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Topic

  • ‘Why the Fed Should Treat Climate Change’s $150B Economic Toll Like Other National Crises’

    For The Conversation, professor of sustainability science and policy Jennie Stephens, with Martin Sokol of Trinity College Dublin, argues that “the Federal Reserve — the U.S. central bank that is charged with maintaining economic stability — is not considering the instability of climate change in its monetary policy.” This, despite the fact that climate change is increasingly a major cause of financial instability, from health-related costs due to heat exposure, rising home insurance rates and various other factors. The Fifth National Climate Assessment recently reported that climate change is now costing the U.S. 150 billion dollars per year, Stephens writes.

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  • ‘A Graphical Model of Hurricane Evacuation Behaviors’

    “Natural disasters such as hurricanes are increasing and causing widespread devastation. People’s decisions and actions regarding whether to evacuate or not are critical and have a large impact on emergency planning and response. Our interest lies in computationally modeling complex relationships among various factors influencing evacuation decisions. We conducted a study on the evacuation of Hurricane Irma. … We evaluated different graphical structures based on conditional independence tests using Irma data. The final model … shows that both risk perception (threat appraisal) and difficulties in evacuation (coping appraisal) influence evacuation decisions.” Find the paper and full list of authors at ArXiv.

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  • ‘Climate Loss-and-Damage Funding: How To Get Money to Where it’s Needed Fast’

    In response to the 27th United Nations Climate Change Conference’s agreement to establish a loss-and-damage fund for climate change disasters, professor of public policy and urban affairs Laura Kuhl, writing with Istiakh Ahmed, M. Feisal Rahman, Jamie Shinn, Johan Arango-Quiroga and Saleemul Huq, proposes “four recommendations for how the loss-and-damage fund should operate,” including “speed and agility,” supporting climate justice, defining eligibility and placing “low-and middle-income countries” at the center of the conversation.

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  • ‘Central Banks Should Be Fighting the Climate Crisis – Here’s Why’

    “Climate finance was a major focus at the recent COP28 summit, but one set of game-changing institutions remains largely missing in such conversations: central banks,” writes Jennie Stephens, professor of sustainability science and policy, with Martin Sokol, of Trinity College Dublin. “Long-term stability cannot be achieved without first disrupting and transforming the existing financial system,” they argue, citing new research. “One way to do this would be for central banks to use tools already available to them to trigger a short-term intentional disruption in order to redirect financial flows and create greater stability in the long-term.”

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  • ‘The OpenMolcas Web: A Community-Driven Approach to Advancing Computational Chemistry’

    “The developments of the open-source OpenMolcas chemistry software environment since spring 2020 are described, with a focus on novel functionalities accessible in the stable branch of the package or via interfaces with other packages. These developments span a wide range of topics in computational chemistry and are presented in thematic sections. … This report offers an overview of the chemical phenomena and processes OpenMolcas can address, while showing that OpenMolcas is an attractive platform for state-of-the-art atomistic computer simulations.” Find the paper and full list of authors at the Journal of Chemical Theory and Computation.

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  • To fight climate change and promote climate justice, call on the banks

    Professor of sustainability science and policy Jennie Stephens has new research highlighting the responsibility that central banks have in the fight against climate change and for climate justice.

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  • The Fed is ignoring climate risk at the economy’s — and the world’s — peril, argues Stephens

    Jennie Stephens, professor of sustainability science and policy, writes in The Hill that “there is no bigger threat to the stability of our economy than climate change.” The Federal Reserve’s continued refusal to address this instability, she says, “threatens the very stability that [Fed Chair Jerome Powell] is responsible for maintaining.”

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  • Zheng winner of Energies 2023 Young Investigator Award

    “Mechanical and industrial engineering associate professor Yi Zheng received the Energies 2023 Young Investigator award. Zheng is the first recipient from the United States to receive this award, previous recipients were from Denmark, Singapore, Australia and China.”

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  • Stephens pens chapter on ‘Gender and Climate Justice’ in Handbook on Climate Change and Technology

    Professor Jennie Stephens has written a chapter in the Handbook on Climate Change and Technology. From the abstract: “The dominance of patriarchal systems and processes must be continuously revealed to understand why efforts so far have been inadequate and to prioritize a path forward to advance investments in climate justice. This chapter demonstrates why a feminist lens is essential for climate justice by first describing how patriarchal ways are non-transformative. … With a focus on climate justice, it becomes clear why feminist priorities and principles are required to move away from climate isolationism to climate justice.”

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  • Hoff provides ‘A Survival Guide’ for physicians in times of labor upheaval

    Professor of management, healthcare systems and public policy Timothy Hoff encourages physicians to “embrac[e] their employee side,” as such an attitude would align physicians with other employees in medical facilities along common ground, seeking “adequate compensation, wellness, job security, patient and worker safety, healthcare quality, reasonable workloads and schedules and fair treatment by employers.”

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  • Zheng selected as Fellow of American Society of Mechanical Engineering

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    “Mechanical and industrial engineering associate professor Yi Zheng was selected as a Fellow of the American Society of Mechanical Engineering for his exceptional engineering achievements and contributions to the engineering profession, particularly in the research field of micro/nanoscale heat transfer for sustainable energy harvesting, conversion and storage. Zheng was nominated by professor Hameed Metghalchi.”

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  • ‘Testing Language Model Agents Safely in the Wild’

    “A prerequisite for safe autonomy-in-the-wild is safe testing-in-the-wild. Yet real-world autonomous tests face several unique safety challenges, both due to the possibility of causing harm during a test, as well as the risk of encountering new unsafe agent behavior through interactions with real-world and potentially malicious actors. We propose a framework for conducting safe autonomous agent tests on the open internet: agent actions are audited by a context-sensitive monitor that enforces a stringent safety boundary to stop an unsafe test, with suspect behavior ranked and logged to be examined by humans.” Find the paper and full authors list at ArXiv.

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  • Grassroots journalism promotes democracy and fills the needs of ‘news deserts’

    “Local news is essential to democracy,” argue professor of journalism Dan Kennedy and former Boston Globe editor Ellen Clegg in their new book, “What Works in Community News: Media Startups, News Deserts and the Future of the Fourth Estate.” They write that, as news organizations shutter, “it is often marginalized communities of color who have been left without the day-to-day journalism they need to govern themselves in a democracy,” according to the publisher’s webpage. The book describes how “innovative journalism models are popping up across the country to fill news deserts and empower communities.”

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  • Ganguly and Melodia named Distinguished Members of Association for Computing Machinery

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    Auroop Ganguly, professor of civil and environmental engineering, and Tommaso Melodia, William Lincoln Smith Professor of electrical and computer engineering, have been named Distinguished Members by the Association for Computing Machinery (ACM). According to the ACM, “inductees are longstanding ACM Members and were selected by their peers for work that has advanced computing, fostered innovation across various fields and improved computer science education.” Ganguly was particularly noted “for foundational advances, sustained service, and entrepreneurial accomplishments in climate data mining and machine learning,” while Melodia was commended “for contributions to architectures and algorithms for software-defined wireless networked systems.”

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  • ‘The Verse Calculus: A Core Calculus for Deterministic Functional Logic Programming’

    “Functional logic languages have a rich literature, but it is tricky to give them a satisfying semantics. … We describe the Verse calculus, VC, a new core calculus for deterministic functional logic programming. Our main contribution is to equip VC with a small-step rewrite semantics, so that we can reason about a VC program in the same way as one does with lambda calculus; that is, by applying successive rewrites to it. We also show that the rewrite system is confluent for well-behaved terms.” Find the article and authors list in the Proceedings of the ACM on Programming Languages.

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  • ‘Fast and Expressive Gesture Recognition Using a Combination-Homomorphic Electromyogram Encoder’

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    “We study the task of gesture recognition from electromyography (EMG), with the goal of enabling expressive human-computer interaction at high accuracy, while minimizing the time required for new subjects to provide calibration data. To fulfill these goals, we define combination gestures consisting of a direction component and a modifier component. New subjects only demonstrate the single component gestures and we seek to extrapolate from these to all possible single or combination gestures. We extrapolate to unseen combination gestures by combining the feature vectors of real single gestures to produce synthetic training data.” Find the paper and authors list at ArXiv.

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  • ‘FairytaleCQA: Integrating a Commonsense Knowledge Graph Into Children’s Storybook Narratives’

    “AI models (including LLM) often rely on narrative question-answering (QA) datasets to provide customized QA functionalities to support downstream children education applications; however, existing datasets only include QA pairs that are grounded within the given storybook content, but children can learn more when teachers refer the storybook content to real-world knowledge (e.g., commonsense knowledge). We introduce the FairytaleCQA dataset, which is annotated by children education experts, to supplement 278 storybook narratives with educationally appropriate commonsense knowledge.” Find the article and full list of authors at ArXiv.

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  • Professor’s new book provides best practices — and pitfalls — of remote work

    Executive professor of management and organizational development Barbara Larson’s new book, “Remote and Hybrid Work: What Everyone Needs To Know,” is a guide for individuals and managers, as well as corporate and governmental policymakers.

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  • ‘On Hardness Assumptions Needed for “Extreme High-End” PRGs and Fast Derandomization’

    “The hardness vs.~randomness paradigm aims to explicitly construct pseudorandom generators G:{0,1}r→{0,1}m that fool circuits of size m, assuming the existence of explicit hard functions. … We study whether extreme high-end PRGs can be constructed from the following scaled version of the assumption which we call “the extreme high-end hardness assumption”, and in which β=1−o(1) and B=1+o(1). We give a partial negative answer, showing that certain approaches cannot yield a black-box proof.” Find the paper and full list of authors at ArXiv.

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  • ‘Leveraging Generative AI for Clinical Evidence Summarization Needs to Achieve Trustworthiness’

    “Evidence-based medicine aims to improve the quality of healthcare by empowering medical decisions and practices with the best available evidence. The rapid growth of medical evidence, which can be obtained from various sources, poses a challenge in collecting, appraising, and synthesizing the evidential information. Recent advancements in generative AI, exemplified by large language models, hold promise in facilitating the arduous task. However, developing accountable, fair and inclusive models remains a complicated undertaking. In this perspective, we discuss the trustworthiness of generative AI in the context of automated summarization of medical evidence.” Find the paper and authors list at ArXiv.

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  • Developing new arrays for cystic fibrosis treatment

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    “Chemical engineering professor Ming Su and assistant research professor Sidi Bencherif were awarded a patent for ‘Coordinately-ordered single cells with individual identities for high-throughput assay.'”

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  • Rethinking innovation for the betterment of the planet

    Professor Ruth Aguilera, writing with Sophie Bacq, argues that “we’re making our planet unlivable,” and as more and more planetary “limits for viability” are breached, businesses must shift the ways in which they think about innovation. “Stakeholder theory,” they write, “governs business practices in relation to the multiple or diverse constituencies touched by an organization and its activities.” Rather than focusing on a profit-only model, “Organizations that embrace a broader definition of value and rethink the way different value is apportioned and shared among diverse groups of stakeholders stand to gain in the long run.”

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  • ‘Stochastic Biological System-of-Systems Modeling for iPSC Culture’

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    “Large-scale manufacturing of induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs) is essential for cell therapies and regenerative medicines. Yet, iPSCs form large cell aggregates in suspension bioreactors, resulting in insufficient nutrient supply and extra metabolic waste build-up for the cells located at the core. Since subtle changes in micro-environment can lead to a heterogeneous cell population, a novel Biological System-of-Systems (Bio-SoS) framework is proposed to model cell-to-cell interactions, spatial and metabolic heterogeneity and cell response to micro-environmental variation.” Find the paper and full list of authors at ArXiv.

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  • ‘Reusing Just-in-Time Compiled Code’

    “Most code is executed more than once. If not entire programs then libraries remain unchanged from one run to the next. Just-in-time compilers expend considerable effort gathering insights about code they compiled many times, and often end up generating the same binary over and over again. We explore how to reuse compiled code across runs of different programs to reduce warm-up costs of dynamic languages. We propose to use speculative contextual dispatch to select versions of functions from an off-line curated code repository.” Find the paper full list of authors in the Proceedings of the ACM on Programming Languages.

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  • Remote work preparedness is the new requirement in an extreme weather world

    Associate professor of finance John Bai argues, in a new paper, says that remote work provides many of the solutions required to maintain business continuity during extreme weather events, becoming all the more common “in a warming world.”

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  • ‘RecA Levels Modulate Biofilm Development in Acinetobacter Baumannii’

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    “Infections caused by Acinetobacter baumannii, a Gram-negative opportunistic pathogen, are difficult to eradicate due to the bacterium’s propensity to quickly gain antibiotic resistances and form biofilms, a protective bacterial multicellular community. The A. baumannii DNA damage response (DDR) mediates the antibiotic resistance acquisition and regulates RecA in an atypical fashion; both RecALow and RecAHigh cell types are formed in response to DNA damage. The findings of this study demonstrate that the levels of RecA can influence formation and dispersal of biofilms.” Find the paper and full list of authors at Molecular Microbiology.

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  • ‘Virtual AIVantage: Leveraging Large Language Models for Enhanced VR Interview Preparation Among Underrepresented Professionals’

    “Technical interviews, a cornerstone of the hiring process for computer science (CS) jobs, often prove to be particularly stressful for individuals from underrepresented backgrounds in CS circles, including women and people of color. The heightened stress and pressure can negatively affect these individuals’ sense of belonging in CS. This paper introduces Virtual AIVantage, an innovative tool designed to address this issue by leveraging virtual reality (VR) and artificial intelligence (AI) to revolutionize technical interview preparation for underrepresented individuals in CS.” Find the paper and authors list in the Proceedings of the 22nd International Conference on Mobile and Ubiquitous Multimedia.

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  • ‘Snake Robot With Tactile Perception Navigates on Large-Scale Challenging Terrain’

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    “Along with the advancement of robot skin technology, there has been notable progress in the development of snake robots featuring body-surface tactile perception. In this study, we proposed a locomotion control framework for snake robots that integrates tactile perception to augment their adaptability to various terrains. Our approach embraces a hierarchical reinforcement learning (HRL) architecture, wherein the high-level orchestrates global navigation strategies while the low-level uses curriculum learning for local navigation maneuvers.” Find the paper and full list of authors at ArXiv.

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  • ‘No Root Store Left Behind’

    “When a root certificate authority (CA) in the Web PKI misbehaves, primary root-store operators such as Mozilla and Google respond by distrusting that CA. However, full distrust is often too broad, so root stores often implement partial distrust of roots, such as only accepting a root for a subset of domains. … We propose augmenting root stores with per-certificate programs called General Certificate Constraints (GCCs) that precisely control the trust of root certificates.” Find the paper and full list of authors in the Proceedings of the 22nd ACM Workshop on Hot Topics in Networks.

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  • Ilya Vidrin asks, ‘What do we mean when we talk about meaning?’

    Ilya Vidrin, assistant professor of creative practice research in the department of theatre, wants to know how humans make meaning in the world — and in their bodies. His work focuses on the ethics of human, physical interactions; a new Knight Foundation grant will support the creation of a Meaning Initiative, which will study how we all find meaning in our lives and through the arts.

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