What is Machine Learning?

What is Machine Learning? Brookings Institution. Chris Meserole. October 4, 2018

 Machine learning is now so popular that it has effectively become synonymous with artificial intelligence itself. As a result, it’s not possible to tease out the implications of AI without understanding how machine learning works. [Note: contains copyrighted material].

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New Kid in Town: Blockchain for Megaprojects?

New Kid in Town: Blockchain for Megaprojects? YaleGlobal. Will Hickey. August 7, 2018

 Blockchain technology promises fast payments combined with secure digital records and elimination of third-party intermediaries and delays. “Any contract, valuation, record or work process that can be digitized can be incorporated into a blockchain, representing enormous strides in processes, efficiency and transparency,” explains Will Hickey for YaleGlobal. “Blockchain technology’s capability to organize a vast number of details associated with a series of transactions may be ideal for managing infrastructure megaprojects throughout the developing world like those associated with China’s Belt and Road Initiative.” Emerging economies could gain a head start in using the technology, similar to how they leaped to smartphones before using landline telephones, and in turn strengthen legal and accounting standards. Blockchain’s rise depends on public acceptance and demand. Other challenges include high electricity needs, data storage capacity and entrenched special interests that may resist transparency and reduced red tape. [Note: contains copyrighted material].

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Digital Decarbonization: Promoting Digital Innovations to Advance Clean Energy Systems

Digital Decarbonization: Promoting Digital Innovations to Advance Clean Energy Systems. Council on Foreign Relations. Varun Sivaram. June 2018.

 A digital revolution is sweeping the global energy sector. As energy industries produce ever more data, firms are harnessing greater computing power, advances in data science, and increased digital connectivity to exploit that data. These trends have the potential to transform the way energy is produced, transported, and consumed. [Note: contains copyrighted material].

 [PDF format, 146 pages].

Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) Education: An Overview

Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) Education: An Overview.  Congressional Research Service, Library of Congress. Boris Granovskiy.  June 12, 2018

 The term STEM education refers to teaching and learning in the fields of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics. It typically includes educational activities across all grade levels— from pre-school to post-doctorate—in both formal (e.g., classrooms) and informal (e.g., afterschool programs) settings. Federal policymakers have an active and enduring interest in STEM education, and the topic is frequently raised in federal science, education, workforce, national security, and immigration policy debates. 

 [PDF format, 33 pages].

The Global Innovation Sweepstakes: A Quest to Win the Future

The Global Innovation Sweepstakes: A Quest to Win the Future. Atlantic Council. Robert A. Manning and Peter Engelke. June 26, 2018

 The Global Innovation Sweepstakes: A Quest to Win the Future examines how emerging technologies will remake the global order and explores strategies for how the United States can retain its innovative edge. Tech-based innovation—in fields such as artificial intelligence, robotics, green energy, and biotechnology—will reshape the future of human civilization. Those nations that can create and adapt to cutting-edge technologies will realize enormous economic and geostrategic benefits in the decades to come. It is with this realization that the Atlantic Council’s Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security, in partnership with Qualcomm, embarked on a global tour of technology hubs to find out which ones are at the cutting edges of innovation and which are at risk of falling behind. [Note: contains copyrighted material].

 [PDF format, 108 pages].

Global Research and Development Expenditures: Fact Sheet

Global Research and Development Expenditures: Fact Sheet. Congressional Research Service, Library of Congress. John F. Sargent Jr. June 27, 2018

 Research and development (R&D) plays a central role in advanced economies in areas such as economic growth and job creation, industrial competitiveness, national security, energy, agriculture, transportation, public health and well-being, environmental protection, and expanding the frontiers of human knowledge understanding. Accordingly, companies, governments, universities, nonprofit organizations, and others around the world have made substantial investments in R&D. Since 2000, total global R&D expenditures have grown by 170% in current dollars, from $674 billion to more than $1.8 trillion. 

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U.S. Research and Development Funding and Performance: Fact Sheet

U.S. Research and Development Funding and Performance: Fact Sheet.  Congressional Research Service, Library of Congress. John F. Sargent Jr. June 29, 2018

 Research and development (R&D) in the United States is funded and performed by a number of sectors—including the federal government, state governments, businesses, academia, and nonprofit organizations—for a variety of purposes. This fact sheet begins by providing a profile of the U.S. R&D enterprise, including historical trends and current funding by sector and by whether the R&D is basic research, applied research, or development. The final section of this fact sheet includes data on R&D performance by sector.

 [PDF format, 5 pages].