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Exam Code: CSQE Practice exam 2022 by Killexams.com team
CSQE Certified Software Quality Engineer Certification (CSQE)

The Certified Software Quality Engineer (CSQE) understands software quality development and implementation, software inspection, testing, and verification and validation; and implements software development and maintenance processes and methods.CSQEComputer Delivered – The CSQE examination is a one-part, 175-question, four-and-a-half-hour exam and is offered in English only. One hundred and sixty questions are scored and 15 are unscored.Paper and Pencil – The CSQEexamination is a one-part, 160-question, four-hour exam and is offered in English only.

Work experience must be in a full-time, paid role. Paid intern, co-op or any other course work cannot be applied toward the work experience requirement.

Candidates must have eight years of on-the-job experience in one or more of the areas of the Certified Software Quality Engineer Body of Knowledge.

A minimum of three years of this experience must be in a decision-making position. ("Decision-making" is defined as the authority to define, execute, or control projects/processes and to be responsible for the outcome. This may or may not include management or supervisory positions.)

For candidates who were certified by ASQ as a quality auditor, reliability engineer, provider quality professional, quality engineer or quality manager, the experience used to qualify for certification in these fields applies to certification as a software quality engineer.

Here are the minimum expectations of a Certified Software Quality Engineer.
Must possess a fundamental understanding of quality philosophies, principles, methods, tools, standards, organizational and team dynamics, interpersonal relationships, professional ethics, and legal and regulatory requirements. Must evaluate the impact of software quality management principles on business objectives and demonstrate comprehensive knowledge of developing and implementing software quality programs, which include tracking, analyzing, reporting, problem resolution, process improvement, training, and provider management. Must have a basic understanding of how and when to perform software audits including audit planning, approaches, types, analyses, reporting results and follow-up. Must understand systems architecture and be able to implement software development and maintenance processes, quantify the fundamental problems and risks associated with various software development methodologies, and assess, support, and implement process and technology changes.
Must be able to apply project management principles and techniques as they relate to software project planning, implementation and tracking. Must be able to evaluate and manage risk. Must select, define and apply product and process metrics and analytical techniques, and have an understanding of measurement theory and how to communicate results. Must have a thorough understanding of verification and validation processes, including early software defect detection and removal, inspection, and testing methods (e.g., types, levels, strategies, tools and documentation). Must be able to analyze test strategies, develop test plans and execution documents, and review customer deliverables. Must have a basic understanding of configuration management processes, including planning, configuration identification, configuration control, change management, status accounting, auditing and reporting. Must assess the effectiveness of product release and archival processes.

Certification from ASQ is considered a mark of quality excellence in many industries. It helps you advance your career, and boosts your organizations bottom line through your mastery of quality skills. Becoming certified as a Software Quality Engineer confirms your commitment to quality and the positive impact it will have on your organization. ExaminationEach certification candidate is required to pass an examination that consists of multiple-choice questions that measure comprehension of the body of knowledge.

I. General Knowledge (16 questions)A. Benefits of Software Quality Engineering Within the OrganizationDescribe the benefits that software quality engineering can have at the organizational level. (Understand)B. Ethical and Legal Compliance 1. ASQ code of ethics for professional conductDetermine appropriate behavior in situations requiring ethical decisions, including identifying conflicts of interest, recognizing and resolving ethical issues, etc. (Evaluate)2. Regulatory and legal issuesDescribe the importance of compliance to federal, national, and statutory regulations on software development. Determine the impact of issues such as copyright, intellectual property rights, product liability, and data privacy. (Understand) C. Standards and ModelsDefine and describe the ISO 9000 and IEEE software standards, and the SEI Capability Maturity Model Integration (CMMI) for development, services, and acquisition assessment models. (Understand)D. Leadership Skills1. Organizational leadershipUse leadership tools and techniques (e.g., organizational change management, knowledge transfer, motivation, mentoring and coaching, recognition). (Apply)2. Facilitation skillsUse facilitation and conflict resolution skills as well as negotiation techniques to manage and resolve issues. Use meeting management tools to maximize meeting effectiveness. (Apply)3. Communication skillsUse various communication methods in oral, written, and presentation formats. Use various techniques for working in multicultural environments, and identify and describe the impact that culture and communications can have on quality. (Apply)E. Team Skills1. Team managementUse various team management skills, including assigning roles and responsibilities, identifying the classic stages of team development (forming, storming, norming, performing, adjourning), monitoring and responding to group dynamics, working with diverse groups and in distributed work environments, and using techniques for working with virtual teams. (Apply)2. Team toolsUse decision-making and creativity tools such as brainstorming, nominal group technique (NGT), and multi-voting. (Apply)

II. Software Quality Management (22 questions)A. Quality Management System1. Quality goals and objectivesDesign software quality goals and objectives that are consistent with business objectives. Incorporate software quality goals and objectives into high-level program and project plans. Develop and use documents and processes necessary to support software quality management systems. (Create)2. Customers and other stakeholdersDescribe and analyze the effect of various stakeholder group requirements on software projects and products. (Analyze)3. OutsourcingDetermine the impact that outsourced services can have on organizational goals and objectives, and identify criteria for evaluating suppliers/vendors and subcontractors. (Analyze)4. Business continuity, data protection, and data managementDesign plans for business continuity, disaster recovery, business documentation and change management, information security, and protection of sensitive and personal data. (Analyze) B. Methodologies1. Cost of quality (COQ) and return on investment (ROI)Analyze COQ categories (prevention, appraisal, internal failure, external failure) and return on investment (ROI) metrics in relation to products and processes. (Analyze)2. Process improvement Define and describe elements of benchmarking, lean processes, the Six Sigma methodology, and use define, measure, act, improve, control (DMAIC) model and the plan-do-check-act (PDCA) model for process improvement. (Apply)3. Corrective action procedures Evaluate corrective action procedures related to software defects, process nonconformances, and other quality system deficiencies. (Evaluate)4. Defect prevention Design and use defect prevention processes such as technical reviews, software tools and technology, and special training. (Evaluate)C. Audits1. Audit typesDefine and distinguish between various audit types, including process, compliance, supplier, and system. (Understand)2. Audit roles and responsibilitiesIdentify roles and responsibilities for audit participants including client, lead auditor, audit team members, and auditee. (Understand)3. Audit processDefine and describe the steps in conducting an audit, developing and delivering an audit report, and determining appropriate follow-up activities. (Apply)III. System and Software Engineering Processes (32 questions)A. Life Cycles and Process Models1. Waterfall software development life cycleApply the waterfall life cycle and related process models, and identify their benefits and when they are used. (Apply)2. Incremental/iterative software development life cyclesApply the incremental and iterative life cycles and related process models, and identify their benefits and when they are used. (Apply)

Agile software development life cycleApply the agile life cycle and related process models, and identify their benefits and when they are used. (Apply)B. Systems ArchitectureIdentify and describe various architectures, including embedded systems, client-server, n-tier, web, wireless, messaging, and collaboration platforms, and analyze their impact on quality. (Analyze)C. Requirements Engineering1. Product requirements Define and describe various types of product requirements, including system, feature, function, interface, integration, performance, globalization, and localization. (Understand)2. Data/information requirements Define and describe various types of data and information requirements, including data management and data integrity. (Understand)3. Quality requirements Define and describe various types of quality requirements, including reliability and usability. (Understand)

4. Compliance requirementsDefine and describe various types of regulatory and safety requirements. (Understand)5. Security requirementsDefine and describe various types of security requirements including data security, information security, cybersecurity, and data privacy. (Understand)6. Requirements elicitation methodsDescribe and use various requirements elicitation methods, including customer needs analysis, use cases, human factors studies, usability prototypes, joint application development (JAD), storyboards, etc. (Apply)7. Requirements evaluationAssess the completeness, consistency, correctness, and testability of requirements, and determine their priority. (Evaluate)D. Requirements Management1. Requirements change managementAssess the impact that changes to requirements will have on software development processes for all types of life-cycle models. (Evaluate)2. Bidirectional traceabilityUse various tools and techniques to ensure bidirectional traceability from requirements elicitation and analysis through design and testing. (Apply)E. Software Analysis, Design, and Development1. Design methodsIdentify the steps used in software design and their functions, and define and distinguish between software design methods. (Understand)2. Quality attributes and designAnalyze the impact that quality-related elements (safety, security, reliability, usability, reusability, maintainability) can have on software design. (Analyze)3. Software reuseDefine and distinguish between software reuse, reengineering, and reverse engineering, and describe the impact these practices can have on software quality. (Understand)4. Software development toolsAnalyze and select the appropriate development tools for modeling, code analysis, requirements management, and documentation. (Analyze)F. Maintenance Management1. Maintenance typesDescribe the characteristics of corrective, adaptive, perfective, and preventive maintenance types. (Understand)2. Maintenance strategyDescribe various factors affecting the strategy for software maintenance, including service-level agreements (SLAs), short- and long-term costs, maintenance releases, and product discontinuance, and their impact on software quality. (Understand)3. Customer feedback managementDescribe the importance of customer feedback management including quality of product support and post-delivery issues analysis and resolution. (Understand)IV. Project Management (22 questions)A. Planning, Scheduling, and Deployment1. Project planningUse forecasts, resources, schedules, task and cost estimates, etc., to develop project plans. (Apply)2. Work breakdown structure (WBS) Use work breakdown structure (WBS) in scheduling and monitoring projects. (Apply)3. Project deploymentUse various tools, including milestones, objectives achieved, and task duration to set goals and deploy the project. (Apply)

B. Tracking and Controlling1. Phase transition controlUse various tools and techniques such as entry/exit criteria, quality gates, Gantt charts, integrated master schedules, etc., to control phase transitions. (Apply)2. Tracking methodsCalculate project-related costs, including earned value, deliverables, productivity, etc., and track the results against project baselines. (Apply)3. Project reviewsUse various types of project reviews such as phase-end, management, and retrospectives or post-project reviews to assess project performance and status, to review issues and risks, and to discover and capture lessons learned from the project. (Apply)4. Program reviewsDefine and describe various methods for reviewing and assessing programs in terms of their performance, technical accomplishments, resource utilization, etc. (Understand)C. Risk Management1. Risk management methodsUse risk management techniques (e.g., assess, prevent, mitigate, transfer) to evaluate project risks. (Evaluate)2. Software security risksEvaluate risks specific to software security, including deliberate attacks (hacking, sabotage, etc.), inherent defects that allow unauthorized access to data, and other security breaches. Plan appropriate responses to minimize their impact. (Evaluate)3. Safety and hazard analysisEvaluate safety risks and hazards related to software development and implementation and determine appropriate steps to minimize their impact. (Evaluate)V. Software Metrics and Analysis (19 questions)A. Process and Product Measurement1. Terminology Define and describe metric and measurement terms such as reliability, internal and external validity, explicit and derived measures, and variation. (Understand)2. Software product metricsChoose appropriate metrics to assess various software attributes (e.g., size, complexity, the amount of test coverage needed, requirements volatility, and overall system performance). (Apply)3. Software process metricsMeasure the effectiveness and efficiency of software processes (e.g., functional verification tests (FVT), cost, yield, customer impact, defect detection, defect containment, total defect containment effectiveness (TDCE), defect removal efficiency (DRE), process capability). (Apply)4. Data integrity Describe the importance of data integrity from planning through collection and analysis and apply various techniques to ensure data quality, accuracy, completeness, and timeliness. (Apply)B. Analysis and Reporting Techniques1. Metric reporting tools Using various metric representation tools, including dashboards, stoplight charts, etc., to report results. (Apply)2. Classic quality toolsDescribe the appropriate use of classic quality tools (e.g., flowcharts, Pareto charts, cause and effect diagrams, control charts, and histograms). (Apply)

3. Problem-solving toolsDescribe the appropriate use of problem solving tools (e.g., affinity and tree diagrams, matrix and activity network diagrams, root cause analysis and data flow diagrams [DFDs]). (Apply)VI. Software Verification and Validation (29 questions)A. Theory1. V&V methods Use software verification and validation methods (e.g., static analysis, structural analysis, mathematical proof, simulation, and automation) and determine which tasks should be iterated as a result of modifications. (Apply)2. Software product evaluationUse various evaluation methods on documentation, source code, etc., to determine whether user needs and project objectives have been satisfied. (Analyze)B. Test Planning and Design1. Test strategies Select and analyze test strategies (e.g., test-driven design, good-enough, risk-based, time-box, top-down, bottom-up, black-box, white-box, simulation, automation, etc.) for various situations. (Analyze) 2. Test plansDevelop and evaluate test plans and procedures, including system, acceptance, validation, etc., to determine whether project objectives are being met and risks are appropriately mitigated. (Create)3. Test designsSelect and evaluate various test designs, including fault insertion, fault-error handling, equivalence class partitioning, and boundary value. (Evaluate)4. Software testsIdentify and use various tests, including unit, functional, performance, integration, regression, usability, acceptance, certification, environmental load, stress, worst-case, perfective, exploratory, and system. (Apply)5. Tests of external products Determine appropriate levels of testing for integrating supplier, third-party, and subcontractor components and products. (Apply)6. Test coverage specificationsEvaluate the adequacy of test specifications such as functions, states, data and time domains, interfaces, security, and configurations that include internationalization and platform variances. (Evaluate)7. Code coverage techniquesUse and identify various tools and techniques to facilitate code coverage analysis techniques such as branch coverage, condition, domain, and boundary. (Apply)8. Test environmentsSelect and use simulations, test libraries, drivers, stubs, harnesses, etc., and identify parameters to establish a controlled test environment. (Analyze)9. Test toolsIdentify and use test utilities, diagnostics, automation, and test management tools. (Apply)10. Test data managementEnsure the integrity and security of test data through the use of configuration controls. (Apply)C. Reviews and InspectionsUse desk checks, peer reviews, walk-throughs, inspections, etc., to identify defects. (Apply)D. Test Execution DocumentsReview and evaluate test execution documents such as test results, defect reporting and tracking records, test completion metrics, trouble reports, and input/output specifications. (Evaluate)

VII. Software Configuration Management (20 questions)A. Configuration Infrastructure1. Configuration management teamDescribe the roles and responsibilities of a configuration management group. (Understand) (NOTE: The roles and responsibilities of the configuration control board [CCB] are covered in area VII.C.2.)2. Configuration management toolsDescribe configuration management tools as they are used for managing libraries, build systems, and defect tracking systems. (Understand)3. Library processes Describe dynamic, static, and controlled library processes and related procedures, such as check-in/check-out, and merge changes. (Understand)B. Configuration Identification 1. Configuration items Describe software configuration items (baselines, documentation, software code, equipment) and identification methods (naming conventions, versioning schemes). (Understand)2. Software builds and baselinesDescribe the relationship between software builds and baselines, and describe methods for controlling builds and baselines (automation, new versions). (Understand)C. Configuration Control and Status Accounting1. Item change and version controlDescribe processes for documentation control, item change tracking, version control that are used to manage various configurations, and describe processes used to manage configuration item dependencies in software builds and versioning. (Understand)2. Configuration control board (CCB)Describe the roles, responsibilities and processes of the CCB. (Understand) (NOTE: The roles and responsibilities of the configuration management team are covered in area VII.A.1.)3. Concurrent developmentDescribe the use of configuration management control principles in concurrent development processes. (Understand)4. Status accountingDiscuss various processes for establishing, maintaining, and reporting the status of configuration items, such as baselines, builds, and tools. (Understand)D. Configuration AuditsDefine and distinguish between functional and physical configuration audits and how they are used in relation to product specification. (Understand) E. Product Release and Distribution 1. Product releaseAssess the effectiveness of product release processes (planning, scheduling, defining hardware and software dependencies). (Evaluate)2. Customer deliverablesAssess the completeness of customer deliverables including packaged and hosted or downloadable products, license keys and user documentation, and marketing and training materials. (Evaluate)3. Archival processesAssess the effectiveness of source and release archival processes (backup planning and scheduling, data retrieval, archival of build environments, retention of historical records, offsite storage). (Evaluate)

Certified Software Quality Engineer Certification (CSQE)
Quality-Assurance Certification availability
Killexams : Quality-Assurance Certification availability - BingNews https://killexams.com/pass4sure/exam-detail/CSQE Search results Killexams : Quality-Assurance Certification availability - BingNews https://killexams.com/pass4sure/exam-detail/CSQE https://killexams.com/exam_list/Quality-Assurance Killexams : Best InfoSec and Cybersecurity Certifications of 2022
  • The U.S. job market has almost 600,000 openings requesting cybersecurity-related skills. 
  • Employers are struggling to fill these openings due to a general cyber-skill shortage, with many openings remaining vacant each year. 
  • When evaluating prospective information-security candidates, employers should look for certifications as an important measure of excellence and commitment to quality.
  • This article is for business owners looking to hire cybersecurity experts, or for individuals interested in pursuing a cybersecurity career. 

Cybersecurity is one of the most crucial areas for ensuring a business’s success and longevity. With cyberattacks growing in sophistication, it’s essential for business owners to protect their companies by hiring qualified cybersecurity experts to manage this aspect of their business. The best candidates will have a certification in information security and cybersecurity. This guide breaks down the top certifications and other guidance you’ll need to make the right hire for your company. It’s also a great primer for individuals who are embarking on a cybersecurity career.

Best information security and cybersecurity certifications

When evaluating prospective InfoSec candidates, employers frequently look to certification as an important measure of excellence and commitment to quality. We examined five InfoSec certifications we consider to be leaders in the field of information security today.

This year’s list includes entry-level credentials, such as Security+, as well as more advanced certifications, like Certified Ethical Hacker (CEH), Certified Information Systems Security Professional (CISSP), Certified Information Security Manager (CISM) and Certified Information Systems Auditor (CISA). According to CyberSeek, more employers are seeking CISA, CISM and CISSP certification holders than there are credential holders, which makes these credentials a welcome addition to any certification portfolio.

Absent from our list of the top five is SANS GIAC Security Essentials (GSEC). Although this certification is still a very worthy credential, the job board numbers for CISA were so solid that it merited a spot in the top five. Farther down in this guide, we offer some additional certification options because the field of information security is both wide and varied.

1. CEH: Certified Ethical Hacker

The CEH (ANSI) certification is an intermediate-level credential offered by the International Council of E-Commerce Consultants (EC-Council). It’s a must-have for IT professionals who are pursuing careers in white hat hacking and certifies their competence in the five phases of ethical hacking: reconnaissance, enumeration, gaining of access, access maintenance and track covering. 

CEH credential holders possess skills and knowledge of hacking practices in areas such as footprinting and reconnaissance, network scanning, enumeration, system hacking, Trojans, worms and viruses, sniffers, denial-of-service attacks, social engineering, session hijacking, web server hacking, wireless networks and web applications, SQL injection, cryptography, penetration testing, IDS evasion, firewalls and honeypots. CEH V11 provides a remapping of the course to the NIST/NICE framework’s Protect and Defend (PR) job role category, as well as an additional focus on emerging threats in cloud, OT and IT security, such as fileless malware.

To obtain a CEH (ANSI) certification, candidates must pass one exam. A comprehensive five-day CEH training course is recommended, with the exam presented at the course’s conclusion. Candidates may self-study for the exam but must submit documentation of at least two years of work experience in information security with employer verification. Self-study candidates must also pay an additional $100 application fee. Education may be substituted for experience, but this is evaluated on a case-by-case basis. Candidates who complete any EC-Council-approved training (including with the iClass platform, academic institutions or an accredited training center) do not need to submit an application prior to attempting the exam.

Because technology in the field of hacking changes almost daily, CEH credential holders are required to obtain 120 continuing-education credits for each three-year cycle.

Once a candidate obtains the CEH (ANSI) designation, a logical progression on the EC-Council certification ladder is the CEH (Practical) credential. The CEH (Practical) designation targets the application of CEH skills to real-world security audit challenges and related scenarios. To obtain the credential, candidates must pass a rigorous six-hour practical examination. Conducted on live virtual machines, candidates are presented 20 scenarios with questions designed to validate a candidate’s ability to perform tasks such as vulnerability analysis, identification of threat vectors, web app and system hacking, OS detection, network scanning, packet sniffing, steganography and virus identification. Candidates who pass both the CEH (ANSI) and the CEH (Practical) exams earn the CEH (Master) designation.

CEH facts and figures

Certification name Certified Ethical Hacker (CEH) (ANSI)
Prerequisites and required courses Training is highly recommended. Without formal training, candidates must have at least two years of information security-related experience and an educational background in information security, pay a nonrefundable eligibility application fee of $100 and submit an exam eligibility form before purchasing an exam voucher.
Number of exams One: 312-50 (ECC Exam)/312-50 (VUE) (125 multiple-choice questions, four hours)
Cost of exam $950 (ECC exam voucher) Note: An ECC exam voucher allows candidates to test via computer at a location of their choice. Pearson VUE exam vouchers allow candidates to test in a Pearson VUE facility and cost $1,199.
URL https://www.eccouncil.org/programs/certified-ethical-hacker-ceh
Self-study materials EC-Council instructor-led courses, computer-based training, online courses and more are available at ECCouncil.org. A CEH skills assessment is also available for credential seekers. Additionally, Udemy offers CEH practice exams. CEH-approved educational materials are available for $850 from EC-Council.

Certified Ethical Hacker (CEH) training

While EC-Council offers both instructor-led and online training for its CEH certification, IT professionals have plenty of other options for self-study materials, including video training, practice exams and books.

Pluralsight currently offers an ethical-hacking learning path geared toward the 312-50 exam. With a monthly subscription, you get access to all of these courses, plus everything else in Pluralsight’s training library. Through Pluralsight’s learning path, students can prepare for all of the domains covered in the CEH exam.  

CyberVista offers a practice exam for the CEH 312-50 certification that includes several sets of exam-like questions, custom quizzes, flash cards and more. An exam prep subscription for 180 days costs $149 and gives candidates access to online study materials, as well as the ability to get the materials for offline study. Backed by its “pass guarantee,” CyberVista is so confident its practice exam will prepare you for the CEH exam that the company will refund its practice test costs if you don’t pass.

Did you know?FYI: Besides certifications in information security and cybersecurity, the best IT certifications cover areas such as disaster recovery, virtualization and telecommunications.

2. CISM: Certified Information Security Manager

The CISM certification is a top credential for IT professionals who are responsible for managing, developing and overseeing information security systems in enterprise-level applications or for developing organizational security best practices. The CISM credential was introduced to security professionals in 2003 by the Information Systems Audit and Control Association (ISACA).

ISACA’s organizational goals are specifically geared toward IT professionals who are interested in the highest-quality standards with respect to the auditing, control and security of information systems. The CISM credential targets the needs of IT security professionals with enterprise-level security management responsibilities. Credential holders possess advanced and proven skills in security risk management, program development and management, governance, and incident management and response.

Holders of the CISM credential, which is designed for experienced security professionals, must agree to ISACA’s code of ethics, pass a comprehensive examination, possess at least five years of experience in information security management, comply with the organization’s continuing education policy and submit a written application. Some combinations of education and experience may be substituted for the full experience requirement.

The CISM credential is valid for three years, and credential holders must pay an annual maintenance fee of $45 (ISACA members) or $85 (nonmembers). Credential holders are also required to obtain a minimum of 120 continuing professional education (CPE) credits over the three-year term to maintain the credential. At least 20 CPE credits must be earned every year.

CISM facts and figures

Certification name

Certified Information Security Manager (CISM)

Prerequisites and required courses

To obtain the CISM credential, candidates must do the following:

  1. Pass the CISM exam.
  2. Agree to the ISACA code of professional ethics.
  3. Adhere to ISACA’s CPE policy
  4. Possess a minimum of five years of information security work experience in described job practice analysis areas. Experience must be verifiable and obtained in the 10-year period prior to the application date or within five years of exam passage. There are some exceptions to this requirement depending on the current credentials held.
  5. Apply for CISM certification. (The processing fee is $50.) The credential must be obtained within five years of exam passage.

Number of exams

One: 150 questions, four hours

Cost of exam

Exam fees: $575 (members), $760 (nonmembers)

Exam fees are nontransferable and nonrefundable.

URL

https://www.isaca.org/credentialing/cism

Self-study materials

Training and study materials in various languages, information on job practice areas, primary references, publications, articles, the ISACA Journal, review courses, an exam prep community, terminology lists, a glossary and more are available at ISACA.org. Additionally, Udemy offers comprehensive training for the certification exam.

Other ISACA certification program elements

In addition to CISM, ISACA offers numerous certifications for those interested in information security and best practices. Other credentials worth considering include the following:

  • Certified Information Systems Auditor (CISA)
  • Certified in the Governance of Enterprise IT (CGEIT)
  • Certified in Risk and Information Systems Control (CRISC)

The CISA designation was created for professionals working with information systems auditing, control or security and is popular enough with employers to earn it a place on the leaderboard. The CGEIT credential targets IT professionals working in enterprise IT management, governance, strategic alignment, value delivery, and risk and resource performance management. IT professionals who are seeking careers in all aspects of risk management will find that the CRISC credential nicely meets their needs.

Certified Information Security Manager (CISM) training

Pluralsight offers a CISM learning path containing five courses and 17 hours of instruction. The courses cover the domains addressed in the exam, but the learning path is aimed at the CISM job practice areas. 

CyberVista offers a CISM online training course in both live and on-demand formats. The course includes more than 16 hours of training videos, supplementary lessons, custom quizzes, practice exam questions and access to experts through the instructor. As with other CyberVista courses, the CISM training course comes with a “pass guarantee.” 

Did you know?Did you know?: According to CyberSeek, there are enough workers to fill only 68% of the cybersecurity job openings in the U.S. A cybersecurity certification is an important way to demonstrate the knowledge and ability to succeed in these job roles.

3. CompTIA Security+

CompTIA’s Security+ is a well-respected, vendor-neutral security certification. Security+ credential holders are recognized as possessing superior technical skills, broad knowledge and expertise in multiple security-related disciplines.

Although Security+ is an entry-level certification, the ideal candidates possess at least two years of experience working in network security and should consider first obtaining the Network+ certification. IT pros who obtain this certification have expertise in areas such as threat management, cryptography, identity management, security systems, security risk identification and mitigation, network access control, and security infrastructure. The CompTIA Security+ credential is approved by the U.S. Department of Defense to meet Directive 8140/8570.01-M requirements. In addition, the Security+ credential complies with the standards for ISO 17024.

The Security+ credential requires a single exam, currently priced at $381. (Discounts may apply to employees of CompTIA member companies and full-time students.) Training is available but not required.

IT professionals who earned the Security+ certification prior to Jan. 1, 2011, remain certified for life. Those who certify after that date must renew the certification every three years to stay current. To renew, candidates must obtain 50 continuing-education units (CEUs) or complete the CertMaster CE online course prior to the expiration of the three-year period. CEUs can be obtained by engaging in activities such as teaching, blogging, publishing articles or whitepapers, and participating in professional conferences and similar activities.

CompTIA Security+ facts and figures

Certification name

CompTIA Security+

Prerequisites and required courses

None. CompTIA recommends at least two years of experience in IT administration (with a security focus) and the Network+ credential before the Security+ exam. Udemy offers a complete and comprehensive course for the certification.

Number of exams

One: SY0-601 (maximum of 90 questions, 90 minutes to complete; 750 on a scale of 100-900 required to pass)

Cost of exam

$381 (discounts may apply; search for “SY0-601 voucher”)

URL

https://certification.comptia.org/certifications/security

Self-study materials

Exam objectives, trial questions, the CertMaster online training tool, training kits, computer-based training and a comprehensive study guide are available at CompTIA.org.

CompTIA Security+ training

You’ll find several companies offering online training, instructor-led and self-study courses, practice exams and books to help you prepare for and pass the Security+ exam.

Pluralsight offers a Security+ learning path as a part of its monthly subscription plan for the latest SY0-601 exam. Split into six sections, the training series is more than 24 hours long and covers attacks, threats and vulnerabilities; architecture and design; implementation of secure solutions; operations and incident response; and governance, risk and compliance.

CyberVista offers a Security+ practice exam so you can test your security knowledge before attempting the SY0-601 exam. The test comes with a 180-day access period and includes multiple sets of exam questions, key concept flash cards, access to InstructorLink experts, a performance tracker and more. As with CyberVista’s other offerings, this practice exam comes with a “pass guarantee.”

4. CISSP: Certified Information Systems Security Professional

CISSP is an advanced-level certification for IT pros who are serious about careers in information security. Offered by the International Information Systems Security Certification Consortium, known as (ISC)2 (pronounced “ISC squared”), this vendor-neutral credential is recognized worldwide for its standards of excellence.

CISSP credential holders are decision-makers who possess the expert knowledge and technical skills necessary to develop, guide and manage security standards, policies and procedures within their organizations. The CISSP certification continues to be highly sought after by IT professionals and is well recognized by IT organizations. It is a regular fixture on most-wanted and must-have security certification surveys.

CISSP is designed for experienced security professionals. A minimum of five years of experience in at least two of (ISC)2’s eight common body of knowledge (CBK) domains, or four years of experience in at least two of (ISC)2’s CBK domains and a college degree or an approved credential, is required for this certification. The CBK domains are security and risk management, asset security, security architecture and engineering, communications and network security, identity and access management, security assessment and testing, security operations, and software development security.

(ISC)2 also offers three CISSP concentrations targeting specific areas of interest in IT security:

  • Architecture (CISSP-ISSAP)
  • Engineering (CISSP-ISSEP)
  • Management (CISSP-ISSMP)

Each CISSP concentration exam is $599, and credential seekers must currently possess a valid CISSP.

An annual fee of $125 is required to maintain the CISSP credential. Recertification is required every three years. To recertify, candidates must earn 40 CPE credits each year, for a total of 120 CPE credits within the three-year cycle.

CISSP facts and figures 

Certification name

Certified Information Systems Security Professional (CISSP) 

Optional CISSP concentrations:  

  • CISSP Architecture (CISSP-ISSAP)
  • CISSP Engineering (CISSP-ISSEP)
  • CISSP Management (CISSP-ISSMP)

Prerequisites and required courses

At least five years of paid, full-time experience in at least two of the eight (ISC)2 domains or four years of paid, full-time experience in at least two of the eight (ISC)2 domains and a college degree or an approved credential are required. Candidates must also do the following:

  • Agree to the (ISC)2 code of ethics.
  • Submit the CISSP application.
  • Complete the endorsement process.

Number of exams

One for CISSP (English CAT exam: 100-150 questions, three hours to complete; non-English exam: 250 questions, six hours) 

One for each concentration area

Cost of exam

CISSP is $749; each CISSP concentration is $599.

URL

https://www.isc2.org/Certifications/CISSP

Self-study materials

Training materials include instructor-led, live online, on-demand and private training. There is an exam outline available for review, as well as study guides, a study app, interactive flash cards and practice tests.

Certified Information Systems Security Professional (CISSP) training

Given the popularity of the CISSP certification, there is no shortage of available training options. These include classroom-based training offered by (ISC)2, as well as online video courses, practice exams and books from third-party companies.

Pluralsight’s CISSP learning path includes 12 courses and 25 hours of e-learning covering the security concepts required for the certification exam. Available for a low monthly fee, the CISSP courses are part of a subscription plan that gives IT professionals access to Pluralsight’s complete library of video training courses.

When you’re ready to test your security knowledge, you can take a simulated exam that mimics the format and content of the real CISSP exam. Udemy offers CISSP practice questions to help you prepare for this challenging exam.

5. CISA: Certified Information Systems Auditor

ISACA’s globally recognized CISA certification is the gold standard for IT workers seeking to practice in information security, audit control and assurance. Ideal candidates can identify and assess organizational threats and vulnerabilities, assess compliance, and provide guidance and organizational security controls. CISA-certified professionals demonstrate knowledge and skill across the CISA job practice areas of auditing, governance and management, acquisition, development and implementation, maintenance and service management, and asset protection.

To earn the CISA certification, candidates must pass one exam, submit an application, agree to the code of professional ethics, agree to the CPE requirements and agree to the organization’s information systems auditing standards. In addition, candidates must possess at least five years of experience working with information systems. Some substitutions for education and experience with auditing are permitted.

To maintain the CISA certification, candidates must earn 120 CPE credits over a three-year period, with a minimum of 20 CPE credits earned annually. Candidates must also pay an annual maintenance fee ($45 for members; $85 for nonmembers).

CISA facts and figures

Certification name

Certified Information Systems Auditor (CISA)

Prerequisites and required courses

To obtain the CISA credential, candidates must do the following:

  1. Pass the CISA exam.
  2. Agree to the ISACA code of professional ethics.
  3. Adhere to ISACA’s CPE policy.
  4. Agree to the information auditing standards.
  5. Possess a minimum of five years of information systems auditing, control or security work in described job practice analysis areas. Experience must be verifiable and obtained in the 10-year period prior to the application date or within five years after the exam is passed. There are some exceptions to this requirement depending on the current credentials held.
  6. Apply for CISA certification. (The processing fee is $50.) The credential must be obtained within five years of exam passage.

Number of exams

One: 150 questions, four hours

Cost of exam

$575 (members); $760 (nonmembers)

URL

https://www.isaca.org/credentialing/cisa

Self-study materials

ISACA offers a variety of training options, including virtual instructor-led courses, online and on-demand training, review manuals and question databases. Numerous books and self-study materials are also available on Amazon.

Certified Information Systems Auditor (CISA) training

Training opportunities for the CISA certification are plentiful. Udemy offers more than 160 CISA-related courses, lectures, practice exams, question sets and more. On Pluralsight, you’ll find 12 courses with 27 hours of information systems auditor training covering all CISA job practice domains for the CISA job practice areas.

Beyond the top 5: More cybersecurity certifications

In addition to these must-have credentials, many other certifications are available to fit the career needs of any IT professional interested in information security. Business owners should consider employing workers with these credentials as well.

  • The SANS GIAC Security Essentials (GSEC) certification remains an excellent entry-level credential for IT professionals seeking to demonstrate that they not only understand information security terminology and concepts but also possess the skills and technical expertise necessary to occupy “hands-on” security roles.
  • If you find incident response and investigation intriguing, check out the Logical Operations CyberSec First Responder (CFR) certification. This ANSI-accredited and U.S. DoD-8570-compliant credential recognizes security professionals who can design secure IT environments, perform threat analysis, and respond appropriately and effectively to cyberattacks. Logical Operations also offers other certifications, including Master Mobile Application Developer (MMAD), Certified Virtualization Professional (CVP), Cyber Secure Coder and CloudMASTER.
  • The associate-level Cisco Certified CyberOps Associate certification is aimed at analysts in security operations centers at large companies and organizations. Candidates who qualify through Cisco’s global scholarship program may receive free training, mentoring and testing to help them achieve a range of entry-level to expert certifications that the company offers. CompTIA Cybersecurity Analyst (CySA+), which launched in 2017, is a vendor-neutral certification designed for professionals with three to four years of security and behavioral analytics experience.
  • The Identity Management Institute offers several credentials for identity and access management, data protection, identity protection, identity governance and more. The International Association of Privacy Professionals (IAPP), which focuses on privacy, has a small but growing number of certifications as well.
  • The SECO-Institute, in cooperation with the Security Academy Netherlands and APMG, is behind the Cyber Security & Governance Certification Program; SECO-Institute certifications aren’t well known in the United States, but their popularity is growing. 
  • It also may be worth your time to browse the Chartered Institute of Information Security accreditations, the U.K. equivalent of the U.S. DoD 8570 certifications and the corresponding 8140 framework.

Also, consider these five entry-level cybersecurity certifications for more options.

TipTip: Before you decide to purchase training for a certification or an exam voucher, see if your employer will cover the cost. Employers may cover all or part of the cost if you have a continuing education or training allowance, or if the certification is in line with your current or potential job duties.

Information security and cybersecurity jobs

According to CyberSeek, the number of cybersecurity job openings in the U.S. stands at almost 598,000, with about 1.05 million cybersecurity professionals employed in today’s workforce. Projections continue to be robust: The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics expects 33% growth in information security analyst positions between 2020 and 2030; in comparison, the average rate of growth for all occupations is about 8%.

Security-related job roles include information security specialist, security analyst, network security administrator, system administrator (with security as a responsibility) and security engineer, as well as specialized roles, like malware engineer, intrusion analyst and penetration tester.

Average salaries for information security specialists and security engineers – two of the most common job roles – vary depending on the source. For example, SimplyHired reports about $74,000 for specialist positions, whereas Glassdoor‘s national average is about $108,000. For security engineers, SimplyHired reports almost $112,000, while Glassdoor’s average is more than $111,000, with salaries on the high end reported at $261,000. Note that these numbers frequently change as the sources regularly update their data. [Meet the man who kept Microsoft safe and secure for more than a decade.]

Our informal job board survey from April 2022 reports the number of job posts nationwide in which our featured certifications were mentioned on a given day. This should supply you an idea of the relative popularity of each certification.

Job board search results (in alphabetical order by cybersecurity certification)

Certification

SimplyHired

Indeed

LinkedIn Jobs

TechCareers

Total

CEH (EC-Council)

1,989

3,907

7,952

2,829

16,677

CISA (ISACA)

5,389

12,507

20,573

4,701

43,170

CISM (ISACA)

3,467

6,656

14,503

4,072

28,698

CISSP [(ISC)2]

11,472

23,463

34,716

11,060

80,711

Security+ (CompTIA)

5,953

6,680

5,998

1,851

20,482

Did you know?Did you know?: Cybersecurity matters even when you’re traveling. Find out how to keep your computer secure when you’re on the road for business or pleasure.

The importance of hiring information security and cybersecurity professionals

According to Risk Based Security‘s 2021 Year End Data Breach Quickview Report, there were 4,145 publicly disclosed breaches throughout 2021, containing over 22 billion records. This is the second-highest number of breached records, after an all-time high the year before. The U.S. was particularly affected, with the number of breaches increasing 10% compared with the previous year. More than 80% of the records exposed throughout 2021 were due to human error, highlighting an ever-increasing need for cybersecurity education, as well as for highly skilled and trained cybersecurity professionals. [Learn how to recover from a data breach.]

If you’re serious about advancing your career in the IT field and are interested in specializing in security, certification is a great choice. It’s an effective way to validate your skills and show a current or prospective employer that you’re qualified and properly trained. If you’re a business owner, hiring certified professionals and skilled IT managers can help prevent cyberattacks and provide confidence that your company’s security is in the right hands. In the meantime, review our quick cybersecurity tips to Strengthen your company’s protection.

Jeremy Bender contributed to the writing and research in this article.

Thu, 01 Dec 2022 10:00:00 -0600 en text/html https://www.businessnewsdaily.com/10708-information-security-certifications.html
Killexams : Applications due soon for Dec. 20 PQA5 Advisor Certification Session

The application deadline for Iowa Pork Industry Center’s next Pork Quality Assurance Advisor certification session is approaching, and those interested in attending should submit their application soon. The session date is Dec. 20, and the application deadline for this virtual session is Dec. 13. Iowa State University Extension and Outreach swine veterinarian Chris Rademacher organizes these sessions, and said the session, including exam, will take approximately six hours to complete.

“Anyone whose certification has expired or who is a first time advisor must do an in-person training like this virtual offering,” he said.

Rademacher, who also is interim IPIC director, reminds potential applicants that while this session is virtual — meaning no travel is required — the application process hasn’t changed.

“Qualification requirements are available on the two-page application form, which is available as both a fillable pdf document and a word document from the PQA page on the IPIC website,” Rademacher said. “Applicants may use either version. No individual spot is guaranteed until the application is approved and specific payment is accepted by IPIC.”

The cost is $85 per person and includes all materials and online access. Registration starts at 10 a.m. Dec. 20 and the session begins at 10:30 a.m., and connection information will be shared with approved applicants closer to that date.

Future PQA Advisor certification sessions will be scheduled based on industry and applicant need, and application information will be shared when that is available.

Tue, 06 Dec 2022 06:03:00 -0600 en text/html https://www.newtondailynews.com/news/local/2022/12/06/applications-due-soon-for-dec-20-pqa5-advisor-certification-session/
Killexams : Quality Assurance Using Scanning Acoustic Microscopy

Most automated quality inspection technologies involve machine vision systems and, increasingly, aspects of artificial intelligence-powered software to speed the identification of part defects. But vision-based quality inspection is not the only quality inspection technology available to manufacturers. Another option is scanning acoustic microscopy (SAM).

Also known as ultrasonic non-destructive testing, SAM can identify small defects during manufacturing and analyze the specific root cause of a failure when a device fails in the field.

Hari Polu, president of Okos, a provider of industrial SAM systems, says the SAM technology makes it possible for manufacturers to move to a higher level of failure analysis because of SAM’s ability to detect defects at a 50-micron level. “With this type of testing, we can inspect materials and discover flaws that were previously undetected,” Polu says.

He adds that a growing number of manufacturers are equipping their R&D and quality assurance labs with SAM, as well as integrating it into production lines for inspection. According to Polu, SAM testing is already the industry standard for inspection of semiconductor components to identify defects such as voids, cracks, and the delamination of different layers within microelectronic devices.

How SAM works

Using SAM, sound is directed from a transducer toward a small point on a target object. To produce an image for quality analyses based on the sound pulses, scans are produced. These scans range from single to multiple layers, which can include up to 50 independent layers. These multi-layer scans allow for “depth-specific information to be extracted and applied to create two-and three-dimensional images without the need for time-consuming tomographic scan procedures or X-ray equipment,” says Polu.

Illustration of SAM. Source: Springeropen.comIllustration of SAM. Source: Springeropen.comThese images are then analyzed by software to detect and characterize flaws such as cracks and voids.

Polu says advanced, phased array SAM systems can detect minute flaws in specialty metals and alloys.

SAM at scale

Even though small manufacturers can use a tabletop SAM system for scan envelopes of more than 300mm with a scan velocity up to 500 mm/s and accuracy and repeatability of +/- 5.0 micron, larger manufacturers typically require higher speed inspection capabilities.

Performing such high-speed inspections with 100% accuracy, as typically required by semiconductor manufacturers, requires automated equipment that can simultaneously inspect several layers, often on multiple channels.

“When high throughput is required for 100% inspection, ultra-fast single or dual gantry scanning systems are utilized along with 128 sensors for phased array scanning,” says Polu. “Multiple transducers can also be used to simultaneously scan for higher throughput.”

Polu noted that an advanced phased array with up to 128 sensors and accompanying software can enable inspection times of five minutes for granular detection of small impurities or defects, compared to the 45-minute inspection time required for a 5 MHz sensor to inspect an 8–10-in. square or disc alloy.

Okos Vue 400-P SAM system. Source: OkosOkos Vue 400-P SAM system. Source: OkosThe Okos software designed to accompany the physical and mechanical SAM scans enable A, B, and C scans, contour following, off-line analysis, and virtual rescanning for composites, metals, and alloys. Polu says this results in highly accurate internal and external inspection for defects and thickness measurement via the inspection software.

“Various software modes can be simple and user friendly, advanced for detailed analysis, or automated for production scanning,” says Polu. “An off-line analysis mode is also available for virtual scanning.”

Okos’ software-driven SAM model enables the company to reduce the costs of SAM testing while still delivering high quality inspection results, thus putting SAM technology “well within reach of even modest testing labs,” he says.

Tue, 29 Nov 2022 03:06:00 -0600 en-us text/html https://www.automationworld.com/factory/sensors/article/22578269/quality-assurance-using-scanning-acoustic-microscopy
Killexams : Dr Ivo Abraham Column: 1 Billion People Can Access Biosimilars; What About the Other 7 Billion?

A couple weeks ago, the 8 billionth person was born. Where? We shall never know but there is, roughly, an 85% chance it was not in a high-income country. Think of how many people live in countries where quality biosimilars are available—say, for the sake of argument, about 1 billion. Add to this that the future of biosimilars relies, to a large extent, on their commoditization, as I argued in last month’s column.

Not a perfect storm

A promising opportunity

Time to Think 7 Billion

Let me introduce the concept of LMICs— an abbreviation for the World Bank’s classification of countries as low- and middle-income countries. The World Bank does so based on a country’s gross national income (GNI) per capita. A low-income country (LIC) is one with a GNI per capita of $1,085 a year or less. Divide that by 365 days: that’s what, on average, a person in a LIC lives on daily—yes, $2.97 a day. To be considered a lower middle-income country, the GNI per capita rises to a maximum of $4,255 per year—$11.66 per person per day. Then, the upper middle-income countries have a GNI per capita up to $13,205 per year—$36.12 per person a day. Above that is considered a high-income country—the United States comes in at a multiple of that.

Where are the biosimilars commodity markets? This map should supply you an idea of where the present is and where the future lies; where people’s health care needs are met and where they are not; and where the other 7 billion are.

1 billion biosimilar worldwide

7 billion in-need worldwide

Responsible and Pragmatic

You might expect this column to go down the usual path of armchair compassion and soft guilt-tripping. Let’s be responsible and pragmatic instead and consider 4 elements:

One, the 1 billion have a commoditized asset (biosimilars) but too many choices (how many adalimumab biosimilars?) from too many manufacturers (some on an insecure economic footing). The 1 billion have the capacity, but with the flood of some biosimilars, there is, realistically, a risk of excess production output or a risk of underutilized production capacity.

Two, there is a massive unmet need for health care among the remaining 7 billion people. Health care is their right, just as it is ours.

Three, the latest WHO Model List of Essential Medicines lists several biologics for which biosimilars are available: trastuzumab, bevacizumab, rituximab, infliximab, adalimumab, etanercept, epoetin alfa, filgrastim, enoxaparin, and several insulins (and I may have missed a couple).

1 billion with capacity—at risk of underutilization

7 billion with a right—in search of sustainability

Context, Equity, and Fairness

Among the most influential books I read professionally was the doctoral dissertation of a neighbor of my parents in Belgium. Rudi Daems once referred to his dissertation as a “mid-life event” in an impressive industry career in vaccines and other medicines for the developing world—member of the World Bank’s Global Advisory Group on Innovative Financing Systems, member of the GAVI Alliance Executive Committee, Chair of the Global Executive Committee for Biologicals and Vaccines of the International Federation of Pharmaceutical Manufacturers and Associations, various task forces of the G7/G8 countries—and the list goes on.

His book helped me understand the larger context—a context of intellectual property (IP) and licensing; pricing; capacity building, from infrastructure to people; and industry. It helped me place medicines for the developing world within a framework of striving for equity with reasonable fairness to all parties.

Responsibility by 1 billion

Accountability by 7 billion

Who, What, Where, and How?

No doubt, whether a country is classified as a low- or a middle-income country, there is a need for assistance—epidemiologically and economically. What should the 1 billion offer, and what should the 7 billion assure?

Act Global and Act Local

Commoditizing biosimilars through global expansion is not all about shifting the current (excess?) capability and capacity in North America, Europe, and high-income Asian countries to LMICs. Several middle-income countries have a biosimilar industry of their own, and this should be encouraged, supported, complemented, or aligned in partnerships. In fact, as the (now completed) Biocon acquisition of the Viatris biologics portfolio underscores, capacity will indeed depend on fostering a global market for biosimilar development, production, and distribution.

Global and local sourcing

Know-how

In the early European days of biosimilars, Ajay Singh of Harvard Medical School and Brigham and Women’s Hospital told me personally that he was able to acquire biosimilar epoetin alfa samples manufactured in 13 LMICs and had them analyzed at 3 laboratories in terms of physical characteristics, activity, and impurities. The findings were rather disturbing: 26 did not conform to European specifications, 22 included additional basic isoforms, that may affect clinical efficacy, 2 were contaminated with bacterial endotoxins; and 17 contained more than 2% aggregates that may influence immunogenicity. Soon thereafter, came the equally disturbing report out of Thailand of 23 cases of patients with chronic kidney disease treated with a locally sourced epoetin alfa biosimilar who developed epoetin neutralizing antibodies and pure red cell aplasia.

This is not cause for finger-pointing. It is cause for pointing at key contributions that the 1 billion who have access in the world can make. Provide quality assessment and quality assurance help to nascent biosimilar industries. Offer regulatory support, preferably in coordination with the WHO and other international organizations. In this, share and customize standards, processes, and systems and technical support in the transfer and local application of approval dossiers.

Access

The conflict in the late 1990s regarding access to HIV/AIDS medicines brought the issues of IP and licensing to fore—claims on one side (advocates and activists) to negate IP rights and stubborn resistance on the other side (industry and regulators) to preserve these rights in their current form. Rudi Daems elaborates on the issues very well in his book, and explains the importance of systems and processes that foster innovation (including protection) but enable responsive, responsible, and fair licensing. Let the HIV/AIDS experience be a foundation upon which to build a solid system of access to biosimilars.

Access is also determined by pricing—differentiated pricing, that is, based on local need, affordability, and economic equitability. Though not related to biosimilars but informative nonetheless, Mavis Obeng-Kusi in my group at the University of Arizona led a study that showed that Ebola vaccination in response to an outbreak in a hypothetical rural community of 1000 inhabitants in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), a low income country, was cost-effective in reducing infections, and averting deaths and disability-adjusted life years. She followed this up with a study of value-based pricing for the DRC, Liberia, Sierra Leone, and Uganda. That resulted in separate (that is, differentiated) estimates for each country based on the intensity and consequences of an Ebola outbreak, vaccination rates, age, life expectancy, and the country’s gross domestic product (GDP). These findings can be applied in concept to biosimilars as well: differentiated pricing based on local disease burden and economic status.

Several other factors affecting access merit a brief mention. Access to biosimilars in LMICs is not merely a matter of availability, but also of education, training, capability building, and capacity management. It requires both a distribution infrastructure and distribution system. Marketing should be ethical and adhere to high-income country standards.

Unfortunately, there is also the danger of theft, black-marketing, product manipulation, not to mention graft by government officials and other forms of corruption. This is an area where LMICs need to take the initiative.

Fair protection and pricing

Capability, capacity, and infrastructure

Self-governance but no crime

Middle-income vs Low-income Countries

It is striking, if not discouraging, that most practical solutions offered focus on middle-income countries. It is not surprising either. These countries tend to have good if not very good health care systems, though perhaps not with the access of the 1 billion countries. They may have some form of public assistance as well as health insurance schemes. The encouraging news is that about 6 billion people live in lower-middle and upper-middle income countries.

In a 2019 brief on biosimilars in emerging markets, McKinsey & Company present 4 innovative pricing models for biosimilars. One was patient-assistance programs in which the price of a biosimilar is reduced to patients who cannot afford the full price. In fact, think of this as prices further reduced after the reduction from the high-income country price.

Another one was dual branding, where the same biosimilar would be available “under different brands at different price points to target different affordability segments” (this might require some caution, though, as the Semglee vs unbranded insulin-glargine-yfgn situation in the United States taught us). Two pricing models hold, I think, real innovative potential but how they would be implemented is not described very well. Micro-insurance refers to “collaborations between biosimilar manufacturers and local insurance companies to provide policies offering patients affordable care”. Micro-finance “is a way to offer payment by installments”.

Ideas in search of proof.

This may work in middle-income countries, but compare this to low-income countries with a much more limited health care infrastructure and, apart from some public assistance, inadequate or virtually no health insurance schemes. Let’s be honest: we will have to help these countries—to some extend unilaterally through international aid, but potentially also bilaterally through mutual exchange and collaboration agreements—fair agreements, that is, and to be blunt, not some form of neo-colonialism. Think of it as “fair trade biosimilar adalimumab for fair trade coffee”.

Commodity for commodity.

Bio

Ivo Abraham is Chief Scientist of Matrix45 and Professor of Pharmacy, Medicine, and Clinical Translational Sciences at the R. Ken Coit College of Pharmacy at the University of Arizona, where he is associated with the Center for Health Outcomes and PharmacoEconomic Research. He has worked in biologicals since the late 1990s and in biosimilars since their introduction in the European marketplace—collaborating closely with Karen MacDonald (also his wife) on large international and national observational studies. On both the private and academic sides, their group published the first economic evaluations of biosimilars, a line of studies that continues to date and have been instrumental in the breakthrough and market adoption of biosimilars in Europe and the United States. More recently, Matrix45 has ventured into biosimilars in emerging markets, including low- and middle-income countries. Ivo Abraham may be reached at cntr4biosim@matrix45.com.

Perspective

I am a strong proponent of biosimilars. That does not mean I am against innovation—on the contrary. There would be no biosimilars without the innovators. I have worked on several of these innovators. I am working now on innovators that someday may have biosimilar analogs. I am of the generation that has had the joy of seeing treatments emerge (and some fail) for diseases that over 40 years ago had the poorest of poor prognoses—but are now treatable.

Innovation in therapeutics (that is, the originator products) is about moving the boundaries of hope. Biosimilars are a channel for spreading more hope to more patients.

Statement of Disclosures of Relevance to This Monthly Column

Matrix45, LLC and predecessor companies in which Ivo Abraham and Karen MacDonald hold or have held equity, have been contracted for research, analytics, dissemination, and consulting services by Janssen/Johnson & Johnson, Amgen, Novartis, and Roche on the originator side and by Sandoz/Novartis, Coherus Biosciences, Mylan/Viatris/Biocon, Hospira/Pfizer, and Teva on the biosimilars side; with past and current conversations with Merck KGaA, Therapeutic Proteins International, Celltrion, Apobiologix, Apogenix, Fresenius Kabi, and Spectrum. By company policy, associates of Matrix45 cannot hold equity in sponsor organizations, nor provide services or receive compensation independently from sponsor organizations. Matrix45 provides its services on a non-exclusivity basis.

All contributions to this column are prepared independently and without funding from sponsors.

Links to Prior Columns

Biosimilars and the Commoditization of Treatments (October 2022). https://www.centerforbiosimilars.com/view/dr-ivo-abraham-column-biosimilars-and-the-commoditization-of-treatments

When more may yield less: price erosion of biosimilars following US market entry. (September 2022).https://www.centerforbiosimilars.com/view/dr-ivo-abraham-column-when-more-may-yield-less-price-erosion-of-biosimilars-following-us-market-entry

It’s what we do with the savings: economics and equity. (August 2022) https://www.centerforbiosimilars.com/view/dr-ivo-abraham-column-it-s-what-we-do-with-the-savings-economics-and-equity

Good bait and fair switch: biosimilar interchangeability, substitution, and choice. (July 2022) https://www.centerforbiosimilars.com/view/contributor-good-bait-and-fair-switch-biosimilar-interchangeability-substitution-and-choice

To try or not to try, that’s not the question: phase 3 trials of biosimilars and beyond. (June 2022) https://www.centerforbiosimilars.com/view/contributor-to-try-or-not-to-try-that-s-not-the-question-phase-3-trials-of-biosimilars-and-beyond

The enemy of your enemy should be your friend: why biosimilar companies should collaborate. (May 2022) https://www.centerforbiosimilars.com/view/contributor-the-enemy-of-your-enemy-should-be-your-friend-why-biosimilars-companies-should-collaborate

Thu, 01 Dec 2022 02:17:00 -0600 Ivo Abraham, PhD en text/html https://www.centerforbiosimilars.com/view/dr-ivo-abraham-column-1-billion-people-can-access-biosimilars-what-about-the-other-7-billion-
Killexams : Hemostemix Issued 'Your Fountain of Youth' Trademark by Cyprus

Calgary, Alberta--(Newsfile Corp. - December 8, 2022) - Hemostemix Inc. (TSXV: HEM) (OTCQB: HMTXF) (FSE: 2VF0) ("Hemostemix" or the "Company") is pleased to announce the Office of the Registrar of Trademarks, Republic of Cyprus, issued Kwalata Trading Limited, a wholly owned subsidiary of Hemostemix Inc., a trademark registration certificate for Your Fountain of Youth. The Trademark is registered initially for 10 years. The Company's has a right to renew for additional 10-year periods by application.

"In a phrase our trademark, Your Fountain of Youth, explains both the therapeutic benefit of ACP-01 and our business model," stated Thomas Smeenk, CEO. "Why wait to repair the heart following a heart attack, or its remodeling, when leveraging your synergetic cells to maintain heart health and a great quality of life as we age is logical and affordable? As Hemostemix' results to-date demonstrate we are a world leader of improving the heart's ejection fraction, we are focused on scaling production to meet both the repair-health and prophylactic-maintain-health markets," Smeenk said.

For further information, please contact: Thomas Smeenk, President, CEO & Co-Founder
EM: tsmeenk@hemostemix.com PH: 905-580-4170

Neither the TSX Venture Exchange nor its Regulation Service Provider (as that term is defined under the policies of the TSX Venture Exchange) accepts responsibility for the adequacy or accuracy of this release.

Forward-Looking Information: This news release contains "forward-looking information" within the meaning of applicable Canadian securities legislation. All statements, other than statements of historical fact, included herein are forward-looking information. In particular, this news release contains forward-looking information in relation to:ACP-01, the commercialization of ACP-01 as a treatment of heart disease, and the applicability therefore of the Trademark Your Fountain of Youth. ‎‎There can be no assurance that such forward-looking information will prove to be accurate. genuine results and future events could differ materially from those anticipated in such forward-looking information. This forward-looking information reflects Hemostemix's current beliefs and is based on information currently available to Hemostemix and on assumptions Hemostemix believes are reasonable. These assumptions include, but are not limited to: the underlying value of Hemostemix and its Common Shares; the successful resolution of the litigation that Hemostemix is pursuing or defending (the "Litigation"); the results of ACP-01 research including its implementation of the ACTS system, trials, studies and analyses, including the analysis being equivalent to or better than previous research, trials or studies; the receipt of all required regulatory ‎approvals for research, trials or studies; the level of activity, market acceptance and market trends in the healthcare sector; the ‎economy generally; consumer ‎interest in Hemostemix's services and products; competition and ‎Hemostemix's competitive advantages; and Hemostemix obtaining satisfactory financing to fund operations including any research, trials or studies, and any Litigation. Forward-looking information is Subject to known and unknown risks, uncertainties and other factors that may cause the genuine results, level of activity, performance or achievements of Hemostemix to be materially different from those expressed or implied by such forward-looking information. Such risks and other factors may include, but are not limited to: the ability of Hemostemix to complete the ACTS implementation and clinical trials; complete a satisfactory analyses and file the results of such analyses to gain regulatory approval of a phase II or phase III clinical trial of ACP-01; potential litigation; business, economic, competitive, political and social uncertainties; general capital market conditions and market prices for securities; delay or failure to receive board or regulatory approvals; the genuine results of future operations including the genuine results of future research, trials or studies; competition; changes in legislation ‎affecting Hemostemix; the timing and availability of external financing on acceptable terms; long-term capital requirements and future developments in Hemostemix's markets and the markets in which it expects to compete;‎ lack of qualified, skilled labour or loss of key individuals; and risks ‎related to the COVID-19 pandemic including various recommendations, orders and measures of governmental authorities to ‎try to limit the pandemic, including travel restrictions, border closures, non-essential business closures service disruptions, quarantines, self-isolations, shelters-in-place and social distancing, disruptions to markets, disruptions to economic activity and ‎financings, disruptions to supply chains and sales channels, and a deterioration of general economic conditions including a ‎possible national or global recession or depression; the potential impact that the COVID-19 pandemic may have on Hemostemix which may include a decreased demand for the services that Hemostemix offers; and a deterioration of financial markets that could limit Hemostemix's ability to obtain external financing. A description of additional risk factors that may cause genuine results to differ materially from forward-looking information can be found in Hemostemix's disclosure documents on the SEDAR website at www.sedar.com. Although Hemostemix has attempted to identify important factors that could cause genuine results to differ materially from those contained in forward-looking information, there may be other factors that cause results not to be as anticipated, estimated or intended. Readers are cautioned that the foregoing list of factors is not exhaustive. Readers are further cautioned not to place undue reliance on forward-looking information as there can be no assurance that the plans, intentions or expectations upon which they are placed will occur. Forward-looking information contained in this news release is expressly qualified by this cautionary statement. The forward-looking information contained in this news release represents the expectations of Hemostemix as of the date of this news release and, accordingly, it is Subject to change after such date. However, Hemostemix expressly disclaims any intention or obligation to update or revise any forward-looking information, whether as a result of new information, future events or otherwise, except as expressly required by applicable securities law.

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Killexams : Major Drilling Group International Inc. (MJDLF) Q2 2023 Earnings Call Transcript

Major Drilling Group International Inc. (OTCPK:MJDLF) Q2 2023 Earnings Conference Call December 9, 2022 9:00 AM ET

Company Participants

Denis Larocque - President and Chief Executive Officer

Ian Ross - Chief Financial Officer

Conference Call Participants

Gordon Lawson - Paradigm Capital

Ryan Hanley - Laurentian Bank Securities

Daryl Young - TD Securities

James Vail - Arcadia Advisors

Larry Callahan - Wheelhouse Securities

Sarah Heberle - Mill Road Capital

Ahmad Shaath - Beacon Securities Limited

Operator

Good morning, ladies and gentlemen, and welcome to the Second Quarter 2023 Results Conference Call.

I would now like to turn the meeting over to Denis Larocque, President and CEO. Please go ahead, Mr. Larocque.

Denis Larocque

Thank you, and good morning, everyone. As mentioned, we'd like to welcome you to Major Drilling's conference call for the second quarter of fiscal 2023. On the call with me today is Ian Ross, our CFO. Our results were released yesterday evening and can be found at our website at majordrilling.com.

Before we get started, I'd like to caution you that during this conference call, we'll be making forward looking statements about future events or future financial performance of the company. These statements are forward-looking in nature, and genuine events or results may differ materially from those currently anticipated in such statements.

I must say we're very happy with our second quarter results as we saw continued strength of demand for Major Drilling services, especially for our complex specialized drilling services, which again drove solid quarterly results. During the quarter, we began to see the growing importance of electric vehicles and electrification market with increased demand from copper and battery metal customers. Combined with increased activity from all three of our geographic segments, driven mostly by seniors, this more than offset the slight softening in activity from the junior miners.

As well, our operational leverage continued to be strong as an 18% increase in revenue produced a 65% increase in net earnings, helping to bring in an additional $43 million of net cash during the quarter. At the same time, we continued to modernize our fleet, purchasing 14 new rigs, including 7 underground drills, in line with our diversification strategy, which allows us to offer a modern and productive fleet to our customers in order to meet the growing demand in the industry. After a strategic focus to diversify our services, I'm proud to say that we now offer one of the most modern underground fleet in the industry.

As we continue to move through the current cycle, Major Drilling's core strategy remains to be the leader in specialized drilling as new mineral deposits will increasingly be located in areas more challenging to access or requiring complex drilling solutions. We are committed to providing top quality service to our customers through safe and productive drill programs, as evidenced by our industry-recognized whole completion rates. We leverage our worldwide expertise and utilize our strong financial position to ensure we have the equipment and inventory required to be best-in-class service provider.

With our continued focus to be an industry leader with respect to ESG, we issued our inaugural Sustainability Report during the quarter, highlighting the tremendous efforts of our organization across the globe to help Strengthen the communities in which we operate in. The collaborative efforts from our Board to our teams in the field ensure we are aligned as a company to progress our ESG initiatives, and it remains a priority moving forward.

With that, Ian will walk us through the quarter's financials. Then I'd like to discuss the market outlook before opening up the call for questions. Ian?

Ian Ross

Thanks, Denis. Revenue for the quarter was $201.7 million, up 18% from revenue of $170.7 million recorded last year as we saw continued growth in all geographic regions. During the quarter, there was tremendous volatility in the currency markets, in particular the U.S. dollar, which produced a favorable foreign exchange translation impact on revenue for the quarter when comparing to the effective rates for the same period last year of approximately $6 million, a $1 million favorable impact on net earnings. .

The overall gross margin percentage excluding depreciation was 31.8% for the quarter compared to 28.3% in the same period last year. Margins continued on the upward trend due to enhanced productivity and price adjustments that have offset inflationary pressures. G&A costs were up $2 million at $16.1 million when compared to the same quarter last year. The increase from the prior year was mainly attributed to increased employee compensation as well as elevated travel costs.

Other expenses were $4.7 million, up from $3.4 million in the prior year quarter due primarily to higher incentive compensation expenses throughout the company given the increased profitability. Foreign exchange loss was $1.1 million compared to a $900,000 loss for the same quarter last year. While the company's reporting currency is the Canadian dollar, various jurisdictions had net monetary assets or liabilities exposed to other currencies, including the U.S. dollar, which strengthened with the foreign exchange volatility experienced during the quarter.

The income tax provision for the quarter was an expense of $7.5 million compared to an expense of $4.5 million for the prior year period. The increase from the prior year was due to an overall increase in profitability.

Net earnings were up 65% to $23.6 million or $0.29 per share to $0.28 per share diluted compared to net earnings of $14.3 million or $0.17 per share for the prior year quarter as our earnings power remained prominent. EBITDA grew 40% to $43 million compared to $30.7 million in the prior year quarter. The operational leverage inherent in the business continued to deliver excellent results as top line growth and margin improvement generated substantial EBITDA growth.

The balance sheet remains a competitive advantage and was bolstered this quarter by increasing our net cash by $42.8 million to finish the quarter with $51.3 million net cash. The company is also pleased to announce the renewal of our existing credit facility, under the same terms and conditions for another 5-year term. Coupled with our net cash position, this provides tremendous liquidity and flexibility moving forward.

The company remains committed to having top quality equipment for our customers by spending $13.3 million on CapEx, adding 14 new rigs, including 7 underground drills, in line with our diversification strategy. We disposed of 11 older rigs in the quarter to finish the quarter with 603 drills. Also during the quarter, the company paid out AUD 7 million in contingent consideration in relation to the McKay acquisition as they successfully met all of their year one milestones.

The new breakdown of our fleet and utilization is as follows: 293 specialized drills at 51% utilization, 115 conventional drills at 48% utilization, 195 underground drills at 61% utilization for a total of 603 drills at 54% utilization. As we've mentioned before, specialized work in our definition is not necessarily conducted with a specialized drill. Rather, it is work that requires that we meet the rigorous standards of our customers in terms of technical capabilities, operational and safety standards and other related factors. Over time, we expect these standards to be increasingly important to our customers.

In the second quarter, revenue from specialized work accounted for 65% of our total revenue, up from 64% in Q1. The growth in specialized drilling was driven by senior/intermediate demand requiring a certain level of expertise to execute drilling programs. We continue to see a lot of interest in our specialized work as mining companies look to replace their depleting reserves.

Conventional drilling made up 12% of our revenue, down slightly from 13% in Q1 driven by the slight decrease in junior activity.

Finally, underground drilling revenue held steady from Q1 at 23% of revenue. As mentioned, revenue from juniors was down slightly in the quarter due to tight financing markets. However, they maintained a healthy level at 24% of our revenue, coming off slightly 25% in Q1. Seniors/intermediates made up 76% as they added drills in the quarter and continued their plans to address their depleting reserves.

In terms of commodities, gold projects represent 45% of our revenue, while copper was at 23% this quarter. We've continued to see a shift in our commodity mix as copper and other battery metals are driving our business. Gold continues to provide a stable floor, but with current market conditions, has not seen the growth and interest that other commodities have.

With that overview on our financial results, I'll now turn the presentation back to Denis to discuss the outlook.

Denis Larocque

Thanks, Ian. As we enter our seasonally slower third quarter, customer demand for calendar 2023 looks to remain strong and we're already in discussion with several senior customers. Just in the last two weeks, we have seen gold prices come back above $1,800 and copper prices above $3.85 a pound as metal prices have remained at levels well above what is needed to support exploration. As well, in the last couple of weeks, we've seen a pickup in junior financing, which is all good news for the sector going forward. .

This, combined with the growing supply shortfall in most mineral commodities, continues to drive demand for our services.

As the global demand for electrification continues to grow, the world requires an enormous amount of volume of copper and battery metals, which is significant for our outlook in the future of our business. We believe that this will increase pressure on the existing supply-demand dynamic and lead to substantial additional investments in copper and other base metal exploration projects. This increase in both activity levels and diversification of commodities continues to drive demand for our services.

Our growing fleet ensures we retain utilization capacity to meet this growing demand, and our capital availability ensures we have flexibility to increase our fleet when and where to consistently meet the needs of our customers across the globe. As well, it is crucial that we continue to aggressively and successfully invest in the recruitment and training of new drillers to ensure Major Drilling remains both the operator and employer of choice in our industry. We have made great progress over the last 18 months in growing our labor force, doing so with safety in mind, and we are starting to see the results of that training through our productivity. And I want to thank our crews out there for their hard work and success.

In closing, I want to wish you all the best for the holiday season and to our teams, I ask you to rest well during that time as calendar 2023 is shaping up to be another very busy year.

With that, we can open the call to questions. Operator?

Question-and-Answer Session

Operator

[Operator Instructions] And the first question is from Gordon Lawson from Paradigm Capital.

Gordon Lawson

Congratulations on another outstanding quarter. Can you comment on your ability to your competitors with respect to growth in North America? They seem to be struggling, whereas you are reporting very positive year-over-year growth.

Denis Larocque

Yes. Well, I think it relates to the prep work we did through the downturn. We -- in the last upturn, we were playing catch up and -- because we came out with quite a bit of debt levels on our balance sheet and we're not able to invest in our fleet. And through that upturn from 2003 to 2012, we were playing catch up and just building up the fleet as we went. Whereas this time around, we entered the downturn with a strong balance sheet. So we invested in our fleet, put rigs on the shelf. We stocked up our shelves with inventory and also kept our key people and invested in our training schools. So all of those combined allowed us to get out of the block from the get go to tackle the quick upturn in demand that we saw. And basically, that had an impact in terms of market share we were able to get.

Gordon Lawson

Okay. That's great. Your Australasia and Africa segment also saw a big jump in revenue this quarter. Can you provide some more color as to what's behind that?

Denis Larocque

Yes. Well, I mean, we've got customers in the region that increased activity during the quarter, added rigs to their existing. Our Australasia business, I would say, is a bit more mature, a lot more seniors, not a lot of juniors in there. And the seniors, basically, those customers added rigs to their projects. That's where most of that growth came from.

Operator

The next question is from Ryan Hanley from Laurentian Bank.

Ryan Hanley

Perfect. First off, congrats guys on another great quarter. Just a couple of quick questions for me here. I guess, first, just given that we're heading into fiscal Q3, which is seasonally a bit of a weaker quarter, with demand being where it is and I guess all signs pointing to things remaining strong, are you expecting, I guess, the costs, given that you typically do rig maintenance in the third quarter, to be a little bit higher than what they typically are for a seasonally weak quarter, just given the increase in demand compared to prior years?

Denis Larocque

I'm not sure I get your question.

Ryan Hanley

I guess compared to the typical fiscal Q3, do you think you're going to be doing a lot more rig maintenance and spending a lot more on prepping for a busier calendar 2023?

Denis Larocque

Okay. Yes. Well, I mean, it's all relative. We -- in absolute dollars, yes, we are. But basically, that's because we're generating more revenue and we're on a higher level. So we are certainly -- the rates are coming back from the field. There's more rigs coming back from the field. And the way things are looking, more rigs going out back in the field that needs to be prepped. So yes, cost will be higher, but we've got more revenue to absorb that, so should be okay.

Ryan Hanley

Okay. Fair enough. And then I guess you kind of touched on how a little bit of weakness, I guess, in the gold explorers has been offset by increased demand from seniors and some of the battery metals. Given the way things are looking, how much smaller do you think that kind of gold slice of that pie will get as it gets kind of offset by things like copper and nickel? Is there kind of -- how much lower, I guess, can that go?

Denis Larocque

Well, I think you're in a better position to assess that as what the gold companies are going to do; because at this point, for us, we're still waiting for budgets. And so, we're waiting to see. But there's definitely a need to increase reserves, and the discussions we're having with gold companies right now are very positive. They're all talking about having to do at least the same amount, if not more, in certain cases. So we feel really positive on the gold going forward, that they'll be able -- we'll be able to maintain our level of activity in 2023 and then add on, tack on more work on the base metal side.

Ryan Hanley

Okay. Perfect. Makes sense. And then I guess maybe just one last one for me. You touched on adding 7 underground rigs. Are those more for production drilling? Or is that exploration? And I guess, maybe the rationale for my question here is, is it kind of building, I guess, a bit of a base given that it's a cyclical type of business? Is it building a bit of a base so that when exploration does start to turn, at least it gives you a bit of a cushion in that you've got a bit more of a segment with more kind of stickier, longer-term contracts?

Denis Larocque

Well, whether it's exploration or production in underground, what we found in the last upturn -- last downturn is that, yes, it was stickier. And also, even through an upturn, it gives you that base. It's a 12-month a year steady revenue. Again, whether it's production or exploration, the minute you're in an underground mine, by definition, it is a producing mine. And they need to keep doing that work if the mine is going to produce. So therefore, it gives you that assurance of revenue. Whereas on surface, it's a little bit of sometimes stop and go during the year. So yes, I mean, that strategy -- diversification strategy or the investment we made in the underground rigs is completely in line with that. And it is to basically keep building that base of steady business throughout the year. And it's working out -- it's been working out well for us.

Ryan Hanley

Okay. Perfect. And then sorry, one other here for me and then I'll jump back in the queue. But just on the utilization rates, are there any areas, I guess, where the rates are still pretty low, where you see a lot more room for growth? Or is it pretty steady-ish around that 50% mark on a global basis?

Denis Larocque

Well, on a global basis, it's different everywhere, right? I mean, it's -- in North America, it's definitely stronger than it is in South America, for example, But that is normal compared to what we've seen in previous cycles, whereas we see basically the activity picks up in North America first in an upturn just because the money that gets raised or the investment that gets made early on in the cycle tends to be closer to home. And then as the cycle progresses and commodity prices improve, then you start to see more investments going abroad. And that's kind of what the trend we're seeing. So we've been seeing utilization picking up in areas outside of Canada, U.S. over the last six months. Whereas in Canada, U.S. and Australia, we're already seeing some strong utilization numbers in those areas.

Operator

The next question is from Daryl Young from TD Securities.

Daryl Young

First question is around the juniors. And just wondering if you could help me reconcile some of the commentary in the release about decline or slight softening of junior activity. But based on the 24% split, it seems like it's pretty stable. So maybe just a little bit more color on what you're seeing there and whether you expect that to trend lower in the next few quarters or if we need more financing activity to push juniors higher again?

Denis Larocque

Yes. Well, it's more -- in terms of growth, the growth had stopped, and that is related to the slowdown in financing activity that we saw. Now there's been a lot of money raised over the last 18 months, and that money is still getting spent in the field. And that's why that -- we were still able to hold up to 24% of our revenue this quarter. But it is -- as we progress, we're seeing more activity coming from the seniors. And the seniors are, again, in discussions, are talking about doing -- in many cases, doing more next year. So that's kind of what we're seeing in terms of how things are playing out.

Daryl Young

Okay. And then following on that, if we did not see a return of the financing markets, do you think -- and I know it's early days, but do you think it's possible we could have an increase year-over-year in results without any material junior financing, i.e., could the seniors push things higher year-over-year?

Denis Larocque

Well, in our case, the juniors were working for are well financed at the moment. So the projects we're on -- we feel that -- we feel pretty good about them for 2023. So therefore, I think we should be okay for 2023. But I mean, if the financing window doesn't open, it's shored up down the road, those juniors, then we'll have to slow down their activity because they live and die by drill results. So -- and if they're not getting recognized, those drill results, through financing, then, yes, we could see that down the road. But like I say, in our case, we feel pretty good because of the juniors we're aligned with.

Daryl Young

Got it. Okay. And then on the battery metals, was the increase in the quarter a reflection of more work with existing customers? Or are you seeing net new contract wins with battery metal miners and explore cos?

Denis Larocque

It's a bit of both. We saw increased activity by existing customers, but we also moved on some new projects as well in terms of copper and nickel and silver and things like that.

Daryl Young

Okay. And one last one for me. Just with respect to the miners and the new construction of projects. We've seen some pretty eye-popping inflation numbers for their CapEx budgets on new project development, would you anticipate that -- and possible deferrals next year. Would you anticipate that to impact the drilling? Or do you see them as continuing the drill programs in advance in preparation for a future build date?

Denis Larocque

Well, like I said, we haven't seen the budget yet for next year. So at this point, it's still hard to call for us. All we -- while what we have to go by is the discussions we're having at this point, and they are pretty positive in terms of activity levels for next year. So that's I got to believe. And also when you when you consider that there's -- some of them are so far behind in terms of reserves and having to catch up and they've been delaying for a few years in terms of exploration and got going in 2022, I think for them it would be hard to stop that motion considering the amount of work that's still left to be done to shore up their reserves.

Operator

The next question is from James Vail from Arcadia Advisors.

James Vail

I have a very simple question, as usual. Ian basically said, our operational leverage continue to generate excellent financial results. It seems to me that going forward, you guys are going to be almost debt-free and the contingent payments are going to be gone and you're just going to be generating an incredible amount of cash. What is -- how does that figure into your strategic thinking?

Ian Ross

Yes, for sure. From a capital allocation standpoint, and then we got asked this question last quarter, right now, we still feel it's early in the cycle. And so our focus is on growth right now. And so that's either new jurisdictions, organic growth or potential M&A, tuck-in opportunities that are out there. The balance sheet, the way it's set up, provides tremendous flexibility right now. And what we're looking for is good opportunities. And that's what we feel is going to bring the best value for our shareholders. And so at this point in time, that's the strategy.

James Vail

Well, the previous -- one of the previous question is asked how you're doing so well against some of your competitors who didn't get out of the gate as quickly as you did. Is that where you see opportunities to grow?

Denis Larocque

Yes. I mean, there's -- again, we're still very early in this cycle. When you go back, the amount of exploration that was spent in 2012 was $21 billion. And last year, there's only $11 billion that was spent. And that's after two years of increased activity and exploration. So there's been quite a bit of a drag in terms of exploration. And therefore, the last upturn lasted nine years and we're just starting year three of this upcycle. So still a lot of room to go and to grow. And to your point, yes, I mean, there are probably opportunities out there to grow.

James Vail

Okay. Great. I think you guys are doing a great job. The market just opened. I wonder what that's going to mean. All right. All the best.

Denis Larocque

Thank you.

Operator

The next question is from Larry Callahan from Wheelhouse Securities.

Larry Callahan

I was wondering if you ever get inquiries or if you ever consider listing in the U.S. rather than trading on the pink sheets? Or if you could supply any insight into that at all?

Denis Larocque

It's not part of -- we haven't looked at it. It's not part of our of our plans at the moment, no.

Larry Callahan

Would it be prohibitively expensive to do something like that for a company your size?

Denis Larocque

I mean, that is part of it. But again, it's not something that we have in our plans at the moment.

Larry Callahan

Would it involve additional accounting expense? Or I mean, would you consider it? What would be the barriers to considering it, expanding your U.S. ownership? I mean, I know people can trade on Toronto, but small investors don't always have access to foreign markets.

Ian Ross

Yes. I mean, right now, the bulk of our holders are institutionally owned, and we haven't come across a big demand for listing. In terms of the accounting and back office functions, yes, there would be some additional support needed to have a U.S. listing that we have looked at. But that's not the main reason. For now, it's that our -- the main institutional interest in us can access our float on the TSX. So at this point in time, we are seriously looking at it.

Larry Callahan

Okay. Could I ask that you consider it again, please?

Denis Larocque

We can certainly look at it, yes.

Operator

The next question is from Sarah Heberle from Mill Road Capital.

Sarah Heberle

Hi, Denis and Ian. Thanks a lot for taking my questions and congrats on another great quarter. I have three questions for you today, and mine are related to the cycle, your competitive position and the implications of those two factors on your next peak EBITDA.

So first, just revisiting the potential length and magnitude of this current upcycle. I believe the gold reserves are currently about 10% lower today than they were back in 2005, which was, call it, roughly the beginning of the last upcycle. And it took about eight subsequent years of elevated exploration activity for miners to shore up their reserves back then. And total exploration spend at the peak of that last cycle in 2012, it was about 75% higher than the expected level for this year. So I guess my question is, with that context, is it reasonable to assume that this upcycle should last for several more years and exploration spend could continue to increase well above 2022 levels if miners are going to replace the reserves that they've depleted?

Denis Larocque

I mean, definitely, as you mentioned, the -- we're still a long way from the exploration spend that was there in -- at the peak in 2012. So -- and as I said, we're just in starting year three of that upcycle. Now how long will it go? I mean, nobody knows. But there's definitely a need for a lot of exploration to fix up the reserves. And when people look at metals, I mean, what you hear in the market right now, what you read is all about demand, and there's a big -- there's a lot of threat in terms of the demand coming for copper, for battery metals, for all of that. But the supply side is what drives our business. And when you look at the supply and the reserves, the way -- and I mean, you said it yourself in terms of even on the gold reserves being 10% less than what we saw in 2005. There is definitely a need for a lot of exploration going forward. And with everything getting deeper, more remote, which will, by definition, require a lot more drilling, it will be interesting to see where it gets going forward because there's going to be a need -- there's a need for a lot more exploration to shore up the reserve. And then you lay on top of that the demand for those metals that keeps increasing, then, yes, I feel really good about the future.

Sarah Heberle

I mean, from my perspective, it just feels like the market backdrop is so powerful that even if you do see a slight softening of the juniors, I just struggle to see how that really matters in the grander scheme of things because it sounds like we're in the earlier innings of a prolonged upcycle with further exploration activity yet to come if -- quite frankly, if miners don't want to deplete themselves out of existence. So that's a powerful macro backdrop.

So I guess I'll turn to my second question, which is on your competitive position. And you've spoken about this a bit already, and I think everyone knows that your two largest competitors have had capital structure issues since the last upcycle that have materially limited their ability to invest, as you've discussed; while, at the same time, you've had a great balance sheet. And I think that would really help strengthen your competitive position. And so the way we looked at it is we said, let's pick a simple metric like revenue. And on that metric, it looks like your relative size versus your two major competitors has grown very significantly. So if I pull out just the big 3, call it, Major, Boart Longyear and Foraco, and I go back to the last peak, it looks to us like your share of revenue then was about 16%, and that's grown to around 31% now, which would suggest you've nearly doubled your market share relative to your two largest competitors, And that would seem to be proof that you're in a much stronger competitive position today? And maybe is that the case? Is that fair to assume?

Denis Larocque

Yes. Well, like I mentioned, the -- in the last upturn, we started on the back foot, really. And just the fact that we had to rebuild our fleet through that upturn, and rebuild our level of crews and build up our inventory. So -- and that took time. And whereas this time around -- and at the time, we had a few of our competitors that were in much better shape financially than we were, and therefore that got out of the blocks quicker than we did. And whereas this time around, I think the rules are -- have been reversed, like you said. During the down cycle, we used our balance sheet to just prep our rigs, stock up and train people and -- so that we were able to get out early and grow. And that -- I think that's what explains the -- yes, the market share that we were able to get.

Sarah Heberle

Okay. Great. And so last syllabu for me is really just understanding the implications of all of that on the company's next potential peak EBITDA. And I guess, just to be clear from the start, I don't expect you to provide any guidance here. I just want to sense check a few of my own assumptions. So my understanding is that right now, your average revenue per utilized rig is about $2.35 million, if I updated my calculation correctly for the information on this call. And closer to a cyclical peak, your capacity utilization could be at least 75%, which would imply a little over 450 rigs out there in the field. Now if that's directionally correct and that revenue per utilized rig is sustainable, which it sounds like it is, your revenue would be north of $1 billion. Is that right?

Denis Larocque

Well, I mean, if using those numbers, yes, you can get to that number, I guess. Yes.

Sarah Heberle

Okay. Great. And so closer to the peak of a cycle I'd expect your gross margin to be near to what you achieved during last peak. So I'll say about 32.5% is reasonable, and that's actually not far from where you are already. And that would get me to about $345 million of gross profit in a peak scenario. Is that in the ballpark?

Denis Larocque

Well, as a margin percentage, I would -- during the downturn, it kind of forced us to look at ways to be more productive, be more efficient. So we've put things in place, procedures and better equipment. And so, I'd like to think that with everything being equal, that we'd be able to replicate and probably do a bit better than we did on margins if we were to reach the same peak level as we did in 2012, yes.

Sarah Heberle

Okay. So that suggests that that's potentially even a reasonably conservative number. So -- but I'll keep it for conservatism. And if I then add in your SG&A costs, which I'm just assuming grow with a high level of inflation as well as some variable expenses, that gets me to about $85 million in incremental expenses. And that takes me to a peak EBITDA of $260 million, which, of course, I don't expect you to comment on that, but that is significantly higher than your last peak EBITDA of $180 million. And I just don't think that the market really understands that, that's the direction you're going. And so all I can say is that from Mill Road's perspective, you guys should keep on doing what you're doing because you're doing a great job, and hopefully the market will figure it out at some point. So thanks again for taking my questions and congrats on a great quarter.

Denis Larocque

Well, thank you.

Operator

[Operator Instructions] And the next question is from Ahmad Shaath from Beacon Securities.

Ahmad Shaath

Just a quick one for me on, I guess, CapEx expectations/maybe rig growth fleet going into calendar 2023? And secondly, anything we should read through? And I noticed like working capital was a net positive or cash inflow in the quarter. Anything to comment on that? Or is that just a natural flow of business?

Denis Larocque

Well, on the CapEx, we're -- we offered guidance when we started the year for our fiscal year which ends at the end of April. And we projected $65 million of CapEx. At the moment, I think we're at something like $26 million of CapEx after -- I don't have the numbers in front of me, but I think we're at around $26 million year-to-date. And so we're a bit behind in terms of that spending. But we do have rigs on order coming in over the next few months. So we'll see where that goes. And then beyond that, I think you can probably expect that level to stay at about those levels going forward unless things change dramatically either way. If we had like a huge additional influx in domain in certain areas, we might have to add a few more rigs in some of the areas. But right now, I think that level would be appropriate going forward.

Ian Ross

And on the working capital question, nothing really to read into in the quarter. It's a lot of timing for receivables. At Q1, we had some outstanding that flowed in into the quarter. And then we had some payables increase during this quarter just with timing of expenses. So nothing unusual or anything to read into there.

Operator

The next question is from [Greg Minnett], private investor.

Unidentified Analyst

Congratulations. I just want to reiterate about listing in the United States and increasing or expanding your shareholder base. I don't know if your Board or if you guys realize that if you are a -- you're not blue skied in the United States, it seems like it would be simple for you to do this to increase your shareholder base, broaden it and possibly get coverage from U.S. research. They're not going to cover you unless they can market your stock to their clients. The world is different today. The last upturn, the regulations in the United States weren't as stringent on the blue sky. I don't know if you all know that. But you can't put an order in if -- for a retail client in the United States unless you're blue sky, that mean the computer systems block it. So an advisor cannot solicit an order, you're not going to get research. So why would you not want to broaden your -- your base is 83% institutional. And with Fidelity in there, Fidelity decides to move out of your stock. It's not going to be friendly to the rest of your shareholders if they decide they want to own it. Would you please consider getting listed in the United States?

Denis Larocque

It's certainly something we're certainly going to look at. It's also -- I mean, a big thing also is the size in terms of just the -- our -- basically, our capital or the size -- we're a small cap. That's what I was looking for. We're still a very small cap stock. And so in terms of cost and everything, it is -- that's what we need to look at, is the cost benefit. But I hear you. It's something that we're going to consider seriously, especially as our -- basically, our value starts to -- continues to grow. We're certainly getting to that -- with time, we can see getting to that $1 billion mark of market cap. So once you get in those ranges, that's where then you start to be more on the radar of investors like that. And that's where it might make sense for us to be listed. So it's all a matter of market cap, timing, costs and all those things that we need to consider. At this point, we haven't considered it just because our market cap is still quite small. But it's something that with time, we'll certainly need to consider.

Unidentified Analyst

I'm trying to get your market cap to $1 billion. So it's kind of waiting for it to get there to do this. It doesn't make sense to me. It makes sense to do it now to try to assist you in getting to a market cap of $1 billion. There's a huge market out there that might want to invest in your company or hear about your company, and they're prohibited because of the regulations. So to spend $1 million on -- the investment would -- let's say it's $1 million, but you open up the biggest market in the world for your company, it seems to make sense to me. But thank you for your consideration, and thanks for a great job.

Denis Larocque

Okay. Thank you.

Operator

Thank you. There are no further questions registered at this time. I'd like to turn the meeting back over to Mr. Larocque.

Denis Larocque

Well, thank you. And as I mentioned, I want to wish everybody the best for the holiday season, and we'll be talking to you in the new year.

Operator

Thank you. The conference has now ended. Please disconnect your lines at this time, and we thank you for your participation.

Fri, 09 Dec 2022 01:45:00 -0600 en text/html https://seekingalpha.com/article/4563558-major-drilling-group-international-inc-mjdlf-q2-2023-earnings-call-transcript
Killexams : Banbury care home downgraded to 'requires improvement'

The Anchor home, in Calder Close, Grimsbury can house up to 48 older people, some with dementia. The CQC made their inspection on October 5. The previous inspection was in May, 2018.

"We received concerns in relation to people not having access to emergency services in a timely manner. As a result, we undertook a focused inspection to review the key questions of safe, effective, responsive and well-led only,” said the inspection team in their report.

The inspectors found the home was not always safe, effective, responsive or well-led. They spoke with ten people about the care provided, reviewed a range of records and spoke with six members of staff.

They found learning had not always been fully embedded following events which had impacted on people's health. For example, following an incident when a staff member failed to seek help from health emergency services, a similar incident occurred three months later – learning from the previous incident had not reduced the risk.

“We received mixed feedback from people and relatives about staffing levels, staff skills and their knowledge of people's needs. One person told us ‘The quality of staff is poor, I don't feel they have a lot of training.’ Another said ‘some of the newer ones don't know much about me, what my needs are and I am concerned sometimes if this trend is going to continue’.

"Although we saw there were enough staff during our inspection, some were rather task-oriented, leaving people with no interaction or verbal communication. The registered manager told us new starters were in the course of receiving on-going training."

Inspectors found issues with PRN (medicines administered when required) including one person being given PRN medicines four times a day, posing a risk of addiction.

Some aspects of the service were not always safe and there was limited assurance about safety. There was an increased risk people could be harmed.

Some care plans, risk assessments and personal emergency evacuation plans (PEEPs) were past their review dates and not reflective of people's needs.

Not all health and safety checks were completed.

"We observed there was a lack of interaction between staff and people at times. We saw some staff talking about people in earshot of people,” said the inspectors.

The team received mixed but mostly negative feedback about the quality of food including limited choice and little for vegetarians with ‘so much food wastage’. Appropriate measures were not always taken to monitor people's nutritional needs.

Resident surveys had consistently highlighted concerns over the quality of food and availability of staff to interact with people for quite some time, however the provider had not taken action to engage with people around how they could Strengthen the food quality and ensure people's preferences were met, or evidence they had explored further the concerns over staffing.

People's care plans and assessments were not always kept up-to-date to inform staff about changes in people's needs.

"During our inspection there was one person receiving end of life care. We saw the person's records were not always reflective of their needs. For example, the person had been prescribed with a controlled medicine for pain relief. However, their pain assessment tool had not been reviewed since May 2022 until the first day of our inspection after we requested the person's up-to-date pain assessment,” the report said.

“Governance systems had not always lead to improvements at the service. Feedback was sought, but improvements were still needed on how it was acted on. We received mixed feedback on whether people's and relatives' views were sought and acted on.”

People's care records did not provide sufficient information to inform staff about people's needs and preferences. The record-keeping regarding people involved in the ‘best interest’ process needed improvement.

The report said: “The culture of the home was not always inclusive or empowering. We saw some people received little or no engagement from staff. Staff did not always speak about people respectfully.”

However staff spoke positively about residents, with kindness and compassion.

“Residents' and relatives' meetings were used to seek people's feedback. People and their relatives were welcomed to provide their feedback by completing a survey on the quality of the service provided to people. However, some people told us they were not always listened to during residents' meetings,” said the report.

People could be assured they were cared for safely as staff knew how to keep people safe and protected them from harm. Staff were recruited safely and there were enough staff to support people.

Staff were supported with regular training, supervision and appraisal. People had access to other health professionals when needed.

People were supported to have maximum choice and control of their lives and staff provided them with care in the least restrictive way possible. However, people's choices and preferences were not always met by the service.

Activities were taking place and the inspectors received positive feedback about these. The provider had systems in place to investigate and respond to complaints.

The CQC has requested an action plan to understand what the home will do to Strengthen the standards of quality and safety. It will work alongside the provider and local authority to monitor progress. It will continue to monitor information we receive about the service, which will help inform the next inspection.The full report can be seen here.

Mon, 05 Dec 2022 21:31:00 -0600 en text/html https://www.banburyguardian.co.uk/news/people/banbury-care-home-downgraded-to-requires-improvement-3943452
Killexams : Marcus Rashford says England training quality has risen under Gareth Southgate

Marcus Rashford has questioned the approach to training of former England manager Roy Hodgson – insisting it “doesn’t take a genius” to see how much better the team is under Gareth Southgate.

The 25-year-old is playing in his fourth major tournament at the World Cup in Qatar and scored off the bench in England’s opening Group B win over Iran.

He replaced Bukayo Saka in Friday’s fixture against the United States but could not help end a stalemate as the nations drew 0-0 at the Al Bayt Stadium.

Rashford made his senior tournament debut back at Euro 2016 after Hodgson selected the then-teenager following his breakthrough into the Manchester United team.

However, the forward pinpointed a change in the level of training from the Hodgson regime as one of the reasons England have progressed.

“Training has been good for the lads that haven’t been getting as many minutes (in Qatar),” he said.

“But I feel like, for this squad, it has never really been an issue, especially since Gareth’s been managing.

“Maybe before it was a little bit of an issue in terms of quality of training and people’s dedication to training but since he’s been manager of England, it’s been good.

Marcus Rashford (right) says the quality of England training has improved under current manager Gareth Southgate (left), (Martin Rickett/PA Images).

“It’s been intense, it’s been challenging and I feel like everyone, me included, is ready to do their bit when they come onto the pitch if they get an opportunity.

“Obviously I was only there for a short period of time before but the standard of training wasn’t as high.

“For players, it is black and white: if you are not training well, you can’t expect to play well, you can’t expect to go into games and just win because you are better players than the other team.

“There’s obviously been a clear change and a clear improvement. We’ve obviously done much better in the major tournaments but even in the games that we’ve played throughout the year with England, we’ve played better, we’ve had better results.

“It is not often I come away with England and feel like we’re going to lose games. I think as a collective, we’re very strong. The togetherness is really high and it is a big feature that Gareth puts emphasis on.”

Marcus Rashford was among England players racially abused after missing a penalty during the Euro 2020 final against Italy (Nick Potts/PA Images).

A shock round of 16 defeat to Iceland sent Hodgson’s side home but since then, Southgate has instigated a change in momentum as England reached the semi-finals of the 2018 World Cup, finished third in the inaugural Nations League finals and lost on penalties to Italy in the Euro 2020 final last year.

“I don’t think it takes a genius to see that we’ve improved since since 2016,” he said.

“For me, it feels like a completely different team. We’ve come on so much and we’ve learned a lot about ourselves along the way, so I feel that we’re a really strong team that has the capabilities to go on win against any team that we play against.

“We don’t we don’t fear anybody. We believe in our own qualities. We believe in how we can effect the the outcomes of football games and we stick by each other in tough moments and in the good moments as well. So it’s up to us to go and prove that we have what it takes to win it, but do I believe that we do? Yes, 100 percent.

“We’ve shown progression. I can obviously only speak on the time that I’ve been here. From 2016 you look at that performance against Iceland and we got knocked out of the Euros and it’s a million miles off – you can’t even compare the two situations and for me, you can’t compare the feeling around the camp.”

England players in despair after the Euro 2016 exit at the hands of Iceland (Jonathan Brady/PA Images).

Rashford was one of three players to miss from the spot in the defeat to Italy last summer, with the United forward – as well as Saka and Jadon Sancho – racially abused in the aftermath.

“Racism – it’s not good to go through it as an individual, but it’s not good to see anybody go through it,” added Rashford.

“It’s more just disappointment. You’re disappointed at the fact that people have views like that.

“The main reason is because you don’t have those views about anybody else regardless of their race or religion. It’s more the disappointment that people are thinking those things, never mind saying them.”

Mon, 28 Nov 2022 00:06:00 -0600 en-US text/html https://www.yahoo.com/entertainment/marcus-rashford-says-england-training-154511239.html
Killexams : AWS Announces Eight New Amazon SageMaker Capabilities

Amazon SageMaker Role Manager makes it easier for administrators to control access and define permissions for improved machine learning governance

Amazon SageMaker Model Cards make it easier to document and review model information throughout the machine learning lifecycle

Amazon SageMaker Model Dashboard provides a central interface to track models, monitor performance, and review historical behavior

New data preparation capability in Amazon SageMaker Studio Notebooks helps customers visually inspect and address data-quality issues in a few clicks

Data science teams can now collaborate in real time within Amazon SageMaker Studio Notebook

Customers can now automatically convert notebook code into production-ready jobs

Automated model validation enables customers to test new models using real-time inference requests

Support for geospatial data enables customers to more easily develop machine learning models for climate science, urban planning, disaster response, retail planning, precision agriculture, and more

LAS VEGAS, November 30, 2022--(BUSINESS WIRE)--At AWS re:Invent, Amazon Web Services, Inc. (AWS), an Amazon.com, Inc. company (NASDAQ: AMZN), today announced eight new capabilities for Amazon SageMaker, its end-to-end machine learning (ML) service. Developers, data scientists, and business analysts use Amazon SageMaker to build, train, and deploy ML models quickly and easily using its fully managed infrastructure, tools, and workflows. As customers continue to innovate using ML, they are creating more models than ever before and need advanced capabilities to efficiently manage model development, usage, and performance. Today’s announcement includes new Amazon SageMaker governance capabilities that provide visibility into model performance throughout the ML lifecycle. New Amazon SageMaker Studio Notebook capabilities provide an enhanced notebook experience that enables customers to inspect and address data-quality issues in just a few clicks, facilitate real-time collaboration across data science teams, and accelerate the process of going from experimentation to production by converting notebook code into automated jobs. Finally, new capabilities within Amazon SageMaker automate model validation and make it easier to work with geospatial data. To get started with Amazon SageMaker, visit aws.amazon.com/sagemaker.

"Today, tens of thousands of customers of all sizes and across industries rely on Amazon SageMaker. AWS customers are building millions of models, training models with billions of parameters, and generating trillions of predictions every month. Many customers are using ML at a scale that was unheard of just a few years ago," said Bratin Saha, vice president of Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning at AWS. "The new Amazon SageMaker capabilities announced today make it even easier for teams to expedite the end-to-end development and deployment of ML models. From purpose-built governance tools to a next-generation notebook experience and streamlined model testing to enhanced support for geospatial data, we are building on Amazon SageMaker’s success to help customers take advantage of ML at scale."

The cloud enabled access to ML for more users, but until a few years ago, the process of building, training, and deploying models remained painstaking and tedious, requiring continuous iteration by small teams of data scientists for weeks or months before a model was production-ready. Amazon SageMaker launched five years ago to address these challenges, and since then AWS has added more than 250 new features and capabilities to make it easier for customers to use ML across their businesses. Today, some customers employ hundreds of practitioners who use Amazon SageMaker to make predictions that help solve the toughest challenges around improving customer experience, optimizing business processes, and accelerating the development of new products and services. As ML adoption has increased, so have the types of data that customers want to use, as well as the levels of governance, automation, and quality assurance that customers need to support the responsible use of ML. Today's announcement builds on Amazon SageMaker's history of innovation in supporting practitioners of all skill levels, worldwide.

New ML governance capabilities in Amazon SageMaker

Amazon SageMaker offers new capabilities that help customers more easily scale governance across the ML model lifecycle. As the number of models and users within an organization increases, it becomes harder to set least-privilege access controls and establish governance processes to document model information (e.g., input data sets, training environment information, model-use description, and risk rating). Once models are deployed, customers also need to monitor for bias and feature drift to ensure they perform as expected.

  • Amazon SageMaker Role Manager makes it easier to control access and permissions: Appropriate user-access controls are a cornerstone of governance and support data privacy, prevent information leaks, and ensure practitioners can access the tools they need to do their jobs. Implementing these controls becomes increasingly complex as data science teams swell to dozens or even hundreds of people. ML administrators—individuals who create and monitor an organization’s ML systems—must balance the push to streamline development while controlling access to tasks, resources, and data within ML workflows. Today, administrators create spreadsheets or use ad hoc lists to navigate access policies needed for dozens of different activities (e.g., data prep and training) and roles (e.g., ML engineer and data scientist). Maintaining these tools is manual, and it can take weeks to determine the specific tasks new users will need to do their jobs effectively. Amazon SageMaker Role Manager makes it easier for administrators to control access and define permissions for users. Administrators can select and edit prebuilt templates based on various user roles and responsibilities. The tool then automatically creates the access policies with necessary permissions within minutes, reducing the time and effort to onboard and manage users over time.

  • Amazon SageMaker Model Cards simplify model information gathering: Today, most practitioners rely on disparate tools (e.g., email, spreadsheets, and text files) to document the business requirements, key decisions, and observations during model development and evaluation. Practitioners need this information to support approval workflows, registration, audits, customer inquiries, and monitoring, but it can take months to gather these details for each model. Some practitioners try to solve this by building complex recordkeeping systems, which is manual, time consuming, and error-prone. Amazon SageMaker Model Cards provide a single location to store model information in the AWS console, streamlining documentation throughout a model’s lifecycle. The new capability auto-populates training details like input datasets, training environment, and training results directly into Amazon SageMaker Model Cards. Practitioners can also include additional information using a self-guided questionnaire to document model information (e.g., performance goals, risk rating), training and evaluation results (e.g., bias or accuracy measurements), and observations for future reference to further Strengthen governance and support the responsible use of ML.

  • Amazon SageMaker Model Dashboard provides a central interface to track ML models: Once a model has been deployed to production, practitioners want to track their model over time to understand how it performs and to identify potential issues. This task is normally done on an individual basis for each model, but as an organization starts to deploy thousands of models, this becomes increasingly complex and requires more time and resources. Amazon SageMaker Model Dashboard provides a comprehensive overview of deployed models and endpoints, enabling practitioners to track resources and model behavior in one place. From the dashboard, customers can also use built-in integrations with Amazon SageMaker Model Monitor (AWS’s model and data drift monitoring capability) and Amazon SageMaker Clarify (AWS’s ML bias-detection capability). This end-to-end visibility into model behavior and performance provides the necessary information to streamline ML governance processes and quickly troubleshoot model issues.

To learn more about Amazon SageMaker governance capabilities, visit aws.amazon.com/sagemaker/ml-governance.

Next-generation Notebooks

Amazon SageMaker Studio Notebook gives practitioners a fully managed notebook experience, from data exploration to deployment. As teams grow in size and complexity, dozens of practitioners may need to collaboratively develop models using notebooks. AWS continues to offer the best notebook experience for users with the launch of three new features that help customers coordinate and automate their notebook code.

  • Simplified data preparation: Practitioners want to explore datasets directly in notebooks to spot and correct potential data-quality issues (e.g., missing information, extreme values, skewed datasets, and biases) as they prepare data for training. Practitioners can spend months writing boilerplate code to visualize and examine different parts of their dataset to identify and fix problems. Amazon SageMaker Studio Notebook now offers a built-in data preparation capability that allows practitioners to visually review data characteristics and remediate data-quality problems in just a few clicks—all directly in their notebook environment. When users display a data frame (i.e., a tabular representation of data) in their notebook, Amazon SageMaker Studio Notebook automatically generates charts to help users identify data-quality issues and suggests data transformations to help fix common problems. Once the practitioner selects a data transformation, Amazon SageMaker Studio Notebook generates the corresponding code within the notebook so it can be repeatedly applied every time the notebook is run.

  • Accelerate collaboration across data science teams: After data has been prepared, practitioners are ready to start developing a model—an iterative process that may require teammates to collaborate within a single notebook. Today, teams must exchange notebooks and other assets (e.g., models and datasets) over email or chat applications to work on a notebook together in real time, leading to communication fatigue, delayed feedback loops, and version-control issues. Amazon SageMaker now gives teams a workspace where they can read, edit, and run notebooks together in real time to streamline collaboration and communication. Teammates can review notebook results together to immediately understand how a model performs, without passing information back and forth. With built-in support for services like BitBucket and AWS CodeCommit, teams can easily manage different notebook versions and compare changes over time. Affiliated resources, like experiments and ML models, are also automatically saved to help teams stay organized.

  • Automatic conversion of notebook code to production-ready jobs: When practitioners want to move a finished ML model into production, they usually copy snippets of code from the notebook into a script, package the script with all its dependencies into a container, and schedule the container to run. To run this job repeatedly on a schedule, they must set up, configure, and manage a continuous integration and continuous delivery (CI/CD) pipeline to automate their deployments. It can take weeks to get all the necessary infrastructure set up, which takes time away from core ML development activities. Amazon SageMaker Studio Notebook now allows practitioners to select a notebook and automate it as a job that can run in a production environment. Once a notebook is selected, Amazon SageMaker Studio Notebook takes a snapshot of the entire notebook, packages its dependencies in a container, builds the infrastructure, runs the notebook as an automated job on a schedule set by the practitioner, and deprovisions the infrastructure upon job completion, reducing the time it takes to move a notebook to production from weeks to hours.

To begin using the next generation of Amazon SageMaker Studio Notebooks and these new capabilities, visit aws.amazon.com/sagemaker/notebooks.

Automated validation of new models using real-time inference requests

Before deploying to production, practitioners test and validate every model to check performance and identify errors that could negatively impact the business. Typically, they use historical inference request data to test the performance of a new model, but this data sometimes fails to account for current, real-world inference requests. For example, historical data for an ML model to plan the fastest route might fail to account for an accident or a sudden road closure that significantly alters the flow of traffic. To address this issue, practitioners route a copy of the inference requests going to a production model to the new model they want to test. It can take weeks to build this testing infrastructure, mirror inference requests, and compare how models perform across key metrics (e.g., latency and throughput). While this provides practitioners with greater confidence in how the model will perform, the cost and complexity of implementing these solutions for hundreds or thousands of models makes it unscalable.

Amazon SageMaker Inference now provides a capability to make it easier for practitioners to compare the performance of new models against production models, using the same real-world inference request data in real time. Now, they can easily scale their testing to thousands of new models simultaneously, without building their own testing infrastructure. To start, a customer selects the production model they want to test against, and Amazon SageMaker Inference deploys the new model to a hosting environment with the exact same conditions. Amazon SageMaker routes a copy of the inference requests received by the production model to the new model and creates a dashboard to display performance differences across key metrics, so customers can see how each model differs in real time. Once the customer validates the new model’s performance and is confident it is free of potential errors, they can safely deploy it. To learn more about Amazon SageMaker Inference, visit aws.amazon.com/sagemaker/shadow-testing.

New geospatial capabilities in Amazon SageMaker make it easier for customers to make predictions using satellite and location data

Today, most data captured has geospatial information (e.g., location coordinates, weather maps, and traffic data). However, only a small amount of it is used for ML purposes because geospatial datasets are difficult to work with and can often be petabytes in size, spanning entire cities or hundreds of acres of land. To start building a geospatial model, customers typically augment their proprietary data by procuring third-party data sources like satellite imagery or map data. Practitioners need to combine this data, prepare it for training, and then write code to divide datasets into manageable subsets due to the massive size of geospatial data. Once customers are ready to deploy their trained models, they must write more code to recombine multiple datasets to correlate the data and ML model predictions. To extract predictions from a finished model, practitioners then need to spend days using open source visualization tools to render on a map. The entire process from data enrichment to visualization can take months, which makes it hard for customers to take advantage of geospatial data and generate timely ML predictions.

Amazon SageMaker now accelerates and simplifies generating geospatial ML predictions by enabling customers to enrich their datasets, train geospatial models, and visualize the results in hours instead of months. With just a few clicks or using an API, customers can use Amazon SageMaker to access a range of geospatial data sources from AWS (e.g., Amazon Location Service), open-source datasets (e.g., Amazon Open Data), or their own proprietary data including from third-party providers (like Planet Labs). Once a practitioner has selected the datasets they want to use, they can take advantage of built-in operators to combine these datasets with their own proprietary data. To speed up model development, Amazon SageMaker provides access to pre-trained deep-learning models for use cases such as increasing crop yields with precision agriculture, monitoring areas after natural disasters, and improving urban planning. After training, the built-in visualization tool displays data on a map to uncover new predictions. To learn more about Amazon SageMaker’s new geospatial capability, visit aws.amazon.com/sagemaker/geospatial.

Capitec Bank is South Africa's largest digital bank with over 10 million digital clients. "At Capitec, we have a wide range of data scientists across our product lines who build differing ML solutions," said Dean Matter, ML engineer at Capitec Bank. "Our ML engineers manage a centralized modeling platform built on Amazon SageMaker to empower the development and deployment of all of these ML solutions. Without any built-in tools, tracking modelling efforts tends toward disjointed documentation and a lack of model visibility. With Amazon SageMaker Model Cards, we can track plenty of model metadata in a unified environment, and Amazon SageMaker Model Dashboard provides visibility into the performance of each model. In addition, Amazon SageMaker Role Manager simplifies access management for data scientists in our different product lines. Each of these contribute toward our model governance being sufficient to warrant the trust that our clients place in us as a financial services provider."

EarthOptics is a soil-data-measurement and mapping company that leverages proprietary sensor technology and data analytics to precisely measure the health and structure of soil. "We wanted to use ML to help customers increase agricultural yields with cost-effective soil maps," said Lars Dyrud, CEO of EarthOptics. "Amazon SageMaker’s geospatial ML capabilities allowed us to rapidly prototype algorithms with multiple data sources and reduce the amount of time between research and production API deployment to just a month. Thanks to Amazon SageMaker, we now have geospatial solutions for soil carbon sequestration deployed for farms and ranches across the U.S."

HERE Technologies is a leading location-data and technology platform that helps customers create custom maps and location experiences built on highly precise location data. "Our customers need real-time context as they make business decisions leveraging insights from spatial patterns and trends," said Giovanni Lanfranchi, chief product and technology officer for HERE Technologies. "We rely on ML to automate the ingestion of location-based data from varied sources to enrich it with context and accelerate analysis. Amazon SageMaker’s new testing capabilities allowed us to more rigorously and proactively test ML models in production and avoid adverse customer impact and any potential outages because of an error in deployed models. This is critical, since our customers rely on us to provide timely insights based on real-time location data that changes every minute."

Intuit is the global financial technology platform that powers prosperity for more than 100 million customers worldwide with TurboTax, Credit Karma, QuickBooks, and Mailchimp. "We’re unleashing the power of data to transform the world of consumer, self-employed, and small business finances on our platform," said Brett Hollman, director of Engineering and Product Development at Intuit. "To further Strengthen team efficiencies for getting AI-driven products to market with speed, we've worked closely with AWS in designing the new team-based collaboration capabilities of SageMaker Studio Notebooks. We’re excited to streamline communication and collaboration to enable our teams to scale ML development with Amazon SageMaker Studio."

About Amazon Web Services

For over 15 years, Amazon Web Services has been the world’s most comprehensive and broadly adopted cloud offering. AWS has been continually expanding its services to support virtually any cloud workload, and it now has more than 200 fully featured services for compute, storage, databases, networking, analytics, machine learning and artificial intelligence (AI), Internet of Things (IoT), mobile, security, hybrid, virtual and augmented reality (VR and AR), media, and application development, deployment, and management from 96 Availability Zones within 30 geographic regions, with announced plans for 15 more Availability Zones and five more AWS Regions in Australia, Canada, Israel, New Zealand, and Thailand. Millions of customers—including the fastest-growing startups, largest enterprises, and leading government agencies—trust AWS to power their infrastructure, become more agile, and lower costs. To learn more about AWS, visit aws.amazon.com.

About Amazon

Amazon is guided by four principles: customer obsession rather than competitor focus, passion for invention, commitment to operational excellence, and long-term thinking. Amazon strives to be Earth’s Most Customer-Centric Company, Earth’s Best Employer, and Earth’s Safest Place to Work. Customer reviews, 1-Click shopping, personalized recommendations, Prime, Fulfillment by Amazon, AWS, Kindle Direct Publishing, Kindle, Career Choice, Fire tablets, Fire TV, Amazon Echo, Alexa, Just Walk Out technology, Amazon Studios, and The Climate Pledge are some of the things pioneered by Amazon. For more information, visit amazon.com/about and follow @AmazonNews.

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Killexams : UN chief calls for equalizing availability, quality of HIV treatment

UNITED NATIONS, Nov. 25 (Xinhua) -- UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres on Friday called for equalizing availability, quality of HIV treatment, testing and prevention in his message for World AIDS Day, observed on Dec. 1.

On this World AIDS Day, "we are calling out in one voice. Equalize! The 'Equalize' slogan is a call to action. A call to adopt the proven practical actions that will help end AIDS. More availability, quality and suitability of services for HIV treatment, testing and prevention," said the top UN official.

"Everyone needs respect and to be welcomed. And better sharing of technology to enable equal access to the best HIV science, especially between the global South and North," the UN chief stressed.

The secretary-general added that the world has promised to end AIDS by 2030. "We are off track. To end AIDS, we must end the inequalities that are blocking progress. Today, we risk millions more new infections and millions more deaths."

Guterres called for more financial resources, better laws, policies and practices to tackle "the stigma and exclusion" faced by people living with HIV, especially marginalized populations.

"The inequalities that perpetuate the AIDS pandemic can and must be overcome. We can end AIDS, if we equalize," Guterres said.

According to the factsheets available on the website of the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS), there were 38.4 million people globally living with HIV in 2021, and 1.5 million people became newly infected with HIV and 650,000 people died from AIDS-related illnesses last year.

World AIDS Day, designated on Dec. 1 every year since 1988, is an international day dedicated to raising awareness of the AIDS pandemic caused by the spread of HIV infection and mourning those who have died of the disease. Enditem

Fri, 25 Nov 2022 10:00:00 -0600 text/html http://www.china.org.cn/world/Off_the_Wire/2022-11/26/content_78538305.htm
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