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KAIST and Google Partner to Develop AI Curriculum
Two KAIST professors, Hyun Wook Ka from the School of Transdisciplinary Studies and Young Jae Jang from the Department of Industrial and Systems Engineering, were recipients of Google Education Grants that will support the development of new AI courses integrating the latest industrial technology. This collaboration is part of the KAIST-Google Partnership, which was established in July 2019 with the goal of nurturing AI talent at KAIST. The two proposals -- Professor Ka’s ‘Cloud AI-Empowered Multimodal Data Analysis for Human Affect Detection and Recognition’ and Professor Jang’s ‘Learning Smart Factory with AI’-- were selected by the KAIST Graduate School of AI through a school-wide competition held in July. The proposals then went through a final review by Google and were accepted. The two professors will receive $7,500 each for developing AI courses using Google technology for one year. Professor Ka’s curriculum aims to provide a rich learning experience for students by providing basic knowledge on data science and AI and helping them obtain better problem solving and application skills using practical and interdisciplinary data science and AI technology. Professor Jang’s curriculum is designed to solve real-world manufacturing problems using AI and it will be field-oriented. Professor Jang has been managing three industry-academic collaboration centers in manufacturing and smart factories within KAIST and plans to develop his courses to go beyond theory and be centered on case studies for solving real-world manufacturing problems using AI. Professor Jang said, “Data is at the core of smart factories and AI education, but there is often not enough of it for the education to be effective. The KAIST Advanced Manufacturing Laboratory has a testbed for directly acquiring data generated from real semiconductor automation equipment, analyzing it, and applying algorithms, which enables truly effective smart factory and AI education.” KAIST signed a partnership with Google in July 2019 to foster global AI talent and is operating various programs to train AI experts and support excellent AI research for two years. The Google AI Focused Research Award supports world-class faculty performing cutting-edge research and was previously awarded to professors Sung Ju Hwang from the Graduate School of AI and Steven Whang from the School of Electrical Engineering along with Google Cloud Platform (GCP) credits. These two professors have been collaborating with Google teams since October 2018 and recently extended their projects to continue through 2021. In addition, a Google Ph.D. Fellowship was awarded to Taesik Gong from the School of Computing in October this year, and three Student Travel Grants were awarded to Sejun Park from the School of Electrical Engineering, Chulhyung Lee from the Department of Mathematical Sciences, and Sangyun Lee from the School of Computing earlier in March. Five students were also recommended for the Google Internship program in March. (END)
Taesik Gong Named Google PhD Fellow
PhD candidate Taesik Gong from the School of Computing was named a 2020 Google PhD Fellow in the field of machine learning. The Google PhD Fellowship Program has recognized and supported outstanding graduate students in computer science and related fields since 2009. Gong is one of two Korean students chosen as the recipients of Google Fellowships this year. A total of 53 students across the world in 12 fields were awarded this fellowship. Gong’s research on condition-independent mobile sensing powered by machine learning earned him this year’s fellowship. He has published and presented his work through many conferences including ACM SenSys and ACM UbiComp, and has worked at Microsoft Research Asia and Nokia Bell Labs as a research intern. Gong was also the winner of the NAVER PhD Fellowship Award in 2018. (END)
Breastfeeding Helps Prevent Mothers from Developing Diabetes after Childbirth
A team of South Korean researchers found that lactation can lower the incidence and reduce the risk of maternal postpartum diabetes. The researchers identified that lactation increases the mass and function of pancreatic beta cells through serotonin production. The team suggested that sustained improvements in pancreatic beta cells, which can last for years even after the cessation of lactation, improve mothers’ metabolic health in addition to providing health benefits for infants. Pregnancy imposes a substantial metabolic burden on women through weight gain and increased insulin resistance. Various other factors, including a history of gestational diabetes, maternal age, and obesity, further affect women’s risk of progressing to diabetes after delivery, and the risk of postpartum diabetes increases more in women who have had gestational diabetes and/or repeated deliveries. Diabetes-related complications include damage to blood vessels, which can lead to cardiovascular and cerebrovascular diseases such as heart attack and stroke, and problems with the nerves, eyes, kidneys, and many more. Since diabetes can pose a serious threat to mothers’ metabolic health, the management of maternal metabolic risk factors is important, especially in the peripartum period. Previous epidemiological studies have reported that lactation reduces the risk of postpartum diabetes, but the mechanisms underlying this benefit have remained elusive. The study, published in Science Translational Medicine on April 29, explains the biology underpinning this observation on the beneficial effects of lactation. Professor Hail Kim from the Graduate School of Medical Science and Engineering at KAIST led and jointly conducted the study in conjunction with researchers from the Seoul National University Bundang Hospital (SNUBH) and Chungnam National University (CNU) in Korea, and the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF) in the US. In their study, the team observed that the milk-secreting hormone ‘prolactin’ in lactating mothers not only promotes milk production, but also plays a major role in stimulating insulin-secreting pancreatic beta cells that regulate blood glucose in the body. The researchers also found that ‘serotonin’, known as a chemical that contributes to wellbeing and happiness, is produced in pancreatic beta cells during lactation. Serotonin in pancreatic beta cells act as an antioxidant and reduce oxidative stress, making mothers’ beta cells healthier. Serotonin also induces the proliferation of beta cells, thereby increasing the beta cell mass and helping maintain proper glucose levels. The research team conducted follow-up examinations on a total of 174 postpartum women, 85 lactated and 99 non-lactated, at two months postpartum and annually thereafter for at least three years. The results demonstrated that mothers who had undergone lactation improved pancreatic beta cell mass and function, and showed improved glucose homeostasis with approximately 20mg/dL lower glucose levels, thereby reducing the risk of postpartum diabetes in women. Surprisingly, this beneficial effect was maintained after the cessation of lactation, for more than three years after delivery. Professor Kim said, “We are happy to prove that lactation benefits female metabolic health by improving beta cell mass and function as well as glycemic control.” “Our future studies on the modulation of the molecular serotonergic pathway in accordance with the management of maternal metabolic risk factors may lead to new therapeutics to help prevent mothers from developing metabolic disorders,” he added. This work was supported by grants from the National Research Foundation (NRF) and the National Research Council of Science and Technology (NST) of Korea, the National Institutes of Health (NIH), the Larry L. Hillblom Foundation, and the Health Fellowship Foundation. Image credit: Professor Hail Kim, KAIST Image usage restrictions: News organizations may use or redistribute this image, with proper attribution, as part of news coverage of this paper only. Publication: Moon, J. H et al. (2020) ‘Lactation improves pancreatic β cell mass and function through serotonin production.’ Science Translational Medicine, 12, eaay0455. Available online at https://doi.org/10.1126/scitranslmed.aay0455 Profile: Hail Kim, MD, PhD email@example.com Associate Professor Graduate School of Medical Science and Engineering (GSMSE) Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology (KAIST) Profile: Hak Chul Jang, MD, PhD firstname.lastname@example.org Professor Division of Endocrinology and Metabolism Seoul National University Bundang Hospital (SNUBH) President Korean Diabetes Association Profile: Joon Ho Moon, MD, PhD email@example.com Clinical Fellow Division of Endocrinology and Metabolism SNUBH Profile: Hyeongseok Kim, MD, PhD firstname.lastname@example.org Assistant Professor Chungnam National University (CNU) Profile: Professor Michael S. German, MD Michael.German@ucsf.edu Professor Diabetes Center University of California, San Francisco (UCSF) (END)
A Mathematical Model Reveals Long-Distance Cell Communication Mechanism
How can tens of thousands of people in a large football stadium all clap together with the same beat even though they can only hear the people near them clapping? A combination of a partial differential equation and a synthetic circuit in microbes answers this question. An interdisciplinary collaborative team of Professor Jae Kyoung Kim at KAIST, Professor Krešimir Josić at the University of Houston, and Professor Matt Bennett at Rice University has identified how a large community can communicate with each other almost simultaneously even with very short distance signaling. The research was reported at Nature Chemical Biology. Cells often communicate using signaling molecules, which can travel only a short distance. Nevertheless, the cells can also communicate over large distances to spur collective action. The team revealed a cell communication mechanism that quickly forms a network of local interactions to spur collective action, even in large communities. The research team used an engineered transcriptional circuit of combined positive and negative feedback loops in E. coli, which can periodically release two types of signaling molecules: activator and repressor. As the signaling molecules travel over a short distance, cells can only talk to their nearest neighbors. However, cell communities synchronize oscillatory gene expression in spatially extended systems as long as the transcriptional circuit contains a positive feedback loop for the activator. Professor Kim said that analyzing and understanding such high-dimensional dynamics was extremely difficult. He explained, “That’s why we used high-dimensional partial differential equation to describe the system based on the interactions among various types of molecules.” Surprisingly, the mathematical model accurately simulates the synthesis of the signaling molecules in the cell and their spatial diffusion throughout the chamber and their effect on neighboring cells. The team simplified the high-dimensional system into a one-dimensional orbit, noting that the system repeats periodically. This allowed them to discover that cells can make one voice when they lowered their own voice and listened to the others. “It turns out the positive feedback loop reduces the distance between moving points and finally makes them move all together. That’s why you clap louder when you hear applause from nearby neighbors and everyone eventually claps together at almost the same time,” said Professor Kim. Professor Kim added, “Math is a powerful as it simplifies complex thing so that we can find an essential underlying property. This finding would not have been possible without the simplification of complex systems using mathematics." The National Institutes of Health, the National Science Foundation, the Robert A. Welch Foundation, the Hamill Foundation, the National Research Foundation of Korea, and the T.J. Park Science Fellowship of POSCO supported the research. (Figure: Complex molecular interactions among microbial consortia is simplified as interactions among points on a limit cycle (right).)
Sungjoon Park Named Google PhD Fellow
PhD candidate Sungjoon Park from the School of Computing was named a 2019 Google PhD Fellow in the field of natural language processing. The Google PhD fellowship program has recognized and supported outstanding graduate students in computer science and related fields since 2009. Park is one of three Korean students chosen as the recipients of Google Fellowships this year. A total of 54 students across the world in 12 fields were awarded this fellowship. Park’s research on computational psychotherapy using natural language processing (NLP) powered by machine learning earned him this year’s fellowship. He presented of learning distributed representations in Korean and their interpretations during the 2017 Annual Conference of the Association for Computational Linguistics and the 2018 Conference on Empirical Methods in Natural Language Processing. He also applied machine learning-based natural language processing into computational psychotherapy so that a trained machine learning model could categorize client's verbal responses in a counseling dialogue. This was presented at the Annual Conference of the North American Chapter of the Association for Computational Linguistics. More recently, he has been developing on neural response generation model and the prediction and extraction of complex emotion in text, and computational psychotherapy applications.
KAIST-Google Partnership for AI Education and Research
Google has agreed to support KAIST students and professors in the fields of AI research and education. President Sung-Chul Shin and Google Korea Country Director John Lee signed the collaboration agreement during a ceremony on July 19 at KAIST. Under the agreement, Google will fund the Google AI-Focused Research Awards Program, the PhD Fellowship Program, and Student Travel Grants for KAIST. In addition, Google will continue to provide more academic and career building opportunities for students, including Google internship programs. KAIST and Google has been collaborating for years. Professor Steven Whang at the School of Electrical Engineering and Professor Sung Ju Hwang at the School of Computing won the AI-Focused Award in 2018 and conduct their researches on "Improving Generalization and Reliability of Any Deep Neural Networks" and "Automatic and Acitionable Model Analysis for TFX," respectively. Outstanding PhD students have been recognized through the PhD Fellowship Program. However, this new collaboration agreement will focus on research, academic development, and technological innovation in AI. Google plans to support research in the fields of deep learning, cloud machine learning, and voice technologies. Google will fund the development of two educational programs based on Google open source technology each year for two years that will be used in the new AI Graduate School opening for the fall semester. John Lee of Google Korea said, “This partnership lays a solid foundation for deeper collaboration.” President Shin added, “This partnership will not only advance Korea’s global competitiveness in AI-powered industries but also contribute to the global community by nurturing talents in this most extensive discipline.”
New Members of KAST and Y-KAST 2019
(Professor Eui-Cheol Shin from the Graduate School of Medical Science and Engineering) Professor Eui-Cheol Shin from the Graduate School of Medical Science and Engineering became a new fellow of the Korean Academy of Science and Technology (KAST) along with 25 other scientists in Korea. He is one of the top virus immunologists in Korea and has published a review article in Nature Reviews Immunology. Meanwhile KAST selected and announced 26 young scientists under the age 43 who have shown great potential and the creativity to carry out next-generation research. The list of Y-KAST (Young Korean Academy of Science and Technology) includes six KAIST professors: Professor Ji Oon Lee from the Department of Mathematical Sciences, Professor Mi Hee Lim from the Department of Chemistry, Professor Shin-Hyun Kim from the Department of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering, Professor Jung-Ryul Lee from the Department of Aerospace Engineering, Professor Hyunjoo Jenny Lee from the School of Electrical Engineering, and Professor Yeon Sik Jung from the Department of Materials Science and Engineering. KAST conferred their fellowships and Y-KAST membership during the New Year Reception.
Park Chosen for Principality of Monaco/ITER Postdoctoral Fellowship
(Jaesun Park in the Integrated Master's and Doctoral Degree Program ) Jaesun Park from the Department of Physics, was selected as a Principality of Monaco/ITER Postdoctoral Fellowship recipient. This program was established by the Principality of Monaco and an international organization, ITER, in January 2008 to support postdoctoral researchers who will be working for ITER. It is a relatively competitive program because it chooses only five people every two years. The selected postdoctoral researchers will be working for ITER for two years while conducting research projects with outstanding researchers in the field of nuclear fusion. ITER, one of the most ambitious energy projects, was launched in 1985 with the purpose of carrying out joint research on nuclear fusion energy. Currently, about 800 people are working for this organization. Seven ITER member countries (i.e. Korea, the European Union, the United States, China, Japan, Russia, and India) are sharing the expenses and engaging in mega-scale science projects. Korea shares 9.1% (20 billion Euro) of the total construction costs of ITER experimental devices. Park will begin his duties in early 2019.
Soul-Searching & Odds-Defying Determination: A Commencement Story of Dr. Tae-Hyun Oh
(Dr. Tae-Hyun Oh, one of the 2736 graduates of the 2018) Each and every one of the 2,736 graduates has come a long way to the 2018 Commencement. Tae-Hyun Oh, who just started his new research career at MIT after completing his Ph.D. at KAIST, is no exception. Unlike the most KAIST freshmen straight out of the ingenious science academies of Korea, he is among the many who endured very challenging and turbulent adolescent years. Buffeted by family instability and struggling during his time at school, he saw himself trapped by seemingly impenetrable barriers. His mother, who hated to see his struggling, advised him to take a break to reflect on who he is and what he wanted to do. After dropping out of high school in his first year, ways to make money and support his family occupied his thoughts. He took on odd jobs from a car body shop to a gas station, but the real world was very tough and sometimes even cruel to the high school dropout. Bias and prejudice stigmatizing dropouts hurt him so much. He often overheard a parent who dropped by the body shop that he worked in saying, “If you do not study hard, you will end up like this guy.” Hearing such things terrified him and awoke his sense of purpose. So he decided to do something meaningful and be a better man than he was. “I didn’t like the person I was growing up to become. I needed to find myself and get away from the place I was growing up. It was my adventure and it was the best decision I ever made,” says Oh. After completing his high school diploma national certificate, he planned to apply to an engineering college. On his second try, he gained admission into the Department of Electrical Engineering at Kwang Woon University with a full scholarship. He was so thrilled for this opportunity and hoped he could do well at college. Signal processing and image processing became the interest of his research and he finished his undergraduate degree summa cum laude. Gaining confidence in his studies, he searched around graduate school department websites in Korea to select the path he was interested in. Among others, the Robotics and Computer Vision Lab of Professor In-So Kweon at the Department of Electrical Engineering at KAIST was attractive to him. Professor Kweon’s lab is globally renowned for robot vision technology. Their technologies were applied into HUBO, the KAIST-developed bimodal humanoid robot that won the 2015 DARPA Challenges. “I am so appreciate of Professor Kweon, who accepted and guided me,” he said. Under Professor Kweon’s advising, he could finish his Master’s and Ph.D. courses in seven years. The mathematical modeling on fundamental computer algorithms became his main research topic. While at KAIST, his academic research has blossomed. He won a total of 13 research prizes sponsored by corporations at home and abroad such as Kolon, Samsung, Hyundai Motors, and Qualcomm. In 2015, he won the Microsoft Research Asia Fellowship as the sole Korean among 13 Ph.D. candidates in the Asian region. With the MSRA fellowship, he could intern at the MS Research Beijing Office for half a year and then in Redmond, Washington in the US. “Professor Kweon’s lab filled me up with knowledge. Whenever I presented our team’s paper at an international conference, I was amazed by the strong interest shown by foreign experts, researchers, and professors. Their strong support and interest encouraged me a lot. I was fully charged with the belief that I could go abroad and explore more opportunities,” he said. Dr. Oh, who completed his dissertation last fall, now works at the Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science at MIT under Professor Wojciech Matusik. “I think the research environment at KAIST is on par with MIT. I have very rich resources for my studies and research at both schools, but at MIT the working culture is a little different and it remains a big challenge for me. I am still not familiar with collaborative work with colleagues from very diverse backgrounds and countries, and to persuade them and communicate with them is very tough. But I think I am getting better and better,” he said. Oh, who is an avid computer game player as well, said life seems to be a game. The level of the game will be upgraded to the next level after something is accomplished. He feels great joy when he is moving up and he believes such diverse experiences have helped him become a better person day by day. Once he identified what gave him a strong sense of purpose, he wasn’t stressed out by his studies any more. He was so excited to be able to follow his passion and is ready for the next challenge.
Distinguished Professor Sang Yup Lee Named NAI Fellow
(Distinguished Professor Sang Yup Lee) Distinguished Professor Sang Yup Lee of the Department of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering was named to the National Academy of Inventors in the US. He is the first Korean scholar ever elected as a NAI fellow. The NAI is a non-profit member organization with over 4,000 individual inventors and fellows spanning more than 250 institutions worldwide. It is comprised of universities as well as governmental and non-profit research institutes. The academy was founded in 2010 to recognize and encourage inventors with patents from the US Patent and Trademark Office. So far, 575 fellows from 229 institutions have been elected. The academy said Professor Lee has been recognized for fellowship induction as he has demonstrated a highly prolific spirit of innovation in creating or facilitating outstanding inventions that have made a tangible impact on quality of life, economic development, and the welfare of society. Distinguished Professor Lee, a pioneering researcher and scholar in the field of systems metabolic engineering, was ranked in the top 1% of highly cited researchers (HCR) this year. Over the past 11 years, he published more than 130,000 articles in prestigious journals around the world. He has been cited more than 34,000 times since he started working at KAIST in 1994. He is also the first Korean ever elected to both the National Academy of Sciences (NAS) and the National Academy of Engineering (NAE) in the US, becoming the one of 13 foreign scholars in the world holding two prestigious institutions’ fellowships. Dr. Lee is currently the dean of KAIST Institutes, the world-leading institute for multi and interdisciplinary research. He is also serving as co-chair of the Global Council on Biotechnology and is a member of the Global Future Council on the Fourth Industrial Revolution at the World Economic Forum.
Professor Poong Hyun Seong Selected as Fellow of the ANS
Professor Poong Hyun Seong of the Department of Nuclear and Quantum Engineering was selected as a fellow of the American Nuclear Society. The selection was announced at their annual meeting held in San Francisco on June 12, in recognition of Professor Seong's contributions to the field of nuclear instrumentation, control andhuman factors engineering. Founded in 1954, the American Nuclear Society selects scholars who have made outstanding achievements and contributions to the development of the nuclear engineering field each year. Professor Seong's researches in the field of nuclear instrumentation, control and human factors engineering have contributed to the safe operation of nuclear power plants, to the development of systems to maintain nuclear power plants safely in the event of emergency and to the enhancement of effective response capabilities of nuclear power plant operators. His researches significantly contributed to the safety improvement of nuclear power plants and have been recognized worldwide. Professor Seong said, "Korea has emerged as a nuclear powerhouse. I think not only my academic career but our national reputation in the field of nuclear research has been well recognized by our global peers.” Professor Seong has served as president of the Korean Nuclear Society, editor in chief of Nuclear Engineering and Technology, and as a commissioner of the Korean Nuclear Safety Commission. He is currently working as a commissioner of the Korean Atomic Energy Commission.
Professor Kwangjo Kim Named as Fellow of IACR
Professor Kwangjo Kim of the Graduate School of Information Security has been selected as a fellow of the International Association for Cryptologic Research (IACR). The IACR has honored outstanding scholars who have achieved academic excellence in cryptologic research since 2004. He is the first Korean scholar to receive an IACR fellowship. The IACR, established in 1981, is responsible for organizing international cryptologic conferences every year including the three major cryptologic academic conferences Eurocrypt, Crypto, and Asiacript. The IACR also sponsors workshop series such as the Theory of Cryptography Conference (TCC), the Workshop on Fast Software Encryption (FSE), the Public Key Cryptography Workshop (PKC), and Cryptographic Hardware and Embedded Systems (CHES). Professor Kim, an internationally acclaimed scholar in the fields of cryptology and information security theory and its applications, was recognized for his outstanding academic achievements and leadership. He has made significant contributions to cryptology in Korea by hosting Asiacript in 1996 and 2001 as well as CHES in 2014. During his 34 years of academic activities, he has published more than 80 SCI journal papers and garnered more than 20,000 citations. Professor Kim served on the board of the directors of the IACR from 2000 to 2004 and was the chairperson of the Asiacript Steering Committee from 2005 to 2008. He is on the editorial board of the online journal Cryptography. Professor Kim said, “I am so humbled and honored to be named as a fellow of such a prestigious academic association. I will continue to strive to assist highly educated information security personnel with further research in cryptology.”
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