Source: (AFP)

Washington — Facebook unveiled plans Monday on a partnership with New York University for a new center for artificial intelligence, aimed at harnessing the huge social network’s massive trove of data.

The California-based tech giant named professor Yann LeCun of NYU’s Center for Data Science to head up the project.

?As one of the most respected thinkers in this field, Yann has done groundbreaking research in deep learning and computer vision,? said Mike Schroepfer, Facebook?s chief technology officer. ?We?re thrilled to welcome him to Facebook.?

Facebook, the world’s biggest social network with more than a billion members, is building the team across three locations — New York, London and its headquarters in Menlo Park, California.

The lab will work on “machine learning,” — a branch of artificial intelligence that involves computers “learning” to extract knowledge from giant data sets.

Source: ScienceDaily

With evidence growing that meditation can have beneficial health effects, scientists have sought to understand how these practices physically affect the body.

A new study by researchers in Wisconsin, Spain, and France reports the first evidence of specific molecular changes in the body following a period of mindfulness meditation.

The study investigated the effects of a day of intensive mindfulness practice in a group of experienced meditators, compared to a group of untrained control subjects who engaged in quiet non-meditative activities. After eight hours of mindfulness practice, the meditators showed a range of genetic and molecular differences, including altered levels of gene-regulating machinery and reduced levels of pro-inflammatory genes, which in turn correlated with faster physical recovery from a stressful situation.

“To the best of our knowledge, this is the first paper that shows rapid alterations in gene expression within subjects associated with mindfulness meditation practice,” says study author Richard J. Davidson, founder of the Center for Investigating Healthy Minds and the William James and Vilas Professor of Psychology and Psychiatry at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

“Most interestingly, the changes were observed in genes that are the current targets of anti-inflammatory and analgesic drugs,” says Perla Kaliman, first author of the article and a researcher at the Institute of Biomedical Research of Barcelona, Spain (IIBB-CSIC-IDIBAPS), where the molecular analyses were conducted.

The study was published in the journal Psychoneuroendocrinology.