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Long Economic Depressions and Disparities Loom in the Wake of the COVID-19
"Global Cooperation for Managing Data Key to Mitigating the Impacts Around the World" <Full recorded video of the GSI-IF2020> The COVID-19 pandemic will lead to long economic depressions around the entire world. Experts predicted that the prevalent inequities among the countries, regions, and individuals will aggravate the economic crisis. However, crises always come with new opportunities and international cooperation and solidarity will help creating a new normal in the post-coronavirus era. In a very basic but urgent step, global cooperation for managing data is the key to respond to COVID-19 since medicine and healthcare are intertwined with data science, said experts during an online international forum hosted by the Global Strategy Institute at KAIST on April 22. KAIST launched its think-tank, the Global Strategy Institute (GSI), in February. The GSI aims to identify global issues proactively and help make breakthroughs well aligned with solid science-based policies. The inaugural forum of the GSI focused on how the COVID-19 pandemic would impact socio-economic, scientific, and political landscapes, under the theme “Global Cooperation in the Coronavirus Era.” In his opening remarks, KAIST President Sung-Chul Shin stressed that future global governance will be dominated by the power of science and technology. “If we can implement efficient policies together with troubleshooting technology for responding to future crises, we will emerge stronger than before,” he said. President Shin said ‘the Korean model’, which is being recognized as a shining example for dealing with the pandemic, is the result of collaborations combining the creativity of the private sector, the public sector’s strong infrastructure, and the full support of the citizens. He added, “Without the technological prowess coming from the competent R&D power of Korea, we could not achieve these impressive results.” “Creative collaboration among the private and public sectors, along with research universities from around the world, will help shore up global resilience against the epidemic. We should work together to build a world of growing prosperity,” President Shin said. Prime Minister Sye-Kyun Chung, who is in charge of the Central Disaster and Safety Countermeasures Headquarters in Korea, stressed global solidarity in his welcoming remarks, saying that “We need to share information and rely on the strength of our connections, rather than retreating into nationalistic isolation.” Peter Lee, Vice President of the Microsoft Healthcare, pointed out in his welcoming remarks three critical sectors for global cooperation: medicine and healthcare, public health and prevention, and life and the economy. He emphasized the rule of thumb for managing data, saying that data in these fields should be open, standardized, and shared among countries to combat this global pandemic. During a keynote session, Director General of the International Vaccine Institute (IVI) Jerome Kim described the challenges that go along with developing a vaccine. Dr. Kim said that only 7% of vaccine candidates go through the clinical trial stages, and it will take five to 10 years to completely prove a new vaccine’s safety after completing three stages of clinical tests. “It’s very challenging to develop the vaccine for COVID-19 within 12 to 15 months,” said Dr. Kim. He added that 78 out of 115 candidates are currently undergoing clinical trials around the world. There are five groups, including Moderna, Inovio, Jenner Institute, CanSino, and the Beijing Institute of Biological Products, who are doing clinical trials in phases 1 and 2. “Given the fact that COVID-19 is a totally new type of virus, various stakeholders’ participation, such as the National Immunization Technical Advisory Groups, the WHO, and UNICEF, is needed to work together to benefit the entire world,” he pointed out. Professor Edward Yoonjae Choi from the Graduate School of AI at KAIST shared how AI and data sciences are being utilized to interpret the major trends of the epidemic. His group mainly focuses on deep learning to model electronic health records (EHR) for disease predictions. Professor Choi said AI and machine learning would be crucial solutions and collaborative research projects will surely accelerate how quickly we can overcome the pandemic. In addition, Dr. Kijung Shin’s group is interpreting the SIR (Susceptible, Infected, and Recovered) model in Korea to predict the number of infections and when people were infected. However, researchers noticed that they could not see the typical modeling in Korea for predicting the number of infections since the model disregarded the new variable of humans’ efforts to stop the spread the virus. According to research by Professor Steven Whang’s group on social distancing and face mask distribution among vulnerable age groups, people in their 20s, 60s, and 70s followed the social distancing guidelines the most strictly. The research team analyzed the data provided by SK Telecom in the Gangnam district of Seoul. The data provided on people in their 70s, a group that accounted for half of all fatalities, showed that masks were generally well distributed nationwide. Dr. Alexandros Papaspyrids, Tertiary Education Industry Director of the Asia region of Microsoft, said that despite all the disadvantages and problems related to remote education, we shouldn’t expect to return to the days before the COVID-19 any time soon. “We should accept the new normal and explore new opportunities in the new educational environment,” he said. Hongtaek Yong, Deputy Minister at the Office of R&D Policy at the Ministry of Science and ICT presented the Korean government’s disease prevention and response policy and how they tried to mitigate the economic and social impact. He stressed the government’s fast testing, tracing, and openness for successfully flattening the curve, adding that the government used an ICT-based approach in all aspects of their response. From early this year when the first patient was reported, the government aggressively encouraged the biotech industry to develop diagnostic kits and novel therapeutic medications. As a result, five companies were able to produce genetic diagnostic reagents through the emergency approval. More notably, four of them are conducting massive R&D projects sponsored by the government and this is the result of the government’s continuous investment in R&D. Korea is the leader in R&D investment among the OECD countries. According to Yong, the government’s big data project that was launched in 2017 continuously traces the trends of epidemics in Korea. The epidemiological studies based on the paths taken by suspected patients using credit card transaction made the difference in predicting the spread of the coronavirus and implementing countermeasures. The data has been provided to the Korea’s Center for Disease Control (CDC). “In addition to the epidemics, we have so many other pending issues arising from digital and social equities, un-contact services, and job security. We are very open to collaborate and cooperate with other countries to deal with this global crisis,” Yong said. During the subsequent panel discussions, David Dollar, a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution, said, “The global economy in the coronavirus era will not have a rapid V-shaped recovery, but rather will fall into a long depression for at least two years.” He pointed out that if countries practice protectionism like they did during the Great Depression, the recession will be even worse. Hence, he urged the international community, especially developed nations, to avoid protectionism, consider the economic difficulties of developing countries, and provide them with financial support. Co-Director of the Center for Universal Education at the Brookings Institution Rebecca Winthrop raised concerns over the recent shift to online teaching and learning, claiming that insufficient infrastructures in low-income families in developing nations are already causing added educational disparities and provoking the inequity issue around the world. “The ways to provide quality education equally through faster and more effective means should be studied,” she said. Professor Joungho Kim, the director of the KAIST GSI and the forum’s organizer, concluded the event by saying that this forum will be a valuable resource for everyone who is providing assistance to those in need, both during and after the COVID-19 pandemic. (END)
Two Professors Receive Awards from the Korea Robotics Society
< Professor Jee-Hwan Ryu and Professor Ayoung Kim > The Korea Robotics Society (KROS) conferred awards onto two KAIST professors from the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering in recognition of their achievements and contributions to the development of the robotics industry in 2019. Professor Jee-Hwan Ryu has been actively engaged in researching the field of teleoperation, and this led him to win the KROS Robotics Innovation (KRI) Award. The KRI Award was newly established in 2019 by the KROS, in order to encourage researchers who have made innovative achievements in robotics. Professor Ryu shared the honor of being the first winner of this award with Professor Jaeheung Park of Seoul National University. Professor Ayoung Kim, from the same department, received the Young Investigator Award presented to emerging robitics researchers under 40 years of age. (END)
KAIST Intensive Science Camp for Middle-High School Students
The KAIST Global Institute of Talented Education (Director: Dong-Soo Kwon) invited around 90 middle and high school students for an advanced science intensive camp from January 22 to 24. This camp targeted middle and high school students in community centers or child-care institutions. It aims to increase students’ interest in science and engineering, and assist them with their career paths through programs such as special lectures on science, advanced science projects, and career mentoring. Participating students were divided into groups of seven or eight with a KAIST student as a mentor to conduct advanced science projects such as VR controller production and robot arm programming. The camp included exploring future career options and science and engineering college admission counselling. Jiyoung Ryu, Research Professor for the KAIST Global Institute of Talented Education, said, “KAIST started the science and engineering career experience program in 2016 with the Ministry of Education and Korea Research Institute for Vocational Education and Training (KRIVET). So far, 6000 middle and high school students from around the country have participated. The camp is more meaningful since it educates students in social responsibility, in addition to the fields of science and engineering, both of which are missions and goals that KAIST strives for.” She continued to say, “We plan to continue to expand the program in the future.” The KAIST Global Institute of Talented Education is actively conducting research and projects on national education for talented youth such as policy research concerning gifted education, science and engineering career education, advanced science camps, training for gifted education teachers, and cyber gifted education programs.
An Electron Cloud Distribution Observed by the Scanning Seebeck Microscope
All matters are made of small particles, namely atoms. An atom is composed of a heavy nucleus and cloud-like, extremely light electrons. Korean researchers developed an electron microscopy technique that enables the accurate observation of an electron cloud distribution at room-temperature. The achievement is comparable to the invention of the quantum tunneling microscopy technique developed 33 years ago. Professor Yong-Hyun Kim of the Graduate School of Nanoscience and Technology at KAIST and Dr. Ho-Gi Yeo of the Korea Research Institute of Standards and Science (KRISS) developed the Scanning Seebeck Microscope (SSM). The SSM renders clear images of atoms, as well as an electron cloud distribution. This was achieved by creating a voltage difference via a temperature gradient. The development was introduced in the online edition of Physical Review Letters (April 2014), a prestigious journal published by the American Institute of Physics. The SSM is expected to be economically competitive as it gives high resolution images at an atomic scale even for graphene and semiconductors, both at room temperature. In addition, if the SSM is applied to thermoelectric material research, it will contribute to the development of high-efficiency thermoelectric materials. Through numerous hypotheses and experiments, scientists now believe that there exists an electron cloud surrounding a nucleus. IBM's Scanning Tunneling Microscope (STM) was the first to observe the electron cloud and has remained as the only technique to this day. The developers of IBM microscope, Dr. Gerd Binnig and Dr. Heinrich Rohrer, were awarded the 1986 Nobel Prize in Physics. There still remains a downside to the STM technique, however: it required high precision and extreme low temperature and vibration. The application of voltage also affects the electron cloud, resulting in a distorted image. The KAIST research team adopted a different approach by using the Seebeck effect which refers to the voltage generation due to a temperature gradient between two materials. The team placed an observation sample (graphene) at room temperature (37~57℃) and detected its voltage generation. This technique made it possible to observe an electron cloud at room temperature. Furthermore, the research team investigated the theoretical quantum mechanics behind the electron cloud using the observation gained through the Seebeck effect and also obtained by simulation capability to analyze the experimental results. The research was a joint research project between KAIST Professor Yong-Hyun Kim and KRISS researcher Dr. Ho-Gi Yeo. Eui-Seop Lee, a Ph.D. candidate of KAIST, and KRISS researcher Dr. Sang-Hui Cho also participated. The Ministry of Science, ICT, and Future Planning, the Global Frontier Initiative, and the Disruptive Convergent Technology Development Initiative funded the project in Korea. Picture 1: Schematic Diagram of the Scanning Seebeck Microscope (SSM) Picture 2: Electron cloud distribution observed by SSM at room temperature Picture 3: Professor Yong-Hyun Kim
First International Conference on Science and Technology for Society
KAIST co-organized the 2013 International Conference on Science and Technology for Society which was held on November 28 at the Grace Hall in Seoul EL-Tower. More than 300 people, including members of the Global Social Technology Advisory Board, domestic social technology experts, private companies, government officials, private citizens, and students joined the conference to discuss the roles and responsibilities of science and technology for society. R&D policies and technologies for solving social issues were introduced, and discussions were held on desirable directions for technological development. The first speaker, Yasushi Watanabe, Director of RISTEX (Research Institute of Science and Technology for Society) in Japan, introduced the importance of science and technology for society under the title “Change of R&D Paradigm for Society.” Robert Wimmer, GrAT (Center for Appropriate Technology), Vienna University of Technology in Austria, presented “Need-oriented Design & Solutions for Development.” Kiyoaki Murakami, MRI, Japan, presented “Introduction of Platinum Vision” and Robert Ries, University of Florida, U.S.A., presented “Evaluating the Social Impacts of the Built Environment Using Life Cycle Assessment.” Case studies on social enterprises and presentations on R&D for solving social problems were introduced by ICISTS (International Conference for the Integration of Science, Technology and Society), which is a student group at KAIST, National Research Foundation of Korea (NRF), Korea Institute of Machinery and Materials (KIMM), Korea Research Institute of Bioscience and Biotechnology (KRIBB), Korea Institute of Industrial Technology (KITECH), Electronics and Telecommunication Research Institute (ETRI), and Korea Research Institute of Chemical Technology (KRICT).The conference was hosted by the Ministry of Science, ICT, and Future Planning and co-organized by NRF, KIMM, KRIBB, KITECH, ETRI and KRICT.
OLEV Safety Confirmed by International Standards
On September 19, KAIST announced that the electromagnetic (EM) field levels of its online electric vehicle (OLEV) measured in June and September of this year demonstrated verification of its safety. Last June, the EM field level of OLEV installed at the Seoul Grand Park was measured by the Korea Research Institute of Standards and Science (KRISS) to test its harmfulness to human. The results were 0.5 ~ 61mG which is within the national and international standards of 62.5mG. KRISS measured EM field levels on 22 spots on the side of and at the center of OLEV at a fixed distance (30cm) but variable heights (5cm~150cm) according to the national standard of measurement methods for electromagnetic fields of household appliances and similar apparatuses with regard to human exposure (IEC 62233). In addition, another testing took place on September 13 following a request by National Assemblywoman Young-Ah Park, a member of the National Assembly’s Education, Science and Technology Committee, who has raised an issue on the safety of OLEV. This testing session was held by EMF Safety, Inc., an institution designated by Park, and it tested the EM field level of the same OLEV train that was tested in June. As a result, the September measurements were well within the national and international standards with 0~24.1mG. The test was conducted under the presence of third party to produce a fair and objective result. As reference, the EM field level results are well within the American IEEE electromagnetic field standards of 1,100 mG. The September measurements were produced by Park’s recommendation of following the criteria specified in the measurement procedures of IEC 62110, “Electric and magnetic field levels generated by AC power systems to public exposure,” which were 15 measurements at a fixed 20cm distance at the side of and from the center of OLEV with variable heights of 50cm~150cm.
KAIST, KRIBB Agree to Cooperate in Research of Convergence Technologies
Oct. 15, 2008 -- KAIST and Korea Research Institute of Bioscience and Biotechnology (KRIBB) have agreed to cooperate in the research of convergence fields of biotechnology, information technology and nanotechnology. To this end, the two institutions concluded a memorandum of understanding to create a new academia-institute cooperative model in the convergence fields on Oct. 15 in Seoul, with KAIST President Nam-Pyo Suh, KRIBB Director Young-Hoon Park and Vice Minister of Education, Science and Technology Jong-Koo Park in attendance. Under the agreement, the two institutions will set up the tentatively-named KAIST-KRIBB BINT Convergence Institute for the development of technologies and nurturing skilled manpower in the convergence fields. The partnership of the two institutions is expected to bring broad-based cooperation opportunities and create a massive synergy effect by combining their resources and infrastructure for the development of convergence technologies, KAIST officials said.. The proposed institute is also designed to build a world-class research hub in systems biotechnology by combining strengths of the two institutions with initiatives to achieve the Korean government"s new vision for "low carbon, green growth." The institute will also serve as a base for domestic brain convergence by concentrating the nation"s research capacities in genetics and brain technology. KAIST also signed a memorandum of understanding for cooperation in researches in Oriental medicine with three institutions, KRIBB, Daegu Hanny University and Korea Institute of Oriental Medicine. The agreement calls for the four institutions to conduct joint researches in traditional sciences and Oriental medicine based on systems biology, develop manpower in related fields and share academic and research information. The agreement is expected to provide impetus to reinforcing competitiveness in compound and convergence technologies and discover new properties in Oriental medicine, according to KAIST authorities.
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