuff out there as a touchpoint for people who might not know that the Times is making stuff it didn’t make ten years ago or 15 years ago, and it looks different, and it feels different and it talks to you differently.”

[Read more: Oscars, CGI and Jonathan Pie - Inside The New York Times’ award-winning Opinion Video department]

The Guardian has also won an Oscar for its video work - the year before the NYT did. Lamborn told Press Gazette: “We are the only news organisation to win an Oscar and a Bafta.”

Bringing a news voice from the page to Youtube

Lamborn’s point about The Guardian’s values touched on a relevant question for publishers born in print: how does an outlet that might have established a written editorial voice decades or centuries ago rework it for video?

In The Guardian’s case, Lamborn said: “It depends where the video is. So I think that, say, with Tiktok - which we are literally just testing this summer, like we haven't got onto it yet - but how we get The Guardian’s voice on Tiktok is by using our expertise. And when it comes to Youtube, it's about access...

"On Youtube, what works really well is human stories and being on the ground with real people who are living that breaking news story.”

Han told Press Gazette that, for The Sun, it was more about the subjects of the story. He cited a half-hour documentary the outlet published to Youtube last month covering Finland’s possible NATO candidacy - not necessarily the most traditionally Sun-esque story.

In that video, Han said, “we took some of the humour that a lot of Finns have around being invaded from Russia, and how they kind of train with Civil Defence units firing guns, or - there's an amazing clip of us down in the nuclear bunker. And they were talking about, there's actually no food down here. You just have to survive.

“But it's kind of taking that tongue in cheek way of telling a story that is very unique to what you'd expect with the personality of The Sun. So I think that we use the people that we speak to to try to express some of [what] you might see in our paper.”

Of course, if you were never in print in the first place, developing a voice becomes substantially more straightforward.

“We're not trying to rush information out the door, but we're always very prepared to be the best place for explanations that include a lot of clarity and context for people,” Vox executive producer Mona Lalwani told Press Gazette earlier this month.

“And the way that Vox video, in particular, executes on that is through visual clarity, that is just such a big part of what we do… The way that news comes at us is hard and fast and splintered. And I think Vox does a really good job of glueing that information together.”

[Read more: How Vox became world's top news publisher on Youtube]

So what goes into a good Youtube news video? First thing: experimentation

Every online video chief who spoke to Press Gazette in exact months said constant experimentation had contributed to their success.

Ellick said that at The New York Times, his team “spent four years playing around in various sandboxes, from comedy to satire to original reporting with creative, voicey storytelling, in order to figure out how you can marry New York Times reporting with visual storytelling”.

Asked what’s in the recipe for a Sun Youtube video, Han said: “We've kind of experimented over the last three years in terms of what we think has worked and what hasn't.

“We've done everything from two series of life with Peter Andre and family, which is an original, 30 minute, reality-type show… which was a huge success for us from an audience point of view.

“And we did so much stuff around Covid, especially with Dr. Hillary [Jones] who’s the Good Morning Britain on-air doctor, and we did a lot of Q&As and public information videos with him.”

Similarly, Lamborn said: “You shouldn't put all of your eggs in one basket. Because if you do that, then you're not in a place to constantly innovate. And that's what we always want to be able to do - innovate, but in a very responsible way, which is something that I feel very passionate about.”

She cited as an example The Guardian’s Made in Britain Youtube series, which involves the subjects of the stories in the production process. During the Covid lockdowns, Lamborn said the team often asked those subjects to go further and present the videos.

“So it's being open, I think, in how you're making your journalism, and bringing the audience along with you.”

Second key to success: building trust with the casual audience

Both Lamborn and Han mentioned that being reactive and authoritative helped to build up subscriber numbers.

Lamborn said: “Whenever you’re providing important, valuable, trusted, Verified video on a breaking news story that people are searching for - then of course you see people [going] ‘Oh, okay, right. That's what I wanted.’ And they will subscribe.

“And I think it's about being there when there's breaking news stories, but about not doing video for the sake of video and making sure we're really thinking about every single video clip that we put up. Doesn't matter how small it is.”

On a similar note, Han said: “What I think that we've been able to really discover is that, a lot of times now when there's a big breaking news story, people still obviously go to The Sun, they go to BBC, they go to traditional publishers.

“But a lot of the time if they hear there’s an amazing quick video, they'll just pull up the Youtube app and just type in whatever that news story is so they can view that piece of content.

“And I think that's what we've been able to really tap into, especially around big breaking news stories... we noticed a lot of people searching out on Youtube, just trying to find out what's happening in the world. And they go to that platform, I think, as a source of news, and I think that's what we've been able to really tap into.”

Any other tips?

Lamborn emphasised consistency as part of The Guardian’s Youtube strategy.

“Having videos that fit in particular strands so people know what they're expecting can really help.”

She cited the distinctly packaged “strands” - shows, in effect - that The Guardian puts out on its Youtube channel, including explainer series It’s Complicated and the On The Ground strand, which follows Guardian reporters on their patches.

“That is how we're looking at Youtube at the moment. Building consistency through those strands, but as well, just being open to different ways of working to bring in new audiences.”

The On The Ground strand was an example, Lamborn said, of something she thought was integral to Youtube success.

“I think it's about access… We have so many amazing reporters who would be writing stories for The Guardian website. And it's about unlocking their stories on Youtube.

“For example, with Luke Harding: he was in Ukraine and he was going around the suburban cities [near] Kyiv after the Russians had left, and he was there doing a written piece and then obviously, we were with him, and we filmed with him to create a video that then kind of opened up his storytelling."

For Vox’s part, Lalwani emphasised that a striking mix of style and substance helped it to success.

“I think a lot of places can tend to be very heavy on style,” she said, “or their priority is to get information and substantive journalism up there, but often visuals and style aren't accompanying that.”

And contrary to Han and Lamborn’s news sensibilities, Vox has become a consistent Youtube hit machine by eschewing breaking stories altogether.

“At Vox we aren’t expected to or want to be the first to get something out, we always want to be the place that gets the most important and meaningful piece about a news event out. We're okay with not churning out videos.”

What's next?

These news publishers are already doing well on Youtube. So what are they doing next?

The Guardian's Lamborn said: “For me - cut me, I bleed news. News is key and integral to The Guardian and who we are...

"Really pushing, basically, on the ground reporting, and being people's eyes and ears and helping them connect with the world."

Over at Sun towers, Han said The Sun's US market had seen promising growth "almost on parity to what we're doing in the UK".

Otherwise, he was looking to do more long-form original programming and mentioned that the publisher had "done a few dabbles with true crime series, which we've had some success with".

Lalwani told Press Gazette Vox wanted to branch out from its mid-length (five to 15 minute) videos into both longer and shorter ones. And The New York Times' Ellick said he saw CGI as the next frontier.

“It's inspiring, I think, to see competitors if you will - other people - doing so well on Youtube," Lamborn told Press Gazette.

"Because that's what we're all trying to do, right? We're just trying to inform and educate people as much as we possibly can about the news.”

Picture: The Sun Youtube channel screenshot

Press Gazette's must-read weekly newsletter featuring interviews, data, insight and investigations.

Wed, 03 Aug 2022 21:02:00 -0500 en-US text/html https://pressgazette.co.uk/youtube-news/
Killexams : The Many Voices of Journalism

Growing up, I was in awe of a painting called Abaporu, or, “Man who eats human flesh.” A distorted human figure sits next to a cactus under a bright yellow sun. Abaporu, painted 90 years ago by Tarsila do Amaral, an artist in Brazil, helped create a cultural movement: anthropophagy, driven by the idea of eating up foreign influences and spitting out something new.

Abaporu transformed Brazilian culture, from visual arts to Tropicalia music, and may be the most recognizable piece of art in Brazil. Few people in the United States were familiar with it until recently, when an exhibition of Amaral’s work was shown for the first time in North America, at the Art Institute of Chicago, then the Museum of Modern Art in New York.

I thought it was a good story: A Latin American artist finally being recognized in the United States 45 years after her death. I pitched the story to National Public Radio. After listening to a work sample, Tom Cole, my editor, had reservations: “I worry that show producers might not like your accent,” he wrote. 

ICYMI: How a problematic NYT article shows how newsrooms are out of touch with the communities they cover

My accent? It’s mild; Americans can tell right away that I am not a native English speaker, but foreigners can’t. I moved to the US from Brazil 20 years ago, though most people can’t tell where I’m from. I sometimes stress the wrong syllable, or pronounce vowels differently from other speakers. My son does a great imitation of how I say “blood” (it rhymes with “plod”). My partner and friends rarely correct me—they think the way I say certain words is cute. 

So when Cole raised this as a concern, I was shocked; I knew accents could be taboo for some radio people, but I thought NPR would be thrilled to have a piece about a Brazilian artist by a Brazilian journalist. Plus, I’d voiced stories for WNYC and PRI’s The World many times before. I told him I wanted to give it a try. I went ahead and reported it—I attended the press preview at MoMA and interviewed the cocurator and other sources. 

Ultimately, accents reflect who belongs and who doesn’t—and what the voice of our country sounds like.

Months later, after editing the story, Cole told me that the piece wouldn’t air, in part because of space and in part because of my accent. In another email, Cole wrote: “For the record, I like your accent—we need to hear different voices on the air.”

Historically, the media has been uncomfortable with accents, even regional ones. Radio created an idea that voices should be uniform—announcers were to sound like more authoritative versions of regular people, typically white men, speaking in a measured, polished English, often from the mid-Atlantic region, that gives little indication where the person is from. Over the years, the tone of voice on radio and TV has become more conversational, though certain intonations remain standard.

But accents are an important part of representation. Ultimately, they reflect who belongs and who doesn’t—and what the voice of our country sounds like. Thirteen percent of the US population is foreign-born—the highest proportion since 1910—and many more people have regional accents. Amy Caples, a former TV and radio news anchor who teaches voice classes at Temple University in Philadelphia, says that local television stations in her city now feature journalists with different backgrounds who don’t speak what’s considered the “standard broadcasting voice.” But if you watch the national news, she adds, the “measured” voice still reigns. “That authoritative vocal quality, that’s what people expect.” Virtually no anchors speak with accents from non-English speaking countries. (Foreigners who sound British get a pass.)

After decades of criticism, media companies—NPR included—are realizing that their newsrooms don’t match the communities they serve and they need to be more inclusive by promoting women and people of color to decision-making positions. But having reporters and hosts with a foreign accent on-air remains a subject that many national news organizations would prefer to avoid. Calls and emails to CNN, NBC, ABC, and iHeartMedia inquiring about their approach to accents went mostly unanswered. The people I did speak with, at NPR and CBS, denied discriminating based on accent, but declined to provide numbers or names to discuss details.

ICYMI: A reporter asked for 20 years of lottery winner data. After analyzing the records, he noticed something unusual.

In my case, several people at NPR eventually apologized for the reason my piece was killed. Edith Chapin, the executive editor of NPR News, told me that the company does not have a policy regarding foreign accents for reporters, hosts, or sources, and that public radio’s mission is to include all voices and dialects. Chapin added that she had never before been confronted by the scenario raised with my piece. “It’s inconsistent with our journalistic practice,” she said. “And we are sorry.”

“As an organization, we have faults,” Keith Woods, the vice president for newsroom training and diversity at NPR, said. “But one of them is not an openness to the world, and the voices of the world.”

Other journalists express similar frustration. Javier E. Gomez, who is Puerto Rican, has worked as a broadcast journalist and actor in New York since 1995; he has always struggled with his accent. Over the years, he has taken several speech and voice coaching classes, but he has drawn a line at accent reduction. “I felt like losing my accent was losing myself,” he says. 

Gomez says that he has never applied to on-air positions at major networks in English because he has had the sense he wouldn’t have a chance of being hired. He now hosts a weekly show in Spanish for BronxNet, a public cable programmer, and also works as a substitute anchor and host on the BronxNet’s English programs. Cable television brought people like him into the industry, but, based on who he sees on screen, commercial broadcast TV has been resistant to putting people with accents on camera. “The process has been very slow and very uneven,” he says.

To ban someone from the airwaves for their accent can be illegal. The US Equal Employment Opportunity Commission considers it to be a form of national origin discrimination. In 2017, the EEOC received 130 complaints from people citing unfair treatment as a result of their accents—twice as many as in 1997. 

Television and radio can get tricky; the law says that an employer may not base a decision on someone’s foreign accent if “unless effective oral communication in English is required to perform job duties and the individual’s foreign accent materially interferes with their ability to communicate orally in English.” Yet what is considered “effective,” in a communications field, can be subjective.

This is complicated further by research showing that some Americans are not comfortable hearing certain accents. A 2010 study at the University of Chicago, in which peoplewith different speaking styles read from the same script, concluded that a foreign accent undermines a speaker’s credibility to listeners. In the study, participants were told that speakers were reciting from a script and that they were not the source of the information they conveyed. Still, participants judged as less truthful the statements coming from people with foreign accents. “In general, when information is processed less fluently, people tend to misattribute that difficulty to the credibility of the source,” Boaz Keysar, a psychology professor and one of the authors of the study, says.

In a second experiment, researchers told participants that they were being tested specifically on whether accents undermine credibility, and this time, the results were different: statements with mild accents were rated just as truthful as those by native speakers. Participants, once made aware of their prejudices, “don’t want to be perceived as people who are biased,” Keysar says. (Still, heavily accented statements were rated as less truthful.)

The study did not address whether people perceive certain accents to be less credible because they are not used to hearing them. Media organizations, of course, could provide a means of exposure. In doing so, they might shift perception in the same way museums do when they introduce audiences to Abaporu and Tarsila do Amaral. Eventually, Americans might even end up hearing accents in an anthropophagical way: a voice consuming foreign influences and producing something new.

In my piece that never aired, Stephanie D’Alessandro, cocurator of the exhibit, says: “I am at a point in my career and as an American that I think in 2018 we really need to be open to many other stories besides the stories that we know.” It now seems ironic that I ended that piece saying: “Sometimes it can take a while to get those stories told.”

ICYMI: The tweet that derailed a news cycle 

This piece has been updated to correct a quote.

Has America ever needed a media watchdog more than now? Help us by joining CJR today.
Gisele Regatao is an assistant professor of journalism at Baruch College, City University of New York.

TOP IMAGE: Illustration: Chris Kindred

Fri, 09 Nov 2018 17:28:00 -0600 en text/html https://www.cjr.org/special_report/journalism-accents-radio.php
Killexams : WATCH NOW: Urban farms help promote environmental education, food security in Gary

GARY — Green grapefruit mint leaves and lemon grass tendrils stretched toward the afternoon sun as 'farm-her' Carmen McKee led a tour.

“I am going to encourage you to touch, taste and feel everything and anything,” McKee said as she passed around a laminated sheet detailing the rules of edible botany. 

The grapefruit mint, lemon grass and splenda plants nestled next to one another are part of the citrus-themed growing area at Oases Botanic Gardens located at 3510 W. 15th Avenue in Gary. Though the land next to the former army reserve medic building is full of roses, lavender and bright pops of nasturtium flowers, everything on the property is edible. 

A crowd of about 20 people wandered through the peaceful garden, admiring the rows of chili peppers, the rose bushes and the corn stalks growing alongside squash vines — an ode to the three sisters companion planting method.

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Oases was the group's first stop on a tour of three urban farms in Gary. Organized by Purdue Extension, the group visited Oases, Shannon Farm and Homestead and FAITH Farm and Orchard. 

"We wanted to visit farms that do a lot of community engagement," Lake County Extension Educator Rebecca Koetz explained. “We wanted to hear from beginning farmers so we can be better equipped to understand their needs." 

A crowd of about 20 came out for a urban farm tour hosted by Purdue Extension last week. The group toured three farms in Gary, as part of an ongoing effort to support and learn from urban farmers in the Region. 

There are some 23 urban farms in Gary, McKee said, though about half are "homesteads," meaning most of the produce is used for personal consumption. Though urban agriculture has been practiced in Gary for years, farmers have been receiving more support in exact years. 

In 2020, Purdue Extension launched the Gary Urban Agriculture training program. Extension expanded the program this spring, creating the Urban Farming Signature program for residents throughout the Region.

Local growers also came together to form the Gary Food Council, which connects local farmers with resources and information.

Urban farming is also becoming more accessible. Last spring, a bill allowing Indiana municipalities to establish urban agricultural zones that are exempt from property taxes, was signed into law. Authored by state Rep. Earl Harris Jr., D-East Chicago, the exemption is aimed at supporting low-resource or beginner farmers. 

Learning on the farm  

Outfitted in an apron full of supplies, a wide sun hat and, of course, the Trailblazer Community Impact medal she was awarded at the This is Gary celebration, McKee looks like she has been farming all her life. 

Growing up, her aunts, uncles and grandparents always had backyard gardens, "but they weren't for children, they were serious because they were food for my family." When she and her husband were raising their three sons, they often used container gardens because they lived in apartments. 

However, when McKee moved from Georgia to Gary in 2016, she was confronted by the term "food desert." A chaplain by training, McKee was working at a local hospital when she and a patient began discussing food access. 

“We were talking about health concerns and what that looked like, and she said, ‘Gary is a food desert,’” McKee recalled. “I had never heard the term food dessert or food insecurity." 

A very "solution-oriented" person, McKee quickly discovered the many farms working to increase access to fresh food and started volunteering. She took the Purdue Master Gardener class in 2017 and the University of Illinois Master Farmer class in 2018. Over three summers, McKee spent about 1,700 hours volunteering at local farms — while working full time.

“I worked the night shift, so I would get off at 7 a.m., I would get to the site by 8, work until I was tired and then get ready for work again.” 

As she got to know the farms in the area, she saw that many were growing the same things: collards, kale, spinach, turnips, onions, tomatoes. While established farms focused on the staples community members liked to eat, McKee wanted to "grow something that would compliment what everyone else is growing."

In 2019, she got permission from the property owners to start a small garden at the former army medic building. She started off by planting herbs and brought two coolers to the property, each filled with water bottles. 

Maria Booker inspects a plot at the Oases Botanic Gardens in Gary during a farm tour hosted by Purdue Extension. Oases is one of about two dozen urban farms in the city. 

“I wanted a nice, safe space where people could come from anywhere in the world and know that Gary is beautiful," McKee said. "I started growing herbs because you can rub those and put them in your drink.”

Year after year, McKee began expanding her offerings. Focusing on plants that "really makes food pop,” she started growing garlic, peppers, edible flowers and fruit trees. Oases also became a space for community engagement. The garden often hosts educational programming, yoga and Zumba classes and informational sessions led by local herbalists. 

"Ninety percent of what we do is education because whether people are familiar with it (the plant) or not, there are so many different ways of handling it, of eating it, of using it,” McKee said. 

Oases also hosts a farmers market on the fourth Thursday and second Tuesday of every month. 

"(Events at Oases) bring people and family closer together, and while we're doing that, we’re also teaching them how to sustain and feed themselves," said Maria Booker, who has been volunteering at Oases since the garden first started. 

Booker, a lifelong cook, said that until she met McKee, she didn't know she could "take a little square space in front of my home and make it a garden." For years, she used her windowsill as a mini garden, growing cilantro, basil and oregano, harvesting as she cooked. 

Now she has two gardens at home — one filled with everyday herbs and another dedicated to more unique herbs. 

“I never thought you would be able to farm right around the corner from the steel mill,” Booker said. "When I thought of gardening or farming I always thought of the country, but it can be right here in the city, and you can really feed your family.”

Creating their own food security

According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, much of Gary is considered to be a "food desert," meaning a substantial number of residents in the area are low-income and do not have easy access to a supermarket or large grocery store. 

The term "food desert" has received some pushback in exact years. Many researchers say the word "desert" ignores the racially discriminatory policies and economic factors that create food access issues. Instead, the term "food apartheid" has gained popularity, as it highlights intentional barriers that cause food insecurity.

However, McKee said terms imposed on communities by outside entities are not "necessarily helpful."

“In several ways, the term food desert cripples. People hear that and think, 'I am really not as well-off as I thought I was because I don’t have something I thought I had,'" McKee said. 

While the food desert categorization can help communities get funding, the assistance that comes often ignores the local farmers already "doing their part so we don't have to use those terms," McKee said. 

Senior boxes filled with canned peas and grocery store chains buying "fresh" produce from all over the country doesn't actually solve the problem McKee explained.

"If the goal was to have fresh food, then why are we sending canned goods?” McKee asked. “If that (having fresh vegetables) is really the concern, why don't grocery stores buy from local farmers in Lake County?"

Farm-her Carmen McKee shows off a raised bed planter during an urban farm tour. McKee started Oases Botanic Gardens in 2019.

Despite what the highlighted census tracts on the USDA Food Desert Map say, McKee said fresh produce and medicinal herbs can be found growing in backyards and beside old buildings throughout Gary. 

The health benefits of urban agriculture are simple: “When you grow it, you know what you are eating,” Booker said. 

Over the years, several veterans that used to work in the army medic building have come out to Oases. They tell McKee the new use of the space is fitting — a building once dedicated to healing is now a source of natural medicine. 

"When you come in this gate and you touch the lemon balm and you pull the leaf, you have life in your hand. Whether you realize it or not," McKee said. “Whenever life touches, life, you are releasing a different type of energy."

Touching the leaf, bruising it, inhaling it, "that's when everything stops on the inside," McKee said. "Now you have a clear head, you are in a position where you can make choices. That, to me, is the epitome of spiritual health."

Mon, 01 Aug 2022 01:00:00 -0500 en text/html https://www.nwitimes.com/news/local/lake/gary/watch-now-urban-farms-help-promote-environmental-education-food-security-in-gary/article_c6bcd74d-32f9-51f9-86e7-153627c16a21.html
Killexams : How Microsoft computer scientists and researchers are working to ‘solve‘ cancer

t Microsoft’s research labs around the world, computer scientists, programmers, engineers and other experts are trying to crack some of the computer industry’s toughest problems, from system design and security to quantum computing and data visualization.

A subset of those scientists, engineers and programmers have a different goal: They’re trying to use computer science to solve one of the most complex and deadly challenges humans face: Cancer.

And, for the most part, they are doing so with algorithms and computers instead of test tubes and beakers.

“We are trying to change the way research is done on a daily basis in biology,” said Jasmin Fisher, a biologist by training who works in the programming principles and tools group in Microsoft’s Cambridge, U.K., lab.

One team of researchers is using machine learning and natural language processing to help the world’s leading oncologists figure out the most effective, individualized cancer treatment for their patients, by providing an intuitive way to sort through all the research data available.

Another is pairing machine learning with computer vision to give radiologists a more detailed understanding of how their patients’ tumors are progressing.

Yet another group of researchers has created powerful algorithms that help scientists understand how cancers develop and what treatments will work best to fight them.

And another team is working on moonshot efforts that could one day allow scientists to program cells to fight diseases, including cancer.

Two core computer science approaches

Although the individual projects vary widely, Microsoft’s overarching philosophy toward solving cancer focuses on two basic approaches, said Jeannette M. Wing, Microsoft’s corporate vice president in charge of the company’s basic research labs.

One approach is rooted in the idea that cancer and other biological processes are information processing systems. Using that approach the tools that are used to model and reason about computational processes – such as programming languages, compilers and model checkers – are used to model and reason about biological processes.

The other approach is more data-driven. It’s based on the idea that researchers can apply techniques such as machine learning to the plethora of biological data that has suddenly become available, and use those sophisticated analysis tools to better understand and treat cancer.

Both approaches share some common ground – including the core philosophy that success depends on both biologists and computer scientists bringing their expertise to the problem.

“The collaboration between biologists and computer scientists is actually key to making this work,” Wing said.

Wing said Microsoft has good reason to make broad, bold investments in using computer science to tackle cancer. For one, it’s in keeping with the company’s core mission.

“If you talk about empowering every person and organization to achieve more, this is step one in that journey,” she said.

Beyond that, she said, Microsoft’s extensive investment in cloud computing is a natural fit for a field that needs plenty of computing power to solve big problems.

Longer term, she said, it makes sense for Microsoft to invest in ways it can provide tools to customers no matter what computing platform they choose – even if, one day, that platform is a living cell.

“If the computers of the future are not going to be made just in silicon but might be made in living matter, it behooves us to make sure we understand what it means to program on those computers,” she said.

Organizing knowledge to find better treatment

The research teams’ efforts also come amid major breakthroughs in understanding the role genetics plays in both getting and treating cancer. That, in turn, is spurring an even stronger focus on treating each cancer case in a personalized way, sometimes called precision medicine.

“We’re in a revolution with respect to cancer treatment,” said David Heckerman, a distinguished scientist and senior director of the genomics group at Microsoft. “Even 10 years ago people thought that you treat the tissue: You have brain cancer, you get brain cancer treatment. You have lung cancer, you get lung cancer treatment. Now, we know it’s just as, if not more, important to treat the genomics of the cancer, e.g. which genes have gone bad in the genome.”

That research has been helped along by exact advances in the ability to more easily and affordably map the human genome and other genetic material. That’s giving scientists a wealth of information for understanding cancer and developing more personalized and effective treatments – but the sheer amount of data also presents plenty of challenges.

“We’ve reached the point where we are drowning in information. We can measure so much, and because we can, we do,” Fisher said. “How do you take that information and turn that into knowledge? That’s a different story. There’s a huge leap here between information and data, and knowledge and understanding.”

Researchers say that’s an area where computer scientists can best help the biological sciences. Some of the most promising approaches involve using a branch of artificial intelligence called machine learning to automatically do the legwork that can make precision medicine unwieldy.

In a more basic scenario, a machine learning system can do things like identify a cat in a photo based on previous pictures of cats it has seen. In the field of cancer research, these techniques are being deployed to sort and organize millions of pieces of research and medical data.

“These are our fortes, artificial intelligence and machine learning,” said Hoifung Poon, a researcher in Microsoft’s Redmond, Washington, lab who is using a technique called machine reading to help oncologists find the latest information about effective cancer treatments for individual patients.

Another big advantage: cloud computing. Using tools like the Azure cloud computing platform, researchers are able to provide biologists with these kinds of approaches even if the medical experts don’t have their own powerful computers, by hosting the tools in the cloud for anyone to access over the internet.

Microsoft researchers say the company also is well-positioned to lead computing cancer efforts because of its long history as a software company providing a platform other people can build from and expand on.

We’re in a revolution with respect to cancer treatment

- David Heckerman, Microsoft

“If you look at the combination of things that Microsoft does really well, then it makes perfect sense for Microsoft to be in this industry,” said Andrew Phillips, who heads the biological computation research group at Microsoft’s Cambridge, U.K., lab.

In his field specifically, Phillips said researchers benefit from Microsoft’s history as a software innovator.

“We can use methods that we’ve developed for programming computers to program biology, and then unlock even more applications and even better treatments,” he said.

Of course, none of these tools will help fight cancer and save lives unless they are accessible and understandable to biologists, oncologists and other cancer researchers.

Microsoft researchers say they have taken great pains to make their systems easy to use, even for people without any background – or particular interest – in technology and computer science. That includes everything from learning to speak the language of doctors and biologists to designing computer-based tools that mimic the systems people use in their labs.

“We are always talking about building tools that help the doctors,” said Aditya Nori, a senior researcher who specializes in programming languages and machine learning and is working on systems to assess tumor changes.

asmin Fisher doesn’t want to cure cancer. She wants to solve it — and she believes it’s possible in her lifetime.

“I’m not saying that cancer will cease to exist,” said Fisher, a senior researcher in the programming principles and tools group in Microsoft’s Cambridge, U.K., research lab and an associate professor in the biochemistry department at Cambridge University. “But once you manage it – once you know how to control it – it’s a solved problem.”

To do that, Fisher and her team believe you need to use technology to understand cancer – or, more specifically, the biological processes that cause a cell to turn cancerous. Then, once you understand where the problem occurred, you need to figure out how to fix it.

Fisher takes the computational approach to cancer research. She thinks of it like computer scientists think about computer programs. Her goal is to understand the program, or set of instructions, that causes a cell to execute its commands, or behave in a certain way. Once you can build a computer program that describes the healthy behavior of a cell, and compare it to that of a diseased cell, you can figure out a way that the unhealthy behavior can be fixed.

“If you can figure out how to build these programs, and then you can debug them, it’s a solved problem,” she said.

Bio Model Analyzer

That sounds simple enough – but, of course, actually getting there is quite complicated.

One approach Fisher and her team are taking is called Bio Model Analyzer, or BMA for short. It’s a cloud-based tool that allows biologists to model how cells interact and communicate with each other, and the connections they make.

The system creates a computerized model that compares the biological processes of a healthy cell with the abnormal processes that occur when disease strikes. That, in turn, could allow scientists to see the interactions between the millions of genes and proteins in the human body that lead to cancer, and to quickly devise the best, least harmful way to provide personalized treatment for that patient.

Bio Model Analyzer

“I use BMA to understand cancers – understand the process of becoming cancers, understand the communications that are going on,” said Ben Hall, a Royal Society University Research Fellow in Cambridge, U.K., who works with Fisher on the project.

Hall said BMA has many uses, including figuring out how to detect cancer earlier and understanding how better to treat cancer by modeling which medicines will be most effective and at what point the cancer might become resistant to them.

Here’s one way BMA might work: Let’s say a patient has a rare and often fatal form of brain cancer. Using BMA, clinicians could enter all the biological information about that patient into the system. Then, they could use the system to run all sorts of experiments, comparing the cancer patient’s information with that of a healthy patient, for example, or simulating how the patient’s system might respond to various medications.

That kind of computation would be impossible for a person to do using pen and paper, or even a simpler computer program, because there are so many variables within the millions of molecules, proteins and genes that are working together in the human body. To create the kinds of solutions that Fisher envisions, you need powerful computational models that are capable of building these immensely complex models and running through possible solutions for abnormalities.

The ability to run these types of experiments “in silico” – or using computers – instead of with pen and paper or test tube and beaker also allows the researchers to quickly test many more possibilities. That, in turn, is giving them a better understanding about how cancers develop, evolve and interact with the rest of the body.

“I think it will accelerate research because we are able to test so many more possibilities than we possibly could in the laboratory,” said Jonathan Dry, a principal scientist at the pharmaceutical company AstraZeneca whose team collaborated with Fisher’s team.

In the past, Dry said, the sheer difficulty of testing any hypothesis meant that researchers had to focus on their favorite ones, making educated guesses as to what might be most promising. A system such as BMA allows them to try out all sorts of ideas, which makes it more likely they will hit on the correct ones – and less likely they’ll miss the dark horse candidates.

“If we had to go in and experimentally test each hypothesis, it would be nigh on impossible,” Dry said. “These models give us a sense, really, of all the possibilities.”

Improving and personalizing cancer treatment

Microsoft and AstraZeneca have been using BMA to better understand drug interactions and resistance in patients with a certain type of leukemia. With BMA, the two research teams were able to better understand why various patients responded differently to certain treatments.

Dry said BMA holds huge promise for more personalized approaches to cancer treatment, or precision medicine. The researchers are hoping that a system like BMA could eventually allow researchers and oncologists to look in detail at a person’s cancer case and also run tests that consider other factors that could impact treatment, such as whether the patient has another illness or is taking non-cancer medications that might interact with the cancer drugs.

A more personalized approach

“It really recognizes that every patient is an individual and there can be vast heterogeneity,” Dry said.

A computer science system that makes sense to a biologist

Fisher believes that systems such as BMA have the possibility to revolutionize how cancer is understood, but success is only possible if the biologists feel comfortable using them.

David Benque, a designer who has worked extensively on BMA, said the system was built to be as familiar and understandable to biologists as possible. Benque worked for years to create tools that visually mimic what scientists might use in a lab, using language biologists could understand.

Fisher said it’s imperative that systems like this be “biologist friendly.” Otherwise, she said, the breakthroughs needed to solve cancer just won’t happen.

“Everyone realizes that there is a need for computing in cancer research. It’s one thing to understand that, and it’s another thing to convince a clinician to actually use these tools,” she said.

Killexams : MSS - Program

f you’re a developer creating a new piece of software, chances are you’ll write your code in what computer scientists like to call a principled way: by using a programming language and other formal processes to create a system that follows computing rules.

Neil Dalchau wants to do the same thing for biology. He’s part of a team that is trying to do computing in cells instead of on silicon.

“If you can do computing with biological systems, then you can transfer what we’ve learned in traditional computing into medical or biotechnology applications,” said Dalchau, a scientist in the biological computation research group at Microsoft’s Cambridge, U.K., lab.

The ultimate goal of this computational approach: to program biology like we program computers. That’s a breakthrough that would open all sorts of possibilities for everything from treating diseases to feeding the world with more efficient crops.

“All aspects of our daily lives will be affected,” said Andrew Phillips, who heads the Biological Computation Research Group.

Phillips said one approach is to create a kind of molecular computer that you would put inside a cell to monitor for disease. If the sensor detected a disease, it would actuate a response to fight it.

That’s a stark improvement over many current cancer treatments, which end up destroying healthy cells in the process of fighting the cancerous ones.

Early, but promising, steps

Phillips cautions that computer scientists are still in the very early stages of this research and those kinds of long-term goals remain far off.

“It’s an ultimate application,” he said.

One big and obvious challenge is that biological systems – including our bodies — are much more mysterious than the hardware – computers – we created to run software.

“We built the computer. We know how it works. We didn’t build the cell, and many of its complex internal workings remain a mystery to us. So we need to understand how the cell computes in order to program it,” Phillips said. “We need to develop the methods and software for analyzing and programming cells.”

Take cancer, for example. Sara-Jane Dunn, a scientist who also is working in the biological computation group, said you can think of cancer as a biological program gone wrong – a healthy cell that has a bug that caused it to glitch. And by the same token, she noted, you can think of the immune system as the machinery that has the ability to fix some, but not all, bugs.

Scientists have learned so much about what causes cancer and what activates the immune system, but Dunn said it’s still early days, and there is still much more work to be done. If her team gets to a point where they understand those systems as well as we understand how to make Microsoft Word run on a PC, they might be able to equip the immune system to mount a powerful response to cancer on its own.

“If we want to be able to program biology, then we actually need to be able to understand what it is biology computes in the first place,” she said. “That is where I think we can have some major impacts.”

Is the ability to program biology like we program computers a moonshot effort? Phillips believes it is an ambitious, long-term goal – but he sees a path to success.

“Like the moonshot, we know that this is technically possible,” he said. “Now it's a matter of making it a reality.”

illions of people worldwide will be diagnosed with cancer this year. For a select few, experts from leading cancer institutions will gather at what are called molecular tumor boards, to review that patient’s individual history and come up with the best, personalized treatment plan based on their cancer diagnosis and genetic makeup.

Hoifung Poon wants to democratize the molecular tumor board, and he’s working with a team of researchers on a tool to do it.

It’s called Project Hanover. It’s a data-driven approach that uses a branch of artificial intelligence called machine learning to automatically do the legwork that makes it so difficult for cancer experts to evaluate every case individually.

“We understand that cancer is often not caused by a single mutation. Instead, it stems from complex interactions of lots of different mutations, which means that you need to pretty much look at everything you know about the genome,” Poon said.

To do that can require sifting through millions of pieces of fragmented information to find all the common ground applicable to this one person and this one cancer case. For a busy oncologist managing many patients, that simply isn’t possible.

That’s why the Microsoft researchers are working on a system that could augment how doctors approach the task today. The system is designed to automatically sort through all that fragmented information to find the most relevant pieces of data – leaving tumor experts with more time to use their expertise to figure out the best treatment plan for patients.

The ultimate goal is to help doctors do all that research, and then to present an Microsoft Azure cloud computing-based tool that lets doctors model what treatments would work best based on the information they have gathered.

“If we can use this knowledge base to present the research results most relevant for each specific patient, then a regular oncologist can take a look and make the best decision,” said Ravi Pandya, a principal software architect at Microsoft who also is working on Project Hanover.

Finding a needle in a haystack with Literome

Project Hanover began with a tool called Literome, a cloud computing-based system that sorts through millions of research papers to look for the genomic research that might be applicable to an individual disease diagnosis.

That’s a task that would be hard for oncologists to do on their own because of sheer volume, and it’s made more complicated by the fact that researchers aren’t always consistent in how they describe their work. That means several research papers focusing on the same genetic information may not have much overlap in language.

“The problem is that people are so creative in figuring out a different way to say the same thing,” Poon said.

To build Literome, Poon and his colleagues used machine learning to develop natural language processing tools that require only a small amount of available knowledge to create a sophisticated model for finding those different descriptions of similar knowledge.

Now, the tool is being expanded to also look at experiments and other sources of information that might be helpful.

Poon’s team also is working with the Knight Cancer Institute at Oregon Health and Science University to help their researchers find better ways to fight a complex and often deadly form of cancer called acute myeloid leukemia.

Brian Druker, the director of the Knight Cancer Institute, said a person with this form of cancer may actually be fighting three or four types of leukemia. That’s made it extremely difficult to figure out the right medicine to use and whether a patient will develop resistance to the treatment.

“It was clear we needed incredibly sophisticated computational efforts to try to digest all the data we were generating and to try to make sense of it,” said Druker, whose previous research led to vastly improved life expectancies for patients with chronic myeloid leukemia.

Druker thinks of this kind of collaboration as a two-way dialogue: His team of experts can provide the hypotheses that help the computer scientists know what to look for in the data. The computer scientists, in turn, can do the analysis needed to help them prove or disprove their hypotheses.

That can then help them more quickly develop the needed treatments and therapies.

“I’ve always believed that the data is trying to tell us what the answer is, but we need to know how to listen to it,” he said. “That’s where the computation comes in.”

I’ve always believed that the data is trying to tell us what the answer is, but we need to know how to listen to it. That’s where the computation comes in.

– Brian Druker, Knight Cancer Institute

Druker believes we are just at the beginning of understanding how data can help inform cancer research. In addition to genomic data, he said, researchers also should start looking at what he calls the other “omics,” including proteomics, or the study or proteins, and metabolomics, or the study of chemical processes involving metabolites.

“We’re going to have get beyond the genome,” he said. “The genome is telling us a lot, but it’s not telling us everything.”

Poon said they are still in the early stages of the research, but already they see how it could change, and save, lives.

“We are at this tantalizing moment where we’ve caught a glimpse of this really promising future, but there is so much work to be done,” he said.