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A new book reveals the hidden biases that can creep into Data Science models

Yesterday (September 6, 2016) saw the launch of a new book by Cathy O'Neil with the provactive title Weapons of Math Destruction: How Big Data Increases Inequality and Threatens Democracy. O'Neil holds a Ph.D. from Harvard in Math and was a tenure-track math professor until 2007, when she quit academia to join Wall Street. That fledging second career came to an end just a year later with the Financial Crisis, after which O'Neil again changed careers and became a data scientist.

Published: 7Sep2016

Continuing the fight against brain cancer

Fundraiser to support research to help defeat cancer suffered by Tragically Hip frontman

 

With the farewell concert of legendary Canadian band The Tragically Hip now past, The Neuro is asking the public to not forget the toll brain cancers take on Canadians, and the need to find new therapies.

Published: 31Aug2016

FindFace: a database for human faces with some unsettling applications

The August 24 episode of "Babbage", a podcast from The Economist about science and technology news, reports on an worrisome new Russian web-site, FindFace.ru. This website allows you to input a picture of a face and do a search for that person, or someone who looks like that person, on VK.com, the Russian equivalent of Facebook. The website boasts of a 70% accuracy rate.

Published: 25Aug2016

Researchers find new role for cannabinoids in vision

Chemicals shown to improve low-light vision of tadpoles by sensitizing retinal cells

A multidisciplinary team including researchers from the Montreal Neurological Institute has improved our understanding of how cannabinoids, the active agent in marijuana, affect vision in vertebrates.

Published: 25Aug2016

Gaming camera could aid MS treatment

3D depth-sensing camera shown to measure walking difficulties

A commonly used device found in living rooms around the world could be a cheap and effective means of evaluating the walking difficulties of multiple sclerosis (MS) patients.

The Microsoft Kinect is a 3D depth-sensing camera used in interactive video activities such as tennis and dancing. It can be hooked up to an Xbox gaming console or a Windows computer.

Published: 15Aug2016

Register for Community Engagement Day 2016!

Organized by the Social Equity and Diversity Education (SEDE) office at McGill University, Community Engagement Day (CED) aims celebrate, expand on, and build new lasting relationships between McGill and the greater Montreal community, through offering projects and activities in support of and collaboration with community organizations. This year’s CED will be held on and around September 29th, 2016.

Register for a project now at http://www.cedmcgill.com/projects from August 15th to September 18th!

Published: 14Aug2016

Using Machine Learning to Find the Next Cyber-Threat

There is a dark corner of the Internet where hackers sell their software. The process unfolds in three steps.

Published: 10Aug2016

Genetic Causes of Depression Found Using Big Data

What causes depression? Of course, life circumstances such as traumatic events, severe stress or grief play a role, but heredity studies have shown that a genetic predisposition to depression is equally important as environmental triggers [1]. Until very recently, though, the genes that underpin such a predisposition have proven elusive.

Published: 10Aug2016

The New Spam: Machine learning can be used to write human-like tweets

Phishing messages typically get 5-10% response rates, but a new system has boosted its rate to 40%. John Seymour and Phil Tully, two data scientists from the security company ZeroFOX, presented their system SNAP_R at Black Hat, a Las Vegas conference on cyber-security, on August 4. SNAP_R uses a deep neural net to study a person's past tweets and then mimics that person's writing style using a Markov model, generating a phishing tweet. So far, there is no reason to think that criminals are using a similar system, but Seymour and Tully's work show how it might be done.

Published: 5Aug2016

Detecting hate speech on the Internet

Online bullying and trolls are the darker side of social media. Twitter's Chief Executive Officer stated in a February 2015 memo that he wanted to make it a corporate priority to detect abuse and hate speech on Twitter.

Published: 2Aug2016

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