EPSRC is part of UK Research and Innovation, the national funding agency investing in science and research with a budget of more than £6 billion. JADE 2 will be hosted at the Hartree Centre in Cheshire, providing state-of-the-art computing facility for research into Artificial Intelligence (AI), machine learning, and molecular dynamics. It will be run as a national facility, with free access to academics through a Resource Allocation Panel. EPSRC Executive Chair Professor Dame Lynn Gladden said: “Computation is becoming an evermore important scientific tool. The University of Oxford has received £5.5 million from the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) and will lead a national project for research into artificial intelligence. The project will be led by Professor Wes Armour, Department of Engineering Science. Professor Armour told Cherwell: “JADE 2 will deliver AI advances across a wide range of different sectors, financial services, manufacturing, retail, the public sector, energy and healthcare. The funding will be used to provide supercomputing services which will aid scientific research throughout the UK. Oxford will lead the Joint Academic Data Science Endeavour (known as JADE 2) set up by the investment. JADE 2 will also support the development of computing skills in scientific research and provide career opportunities for research software engineers in the UK. Discussing the importance of funding to Oxford, Professor Armour also said: “JADE will provide the computational competitive edge for Oxford researchers to remain at the forefront of research in AI/ML. “By supporting the new UKRI Artificial Intelligence Centres for Doctoral training, JADE 2 will support the education of the next generation of researchers in AI, Mark Robins who in turn will keep the UK at the forefront of the AI revolution for many years to come.” “The High Performance Computing Services announced today will give research-ers access to the tools they need to make breakthroughs in a wide range of fields that impact on how we live our lives.” Though the project is led by Oxford, 19 universities are supporting JADE 2, including Cambridge, Imperial College London, University College London, and Warwick University. “In doing so, Oxford researchers will be able to attract the brightest students, who will in turn become the next world leaders.”
Wilderness advocates have been wanting to create a Maine Woods National Park and Preserve for 20 years, but politicians have consistently caved in to opponents, even tabling an offer by Burt’s Bees founder Roxanne Quimby, who offered to donate land to create a much smaller park alongside Baxter State Park, pictured here. Photo courtesy of Numbphoto, FlickrEarthTalk®E – The Environmental MagazineDear EarthTalk: What’s the latest on the proposal to turn parts of the Northern Forest in Maine into a big national park? — Peter Griswold, Jaffrey, NH The idea of turning a large chunk of forest in central Maine into a national park dates back at least 150 years when Henry David Thoreau himself called for making the region “a national preserve” in essays about his travels through the area via foot and canoe in the 1850s. To this day most of the areas in central Maine that Thoreau visited are still primarily undeveloped save for intermittent timber extraction.But recent changes in land ownership there are worrying ecologists. The non-profit RESTORE: The North Woods has been carrying the torch for creating a Maine Woods National Park and Preserve for 20 years and reports that, between 1994 and 2005, the share of forest land in Maine’s 9.3 million acre Unorganized Territory owned by timber companies dropped from 59.2 to 15.5 percent while that owned by investors grew from 3.2 to 32.6 percent. RESTORE is concerned that this dramatic change positions the region for a real estate gold rush. A huge development already planned for the shores of Moosehead Lake in the region is just one example of the kinds of changes afoot that could decimate the region’s wilderness qualities.RESTORE’s proposal, first aired in 1994, calls for setting aside 3.2-million acres surrounding Baxter State Park (home of Maine’s tallest peak, Mt. Katahdin, and the northern tip of the Appalachian Trail) as a national park. Bigger than Yellowstone and Yosemite combined, the proposed park would safeguard thousands of miles of rivers and streams while providing unfragmented habitat for wildlife.According to RESTORE, there are no significant chunks of undeveloped wilderness anywhere in the Northeastern United States and that such a large park “is needed to protect wildlife habitat on a landscape scale to allow for adaptation in the face of unprecedented climate change.” Also, the proposed park would ensure permanent access for outdoor recreation and support a diversified and sustainable economy. Although RESTORE’s campaign has the backing of a majority of Maine residents, it has failed to gain enough traction to make it before Congress. Some blame local opposition, allied as the Maine Woods Coalition, for convincing the state’s Congressional delegation not to push for the proposal.A new proposal from Burt’s bees founder Roxanne Quimby later rekindled the issue: In May 2011 she offered to donate up to 70,000 acres she owns adjacent to Baxter State Park for a new national park, along with a $40 million endowment for park operations. And to appease those opposed to RESTORE’s proposal, she offered a similar amount of land for multiple-use, including hunting. Quimby’s proposal includes only lands she owns, and would create a much smaller park than what RESTORE envisioned.A few months after Quimby made her offer known U.S. Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar and National Park Service Director Jon Jarvis held a public listening session in Millinocket, Maine. But then in February 2012, Maine’s Congressional delegation convinced Secretary Salazar to table the new proposal for the time being. So for now, the fate of millions of trees—the veritable lungs of the Northeastern U.S.—and hundreds of wildlife species may just hang in the balance.CONTACTS: RESTORE’s Maine Woods National Park: A Vision of What Could Be, www.mainewoods.org; Maine Woods Coalition, www.mainewoodscoalition.org.EarthTalk® is written and edited by Roddy Scheer and Doug Moss and is a registered trademark of E – The Environmental Magazine (www.emagazine.com). Send questions to: [email protected] Subscribe: www.emagazine.com/subscribe. Free Trial Issue: www.emagazine.com/trial.