New AI-powered, high-res maps to help humanitarian aid and relief agencies better assist people in need
JOHANNESBURG, South Africa, April 9, 2019 – Facebook is working closely with key non-profit and research partners to use artificial intelligence (AI) and big data to address large-scale social, health and infrastructure challenges in sub Saharan Africa. These efforts range from rural electrification in Tanzania to vaccinating people in remote corners of Malawi.
Facebook is applying the processing muscle of its compute power, its extensive data science skills and its expertise in AI and machine learning to create the world’s most detailed and accurate maps of local populations. Facebook also partners with Columbia University’s Center for International Earth Science Information Network (CIESIN) to ensure that this effort leverages the best available administrative data for all countries involved.
The Boston-based Facebook team uses advanced computer vision and machine learning to combine satellite imagery from Digital Globe with public census data and other sources to create detailed population density maps of Africa. Using Facebook’s machine learning capabilities, Facebook started developing population density maps to provide better tools to support connectivity efforts around the world. No Facebook data has been or will be used in the project and the census and satellite data used contain no personally identifiable information.
High-resolution satellite imagery already exists for much of the world. However, prior to Facebook’s mapping project, it would have required countless hours for volunteers to comb through millions of square miles of pictures to identify which contained a tiny town or remote village.
The Facebook team used AI to solve that problem, efficiently crunching through data at a petabyte scale. For Africa alone, for example, the computer vision system examined 11.5 billion individual images to determine whether they contained a building. The team found approximately 110 million buildings in just a few days.
“Having started my career at USAID working on malaria control, I have witnessed first-hand the critical role that accurate data plays in the effectiveness of humanitarian efforts,” says Laura McGorman, a public policy manager at Facebook. “What’s exciting about projects like these that they provide an opportunity for our company to contribute to these efforts through our expertise in data and machine learning.”
In Malawi, the Missing Maps Project used these AI-powered maps to filter out the 97% of the terrain that is uninhabited. This helped to coordinate the efforts of 3,000 Red Cross volunteers in Malawi who visited roughly 100,000 houses in just three days to educate people about measles and rubella vaccines
“The maps from Facebook ensure we focus our volunteers’ time and resources on the places they’re most needed, improving the efficacy of our programs,” says Tyler Radford, executive director of the Humanitarian OpenStreetMap Team, which is part of the Missing Maps Project.
In addition to assisting the Red Cross and Missing Maps Project in Malawi, the maps have been used by aid groups like the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, the World Bank, and Humanitarian OpenStreetMap. In Tanzania, Facebook’s AI-powered maps helped kick-start efforts to bring renewable electrification to rural areas.
To understand which locations would benefit most from decentralized energy solutions, the Humanitarian OpenStreetMap Team collaborated with the Reiner Lemoine Institut and Integration Environment and Energy to combine Facebook’s population maps with detailed data on settlement locations and structures from OpenStreetMap.
Humanitarian OpenStreetMap team personnel then travelled to villages identified as high priority and conducted surveys to understand the populations’ electricity needs. The results of these surveys were provided to agencies involved in rural electrification, helping mini-grid operators choose the most appropriate locations to begin the work.
The Facebook population density maps project now aims to keep adding new continents and countries.
CRITAC: A Must Know Scientific Research Center In Africa Founded By This Young African Ghanaian Scientist, Dr. Kester Quist Aphetsi
The Center for Research, Information, Technology and Advanced Computing (CRITAC) founded by the Young African Ghanaian Scientist, Dr. Kester Quist Aphetsi. RANK 1st as Clarivate Analytics Ghana for its good scientific research.
Over the years, CRITAC has been providing webinars, workshops, seminars and tech-news. We feature distinguished speakers from professional bodies, academia and industry on our programs.
Their research laboratories are led by top research scientists, industrial experts and research students with research laboratories in different domains necessary for the execution of the projects we undertake.
Reports and works from CRITACare published on reputable publishers such as ACM, IEEE, Springer, Elsevier, Taylors and Francis, Emerald etc with indexing at Thompson Reuters and Scopus. Access our current research works and reports
Engaging CRITAC means engaging some of the best minds with the expertise of providing timely solutions to problems leveraging on innovation and ingenuity in delivering results
Our Research and Development programs are revolutionary breakthroughs in areas such as cyber security, big data, artificial intelligence, embedded systems, networked systems and software, and the application of such technologies to diverse fields in business, science, engineering, education, government, etc. All you need to Know.
Amongst the countless Scientific Research Conference organised by CRITAC is the recent ended 2019 ICSIoT Conference at the Ghana Technology University that gathers students, professionals, Researchers, Scientists, Security Organisations, Military Personnel’s, Police and the likes.
Egypt hosts ‘Seamless North Africa 2019’ to discuss latest trends in Financial Technology
CAIRO – June 2019: For the second consecutive year, Central Bank of Egypt will host on the 17th and 18th June 2019, the FinTech Conference “Seamless North Africa 2019”, under the auspices of H.E the Prime Minister, Dr. Mostafa Madbouly, and with the participation of the most renowned international and local experts in the field of financial technology, e-payments and e-commerce.
The conference is held in collaboration with the Council of Arab Economic Unity and the League of Arab States, and is co-organized by the Egyptian Banking Institute (EBI).
Partakers will represent influencing and well recognized entities, institutions, banks and international companies, that cover multiple sectors of banking, finance and e-commerce, aiming to discuss and evaluate the role played by new technologies and strategies to cater for improved services to citizens and consumers across the Arab world.
Ms. Lobna Helal, Deputy Governor of the Central Bank of Egypt, affirmed that “hosting the conference for the second year in a row reflects the tremendous success achieved by SEAMLESS 2018 in its first edition, emphasizing that “The Central Bank of Egypt’s hosting of the Conference stems from the premise of its pioneering role to communicate with society and address the challenges facing the expansion of innovative financial products and services. The role played by the Central Bank is no longer limited to the regulatory and organizational aspects, but has extended to support and incentivize the society to be less cash dependent and to sustain the transition towards financial inclusion, Under the umbrella of the National Payments Council, which is privileged with the chairmanship of President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi. ”
Eng. Ayman Hussein, Sub-Governor of the Central Bank for the Payment Systems and Information Technology Sector, has stated that “The conference has attained escalating importance derived from the leading role played by FinTech in providing, efficient, effective and affordable financial and banking services to meet the diverse timely and logistical needs of customers, thus creating an enabling environment and improving accessibility to the general public, appointing financial technology as a key pillar of financial inclusion and a fundamental supporter of economic growth, accordingly, achieving benefits on the individual and state levels”.
The conference will discuss the challenges that face Egypt’s emerging FinTech eco-system, in the areas of microfinance, microcredit, cross-border payments, remittances, data analysis, artificial intelligence for retail banking, cybersecurity and the SME credit score.
He also mentioned that the conference supports innovation in FinTech, whereas it will feature a pitch off competition for Fintech startups, whereas candidates will compete for a grant of USD 50,000 in cash awarded by an international sponsoring company. Competitors will present their new business model or innovative Fintech solution in front of a panel, composed of leading Egyptian and international experts.
Dr. Rasha Negm, General manager Fintech & innovation has added that “The conference will incorporate several panel discussions, interviews, presentations and workshops revolving around the latest trends and innovations in financial technology. An exhibition of more than 50 leading technology and innovative solution providers will be held on the sidelines of the conference, which avails an opportunity to learn about the latest innovations in the Fintech field”.
– EGYPT TODAY
IBM expands its Quantum Computing Program to Africa with Wits University
DURBAN – IBM has launched the expansion of its quantum computing efforts to Africa in a new collaboration with the University of the Witwatersrand (Wits University) in South Africa.
Wits University is the first African partner on the IBM Q Network and will be the gateway for academics across South Africa and to the 15 universities who are part of the African Research Universities Alliance (ARUA).
“This is the latest outcome of the joint partnership between IBM Research and Wits, which started in 2016 when IBM opened its second lab in Africa in Wits University’s Tshimologong Digital Innovation Precinct in Johannesburg. To expand the IBM Q Network to include Wits will drive innovation in frontier-technologies and benefit African-based researchers, academics and students who now have access to decades of quantum computing capabilities at the click of a button,” said Professor Zeblon Vilakazi, Wits Deputy Vice-Chancellor: Research and Postgraduate Affairs.
Quantum computing promises to be able to solve certain problems – such as chemical simulations and types of optimization – that will forever be beyond the practical reach of classical machines. IBM first made quantum computers available to the public in May 2016 through its IBM Q Experience quantum cloud service and has doubled the power of its quantum computers annually since 2017.
IBM established the IBM Q Network™, a community of Fortune 500 companies, startups, academic institutions and research labs working with IBM to advance quantum computing and explore practical applications for business and science.
Researchers at Wits will investigate the use of quantum computing and machine learning in the fields of cosmology and molecular biology with a specific focus on HIV drug discovery. The teams will also jointly study quantum teleportation, a field pioneered by IBM Fellow Charles Bennett.
“For Africa to remain competitive for the coming decades we must get the next generation of students quantum ready,” said Dr. Solomon Assefa, Vice President, Emerging Market Solutions and Director, IBM Research – Africa.
As part of the partnership between IBM and Wits, scholars from sixteen ARUA universities will have the opportunity to apply for access to IBM Q’s most-advanced quantum computing systems and software for teaching quantum information science and exploring early applications.
To gain access to the IBM Q quantum cloud service, ARUA scholars will be required to submit quality research proposals to a scientific committee of Wits and IBM experts for approval.
“Having access to IBM Q is pivotal for Wits University’s cross-disciplinary research program and allows our researchers in quantum computing, artificial intelligence, and in the broad natural sciences, including in laser technology, quantum optics and molecular design, to leverage the next level of discovery research. It’s envisioned that the first results from this collaboration will be forthcoming in the next two years,” said Vilakazi.
IBM’s recently unveiled IBM Q System One, is the world’s first integrated universal approximate quantum computing system designed for scientific and commercial use.
IBM’s most advanced universal quantum computing systems available through the IBM Q Experience platform. More than 10 million experiments have run on the IBM Q Experience and users have published over 160 third-party research papers. Also, developers can work with Qiskit, a full-stack, open-source quantum software development kit, to create and run quantum computing programs.
To further increase skills development, IBM Q is hosting an invite-only Qiskit Camp in South Africa this December for 200 quantum researchers and computer scientists where they will learn in an immersive environment and receive hands-on training.
The agreement with Wits was signed in April 2019.
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