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ICTP to Inaugurate New Quantum Technologies Institute

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On 25 March, UNESCO’s Abdus Salam International Centre for Theoretical Physics (ICTP) will launch a new institute dedicated to the study of quantum technologies. The Trieste Institute for Theoretical Quantum Technologies (TQT) is a joint initiative with the University of Trieste and the International School for Advanced Studies (SISSA). The new centre will provide a hub for the partners’ research and training activities on this topic.

The creation of the institute comes as the ICTP builds on a series of recent successes in the field of quantum technologies. On 9 November 2018, Marcello Dalmonte from ICTP’s Condensed Matter and Statistical Physics Section learned that he was among the recipients of a research grant offered by a major European initiative to develop quantum technology called the Quantum Flagship.
The European Commission has endowed the Quantum Flagship with €1 billion over the next 10 years. For the first three-year phase, Marcello Dalmonte will be acting as co-principal investigator of a research project that will focus on quantum simulation, one of the Flagship’s five research themes. Quantum simulators study quantum systems, such as the atomic make-up of materials or chemical reactions, performing tasks that are too complex for the most powerful, transistor-based classical computers.

In early 2017, ICTP researcher Antonello Scardicchio was awarded a Google Faculty Research Award for work related to quantum computing. The US$72,000 in seed funding will be used to support graduate students and postdoctoral associates working in his group.

‘Researchers in computer science and physics see quantum computation as being the next frontier. Quantum computing promises a future of unprecedented computing speed,’ says Scardicchio, before adding that ‘this is slowly becoming a reality, with IBM and Google already producing quantum computing chips that will someday drive a quantum machine. The creation of the first quantum computer will certainly have an impact on artificial intelligence (AI) by enabling us to solve more complex problems.’

The TQT will provide a hub for the study of the future of AI on quantum devices, offering in parallel a convenient link to private actors such as Google and IBM.

The ICTP first identified AI and data science as being critical areas for research and training in 2010, while brainstorming on the contours of its new multiyear strategic plan. The ICTP is currently recruiting a staff scientist in AI and data science.

The TQT will complement these activities, while providing a valuable venue for imparting cutting-edge knowledge to the thousands of scientists from developing countries who travel to the ICTP each year for education and training opportunities.

The Centre already has several conferences on quantum technology lined up for 2019. These include the Advanced School and Workshop on Ubiquitous Quantum Physics: the New Quantum Revolution from 18 to 22 February and the School on Advances in Condensed Matter Physics: New Trends and Materials in Quantum Technologies, which will run from 7 to 15 May.

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Deloitte and Wichita State University Join Forces to Launch New Smart Factory

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Deloitte and Wichita State University today announced the launch of The Smart Factory @ Wichita, a groundbreaking and immersive experiential learning environment that will accelerate the future of manufacturing as innovation and new technologies continue to reshape operations and the modern enterprise.

Deloitte and Wichita State are constructing the brand-new facility on Wichita State’s Innovation Campus, which will include a full-scale production line, dedicated space for select ecosystem sponsors and experiential labs exploring smart factory capabilities. A smart factory is a highly digitized and connected production facility that uses technologies such as artificial intelligence, Internet of Things and robotics to manufacture products. Working alongside humans, smart factories can self-adapt and autonomously optimize manufacturing operations. The Smart Factory @ Wichita will make digital transformations real by demonstrating how to merge existing technologies with new innovations, sparking a dialogue about how companies can accelerate their journey towards scalable and sustainable capabilities.

“Smart factory solutions are becoming even more important as companies re-evaluate the resiliency and agility of their supply chains, which can determine an organization’s success in the marketplace and the success of entire ecosystems,” said Nishita Henry, chief innovation officer at Deloitte Consulting LLP. “Together with Wichita State, Deloitte will create a unique experience that captures the innovation, value proposition and disruptive technological capabilities of the smart factory.”

“Wichita is a cutting-edge hub for precision manufacturing and technology. By collaborating with Deloitte, we will be able to bring together the organization’s experience with our educational, research and innovation capabilities,” said Jay Golden, president of Wichita State University. “The Smart Factory @ Wichita is the future, offering endless technological capabilities for organizations, as we believe it’s critical to provide a hands-on learning experience for our business and academic communities.”

The Smart Factory @ Wichita will be a net-zero impact smart building on a smart grid featuring 60,000 square feet of sustainable space. The end-to-end smart production line will demonstrate the art of the possible through advanced manufacturing methods and technologies and will also manufacture STEM education interactive kits that will be donated to local organizations in support of Deloitte’s advancement of STEM education initiatives.

The facility is expected to open to clients, industry partners and students next year. It is the evolution of Deloitte’s existing experience at Wichita State, which features more than 40 robots, robotic programs and cyber applications, 26 AR/VR assets and high-end data visualizations, 10 types of 3D printers, nine reverse engineering machine types, 21 professional engineering software programs and more. It offers a compelling experience in which the digital, physical, and experimental come together—for educators, collaborators, and clients—providing the opportunity to see how Industry 4.0 can make an impact and spur innovation and smart factory capabilities.

The smart factory advantage
Smart factory technologies can dramatically improve business performance. In a recent Deloitte study, 86% of manufacturers surveyed believe that the smart factory will be the main driver of manufacturing competitiveness in five years. The study also showed that early adopters of smart factory initiatives are observing double-digit improvements across labor productivity, factory capacity utilization and total production output.

A smart factory can also address sustainability. Advancing technologies can streamline operations to promote sustainable practices, ultimately reducing environmental impact.

About Wichita State University
Wichita State University serves as the Kansas urban-based research university, enrolling more than 20,000 students from every state in the U.S. and more than 100 countries. Wichita State and WSU Tech are recognized for being student centered and innovation driven.

Located in the largest city in the state with one of the highest concentrations in the United States of jobs involving science, technology, engineering and math (STEM), Wichita State University provides uniquely distinctive and innovative pathways of applied learning, applied research and career opportunities for all of our students.

The Innovation Campus, which is a physical extension of the Wichita State University main campus, is one of the nation’s largest and fastest growing research/innovation parks, encompassing over 120 acres and home to a number of global companies and organizations.

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Ultimate Guide To Increased Instagram Popularity In 2020

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What made you popular in 2019 might not apply in 2020. With lockdowns and quarantines due to COVID-19, people are spending more time on Instagram than ever before. Competition for those users’ attention is higher than ever and brands need to get creative with their strategies and tactics to stay relevant and popular on the platform.

So here’s the ultimate guide to increasing Instagram popularity in 2020.

Work Smarter Not Harder:

Posting At The Right Time And In The Right Way:

Studies suggest that posting once or twice per day is optimal. Further research suggests that optimal times to post are between 11am-1pm and 7-9pm. Instagram’s algorithmic timeline setting makes this not only optimal, but essential. Every business is different, however, and you can tailor your posting times according to your followers habits. You can learn about your followers most active times on the Instagram Insights feature.

Consistency Is King:

Building a strong brand that connects, creates clarity, expresses creativity and is consistent is the way to build brand awareness. The key is to engage, be consistent, know your audience and your niche. Creating a plan and brand guide could be your secret weapon in unlocking your brand’s unique and original voice.

Make A Difference With Hashtags:

Selecting the best hashtags for your Instagram posts can mean the difference between appearing as a top post or sinking to the bottom of the feed without a trace. According to Hubspot, the average post contains 10.7 hashtags.

Purchase Followers

If you really need a helping hand to get started, buying Instagram followers is a quick and easy way to do it and is way more common than you would think. Of course, it’s important to only do this with legit services like iDigic or you could end up with a bunch of bots that disappear from your follower list after a few days.

Content, Content, Content:

Inspire With Content:

Focusing on visual inspiration is key for 2020. No one wants to be preached to on Instagram, so tailor your content to tell your businesses story creatively across your captions, Stories, videos, photos and profile bio. The core message is that, rather than selling, you should be aiming to connect. Sharing user generated content (UGC) can be a great way to save time, money and connect with customers. Keep captions short, snappy and clear.

Visually Please With Aesthetics:

A visually consistent feed helps by not only making you look professional, but by helping users distinguish your posts from others immediately. Instagram began as a platform to share beautiful images and that has never changed. So, a visually striking and consistent feed can help you stand out from the competition and earn more likes and follows. WebDam reports that,  of the best performing brands on the platform, 60% maintain a consistent look and feel.

Use UGC As A Performance Enhancer:

User generated content is a marketer’s secret sauce. It earns high engagement rates and takes little to no effort to produce. Not only is it created and approved by your audience, but it helps to foster a sense of community around your brand.

Monitoring, Testing, Adapting:

What is Instagram Insights And How To Use It:

For business pages you can take advantage of the Instagram Insights tab. This can show you the performance of  content you have posted (posts, Stories, promotions etc.).  Critically, you’ll learn what worked and what flopped. What’s more you can review your reach, impressions and interactions over a given time period to bolster your analysis on what works and what doesn’t. Insights also offers key insights into audience demographics including location, age range and gender.

What To Test And How To Test It:

No plan survives first contact with the enemy and no two brands are the same. Therefore testing your tactics is the best way to understand if you are getting the most out of your Instagram presence. Examples of metrics you can test to optimize your performance include:

  • Posting Times: What times are your customers online and what location are they in? Try mixing it up with the day and time you post and let Insights tell you what works best.
  • Posting Type: Some brands find that Stories earn them higher engagement rates. Some brands find that traditional posts are more effective. You won’t know what’s best for you until you try out both.

Applying Lessons Learned From Analysis:

None of these insights mean anything unless you learn from them and incorporate them into your strategy. Make it a point to do a weekly deep dive into your Insights tab to see what’s stopping you from sitting at the cool kids table on Instagram.

By paying attention to your content, audience behaviour and Instagram Insights, you’ll quickly learn what’s increasing your popularity and what’s holding you back. What will you do to increase your Instagram popularity in 2020?

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Video game industry to rally 250 million players to protect the planet

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Some of the biggest names in mobile gaming today – with a combined active user base of 250 million players – unveiled a series of environmental activations they will be integrating into live games such as Subway Surfers, Angry Birds 2 and Golf Clash.

During the first ever Green Mobile Game Jam, which took place from March to April 2020 at the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, developers and CEOs from 11 companies committed to integrate these green activations such as new modes, maps or buildings, themed events, storylines and messaging.

The UNEP-facilitated P​laying for the Planet ​​Alliance supported the Green Mobile Game Jam, whose organisers hope that the shared learning and new practice, represents a new turning point for green thinking in game design for mass audience mobile games.

“We are excited to see the gaming industry throw its weight behind global efforts to reverse the climate crisis,” said Inger Andersen Executive Director of UNEP. “The climate emergency needs all hands on deck. In reaching out to 250 million gamers, we hope to inspire audiences to take action.”

John Earner, CEO of Space Ape who helped oversee the Jam said, “I was skeptical whether we could pull it off, especially during lockdown, but it was really inspiring to see companies who are normally very competitive come together and deliver some really great work. I see a huge amount of potential here for our industry and player communities going forward.”

The results of the jam, activation designs and timelines for implementation can be seen on this Green Game Jam page with activations from:

MAG Interactive will be running awareness and tree-planting themed events in their games WordBrain and WordBrain2. 

Sybo will be launching a world tour stop in Subway Surfers which will ask their community to take action on the frontlines of the climate crisis.

Space Ape will be educating and engaging players about the benefits of renewable energy through their game Transformers: Earth Wars.

WildWorks has introduced new renewable energy choices such as solar and wind power that reward players with special eco-credits and unlocks in the Animal Jam.

Playdemic will be seeking to educate and activate millions of mobile gamers in their game Golf Clash.

Fingersoft will be adding recharge stations with solar panels in Hill Climb Racing 2.

Rovio will be hosting two in-game events in Angry Birds 2 around the theme of reforestation and will share links with players where they can learn more about reforestation efforts and how they can contribute.

Pixelberry will design a new book in Choices that will see two sisters raising awareness about climate change while their family’s fishing business is affected by a major fish die-off.

Creative mobile will be restoring biodiversity through special events to fundraise for the Wolf Conservation Trust in their game Zoocraft: Animal Family.

Future Games of London are shining a light on melting polar ice with a new game update in Hungry Shark World; Arctic Extinction.

GameDuell will be providing the Belote.com players with practical information about sustainability that they can use in their daily life.

The participants of the jam were asked to address themes ranging from climate change, supporting action around reforestation and restoring nature to exploring how games can integrate education on renewable energy. Green Game Jam participants voted Playdemic as ‘Overall Winner’, MAG Interactive as ‘Most Adoptable’ for their collaboration with TreesPlease and Creative Mobile as “First to Market”. Wildworks emerged as ‘UNEP favourite.’

Some activations have already been integrated and the rest will go live by early 2021 or sooner. The Playing for the Planet Alliance is partnering with Google Play to promote eligible games, with the activations later this year. Next year, organisers hope that additional companies will sign up to participate in the jam, potentially reaching up to 1 billion gamers with the activations.

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