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Intel Pledges To Donate $50 Million To Combat Novel Coronavirus

Intel is also collaborating with India's IT industry body Nasscom to build an application ecosystem and multicloud back end to enable population-scale COVID-19 diagnostics, to predict outbreaks and to improve medical care management and administration

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Intel
The Intel COVID-19 Response and Readiness initiative will provide funding to accelerate customer and partner advances in diagnosis, treatment and vaccine development, leveraging technologies such as artificial intelligence (AI), high-performance computing and edge-to-cloud service delivery. Wikimedia Commons

Global chip-making giant Intel on Tuesday pledged an additional $50 million to combat the novel coronavirus through accelerating access to technology at the point of patient care, speeding scientific research and ensuring access to online learning for students.

Much of the money, about $40 million, will fund the Intel COVID-19 Response and Readiness and Online Learning initiatives. The Intel COVID-19 Response and Readiness initiative will provide funding to accelerate customer and partner advances in diagnosis, treatment and vaccine development, leveraging technologies such as artificial intelligence (AI), high-performance computing and edge-to-cloud service delivery.

The Intel Online Learning initiative will support education-focused nonprofit organisations and business partners to provide students without access to technology with devices and online learning resources, the company said. In close partnership with public school districts, the initiative will enable PC donations, online virtual resources, study-at-home guides and device connectivity assistance.

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“The world faces an enormous challenge in fighting COVID-19. Intel is committed to accelerating access to technology that can combat the current pandemic and enable new technology and scientific discovery that better prepares society for future crises,” Intel CEO Bob Swan said in a statement.

“We hope that by sharing our expertise, resources and technology, we can help to accelerate work that saves lives and expands access to critical services around the world during this challenging time,” Swan added.

Intel
Global chip-making giant Intel on Tuesday pledged an additional $50 million to combat the novel coronavirus through accelerating access to technology at the point of patient care, speeding scientific research and ensuring access to online learning for students. Wikimedia Commons

The company has also allocated up to $10 million for an innovation fund that supports requests from external partners and employee-led relief projects, addressing critical needs in their communities.

For example, Intel is working with India’s Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) and International Institute of Information Technology, Hyderabad, to deploy Intel client and server solutions to help achieve faster and less expensive COVID-19 testing and coronavirus genome sequencing to understand epidemiology and AI-based risk stratification for patients with comorbidities.

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Intel is also collaborating with India’s IT industry body Nasscom to build an application ecosystem and multicloud back end to enable population-scale COVID-19 diagnostics, to predict outbreaks and to improve medical care management and administration.

This is in addition to prior announcements of $10 million in donations that are supporting local communities during this critical time. (IANS)

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Intel-Microsoft Collaborated Project Turns Malware into Images

Intel and Microsoft joined hands to work on the study

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Microsoft
Intel-Microsoft joint project to turn malware into images. Pixabay

Researchers from Intel and Microsoft have joined forces to study the use of deep learning for malware threat detection in a project that first converts malware into images.

The basis for this study is the observation that if malware samples are turned into grayscale images, the textural and structural patterns can be used to effectively classify them as either benign or malicious, as well as cluster malicious samples into respective threat families, Microsoft said.

The researchers used an approach that they called static malware-as-image network analysis (STAMINA), Jugal Parikh and Marc Marino from Microsoft Threat Protection Intelligence Team wrote in a blog post.

For the first part of the collaboration, the researchers built on Intel’s prior work on deep transfer learning for static malware classification and used a real-world dataset from Microsoft to ascertain the practical value of approaching the malware classification problem as a computer vision task.

Using the dataset from Microsoft, the study showed that the STAMINA approach achieves high accuracy in detecting malware with low false positives.

The results were detailed in a paper titled “STAMINA: Scalable deep learning approach for malware classification”.

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The researchers used an approach that they called static malware-as-image network analysis (STAMINA). Wikimedia Commons

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To establish the practicality of the STAMINA approach, which posits that malware can be classified at scale by performing static analysis on malware codes represented as images, the study covered three main steps: image conversion, transfer learning, and evaluation.

The study was performed on a dataset of 2.2 million PE file hashes provided by Microsoft. This dataset was temporally split into 60:20:20 segments for training, validation, and test sets, respectively.

The joint research encourages the use of deep transfer learning for the purpose of malware classification. (IANS)

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Our Work Has Become More Critical Amid Coronavirus Pandemic: Twitter India

The company has also increased its use of machine learning and automation to take a wide range of actions on potentially abusive and manipulative content

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Twitter
Since introducing its updated policies on March 18, Twitter has removed more than 2,400 tweets containing misleading and potentially harmful content. Pixabay

As disinformation related to COVID-19 is spreading faster than the virus itself, micro -blogging platform Twitter feels that its work has never been more critical and its service has never been in higher demand than ever before globally, including in India.

The power of a uniquely open service during a public health emergency is crystal clear, says Mahima Kaul, Director, Public Policy, India and South Asia at Twitter, adding that they are continuing to review the rules in the context of COVID-19 and considering ways in which they may need to evolve to account for new behaviours.

Since introducing its updated policies on March 18, Twitter has removed more than 2,400 tweets containing misleading and potentially harmful content. “Our automated systems have challenged more than 3.4 million accounts targeting manipulative discussions around COVID-19. We will continue to use both technology and our teams to help us identify and stop spammy behaviour and accounts,” Kaul told IANS.

Twitter has received positive response to its efforts in curbing COVID-19 related fake news and misinformation in India. The efforts include an events page dedicated to COVID-19 information called “Coronavirus Tweets from Indian authorities”, which is essentially a timeline of tweets from verified Indian officials and bodies such as Prime Minister Narendra Modi (@narendramodi), Health Minister Harsh Vardhan (@drharshvardhan), the official Citizen Engagement Platform of the Government of Indian (@mygovindia, Press Information Bureau (@PIB_India) and other state and Central ministers, as well as public health agencies.

“Every account holder in India can see this page on the top of their home timeline. If someone has their settings set to Hindi, then they will see the same page with Hindi Tweets. The timeline also lets people track developments around the latest social distancing and healthcare information,” informed Kaul. The platform recently onboarded the Ministry of Health & Family Welfare (@MoHFW_INDIA) to Twitter Seva to help Indians with a speedy resolution to their health-related queries.

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“This public service is allowing the Ministry to communicate effectively and at scale with the public, especially in crisis situations like the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. The dedicated account @CovidIndiaSeva establishes a direct channel between the Government and citizens to provide access to authoritative health and public information,” Kaul elaborated.

She said that Twitter India is regularly working with trusted partners, including public health authorities, researchers, NGOs, and governments to keep improving its fight against COVID-19. “To tackle misinformation related to COVID-19, we have broadened our definition of harm and expanded our safety rules to address content that goes directly against guidance from authoritative sources with the intent to influence people into acting against recommended guidance,” said Kaul.

Twitter
As disinformation related to COVID-19 is spreading faster than the virus itself, micro -blogging platform Twitter feels that its work has never been more critical and its service has never been in higher demand than ever before globally, including in India. Pixabay

The company has also increased its use of machine learning and automation to take a wide range of actions on potentially abusive and manipulative content. “Additionally, we’re continuing to review and require the removal of Tweets that do not follow the Twitter Rules – half of which we catch before they’re ever reported to us. We continue to remain vigilant,” Kaul added.

Twitter is releasing a new endpoint into Twitter Developer Labs to enable approved developers and researchers to study the public conversation about COVID-19 in real-time. Tweets by people on the service will be made available to researchers and developers for free. According to Kaul, the data will help research the spread of the disease, understand the spread of misinformation, crisis management, emergency response, and communication within communities.

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“As we’ve said on many occasions, our approach to protecting the public conversation is never static. That’s particularly relevant in these unprecedented times. We intend to review our thinking daily and will ensure we’re sharing updates on any new clarifications to our rules or major changes to how we’re enforcing them,” Kaul told IANS. (IANS)

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Facebook, YouTube, Twitter Struggle to Remove Pandemic Conspiracy Video Called Plandemic

Social media platforms struggling with removal of pandemic conspiracy video.

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Facebook, YouTube, Twitter
Facebook, YouTube, Twitter struggling to take down Pandemic conspiracy videos. Pixabay

Social media platforms like Facebook, YouTube and Twitter are finding it difficult to remove a coronavirus conspiracy video called Plandemic that has spread faster that the virus and can still be accessed on these platforms.

The 26-minute video features a famous vaccine conspiracist who defy the advice of medical experts like saying that “sheltering in place harms consumers’ immune systems and that masks can make people sicker”.

“The video tries to argue that the coronavirus pandemic was created to make profits off vaccines,” reports CNBC.

The video features Judy Mikovits, a figure best known for her anti-vaccine activism in recent years.

The video on Facebook received more than 1.7 million views as of Thursday and been shared more than 140,000 times.

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Social media platforms struggle to remove conspiracy video plandemic. Pixabay

One of the YouTube videos had received more than 1 million views before it was removed, according to the MIT Technology Review.

According to Twitter, “tweets by Mikovits apparently don’t violate the platform’s rules around COVID-19 misinformation, but it has marked the video’s URL as “unsafe” and blocked the related hashtags.

A Facebook spokeswoman earlier said the video “is eligible for fact-checkers to review and rate.”

Later, the spokeswoman said that “Suggesting that wearing a mask can make you sick could lead to imminent harm, so we’re removing the video”. However, it was still streaming on the platform till late Thursday.

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In the video, Mikovits accuses Dr Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, of suppressing treatments like hydroxychloroquine � falsely touted by President Donald Trump as a wonder drug to cure coronavirus. (IANS)