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A Global Campaign of ‘Facts before Rumors’ on COVID-19 Launched
- A KAIST data scientist group responds to facts and rumors on COVID-19 for global awareness of the pandemic. - Like the novel coronavirus, rumors have no borders. The world is fighting to contain the pandemic, but we also have to deal with the appalling spread of an infodemic that is as contagious as the virus. This infodemic, a pandemic of false information, is bringing chaos and extreme fear to the general public. Professor Meeyoung Cha’s group at the School of Computing started a global campaign called ‘Facts before Rumors,’ to prevent the spread of false information from crossing borders. She explained, “We saw many rumors that had already been fact-checked long before in China and South Korea now begin to circulate in other countries, sometimes leading to detrimental results. We launched an official campaign, Facts before Rumors, to deliver COVID-19-related facts to countries where the number of cases is now increasing.” She released the first set of facts on March 26 via her Twitter account @nekozzang. Professor Cha, a data scientist who has focused on detecting global fake news, is now part of the COVID-19 AI Task Force at the Global Strategy Institute at KAIST. She is also leading the Data Science Group at the Institute for Basic Science (IBS) as Chief Investigator. Her research group worked in collaboration with the College of Nursing at Ewha Woman’s University to identify 15 claims about COVID-19 that circulated on social networks (SNS) and among the general public. The team fact-checked these claims based on information from the WHO and CDCs of Korea and the US. The research group is now working on translating the list of claims into Portuguese, Spanish, Persian, Chinese, Amharic, Hindi, and Vietnamese. Delivering facts before rumors, the team says, will help contain the disease and prevent any harm caused by misinformation. The pandemic, which spread in China and South Korea before arriving in Europe and the US, is now moving into South America, Africa, and Southeast Asia. “We would like to play a part in preventing the further spread of the disease with the provision of only scientifically vetted, truthful facts,” said the team. For this campaign, Professor Cha’s team investigated more than 200 rumored claims on COVID-19 in China during the early days of the pandemic. These claims spread in different levels: while some were only relevant locally or in larger regions of China, others propagated in Asia and are now spreading to countries that are currently most affected by the disease. For example, the false claim which publicized that ‘Fireworks can help tame the virus in the air’ only spread in China. Other claims such as ‘Eating garlic helps people overcome the disease’ or ‘Gargling with salt water prevents the contraction of the disease,’ spread around the world even after being proved groundless. The team noted, however, that the times at which these claims propagate are different from one country to another. “This opens up an opportunity to debunk rumors in some countries, even before they start to emerge,” said Professor Cha. Kun-Woo Kim, a master’s candidate in the Department of Industrial Design who joined this campaign and designed the Facts before Rumors chart also expressed his hope that this campaign will help reduce the number of victims. He added, “I am very grateful to our scientists who quickly responded to the Fact Check in these challenging times.”
COVID-19 Map Shows How the Global Pandemic Moves
- A School of Computing team facilitated the data from COVID-19 to show the global spread of the virus. - The COVID-19 map made by KAIST data scientists shows where and how the virus is spreading from China, reportedly the epicenter of the disease. Professor Meeyoung Cha from the School of Computing and her group facilitated data based on the number of confirmed cases from January 22 to March 22 to analyze the trends of this global epidemic. The statistics include the number of confirmed cases, recoveries, and deaths across major continents based on the number of confirmed case data during that period. The moving dot on the map strikingly shows how the confirmed cases are moving across the globe. According to their statistics, the centroid of the disease starts from near Wuhan in China and moved to Korea, then through the European region via Italy and Iran. The data is collected by a graduate student from the School of Computing, Geng Sun, who started the process during the time he was quarantined since coming back from his home in China. An undergraduate colleague of Geng's, Gabriel Camilo Lima who made the map, is now working remotely from his home in Brazil since all undergraduate students were required to move out of the dormitory last week. The university closed all undergraduate housing and advised the undergraduate students to go back home in a preventive measure to stop the virus from spreading across the campus. Gabriel said he calculated the centroid of all confirmed cases up to a given day. He explained, “I weighed each coordinate by the number of cases in that region and country and calculated an approximate center of gravity.” “The Earth is round, so the shortest path from Asia to Europe is often through Russia. In early March, the center of gravity of new cases was moving from Asia to Europe. Therefore, the centroid is moving to the west and goes through Russia, even though Russia has not reported many cases,” he added. Professor Cha, who is also responsible for the Data Science Group at the Institute for Basic Science (IBS) as the Chief Investigator, said their group will continue to update the map using public data at https://ds.ibs.re.kr/index.php/covid-19/. (END)
KAIST Researchers Receive the 2016 IEEE William R. Bennett Prize
A research team led by Professors Yung Yi and Song Chong from the Electrical Engineering Department at KAIST has been awarded the 2016 William R. Bennett Prize of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE), which is the most prestigious award in the field of communications network. The IEEE bestows the honor annually and selects winning papers from among those published in the past three years for its quality, originality, scientific citation index, and peer reviews. The IEEE award ceremony will take place on May 24, 2016 at the IEEE International Conference on Communications in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. The team members include Dr. Kyoung-Han Lee, a KAIST graduate, who is currently a professor at Ulsan National Institute of Science and Technology (UNIST) in Korea, Dr. Joo-Hyun Lee, a postdoctoral researcher at Ohio State University in the United States, and In-Jong Rhee, a vice president of the Mobile Division at Samsung Electronics. The same KAIST team previously received the award back in 2013, making them the second recipient ever to win the IEEE William R. Bennett Prize twice. Past winners include Professors Robert Gallager of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Sachin Katti of Stanford University, and Ion Stoica of the University of California at Berkeley. The research team received the Bennett award for their work on “Mobile Data Offloading: How Much Can WiFi Deliver?” Their research paper has been cited more than 500 times since its publication in 2013. They proposed an original method to effectively offload the cellular network and maximize the Wi-Fi network usage by analyzing the pattern of individual human mobility in daily life.
KAIST to Hold "Data Science Workshop"
Discussion regarding the scientific utilization of data and its future possibilityThe upcoming 2nd Data Science Workshop is to be held at COEX, Seoul, on 27th February‘Big Data’ has attracted the explosion of interest in recent years. KAIST has arranged a platform of discussion for the utilization of data science and its possible usage in the future.The Department of Knowledge Services Engineering at KAIST is to hold the 2nd Knowledge Services Workshop under the topic of "Data Science for Industry" at COEX, Seoul, on 27th February.Data Science refers to using scientific approach to extract generalized knowledge from the data in order to find meaningful information.With the era of Big Data ahead, the amounts of data produced by the industry are rapidly increasing. The companies have recognized the significance of the data, however, the understanding of its systematic utilization is yet to be realized."Data Science Workshop" has been organized to discuss on how to create a new value using the data compiled by the industry. Lectures are to be given by four leading professionals in the field of data science, who are the professors from Department of Knowledge Services Engineering at KAIST. The head of the department, Mun-Yong Lee, said, “This workshop will be an opportunity for the companies that are considering introducing data science, as well as the students who are interested in the related field, to think about the possibility and future of data science.”Pre-registration for the workshop is currently open until 23rd February on the official website (http://kseworkshop.kaist.ac.kr).
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