How is Biotechnology impacting millions of lives?

Are you an avid lover of biology? Are you naturally inclined to apply the principles of biology to create an impact on people’s lives? Well, then the Biotechnology sector is where you may find your dream job.

With the world still reeking of over 520 million deaths due to the COVID-19 pandemic, it is undeniable that the figure could have been in billions or even more had it not been for the Biotechnology sector. Almost everything starting from the diagnosis and immediate treatment to the development of vaccines brought to light the promise that Biotechnology holds as a leading technology in the modern world. To know more about the potential of Biotechnology and the facets of human lives that it is able to impact upon, read further down.

What is Biotechnology?

Biotechnology is an industrial sector that deals with the manipulation of living organisms to create commercial products. For instance, the wealth of knowledge accumulated by cell biologists, botanists, zoologists, molecular biologists, and geneticists have been implemented by genetic engineers to manipulate information carried by the DNA in order to create transgenic animals and plants of commercial importance. Quite undoubtedly, the deepest penetrations of the biotechnology sector has been in the healthcare and agricultural markets. However, there are several other important areas where Biotechnology is making inroads with sustainable solutions. This blog highlights some fields wherein Biotechnological interventions are working wonders.

Vaccine development

Within a few months of the detection of coronavirus, scientists mapped the entire genome of the virus and it helped to understand how the virus operates. Genome mapping being an important technique in Biotechnology, the Biotechnology sector can boast of its towering presence in global markets across the map. Also, the highly effective mRNA-based vaccine for COVID-19 was first tested in cells inside the laboratory which entails practising some basic techniques of Biotechnology. Weighing the outcomes, government organizations and pharmaceutical giants have entered into strong public-private partnerships to pool resources and fund research in the domain of vaccine development.

Next-generation computing-aided drug discovery

Advanced computing technology such as artificial intelligence and machine learning have enabled Biotech companies to automate their processes and scale up operations. This handholding of technologies have enabled to reduce the cost and time required to take new drugs from bench to bedside. The ability to analyze large data sets helps medicine manufacturers to identify treatments based on the root cause of a disease. This holds immense potential to reduce the usual 90 percent failure rate for developing new drugs.  Data mining from current clinical trials can also help to predict the effectiveness of treatments down to a molecular level and even predict new or different uses for an existing drug thereby reducing cost and effort of establishing new drugs.

Genome editing

Techniques for manipulating the information present in the DNA, known as gene editing in technical jargon, has come a long way since they were first used to make edits such as addition, deletion, silencing, or replacement of a specific gene. Precise gene editing has been made possible by the advancement of technologies such as the revolutionary CRISPR-Cas9 systems. Engineered nucleases called CRISPRs acting as molecular scissors have unfurled a plethora of applications in gene therapy for the treatment of many conditions including rare genetic disorders and even fatal cancers. Furthermore, gene editing has also allowed the development of improved transgenic plants and animals capable of synthesizing a variety of medically important recombinant human proteins such as Insulin.

Precision medicine

Sequencing the entire human genome, an initiative known as the Human Genome Project, began in 1990 and was completed by 2003. This was another hallmarking achievement of Biotechnology that now allows extensive screening of patients and targeting of interventions. Improvisation of sequencing technologies have reduced the cost of genetic sequencing drastically ever since thereby making personalized gene sequencing affordable. This, in turn, has enabled the development of personalized treatment plans and targeted therapies, which are more effective than less-specific therapies because they focus on a patient’s genetic constitution. Furthermore, the falling cost of sequencing technologies has fostered the development of rapid and inexpensive methods to detect pathogens from clinical samples as well as soil samples.

Boosting agricultural yields

The global population is set to increase by 25% from 7.9 billion in 2022 to 9.7 billion in 2050. The basic need for a growing population is food, and hence its demand for feeding both people and livestock is about to increase proportionately. This automatically necessitates the use of increasing hectares of land for farming while practically cultivable land will keep on reducing as the expanding population of humans keep encroaching onto such lands. Biotechnology offers a solution to this alarming problem through the approach of gene editing. For example, crops such as wheat or corn may be engineered through the transgenic technology to grow in harsher conditions or produce more grain in a smaller area than other crop varieties while providing the same nutritional value. From another perspective, the development of biopesticides can enable protection of crops without the use of harmful chemicals thereby averting environmental damage. 

Bioprinting and tissue engineering

Another promising futuristic application of Biotechnology in the medical field is 3D bioprinting, wherein bioprinters are used to develop cell-based scaffolds using a ‘bio-ink’ comprising cells and biomaterials. This empowers one to develop skin, bone, and vascular grafts from the patient’s own cells for personalized medicine. The bioprinting technology has added a major thrust to the field of tissue engineering and regenerative medicine by enabling the creation of autologous tissue grafts for wound healing and organ transplantation.

Conclusion

These trends clearly show that the demand for biotechnology is on the rise. The fact that this particular sector is being able to solve real-life problems related to human health and nutrition has catapulted it to fame. It is also quite evident that biotechnologists need more than just a background in biology, chemistry, or pharmaceutical science to build their careers upon. With innovative solutions rooted to the genetic level, biotechnology is here to stay and offer myriad career opportunities to the brightest minds!

Search for Exact Rabbit Hole: What is the prospect for interdisciplinary

The challenge the current academic space faces are the fact that our post-millennials are virtually wanderers. The access to unlimited information, both visual and textual, has made this generation well equipped with knowledge. Because of the globalization, social media, and urbanization the exposure for a student has widened unimaginably. But studies show this also has created a very self-involved generation. In 2012 Wellesley High School Graduation speech “You are not Special” David McCullough said “Do not get the idea you are anything special because you are not…. even if you are one in a million on a planet of 6.8 billion that means there are seven thousand people just like you.”

How can a student inculcate this realization of one being part of a larger world, the need for empathy towards others and understanding other’s perspectives etc. How much our educational system can contribute to creating this awareness in a student. As Maya Angelou pointed out, “any individual is free only when one realizes that one “belongs to every place, not a place at all.” The education system has reached an exhausting level that the compartmentalization or the specializations have created this vacuum for being unaware of any other forms of knowledge. I guess this tendency also has contributed to the creation of a self-involved generation. In this context remembering C. P. Snow’s iconic lecture of 1959 “Two Cultures” would be helpful. He deliberated on the ‘dangerous cultural dichotomy;’ means the knowledge system’s divergence as science and humanities. He said,

A good many times I have been presented at gatherings of people who, by the standards of the traditional culture, are thought highly educated and who have with considerable gusto been expressing their incredulity at the illiteracy of scientists. Once or twice, I have been provoked and have asked the company how many of them could describe the Second Law of Thermodynamics. The response was cold: it was also negative. Yet I was asking something which is about the scientific equivalent of: ‘Have you ever read a work of Shakespeare’s?

But interestingly the Pandemic created space for thoughts like we might lose everything we have held on to. The emergency raised to create a capable society who has the energy to love and transform oneself and others without fear. The time asked for more socially committed scientists and doctors. The question on ethics, justice and democratic involvements became the point of discussions. The need to inculcate the courage to post-millennials to live with fundamental ideas like fear of loss became a challenge for even a primary teacher.

The urgency has arrived to channelize this endless information into a multitude of subject knowledge to a student. For this it is necessary to reimagine the stubborn walls of knowledge culture. The proposal for ‘fourth culture of knowledge’ as Jonah Lehrer puts it, can create more individuals who are comfortable in being part of social collective. The latter says “We now know enough to know that we will never know everything. Therefore, we need art: it teaches us how to live with mystery.” Unlike on the internet, the young generation should be able to freely embrace the ability to remain uncertain, doubtful, and put their actual experience in historical, political, and social context. These are the skills that can transcend the traditional outlook of a subject. Are we all equipped to adjust with this shape shifting? Shouldn’t we be trained to face contradictions and diverse individual and collective understandings?

This also brought a larger discussion on the need for bridging the sciences and humanities. I am reminded of the powerful passage in Frankenstein, where Victor meets Waldman the scientist. The latter advices “If your wish is to become really a man of science, and not merely a petty experimentalist, I should advice you to apply to every branch of natural sciences.” There is this need to become an interdisciplinarian and understand the extraordinary scope of this “cross-pollination” of the disciplines.

In a classroom when a student asks the question; ‘Is this text going to be important for the examination? Or regarding the texts we are reading now can you tell me a few areas from where the questions come? Or the ultimate question of why should we read if it is not covered in examination? The educators must not be afraid to reform these thought patterns. Both of us need to be comfortable being uncomfortable to reimagining the definition of skill to be acquired.

Mathematics in Operations Research and its Career Prospects

Operations research is an experimental and applied science devoted to observing, understanding, and predicting the behaviour of purposeful man-machine systems; and operations-research workers are actively engaged in applying this knowledge to practical problems in business, government, and society. – OR Society of America

Source of figure: https://images.app.goo.gl/gGkCaRsLc99RXPD98

Most of the students in our education system might wonder whether they will ever use the mathematics which they learn from the studied courses. Students frequently asked a core question, such as, is any of the analysis, algebra, calculus, combinatorics, math programming, etc. really going to be of value in our daily life?

One exciting area of applied mathematics called Operations Research (OR) may give the answer of the above question. OR integrates the knowledge of numerous disciplines, like mathematics, statistics, computer science, engineering, economics, and social sciences to solve real-world problems. The notion of OR is applied from inventory to manufacturing; finance to marketing; routing to queuing; distribution to scheduling; data storage management to service measurement and reliability to artificial intelligence; agriculture to defence and among others using innovative and mathematical theories (analysis, algebra, calculus, probability, etc).

OR can be defined as the decision-making science. It is also known as Operational Research or Management Science or Industrial Engineering. There is no general process in OR to solve all the mathematical models related to real-world problems. One of the most prominent methods is linear programming which is useful to design a model with linear objective function and constraints. The techniques for solving linear programming problem (LPP) was developed by George Dantzig in the early 1950s and this is led to increasing interest of OR applications in business.

More than Mathematics:

Since the OR models are mathematical nature, people think that an OR study is always rooted in mathematical observations. But an OR technique should not be biased to start with a specific mathematical model before its proper justification of use (H.A.Taha, Operations research; an introduction, Pearson Education).  For an example, since linear programming is a successful process, people tend to use it as the tool of choice for modelling any kind of situations. Such an approach leads to mathematical model which may be take away from real situation. Thus, it is imperative that we first analyse the available data using simple processes whenever possible (e.g., aggregation, histograms, charts, etc.). Actually, most of the cases solutions are rooted in people but not in technology. Consequently, any solution that does not consider human behaviour may not be an appropriate solution.

OR with software library: There are numerous commercial software packages to solve the OR models. A few examples of such software are LINGO, AMPL, CPLEX Optimization Studio, MPL Modeling System, Gurobi. NEOS, COIN-OR, Matlab, R, Mathematica and Python, etc.

Scope of OR: OR has wide range applications in industry, government sectors, business hubs and many other organisations. Some important fields are:

  • In industry-manufacturing (production planning, assembly line, inventory control, quality control), production management (location and size of warehouse, retails outlet, logistics, transportation problem), airline industry, health-care systems, telecommunications, etc.
  • In Agriculture– Farm economics (optimal allocations of crop production, efficient production pattern), farm management (allocations of limited resources like as labour, water supply, working capital, seeds, etc).
  • In Defence-Selection of weapon system against enemy, ensuring minimum use of aviation gasoline, optimal strategy to win the battle.
  • In Marketing-Selection of product-mix, export planning, advertising and media selection, travelling salesman, sales effort allocation and assignment.
  • In Finance and accounting– Investment and portfolio management, public accounting, capital budgeting, financial planning
  • In personnel management– allocation of optimal manpower, determination of equitable salaries, skill development and retention.
  • In Government-Urban and housing problems, military, energy, economic planning, utilization of natural resources.

Job prospects: There are plenty of jobs after completion of specific programme with OR. Few of them are

  • Operations Research Analyst
  • Project Manager
  • Teaching Assistant
  • Research Assistant
  • Consultant
  • Software Engineer
  • Security Review Operations Analyst
  • Production manager
  • Optimal designer
  • Controller of network routing, transportation

Covid-19 impact:

 From the last two years, Covid-19 pandemic has disrupted all our lives, causing havoc to our health-care systems, education sectors, industries and especially economical systems. As with the early days of OR, presently multi-disciplinary and multi-locational teams of OR scientists have responded to the challenge, developing new models and methods for forecasting and tracing the spread of the epidemic, for vaccine allocation and distribution, etc. as part of the global effort to control the pandemic. (Janny Leung, IFORS News, Vol 17, No. 1, 2022).

      Recently, Bueno et al. (Luís Felipe Bueno, Antonio Augusto Chaves , Luiz Leduino Salles-Neto, Francisco Nogueira Calmon Sobral, Horacio Hideki Yanasse, IFORS News, Vol 17, No. 1, 2022) developed a web app for helping managements to plan classrooms considering social distancing by using  mixed-integer and nonlinear optimization approaches.

Why should be in course curriculum:

OR successfully provides a systematic and scientific approach to all kinds of service operations, defence, manufacturing, government. It is a splendid area for under graduate and post graduate students of mathematics to use their knowledge and skills to solve complex real-world problems in creative ways.  It has an impact on them to take critical decisions. Numerous companies in industry require OR analysts to apply mathematical techniques to a wide range of challenging questions in the said domain.

Bureaucracy: Fascination for Power

“Bureaucracy is the art of making the possible impossible.”- Javier Pascual Salcedo 

Bureaucracy in modern India started its journey with the handholding of the British. Since, it’s initial days it is a fascination among Indians both fear and desire. During the British empire used to function through its bureaucratic setup. It connects the metros with the outpost of the empire. After the breakup of the empire, bureaucracy setup has been adopted by the former colonies. 

Bureaucrats are the office holders who serve the executive functions of the government in India. The bureaucrats are responsible for implementing the policies of the government. People working as bureaucrats face lots of challenges in their career too. Also, they enjoy various benefits from the government. Combining these pros and cons, millions of aspirants every year try their luck in respective exams with the hope of getting selected as a bureaucrat. 

The following points enlist the reasons behind the craze among the people for being bureaucrats. 

1) Secure life with a decent salary: In this competitive world, money is the most essential instrument for leading a happy and a peaceful life. The job of a bureaucrat offers a handsome starting salary with high increments along with promotions. The office holders can lead a standard life with their families. This makes the job so attractive among the people. 

2) Facilities: The government provides lots of facilities to the bureaucrats including electricity allowance, travelling allowance, telephone, internet, and so on. They get residential apartments too from the government. All these factors add security to their life and make it smooth. 

3) Attracted by the position: The volume of immense authority and power given to the bureaucrats, make the position very demanding. The bureaucrats are in the charge of complete control over an area allotted to them. They are respected and saluted by the entire population of that area. This image about the bureaucrats is created in the minds of the people who aspire for the jobs. This particular image is passed from one person to another which increases the number of aspirants every year. 

4) Willing to control the policies and administration: The society runs as per the government’s policies and interventions. So, in order to control the good and bad happenings in the society, one has to stay in touch with the respective organs of the government. The civil servants can directly stay in touch with the leaders who frame the policies and run the administration. So, they can directly influence the society through their actions and decisions. The bureaucrats can alter any malpractices rife in the society. People who are willing to take that role have craze for being bureaucrats. 

5) Influenced by the social media. The social media these days play a significant role in generating new civil service aspirants each day. The coaching institutes offering courses for preparation for civil service examinations site examples of some successful aspirants who got selected as bureaucrats. 

They add audio and visual effects to the images and videos of those bureaucrats to charge the viewers for being civil service aspirants. Then they advertise about their coaching institutes and enlist the courses offered and facilities given. All these activities generate new craze among the people for becoming bureaucrats. 

These are some of the major factors that makes people desire to become bureaucrats. Not only this field has positive sides, but also it involves many challenges, the initial challenge being the selection as a bureaucrat. So, one must choose their career option wisely and not get influenced by any external lures from friends, relatives or the people involved in the business with the aspirants. 

Comparative approach and Liberal Arts

The tide of liberal arts is now sweeping the differences between various academic disciplines all across the world demolishing the demarcations between STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) subjects and NON-STEM subjects. As a result it is also trying to break the stereotypes that are tagged with this demarcation of disciplines that are automatically getting responded as just constructed and imposed shadow lines. It also reminds us of the days of polymaths who existed in different civilization across the globe in various time periods.

Today we all live in an application based world, where knowledge has to be applied, and to solve this purpose we are all trying to make paths towards the practice of liberal arts in the field of education and India is not an exception in this regard. When we talk about the application of knowledge we must remember that this appliedness of knowledge is only possible if we can take education outside the boundaries of an educational institute.

In the year 1964 Sturart Hall and Richard Hoggart founded the Centre for Contemporary Cultural Studies (CCCS) at the University of Birmingham with the objectives of taking education outside the university campus and encouraging the students to have a firsthand experience with the community, so that they can develop a better understanding of their respective community as a whole.

In other words this was an important step to implement the idea of Academic Social Responsibility. This new teaching and learning pedagogy once again may help us to bring science and humanities together to give shape to the academicians with the understanding of their responsibilities towards society. This also opens up the possibilities of collaborative curriculum designing, for outreach activities and also accommodates our eternal ‘quest for relevance’ as per the time and space we belong to. This may remind us of the Kenyan author Ngugi Wa Thoing o ‘, who engaged in a protest against Eurocentricism in the field of education while discussing ‘quest for relevance’. In the process he encouraged the academicians across the world to have this quest while designing the curriculum.

Thus from the above discussion it is clear that the current educational scenario is ready to welcome an interdisciplinary approach towards education. We have to remember that comparative literature has long been accommodating this interdisciplinary approach and thus giving the platform to study literatures from across the world in an interdisciplinary manner and thus may play a key role in the development of liberal arts.

Comparative literature encourages the study of literature using a comparative framework. Students under such a frame work are encouraged to study many literatures together. Thus it creates the room to read and to critically engage with the literatures produced in various languages from different parts of the world.

Boundaries of such comparative approach is absolutely fluid, it can thus make teaching learning pedagogy multimodal in nature, further breaking the barriers between various existing disciplines. According to Susan Basnett comparative approach gives us the scope to study texts in relation to one another. Thus, comparative approach is the key to practice liberal arts.  

Singular perspective focuses on a particular issue, whereas a comparative approach gives a broader spectrum of understanding. Comparative approach in a way reproaches the singular independent existence of disciplines. It sees the existence of all disciplines not in an independent fashion but in an interdependent fashion, thus provides a platform for the practice of liberal arts.

Liberal arts thus with a comparative approach makes all barriers fluid. It makes all geo political boundaries and linguistic boundaries blurred in its attempt to connect with everyone. This reminds us of the German author, Johann Wolfgang von Goethe and Rabindranath Thakur, who also referred to this idea of connectivity among the people across the world through the exercise of a comparative approach.

Liberal arts and comparative literature both widens our spectrum of reading texts. At this juncture we must remember that texts are not only printed books, every incident that happens around us and among us is a text. Liberal arts focus on training its students in reading these texts of which they themselves are a part. This process serves a twofold objective – firstly the students get the opportunity of a firsthand engagement with the society and secondly they go through a reality check regarding their ability to apply the knowledge that they have acquired in their educational institute.

Both liberal arts and comparative literature together investigates and questions whatever is given. Both jointly vehemently discourage a blind belief in anything given. Liberal arts is probably the only sect of knowledge that dares to question the formulation of knowledge itself. Being a part of an institution liberal arts tries to question the process of institutionalization.

Comparative approach helps liberal arts to get a wholesome, inclusive and comprehensive understanding of our society. Connection is the key component of liberal arts.  This connection that we are referring to is the connection of our work and knowledge with the humanity and human concerns.

It is not just the imagination of certain authors but different historical eras have witnessed that whenever knowledge has lost its contact with humanity and human concerns, hell was let loose on mankind, be it the violent process of colonization or be it the transformation of nuclear power into a destructive bomb.

In today’s world we are all connected at different levels, sometimes we realize and sometime we do not. We cannot exist independently anymore. Thus the academic disciplines designed by us too cannot exist and have never existed independently.

The mission of liberal arts is to break science and humanities stereotyped binaries, that are imposed on both, by showcasing the connectivity that has existed between the two since the time immoral, at the same time liberal arts has the objective to connect both the dimension of knowledge systems with the human concerns. Liberal arts with a comparative approach reminds us that human beings with their knowledge need to serve human concerns. 

 

Is Operations Research useful in Data Science?

“Operations research (OR) is defined as the scientific process of transforming data into insights to making better decisions.”

The Institute for Operations Research and the Management Sciences (INFORMS)

Introduction:

In the twenty-first century, especially in the last decade, the most trending domain of study is may be Data Science and Data Analytics. In this domain of study, people work with data from different fields and they use different tools and techniques from the domain of Mathematics, Statistics, and Computer Science to study and analyze the data. Then make some conclusion from the data and use them to predict the future of the phenomenon under study. Before the rise of data science as a domain of study, Operations Research analyst and Statisticians are used to do the similar kind of job. Due to these facts, the overlap between the domain of Data Science and the domain of OR is misunderstood. Also, there is a common perception that OR is not useful in for Data Science or Data Analytics. Actually, the marketing of OR products and services which are applied to solve the real world problems leads to this kind of misconception, as most of the time the end-users do not have an understanding or background of OR and data science. Another possible reason may be that the availability of machine learning models which are available as packages of several platforms like Python and do not really contain specific any OR models. In practical, OR tools and techniques are applicable to data science. In fact, a lot of ideas which are used in Artificial Intelligence (AI) and data science problem solving, have cross-pollinated from OR due to the large overlap in the techniques and methods used. In this blog, I try to explore these relations of OR with Data Science and Data Analytics.

Data
Image Source: https://www.humancenteredor.com/2015/03/

Operations Research and Data Science:

Before going to the discussion on the role and relation between Data Science and OR, let us try to understand another very important term called Analytics. According to INFORMS, Analytics is the application of scientific & mathematical methods to the study & analysis of problems involving complex systems. There are three distinct types of analytics:

i) Descriptive Analytics gives insight into past events, using historical data;

ii) Predictive Analytics provides insight on what will happen in the future; and

iii) Prescriptive Analytics helps with decision making by providing actionable advice [https://www.informs.org/Explore/Operations-Research-Analytics]. In an INFORMS podcast, depending on organizational backgrounds, Glenn Wegryn divides Analytics into two distinct camps: Data Centric Analytics where data is used to find interesting insights and information to predict or anticipate what might happen; and Decision Centric or Problem Centric Analytics which is used to understand the problem, then determine the specific methodologies and information needed to solve the specific problem. This data centric analytics are done by using Data Science whereas problem centric analytics are done by Operations Research. The above mention figure clearly give an idea about this. From the figure, it is very clear that there is a common point of interest from both the domain. Hence OR plays a very important role in Data Science domain.

Operations Research and Machine Learning:

Machine learning is the area of data science where most of the OR tools and techniques are used. Linear programming and Optimization techniques are fundamental part of the overall machine learning lifecycle. Some of the examples of OR are:

  • Enabling smart human resource management by forecasting human resource requirements and optimizing daily schedule for resource persons (linear programming model)
  • Increasing TV program viewership by optimal scheduling of programs’ promotion (linear programming model)
  • Enabling supply chain transformation by providing AI/machine learning-based recommendations for optimized product utilization
  • AI-enabled forecasting for retail and eCommerce applications to optimize funnel and customer traffic
  • Data-driven optimization models for automated inventory management where we need to do warehouse management, inspection and quality control

Operations Research and Artificial Intelligence:

Another important area of data science is Artificial Intelligence where we can observe the use of OR algorithm. AI is used to build an automated system. Now, any real-life system have many decision variables and parameters, so if we want to build an automated system then we have to deal with a lot of decision variables. That’s why operations research algorithm must be a core engine in the system.

An Artificial Intelligence development lifecycle consists of the following steps: (Link)

Descriptive and Predictive steps:

  • In the first step, we need to define the problem to be solved
  • In the next step, we need to understand the current state of the problem and accordingly we have to define the work scope
  • Next we need to develop a Machine Learning model, where the machine learning solution is developed and tested.

Prescriptive steps:

  • Machine learning outputs or the predictions obtained using machine learning are given as OR inputs. Here, the OR techniques are used to make recommendations based on the outputs from the ML model. This is a critical step for the entire life cycle.
  • Finally, the solution output is delivered to the client.

Covid-19 impact:  

During the COVID-19 pandemic, more than ever, data science has become a powerful weapon in combating an infectious disease epidemic and arguably any future infectious disease epidemic. Computer scientists, data scientists, physicists and mathematicians have joined public health professionals and virologists to confront the largest pandemic in the century by capitalizing on the large-scale ‘big data’ generated and harnessed for combating the COVID-19 pandemic. (Zhang, Qingpeng, et al. “Data science approaches to confronting the COVID-19 pandemic: a narrative review.” Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society A 380, No. 2214 (2022)). Covid-19 has a big impact on supply chain strategies also. People from data science community are analyzing “lessons learned” from the pandemic to better prepare and more efficiently and effectively respond to the next disaster, interested people can visit the following for a discussion on it (Link1).

Conclusion:

From the above discussion, it is very much clear that Data Science and Operations Research have some overlapping objectives with clear line of difference between these two domains of study. Also, we observe that there are several OR techniques and algorithms which have important role to play in different topics of data science. In my opinion, operations research together with data science and analytics is going to play a very important role to build the future of us.

Computer Aided Diagnosis: A Spectacular Achievement in Health Care

Artificial Intelligence has the great impact in health care. It can assist doctors to detect or diagnosis a disease at early stages. In developing countries like India has very low patient and doctor ratio. As a consequence, the performance of the manual detection of the disease often degrades i.e., doctors may overlook the early sign of the disease and patients can suffer death. In order to decrease the mortality rate of several diseases, Computer aided detection or diagnosis may be a potential solution.  It is a computer-based program which analyse different radiological image modalities and predict the presence of the disease. Consequently, it can be said that these types of technology can provide some treatment facility to the patients where minimum treatment facility is available. In early 1980’s, based on the symptoms of the patient researchers have proposed several algorithms to predict the presence of the disease. However, these methodologies were not acceptable to the medical community. In 2005, International association of Computer Aided Diagnosis established and they first approved the prediction of breast cancer from mammography in clinical practice. After that several researchers have proposed several CAD methodologies for early diagnosis. They give emphasis mostly on early detection of different types of cancer from different organs. The basic challenges of implementing such system are present of sufficient amount of annotated patient data. The collection of patient data from different hospital is a tedious job.

However, several researchers have proposed different medical image datasets by collaborating with different hospitals. In order to predict lung cancer at early stages, LIDC-IRDI dataset is introduced which consisted of 1081 Lung CT images and these data are taken from 7 different hospitals of United States of America. This dataset has been released in 2008 and the CT scans are taken from a 32 slice CT scanner i.e., the images are taken from the old CT scanner machine. In present context, most of the hospitals use a 64 slice CT scanner machines and the implemented models are not provided satisfactory results if researchers have considered this dataset. Moreover, this dataset only provides the information about the presence of the abnormalities but not confirm the presence of cancer in it. These necessitates a new benchmarking dataset that consists of the CT scan of a 64 slice CT scanner and also have the information about the disease. The researchers of University of Calcutta have introduced a new public dataset “Swash” for the lung cancer researchers which consisted of 289 CT scan machines and all the data are biopsy proven. Like lung cancer, researchers have also introduced BRAST datasets for Brain tumor detection, MIAS dataset for breast cancer detection and diagnosis from digital mammography, DRIVE dataset and DRISTI dataset for diabetic retinopathy detection from FUNDUS images.  These aforementioned datasets have been used for implementing several CAD methodologies for early detection of the disease by considering the different algorithms of machine learning (ML) and deep learning. The researchers of United states of America, have designed a ML-based methodology that is capable of detecting breast lump from digital mammography, after that the computer-based technique is also capable of grading the stage of cancer. The researchers of Redbound University and University of Calcutta proposed a fully automated software tool that is capable of predicting lung cancer from Computed tomography images. Instead of having higher accuracy in brain tumor detection from MRI images, the Machine Intelligence Unit of Indian Statistical Institute have proposed a novel methodology that can assist clinicians about the post-surgery survival of brain tumor patients. Apart from cancer detection, the researchers also tried to propose several CAD methodologies of other diseases. At the middle of the pandemic era, researchers have proposed several methodologies that are capable of detecting COVID-19, after analysing the digital chest X-ray and thoracic CT images. The published literature also reveals that their exist several ML and DL-based algorithms that are capable of detecting Alzheimer, Parkinson’s, Strokes, fractures, cysts from different modalities of medical images. Furthermore, the researchers are also capable of measuring the changes of abnormalities after several drugs are induced on the patients. However, the accuracy of these methods is quite satisfactory, but these models are implemented by considering several data which are taken from old scanning technology. As the precision of the scanning technology has been improved, the characteristics of the data has been changed and this requires advancement in existing algorithms or implementation of new model that can provide higher accuracy and these methodologies can use in clinical practice.

Biomass based biofuel generation future in India

Out of some of the hottest trends that have been on the top lists for quite a while are choosing an entrepreneur as the primary occupation and doing an eco-friendly business.

The need of renewable energy is increasing in the world due to rapidly growing human population, urbanization and huge consumption of fossil fuels. Fossil fuel reserve is very limited, and the reserve is getting depleted day by day. The primary sources of energy that can be used as the alternative of fossil fuels are wind, water, solar and biomass-based energy.

Currently biomass as a feedstock for biofuel production is gaining importance. Biomass energy is supplying about 10-15% of total energy demand of the present world. Biomass feedstocks include organic material such as wood, wood-based energy crops, grass, lignucellulosic materials like wheat straw, rice straw, sugarcane baggase, corn, microalgae, agricultural residues, municipal wastes, forest product wastes, paper, cardboard and food waste. Biomass can be converted into biofuels by thermochemical and biochemical conversion. Based on the types of feedstocks or biomass the biofuels derived are divided into different groups i.e. 1st generation, 2nd generation, 3rd generation. 1st generation biofuels mainly extracted from the food crop-based feedstocks like wheat, barley, sugar and used for biodiesel and by fermentation to produce bioethanol. But first-generation biofuels face the “fuel vs food” debate and also the net energy gain is negative.  1st generation biofuels production systems also have some economic and environmental limitations. To overcome the drawbacks of 1st generation biofuels 2nd generation biofuels have been generated from the non-food crops-based feedstocks like organic wastes, lignocellulosic biomass etc. For biofuel production from these sources rigorous pretreatments are required to make the feedstocks suitable for biodiesel production. This is the major drawback of 2nd generation biofuel production. Then the attention of the world has been shifted towards 3rd generation biofuel production entails “algae-to biofuels”. Microalgae is easy to cultivate, has higher photosynthetic rate and growth rate than other plants and there is no food vs. feed dilemma present of using microalgae as feedstock for biofuel production. Presently the attention is also given towards fourth generation biofuel. The former concept of third generation of biofuel deals with the conversion process itself from the microalgae to biofuel. The fourth generation of biofuel concept deals with development of microalgal biotechnology via metabolic engineering to maximize biofuel yield. Fourth generation biofuel uses genetically modified (GM) algae to enhance biofuel production. In comparison with third generation in which the principal focus is in fact processing an algae biomass to produce biofuel, the main superior properties of the fourth are introducing modified photosynthetic microorganisms which in turn are the consequence of directed metabolic engineering, through which it is possible to continuously produce biofuel in various types of special bioreactors, such as photobioreactors.

Biomass has the highest potential for small scale business development and mass employment. Characterized by low-cost technologies and freely available raw materials, it is still one of the leading sources of primary energy for most countries. With better technology transfer and adaptation to local needs, biomass is not only environmentally benign, but also an economically sound choice. Bio-based energy can be expected to grow at a faster pace in the years to come. 

On the Biomass Energy sector, the India government committed to increasing the share of non-fossils fuel in total capacity to 40% by 2030. India produces about 450-500 million tonnes of biomass per year. Biomass provides 32% of all the primary energy use in the country at present. A total capacity of 10145 MW has been installed in the Biomass Power and Cogeneration Sector. The Installed Capacity of Biomass IPP is 1826 MW together with the Installed Capacity of Bagasse Cogeneration is 7547 MW and the Installed Capacity of Non-Bagasse Cogeneration is 772 MW. 

The eco-friendly business has lots of benefits, by going green with your business you’re promoting the Earth’s safety from potential environmental catastrophe, you support innovation and concomitantly producing green energy.

The Government of India has been constantly bound on increasing the use of clean energy sources. This does increase a better future and at the same time creates employment opportunities too. According to The Ministry of New and Renewable Energy (MNRE), India’s total installed capacity of renewable energy is 90 GW excluding hydropower. Also, it states that 27.41 GW will be added. Renewable Energy in India is a great asset to Energy Contribution, yet India still needs to work a lot in Renewable Energy Sectors.

A LEGAL STUDY OF THE DEVELOPMENT OF THE COPYRIGHT LAW IN INDIA

The history of copyright is the tale of how the law has adapted to technical advancements. There have been significant technological advancements since the Rome Convention in 1961 and the final amendment to the Berne Convention in 1971. The introduction of digital technology has repeatedly put a major strain on the copyright regime. The WIPO had established two committees of experts [Committee of Experts on a Possible Protocol to the Berne Convention in September 1991 and the Committee of Experts on a Possible Instrument for Protection of the Rights of Performers and Producers of Phonograms in September 1992] to examine the effects of new technologies on copyright and neighbouring rights. These Committees, after exhaustive discussions, in which India was an active participant, drafted basic proposals for three new treaties, that is-

  1. Treaty for Protection of Literary and Artistic Works;
  2. Treaty for Protection of the Rights of Performers and Producers of Phonograms; and
  3. Treaty on sui-generis protection for Databases.

The Conference adopted two treaties, the WIPO Copyright Treaty and the WIPO Performances and Phonograms Treaty. The database treaty was deferred for further study.

Being a WIPO member and a party to the WCT (World Copyright Treaty) and WPPT, India has repeatedly revised its domestic legislation to be in line with international copyright standards. The Copyright (Amendment) Act of 1994 and the Copyright (Amendment) Act of 2012 serve as excellent examples of the sufficient degrees of advancement in Indian copyright laws that have been repeatedly seen.

The Copyright (Amendment) Act, 2012’s recognition of the performers’ rights under Section 38-A and the recognition of the performers’ moral rights under Section 38-B speak volumes about Indian jurisprudential thought and intellectual development in relation to the related rights in the area of copyrights.

The 50-year protection period offered by Indian law to phonogram performers and producers is in line with worldwide norms; the duration of the protection is not just adequate but also satisfactory. It is also a nice development that the period of protection for broadcasting reproduction rights has been increased from 20 to 25 years in the case of broadcasting organizations.

Since the passage of the Copyright (Amendment) Act in 1994 and the Copyright (Amendment) Act in 2012, India’s Broadcasting Reproduction Rights and Performers’ Rights have advanced significantly. In addition to the general-statutory and other economic rights, India has made a significant advance by focusing on and incorporating the idea of moral rights—that is, rights related to paternity and integrity—into its legal framework.

India is quickly catching up to its necessary credit, as in some countries, performers, phonogram producers, and broadcasters of copyrighted works are protected by copyright alongside authors, while in others, they are protected by neighbouring or related rights because of their role in distributing copyrighted works to the public as consumer goods.

What India is still to realize

  1. New media and technology give right holders new avenues for the distribution and exploitation of their works, especially online works, potentially opening up more chances for direct licensing. Systematic management of digital rights are intended to allow a greater range of terms and conditions for the use of those works while better distributing and protecting the right holder’s investment [however, India awoke to this realization and adopted Sections 65-A and 65-B by virtue of the Copyright (Amendment) Act, 2012]. Increased market adoption of these systems is anticipated to expand consumer choice and availability of copyright works, such as digital software and entertainment products, and to permit price points that reflect the consumer’s actual use rather than an assumption that the consumer will use the product in a variety of formats. All of this must further copyrights as well as copyright-related rights, such as the rights to privacy and publicity.
  2. In the digital networked environment, creators and performers want assurances that their moral rights will be upheld, especially by third parties, and that their creations and performances won’t be unfairly influenced.
  3. Since the WIPO Internet Treaties negotiations began, audio visual performers have been calling for an upgrade to their legal status on a global scale. As a result, India should proactive begin pursuing this goal on a national level. India cannot afford to lose sight of the Rome Convention, which is now incorporated on a global level and seeks to update broadcasters’ rights in response to market changes and technical advancements.

Overall, India appears to be well-equipped to provide the allied-right-holders, such as performers, phonogram producers, and broadcasters, with the necessary protection. It is hoped that India will continue to advance and meet the challenges presented by the wave of digitalized, networked environments ‘head-on’.

Career Prospects in Visual Arts in 21st Century Era

Visual art is relies on visual experience. A degree in Visual Arts can lead us to a many-sided career and life as an artist. Throughout this study, we will be exposed in art history, theory and criticism alongside intensive studio practices and experiences in drawing, painting, sculpture, print media, photography and multimedia art. We can exhibit our art work in group or solo exhibitions in galleries as professional artists. Visual arts include painting, drawing, sculpture, photography, architecture, design, crafts, films etc. It also includes applied arts such as industrial design, graphic design, interior design, fashion design etc.

Visual Arts can lead to many career options like Freelance Artist, Art Teacher, Art Historian, Art Consultant, Architect, Archivist, Art Editor, Art Gallery Director, Art Critic, Art Curator, Cartoonist, Cinematographer, Engraver, Exhibition Designer, Fashion Designer, Gallery Director, Graphic Designer, Illustrator, Interior Designer, Jewelry Designer, Museum Director, Product Designer, Set Designer etc. Today visual effect is a creative professional field for visual artists with many bright prospects. At present day most of the movies are overwhelmingly reliant on visual effects that mean VFX. Big budget franchises depend on highly creative and realistic effects.

Very simply, artists create works of art. Artists employ a variety of methods and materials to communicate a message, thought or feeling, including painting, sculpture, and illustration using oils, acrylics, watercolors, pencils, pastels, clay computers etc. Craft artists make hand-made objects, such as candles, tapestries, quilts, and potteries to be sold or shown. Multimedia artists create images for film, video and other forms of electronic media. Apart from these, artists also can find work with museums, galleries, schools, advertising agencies, magazines, newspapers, and movie studios.

In Graphic Design one artist can work as an Advertising Director, Logo / Branding Designer, Advertisement Designer, Sign Writer, Magazine Layout Designer, Packing Designer, Calendar / Stationary / Wallpaper Designer, Typographer etc. In Museums, one artist can work as a Curator with good knowledge of art and good communication skills. One can get job as Artist Representative with the knowledge of art, business experience (marketing and sales), organizational skills, self-motivation, and sensitivity to working with artists

There is another bright career in Art Gallery to work as a Gallery Director or Curator. Good business and marketing skills, communication and writing skills, fundraising skills, flexibility, diplomacy, ability to motivate others, sensitivity to artists’ needs, experience in exhibition design, curatorial work, sales, and art education can all be useful here.

Art Teacher as a career in Education

With the degree in Fine Arts, one can find his or her career as an art teacher in Education. Art teachers are generally required to have a Bachelor and Master degree in Fine Arts with the following art spheres: ceramics, painting, sculpture, media arts, drawing, photography, printmaking and graphic design.

Art offers us the space to express ourselves. Art education entails teaching students how to express their feelings and thoughts about their world. Art Teachers guide their students to develop their visual communication skills by producing various art forms. Art students may be in public and private schools, museums, summer programs, and other places where visual communication is learned.

Art Education arouses language in visual images. Art Teachers nurture students’ artistic skills at their school level. They also teach after school and summer programs to children, or in an adult education program such as ‘Teachers Training Program’. They can also work in Art museums as education coordinators. Along with being creative and passionate about art, Art Teachers should be able to motivate students to think about the subject critically and to understand students’ educational and emotional needs.

Artist Picasso once said that painting is just another way of keeping a diary. Art Teachers should go beyond painting and guide students to keep their diaries in various art forms. They should spur students to unlock their creativity while expressing their thoughts, feelings and opinions at the same time.