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Acoustic Wells wins 2019 MIT $100K Entrepreneurship Competition

Vlad Poptamas

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The Acoustic Wells team beat out seven finalists to win the Robert P. Goldberg $100,000 grand prize at the MIT $100K Entrepreneurship Launch Finale. Holding the check are, from left, Charles-Henri Clerget, Sebastien Mannai, and Louis Creteur.
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Acoustic Wells, a startup born in a laboratory at MIT that has created a new internet of things (IoT) control solution for oil wells that optimizes production while drastically reducing methane emissions, beat out seven finalists to win the Robert P. Goldberg $100,000 grand prize at last night’s MIT $100KEntrepreneurship Launch Finale held on the MIT campus.

Now in its 30th year, the MIT $100K Entrepreneurship Competition is an economic barometer for sectors of innovation that are receiving funding by venture capitalists. To date, the MIT $100K has facilitated the birth of more than 160 companies, which have gone on to raise $1.3 billion in venture capital and build $16 billion in market capitalization. More than 30 MIT $100K startups have been acquired by major companies, such as Oracle, Cisco, 3M, and Merck. Over 4,600 people are currently employed by MIT $100K companies. Recent IPOs include Akamai (AKAM) and Hubspot (HUBS).

A major challenge in the operation of oil and gas wells is the ability to monitor the operating conditions and health of pumping equipment without the need for prohibitively expensive equipment or daily inspections. To address this issue, Acoustic Wells has developed a patent-pending, acoustic-based control method that is capable of determining precisely down-hole conditions using a simple and affordable surface sensor. Acoustic Wells’ simple plug-and-play hardware processes the data at the edge and seamlessly connects to their cloud platform using long range IoT networks. Artificial intelligence algorithms automatically monitor the pump operation and optimize the production by adjusting the pumping rate while also predicting potential critical failures of the system.

Acoustic Wells’ founding team members are:

Dr. Sebastien Mannai, CEO, MIT PhD 2018 in Aerospace Engineering. He is currently engaged in postdoctoral work on AI signal processing in the Gas Turbine Laboratory of the Aerospace Department at MIT.

Dr. Charles-Henri Clerget, COO, who is currently engaged in postdoctoral work in the Earth Resources Laboratory with the Mathematics Department at MIT where he focuses on the big data analysis of drilling operations.

Louis Creteur, CTO and an industrial automation solution specialist who currently serves as IoT and Cloud Architect at Leanbox.

“We bring cutting edge technology in a simple package to help every oil and gas producer optimize their assets while reducing their emissions,” says Dr. Mannai.

A panel of judges chose Acoustic Wells based on value creation, value capture, and technological differentiation. Judges included: TJ Parker, Co-Founder & CEO, PillPackMira Wilczek, President & CEO, Cogo LabsThomas Collet, President, CEO & Director, Phrixus PharmaceuticalsTanguy Chau, Venture Investor; and Katie Rae, CEO & Managing Partner, The Engine.

$10,000 Audience Choice Award was presented to The Read Read, one of the finalist teams. The Read Read has created a patent pending physical device that allows blind and low-vision children to independently learn phonics and braille, and gain early literacy to keep pace with their sighted peers. Users simply touch the braille and large-print letter manipulatives, and get immediate audio feedback. It was developed at the Harvard Innovations Lab, and piloted at the Perkins School for the Blind and the Harvard Graduate School of Education.

Six additional finalists included:

AgroBeads® are biodegradable spheres made from natural ingredients that hydrate plants according to their needs and support their growth and healthy development. Plants not only grow, but they do it faster, and healthier. AgroBeads® does not pollute the environment, improves the chances of germination, and contributes to the development of technologies that impact public health.

Mechanodontics is a new method that can be used instead of braces or aligners that moves teeth independently. Placed behind teeth so they cannot be seen, this method considerably shortens treatment time, allows for easier cleaning than traditional braces, and is more comfortable. This technology, which employs state-of-the-art simulations, allows orthodontists to apply the optimal amount of force to each tooth, easily fixing even complicated mal-alignments that are not correctable with aligners.

Myco Diagnostics is creating low-cost, robust medical diagnostics, using thermostable binding proteins to capture disease biomarkers from patient samples. They are producing point-of-care assays for the detection of urine-based biomarkers of tuberculosis, allowing them to address patient groups ill-served by traditional TB tests.

Posh offers a bot-creation platform using patent-pending technology that makes it easy to tailor a custom chatbot to meet companies’ needs. Not only can Posh answer company FAQs, but it can also help a company’s customers manage their accounts and convert prospects into sales. Posh does this while interacting with customers via the channels they prefer: across text, voice, social media and the web.

Qtech The team’s MIT-educated scientists have invented 3D Nano structured air filters that provide 20x filtration performance, 10x lifetime, and are recyclable at an estimated similar cost of a traditional HEPA filter. Filters catch not only flower pollens, but also bacteria and even viruses, and there is no need for replacements in years.

Stratagen Bio develops oxygen sensors to enable personalized cancer therapies, addressing the unmet clinical need of identifying low-oxygen treatment resistant tumors. They are enabling physicians to identify which cancer patients require a customized treatment to overcome resistance and improve outcomes and survival.

John Harthorne, a founder and former CEO of MassChallenge, served as the keynote speaker. Harthorne’s team, Robopsy, won the MIT $100K in 2007. He and Akhil Nigam went on to co-found MassChallenge, a not-for-profit, in 2010. Based on the MIT $100K model, their zero-equity startup accelerator has since gone global and has accelerated 1,975 startups that have raised more than $4.3 billion in funding, generated more than $2.5 billion in revenue, and created more than 121,000 total jobs. Harthorne now serves on MassChallenge’s Global Board of Directors.

Since its debut as the MIT $10K Entrepreneurship Competition in 1989, it has grown to include three independent contests – PitchAccelerate, and Launch – from September through May. Each contest focuses on developing specific founding skills. For each semi-finalist contender, the MIT $100K brings together a network of resources that includes mentorship from venture capitalists, serial entrepreneurs, corporate executives, and attorneys; media exposure; prototyping funds; business plan feedback; and discounted services. Altogether, almost $1M in non-dilutive prize money and other financial resources are awarded to help these new ventures accelerate. For more on the MIT $100K, please visit: www.mit100k.org

SOURCE MIT Sloan School of Management

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Artificial Intelligence

MIT-IBM Watson AI Lab Convenes Top Researchers for Second Annual AI Research Week

Vlad Poptamas

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Photo source: forbes.com
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The MIT-IBM Watson AI Lab (NYSE: IBM) is hosting its second annual AI Research WeekSeptember 16-20, in Cambridge, MA. The five-day conference will explore leading themes in today’s field of AI including neurosymbolic computing and semantic reasoning in machine learning, AI security and safety, inclusive design of AI for all communities, trustworthy and explainable AI, and industry applications of AI.

The MIT-IBM Watson AI Lab is a joint research effort to drive fundamental advances in artificial intelligence. Since its founding in 2017, the lab has become an integral component of IBM’s AI Research strategy and is spearheading 48 AI-related research projects.

WHO:
Dario Gil (Director, IBM Research), joined by top AI researchers:

  • Yoshua Bengio (A.M. Turing Award Winner and Pioneer of AI and Deep Learning)
  • Josh Tenenbaum (Professor, Dept. of Brain and Cognitive Sciences, MIT)
  • Laura Shulz (Dept. of Brain and Cognitive Sciences at MIT, Primary Investigator of the MIT Early Childhood Cognition Lab)
  • Roger Levy (Associate Professor, Dept. of Brain and Cognitive Sciences at MIT, Director of the Computational Psycholinguistics Laboratory)

Additional discussions will feature David Cox (IBM Director, MIT-IBM AI Watson Lab), Lisa Amini (Director, IBM Research Cambridge), and Antonio Torralba (MIT Director, MIT-IBM AI Watson Lab), addressing key topics including: progress of the MIT-IBM AI Watson Lab to date and future goals; transitioning AI research to industry; and self-supervised learning of AI.

The conference will also showcase research and thought leadership from scientists and students affiliated with Massachusetts Institute of Technology; the University of California, San Diego; the University of Maryland, Baltimore County; the University of Illinois, Urbana-ChampaignBoston UniversityRensselaer Polytechnic Institute; the University of Montreal; the University of Massachusetts, Amherst; and the Cambridge and Boston community.

WHAT:
AI Research Week is a technical conference featuring top AI thought leaders from around the world sharing the latest insights on the field of AI. The five-day gathering will also consist of panels, workshops, networking and mentorship all geared towards forging new ideas and discussion around advancements in AI.

WHEN & WHERE: 
September 16-20, 2019, times for events vary. AI Research Week events will be held at MIT and IBM in Cambridge, MA. While many events will occur at the MIT Samberg Conference Center, 50 Memorial Dr, Cambridge, MA 02142, it is best to check the schedule for specific event locations and times.

Conference highlights:

Monday, September 16: Kick-off the week with a poster and networking session where researchers from the MIT-IBM Watson AI Lab and IBM’s AI Horizons Network of university collaborators will showcase projects underway that are shaping the future of AI.

The afternoon will feature a round robin event designed to help match various student communities in the Boston area with a mentor, specifically those in Latinx, BlackinAI, Women in Machine Learning, and LGBTQ. This session will include 15 tables, each with a different topic, and mentors from IBM, as well as other speakers from AI Research Week, designed to connect students with a mentor.

Tuesday, September 17: Yoshua Bengio, full professor and head of the Montreal Institute for Learning Algorithms (MILA), University of Montreal, and Dario Gil, Director of IBM Research, begin the AI Horizons Colloquium with a Welcome Address, followed by a full day of talks and discussion featuring AI experts from academia and industry.

NOTE: The Colloquium (all day) will be livestreamed here.

Other Colloquium speakers include:

  • Saska Mojsilovic, head of AI Foundations, IBM Research and Co-Director of IBM Science for Social Good, will discuss how people can begin to trust AI.
  • Collin Stult, Professor of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science Institute for Medical Engineering and Science and MIT faculty at Harvard-MIT Division of Health Sciences and Technology Cardiologist, will discuss whether useful machine learning will be used clinically in the near future.

Wednesday, September 18: The NASA ISS Program Science Office and the ISS U.S. National Laboratory, along with IBM Research, will launch a unique opportunity to learn about the International Space Station. Guests will be able to speak with representatives and researchers about the future of AI intersecting with the future of research in space. The event also includes a competition and special session where researchers and students can pitch “ISS meets AI” project ideas to a panel of space experts from NASA, the ISS, IBM, and MIT.

 

SOURCE IBM

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AI Operations Leader, ThroughPut.AI, chosen to present at the esteemed Plug and Play Japan Summit for IOT and Mobility in Tokyo on September 19th, 2019

Vlad Poptamas

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Photo source: arcserve.com
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ThroughPut Inc., the Artificial Intelligence (AI) Supply Chain pioneer that enables operations to increase output, quality, throughput, profitability and safety through automated bottleneck elimination, today announced their presentation and participation of their COO and CTO at the Plug and Play Japan IoT and Mobility Summit and EXPO in Tokyo, Japan on September 19, 2019. As a Plug and Play portfolio company, ThroughPut has been one of the most active global members of the Plug and Play ecosystem, being awarded to participate in multiple cohorts and events at Plug and Play Sunnyvale, BerlinMilanFrankfurtClevelandJapan, and elsewhere, spanning diverse topics including application of AI, Data and Analytics to Industrial Manufacturing, Operations, Supply Chain, Logistics, Transportation, Mobility, Industry 4.0, Oil and Gas, Food and Agriculture, and more.

“As the leading AI platform for Operations using existing data systems, ThroughPut is honored to be an active contributor to the Plug and Play Japan Mobility Batch 3 cohort,” noted Ali Raza, CEO of ThroughPut. “Our executive team is excited to present to over 1,500 Japanese corporate executives, resellers and partnership leaders at the IoT and Mobility Summit next week in Tokyo on September 19th, as well as consequent meetings that week.”

Plug and Play runs 15 industry themes across more than 50 accelerator programs a year in cities across the world. Plug and Play’s Japanese arm has accelerated four leading-edge industry programs,  and awarded participation to 69 pioneering technology start-ups and 31 corporate leaders, including MUFG, Tokyu Land, Sompo, Nissan, Hitachi, Panasonic, Fujitsu, Fujikura, DENSO, NipponLife, Dentsu, ADK, Nittsu, Norinchukin Bank, Orix, Macnica, Sumitomo, J-Power, Suzuki, SMFG, NEC Solution Innovators, Aflac, Asahi HD, Coca Cola Japan, AISIN, Kyocera MKI, Tanabe, Toshiba Tec, JXTG Energy and Shimadzu. This year’s Summer / Fall Summit is expected to receive an even greater response from startups and corporations across JapanAsia and even further overseas.

“We are very excited to continue building upon our strong client and partner relationships in Japan“, responded Seth Page, COO of ThroughPut and eight-time entrepreneur, while adding, “Plug and Play has opened up unique opportunities for collaboration with corporate partners, clients and investors around the world, bringing together the brightest minds in the industry on a single business platform. In Japan, we are showcasing our unique capabilities to a host of reputed industrial and global corporate titans, while also acquiring valuable insights from other fellow global thought leaders through participation in the Japense Mobility program and event. We look forward to continuing business discussions with market leaders in Japan next week and especially at the IOT and Mobility Summit in Tokyo on September 19th, as well as the Smart EXPO in Nagoya on September 18th.”

Bhaskar Ballapragada, CTO of ThroughPut, commented as well, “The time is ripe for industries to leverage the value of Artificial Intelligence on top of the decades of disaggregated data they’ve been collecting in-house. ThroughPut’s ELI Kaizen-AI product gives unprecedented power to a firm’s own operations managers. AI-enabled, data-driven analysis and executable insights to eliminate bottlenecks in real-time now enable the management of seamless operations across their end-to-end supply chains. In our mission to eliminate the $10 Trillion dollars of annual global industrial waste, we are reaching out to as many industries and companies to test for themselves our ELI product and enable them to experience firsthand the power of their own data with AI, and realize the quick ROI that comes with freeing-up working capital from operations by investing in ThroughPut’s ELI.”

 

SOURCE ThroughPut Inc.

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CAIR ‘Appalled’ by Appointment of Trump’s New Acting National Security Adviser Who Served on Board of Anti-Muslim Hate Group

Vlad Poptamas

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The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), the nation’s largest Muslim civil rights and advocacy organization, today said it is “appalled” by the appointment of Charles M. Kupperman as acting national security adviser following the resignation of John Bolton.

SEE: NSC official criticized by civil rights groups named acting national security adviser
https://tinyurl.com/CAIRKupperman
 
Trump fires national security adviser John Bolton
https://www.latimes.com/politics/story/2019-09-10/trump-fires-john-bolton-twitter

From 2001 to 2010, Kupperman served on the board of the Center for Security Policy (CSP), an organization headed by notorious Islamophobe and conspiracy theorist Frank Gaffney. The Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) has identified Gaffney as an anti-Muslim extremist and designated the CSP as a hate group, calling the latter “a conspiracy-oriented mouthpiece for the growing anti-Muslim movement in the United States.”

CSP is famous for promoting the conspiracy theory that the Muslim Brotherhood has infiltrated all levels of the U.S. government and that Sharia law is on the rise in America.

SEE: Backgrounder on CSP
http://www.islamophobia.org/islamophobic-organizations/57-center-for-security-policy-csp.html 
SEE: SPLC Designated Hate Groups: Center for Security Policy
https://www.splcenter.org/fighting-hate/extremist-files/ideology/anti-muslim

“While we welcome the resignation of John Bolton, who has a long track record of promoting anti-Muslim policies and associating with hate groups, we cannot simply replace one Islamophobe with another,” said CAIR Executive Director Nihad Awad. “CSP has continuously promoted Islamophobic conspiracy theories, and anyone, like Mr. Kupperman, who has so closely associated with them for so long is — at the very least — complicit in their brand of anti-Muslim bigotry and should not be entrusted with one of the highest ranking security roles in the United States.”

In January, CAIR opposed Kupperman’s appointment as Deputy National Security Adviser, citing the same concerns.

SEE: CAIR Calls on Trump Administration to Drop Security Adviser Who Served on Board of Anti-Muslim Hate Group
https://www.cair.com/cair_calls_on_trump_administration_to_drop_security_adviser_who_served_on_board_of_anti_muslim_hate_group

Backgrounder on Frank Gaffney:

Gaffney is a notorious anti-Muslim conspiracy theorist who has claimed that “most of the Muslim-American groups of any prominence in America are now known to be, as a matter of fact, hostile to the United States and its Constitution.”

He is a key promoter of the bizarre conspiracy theory that Muslims in public service are infiltrating the government on behalf of the Muslim Brotherhood.

Gaffney has questioned “whether Mr. Obama is a natural born citizen of the United States,” claimed the Missile Defense Agency logo is part of a “worrying pattern of official U.S. submission to Islam,” claimed an aide to Hillary Clinton was a secret Muslim Brotherhood operative, was a key witness for the plaintiffs in a controversial lawsuit seeking to block construction of a Tennessee mosque, promoted the debunked claim that Dearborn, Mich., is a “ghetto enclave in which it’s Muslim-only,” and hosted “white supremacist” Jared Taylor on his “Secure Freedom” radio program.

He has in the past:

  • Suggested that Saddam Hussein was behind the 1995 Oklahoma City bombing.
  • Claimed Gen. David Petraeus, commander of U.S. troops in Afghanistan, was submitting to Islamic law when he condemned the burning of a Quran by a Florida pastor.
  • Objected to Reps. Keith Ellison (D-Minn.) and Andre Carson (D-Ind.) serving on the House Intelligence Committee because they are Muslim.
  • Accused Pope Francis of having “rabidly anti-American” views after the pope said it is “not Christian” to urge the deportation of undocumented immigrants and to build a wall between the U.S. and Mexico.

Gaffney was banned from the annual Conservative Political Action Conference in 2011 after accusing fellow Republicans of having ties to the Muslim Brotherhood.

Anders Breivik, the Norwegian mass murderer, cited Gaffney in his anti-Muslim manifesto.
Gaffney’s staff attorney, David Yerushalmi, has advocated outlawing the practice of Islam in America and is the key promoter of anti-Islam bills in state legislatures nationwide.
White supremacist and White House senior adviser Steve Bannon hosted Gaffney on his Sirius XM radio show “Breitbart News Daily” 29 times.

On November 9, CAIR will hold its 25th anniversary gala in Washington, D.C.

SEE: CAIR’S 25th Annual Gala
https://www.cair.com/25th_anniversary_banquet

NOTE: Use #CAIRSnapshots on Twitter to view all the short videos highlighting CAIR’s important work over the past quarter century. The #CAIRSnapshots campaign is just one of many activities and initiatives leading up to CAIR’s 25th anniversary gala.
CAIR is America’s largest Muslim civil liberties and advocacy organization. Its mission is to enhance understanding of Islam, protect civil rights, promote justice, and empower American Muslims.

La misión de CAIR es proteger las libertades civiles, mejorar la comprensión del Islam, promover la justicia, y empoderar a los musulmanes en los Estados Unidos.

 

SOURCE Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR)

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