2020

USC CREATE: CREATE DETLOF VON WINTERFELDT OUTSTANDING RESEARCH AWARD, 2020: PROFESSOR MILIND TAMBE

December 26, 2020

The Center for Risk and Economic Analysis of Terrorism Events (CREATE) is proud to announce Milind Tambe is the first recipient of the CREATE Detlof von Winterfeldt Outstanding Research Award. Dr. Tambe is the Gordon McKay Professor of Computer Science at Harvard University, where he also serves as the Director of the Center for Research in Computation and Society. He was one of the original researchers at CREATE, beginning in 2004 and continuing until his departure for Harvard in 2018. He is now contributing as one of CREATE’s 14 External Senior Research Fellows. 

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Mongabay News: "Where to patrol next: ‘Netflix’ of ranger AI serves up poaching predictions"

December 26, 2020
  • The PAWS AI system, developed out of Harvard University, uses data about past poaching and game theory to predict where rangers are most likely to find poaching activity next.
  • PAWS has been field tested in Cambodia and Uganda, and will soon roll out worldwide, available with the next update of a global data tool called SMART.
  • Subsequent versions of the system will also feature a tool that recommends the best route for rangers to travel in their patrols.

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The Brillant: "Milind Tambe: matchmaking AI experts and non-profits can make the world a better place"

December 26, 2020

“Too often the public sees AI as a great unknown and something to be feared, but actually it has extraordinary potential for societal and environmental wellbeing,” says Tambe.

Tambe, who is Director of the Center for Research on Computation and Society at Harvard University and Director of AI for Social Good at Google India, wants AI researchers interested...

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The New York Times: "It’s Kitchen Sink Time’: Fast, Less-Accurate Coronavirus Tests May Be Good Enough"

August 7, 2020

For months, the call for coronavirus testing has been led by one resounding refrain: To keep outbreaks under control, doctors and researchers need to deploy the most accurate tests available — ones reliable enough to root out as many infections as possible, even in the absence of symptoms.

That’s long been the dogma of infectious disease diagnostics, experts say, since it helps ensure that cases won’t be missed. During this pandemic, that has meant relying heavily on PCR testing, an extremely accurate but time- and labor-intensive method that requires samples to be...

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The Hill: "US urged to consider cheaper, faster COVID-19 tests to contain outbreaks"

August 5, 2020

Seven months into the pandemic, the U.S. needs to rethink its approach to testing for COVID-19, experts say, by shifting to cheaper tests that can return results in less than an hour, potentially finding people when they are most infectious and containing outbreaks before they explode. 

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA), however, appears reluctant to approve those tests for sale in the U.S. because they are typically less accurate or unable to detect small amounts of virus compared to the gold standard, high-sensitivity lab tests the U.S. has been...

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Science: "Radical shift in COVID-19 testing needed to reopen schools and businesses, researchers say"

August 3, 2020

ven as the United States ramped up coronavirus testing from about 100,000 per week in mid-March to more than 5 million per week in late July, the country fell further behind in stemming the spread of the virus. Now, diagnostics experts, public health officials, and epidemiologists are calling for a radical shift in testing strategy: away from diagnosing people who have symptoms or were exposed and toward screening whole populations using faster, cheaper, sometimes less accurate tests. By making it possible to identify and isolate infected individuals more quickly, proponents say, the...

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Time: "America Needs to Radically Rethink Our COVID-19 Testing Approach"

July 29, 2020
America’s testing infrastructure is collapsing. As coronavirus cases surge around the country, laboratories are facing crippling shortages of key supplies and growing backlogs of samples. In many states, it now takes 10-15 days to get test results – rendering these tests useless as a tool to prevent transmission and bring the pandemic under control. For most people, the peak period of infectiousness lasts about a week. And, in the middle of this testing collapse, cities and towns are preparing to return millions of children to school this fall with neither the intention nor the... Read more about Time: "America Needs to Radically Rethink Our COVID-19 Testing Approach"

The New York Times: "We Made a Mistake With Masks. Now It Could Be Tests"

July 28, 2020

We made a mistake at first with how we talked about masks. We’re making the same mistake now with tests.

The discussion on these issues highlights the different ways clinicians and public health experts think. Clinicians — doctors, like me — treat patients one at a time. Our responsibility is to that individual. This is the thinking that led many of us to focus on only the most effective N95 masks at first. We knew we didn’t have enough for health care workers, and we knew that homemade masks wouldn’t work as well in the office or hospital. So we told people not to use them....

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BBC "People fixing the world", June 2020: How tech is tackling wildlife trafficking

June 23, 2020

 

New technology is helping in the fight against wildlife poaching. Computer scientists have created a programme that uses artificial intelligence to predict where poachers are going to strike; a new generation of smart cameras is catching the criminals red-handed; and the latest police forensic techniques are being adapted to investigate these crimes.

The aim is to put a stop to the illegal trade of wildlife trafficking, which is worth billions of dollars and is threatening the survival of species such as elephants, rhinos and tigers. Each year 20,000...

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