Hyderabad Current Affairs - 2019

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Telangana government declares 2020 as Artificial Intelligence year

The state government of Telangana has decided to declare 2020 as Year of Artificial Intelligence and thus will be organising various activities related to emerging technology throughout the year. This comes in the backdrop of emerging talent pool as well as renewed focus by industry and other ecosystem players on AI space in last 4-5 years.

Key Highlights

Throughout the year 2020, which is going to be celebrated in Telangana as AI year, the state government will be running multiple programs, meetings and activities such as hackathons, master classes and other activities.

The government agencies will give challenges and make available data sets on which companies can run algorithms.

The state government has signed up with NITI Aayog (National Institution for Transforming India), which has come out with ‘National Strategy for Artificial Intelligence‘ to run pilot projects in Telangana. Telangana was 1st State to sign up with NITI Aayog when they prepared ‘AI for All’ document.

IT industry body NASSCOM (National Association of Software and Services Companies) is setting up a Centre of Excellence in Data Sciences and AI in Hyderabad, Telangana. This CoE is expected to start its activities in 2020.

Also, IIT- Khargapur is also coming up with its regional centre in Hyderabad to train students in AI in partnership with State government.

CCMB unveils new Next Gen Sequencing facility

Dr Harsh Vardhan, Union Minister of Health and Family Welfare, Science and Technology and Earth Sciences, inaugurated Next Generation Sequencing (NSG) facility at Centre for Cellular and Molecular Biology (CCMB), a CSIR lab in Hyderabad, Telangana.

About Next Generation Sequencing (NSG) Facility

It would include technology for high genome sequencing and also diagnostic sequencing of clinical samples. It is 4th such facility in the country.

It is a state-of-the-art genome sequencing facility that can sequence 18,000 samples in 8 minutes. It is acquired at a cost of Rs.8 crore.

It can sequence 30 human genomes a day (or 384 diagnostic samples in a day). It would costs around ₹1 lakh to sequence one genome using this facility.

Applications:

It would help prenatal genetic screening and counselling, thus generating large scale genomic data critical for diagnosis and therapy.

It would especially help patients suffering from rare genetic disorders.

It would help in finding drugs for rare genetic diseases, which drug industry does not manufacture because of high costs involved.

By using NSG facility, scientists hope to find genetic cause of rare diseases and develop kits that can be used to find population at risk of genetic/other rare diseases

Significance: Much of existing body of knowledge for therapies for genetic diseases comes from studies done with Caucasian populations but this new NSG facility would help in generating large-scale genomic data from Indian populations, which was critical for genetic diagnosis and therapy.

Way Ahead: There is a need to develop Scientific Social Responsibility (SSR) and ensure that research is transferred to industry, and help public at large.