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Google Partners NIH to Accelerate Biomedical Research Using the Cloud

NIH's initial efforts will focus on making NIH high-value data sets more accessible through the Cloud

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Google discusses data privacy before Senate hearing. Pixabay
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The US medical research agency National Institutes of Health has partnered with Google Cloud for a new initiative that aims to harness the power of commercial cloud computing and provide biomedical researchers access to the most advanced, cost-effective computational infrastructure, tools and services.

The initiative named STRIDES (Science and Technology Research Infrastructure for Discovery, Experimentation, and Sustainability) will reduce economic and technological barriers to accessing and computing on large biomedical data sets to accelerate biomedical advances.

“NIH is in a unique position to bring together academic and innovation industry partners to create a biomedical data ecosystem that maximizes the use of NIH-supported biomedical research data for the greatest benefit to human health,” NIH Principal Deputy Director Lawrence Tabak, said in a statement late on Tuesday.

“The STRIDES Initiative aims to maximize the number of researchers working to provide the greatest number of solutions to advancing health and reducing the burden of disease,” he added.

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The US medical research agency National Institutes of Health has partnered with Google Cloud for a new initiative that aims to harness the power of commercial cloud computing. Pixabay

The partnership with Google creates a cost-efficient framework for NIH researchers, as well as researchers at more than 2,500 academic institutions across the nation receiving NIH support, to make use of Google Cloud’s storage, computing, and machine learning technologies.

In addition, it will enable the establishment of training programmes for researchers at NIH-funded institutions to use Google Cloud Platform, the statement said.

“Today, we are announcing a partnership with the National Institutes of Health to make it easier to access and analyse large biomedical data sets, which we believe will accelerate efforts to find treatments and cures for disease,” said Diane Greene, CEO at Google Cloud.

Also Read: Google to Place AI-Powered Virtual Agents in Call Centres

NIH’s initial efforts will focus on making NIH high-value data sets more accessible through the Cloud, leveraging partnerships to take advantage of data-related innovations such as machine learning and artificial intelligence, and experimenting with new ways to optimise technology-intensive research.

“Through our partnership with NIH… we are making it easier for scientists and physicians to access and garner insights from NIH-funded data sets with appropriate privacy protections, which will ultimately accelerate biomedical research progress toward finding treatments and cures for the most devastating diseases of our time,” explained Gregory Moore, Vice President-Healthcare, Google Cloud. (IANS)

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Australia Proposes To Strengthen Regulations of Facebook, Google

Facebook has 17 million monthly users in Australia -- 68 per cent of its population -- while Instagram, second most popular site in terms of users - which is owned by Facebook, has 11 million users

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Australia recommends strengthening regulation of Facebook, Google. Pixabay

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) on Monday proposed measures to counter the dominant market positions of Google and Facebook and strengthen monitoring on their access to information, advertising and consumers personal data.

The regulatory body, which recommended 11 preliminary measures in the report, was directed to conduct a public inquiry into the impact of digital search engines, social media platforms and other digital content in 2017 by then treasurer and current Prime Minister Scott Morrison.

“Acting as an intermediary between consumers and news outlets, platforms are inherently influential in shaping consumers’ choices of digital journalism,” said the report cited by Efe news.

This influential position and filtration of news items could place the consumer in a so-called filter bubble, increasing the risk of consumers being exposed to unreliable news, according to the report.

“The algorithms operated by each of Google and Facebook, as well as other policies, determine which content is surfaced and displayed to consumers in news feed and search results,” it said.

“The ACCC considers that the strong market position of digital platforms like Google and Facebook justifies a greater level of regulatory oversight,” Chair Rod Sims said.

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Facebook, social media. Pixabay

The commission called for the creation of a regulatory authority with powers to monitor these digital platforms and recommended establishing an automatic mechanism to take down content that violates copyright.

The ACCC said consumers should be informed about the manner in which these platforms collect and use their data to create personalized advertising.

This would include a reform of privacy laws to require the user’s express consent to data collection and “enable consumers to require erasure of their personal information where they have withdrawn their consent”.

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ACCC said that it found that “competition may have been distorted in multiple sectors where consumer data is used”.

Facebook has 17 million monthly users in Australia — 68 per cent of its population — while Instagram, second most popular site in terms of users – which is owned by Facebook, has 11 million users.

In 2017, Google registered 90 per cent of search traffic originating from Australian desktops and 98 per cent from mobile phones. (IANS)