With the popularization of the Internet, permeation of sensor networks, emergence of big data, increase in size of the information community, and interlinking and fusion of data and information throughout human society, physical space, and cyberspace, the information environment related to the current development of artificial intelligence (AI) has profoundly changed. AI faces important adjustments, and scientific foundations are confronted with new breakthroughs, as AI enters a new stage: AI 2.0. This paper briefly reviews the 60-year developmental history of AI, analyzes the external environment promoting the formation of AI 2.0 along with changes in goals, and describes both the beginning of the technology and the core idea behind AI 2.0 development. Furthermore, based on combined social demands and the information environment that exists in relation to Chinese development, suggestions on the development of AI 2.0 are given.
The first author proposed the concept of the cemented material dam (CMD) in 2009. This concept was aimed at building an environmentally friendly dam in a safer and more economical way for both the dam and the area downstream. The concept covers the cemented sand, gravel, and rock dam (CSGRD), the rockfill concrete (RFC) dam (or the cemented rockfill dam, CRD), and the cemented soil dam (CSD). This paper summarizes the concept and principles of the CMD based on studies and practices in projects around the world. It also introduces new developments in the CSGRD, CRD, and CSD.
Method development has always been and will continue to be a core driving force of microbiome science. In this perspective, we argue that in the next decade, method development in microbiome analysis will be driven by three key changes in both ways of thinking and technological platforms: ① a shift from dissecting microbiota structureby sequencing to tracking microbiota state, function, and intercellular interaction via imaging; ② a shift from interrogating a consortium or population of cells to probing individual cells; and ③ a shift from microbiome data analysis to microbiome data science. Some of the recent method-development efforts by Chinese microbiome scientists and their international collaborators that underlie these technological trends are highlighted here. It is our belief that the China Microbiome Initiative has the opportunity to deliver outstanding “Made-in-China” tools to the international research community, by building an ambitious, competitive, and collaborative program at the forefront of method development for microbiome science.
Municipal wastewater treatment has long been known as a high-cost and energy-intensive process that destroys most of the energy-containing molecules by spending energy and that leaves little energy and few nutrients available for reuse. Over the past few years, some wastewater treatment plants have tried to revamp themselves as “resource factories,” enabled by new technologies and the upgrading of old technologies. In particular, there is an renewed interest in anaerobic biotechnologies, which can convert organic matter into usable energy and preserve nutrients for potential reuse. However, considerable technological and economic limitations still exist. Here, we provide an overview of recent advances in several cutting-edge anaerobic biotechnologies for wastewater treatment, including enhanced side-stream anaerobic sludge digestion, anaerobic membrane bioreactors, and microbial electrochemical systems, and discuss future challenges and opportunities for their applications. This review is intended to provide useful information to guide the future design and optimization of municipal wastewater treatment processes.
Tissue engineering is a relatively new but rapidly developing field in the medical sciences. Noncoding RNAs (ncRNAs) are functional RNA molecules without a protein-coding function; they can regulate cellular behavior and change the biological milieu of the tissue. The application of ncRNAs in tissue engineering is starting to attract increasing attention as a means of resolving a large number of unmet healthcare needs, although ncRNA-based approaches have not yet entered clinical practice. In-depth research on the regulation and delivery of ncRNAs may improve their application in tissue engineering. The aim of this review is: to outline essential ncRNAs that are related to tissue engineering for the repair and regeneration of nerve, skin, liver, vascular system, and muscle tissue; to discuss their regulation and delivery; and to anticipate their potential therapeutic applications.
Given the significant requirements for transforming and promoting the process industry, we present the major limitations of current petrochemical enterprises, including limitations in decision-making, production operation, efficiency and security, information integration, and so forth. To promote a vision of the process industry with efficient, green, and smart production, modern information technology should be utilized throughout the entire optimization process for production, management, and marketing. To focus on smart equipment in manufacturing processes, as well as on the adaptive intelligent optimization of the manufacturing process, operating mode, and supply chain management, we put forward several key scientific problems in engineering in a demand-driven and application-oriented manner, namely: ① intelligent sensing and integration of all process information, including production and management information; ② collaborative decision-making in the supply chain, industry chain, and value chain, driven by knowledge; ③ cooperative control and optimization of plant-wide production processes via human-cyber-physical interaction; and ④life-cycle assessments for safety and environmental footprint monitoring, in addition to tracing analysis and risk control. In order to solve these limitations and core scientific problems, we further present fundamental theories and key technologies for smart and optimal manufacturing in the process industry. Although this paper discusses the process industry in China, the conclusions in this paper can be extended to the process industry around the world.
Coal is the dominant primary energy source in China and the major source of greenhouse gases and air pollutants. To facilitate the use of coal in an environmentally satisfactory and economically viable way, clean coal technologies (CCTs) are necessary. This paper presents a review of recent research and development of four kinds of CCTs: coal power generation; coal conversion; pollution control; and carbon capture, utilization, and storage. It also outlines future perspectives on directions for technology research and development (R&D). This review shows that China has made remarkable progress in the R&D of CCTs, and that a number of CCTs have now entered into the commercialization stage.
Trillions of microbes have evolved with and continue to live on and within human beings. A variety of environmental factors can affect intestinal microbial imbalance, which has a close relationship with human health and disease. Here, we focus on the interactions between the human microbiota and the host in order to provide an overview of the microbial role in basic biological processes and in the development and progression of major human diseases such as infectious diseases, liver diseases, gastrointestinal cancers, metabolic diseases, respiratory diseases, mental or psychological diseases, and autoimmune diseases. We also review important advances in techniques associated with microbial research, such as DNA sequencing, metabonomics, and proteomics combined with computation-based bioinformatics. Current research on the human microbiota has become much more sophisticated and more comprehensive. Therefore, we propose that research should focus on the host-microbe interaction and on cause-effect mechanisms, which could pave the way to an understanding of the role of gut microbiota in health and disease. and provide new therapeutic targets and treatment approaches in clinical practice.
Knee osteoarthritis (OA) is the most common form of arthritis worldwide. The incidence of this disease is rising and its treatment poses an economic burden. Two early targets of knee OA treatment include the predominant symptom of pain, and cartilage damage in the knee joint. Current treatments have been beneficial in treating the disease but none is as effective as total knee arthroplasty (TKA). However, while TKA is an end-stage solution of the disease, it is an invasive and expensive procedure. Therefore, innovative regenerative engineering strategies should be established as these could defer or annul the need for a TKA. Several biomaterial and cell-based therapies are currently in development and have shown early promise in both preclinical and clinical studies. The use of advanced biomaterials and stem cells independently or in conjunction to treat knee OA could potentially reduce pain and regenerate focal articular cartilage damage. In this review, we discuss the pathogenesis of pain and cartilage damage in knee OA and explore novel treatment options currently being studied, along with some of their limitations.
The possible mitigation of floods by dams and the risk to dams from floods are key problems. The People’s Republic of China is now leading world dam construction with great success and efficiency. This paper is devoted to relevant experiences from other countries, with a particular focus on lessons from accidents over the past two centuries and on new solutions. Accidents from floods are analyzed according to the dam’s height, storage, dam material, and spillway data. Most of the huge accidents that have been reported occurred for embankments storing over 10 hm3. New solutions appear promising for both dam safety and flood mitigation.
Given the limited spontaneous repair that follows cartilage injury, demand is growing for tissue engineering approaches for cartilage regeneration. There are two major applications for tissue-engineered cartilage. One is in orthopedic surgery, in which the engineered cartilage is usually used to repair cartilage defects or loss in an articular joint or meniscus in order to restore the joint function. The other is for head and neck reconstruction, in which the engineered cartilage is usually applied to repair cartilage defects or loss in an auricle, trachea, nose, larynx, or eyelid. The challenges faced by the engineered cartilage for one application are quite different from those faced by the engineered cartilage for the other application. As a result, the emphases of the engineering strategies to generate cartilage are usually quite different for each application. The statuses of preclinical animal investigations and of the clinical translation of engineered cartilage are also at different levels for each application. The aim of this review is to provide an opinion piece on the challenges, current developments, and future directions for cartilage engineering for both applications.
Global water security is a severe issue that threatens human health and well-being. Finding sustainable alternative water resources has become a matter of great urgency. For coastal urban areas, desalinated seawater could serve as a freshwater supply. However, since 20%–30% of the water supply is used for flushing waste from the city, seawater with simple treatment could also partly replace the use of freshwater. In this work, the freshwater saving potential and environmental impacts of the urban water system (water-wastewater closed loop) adopting seawater desalination, seawater for toilet flushing (SWTF), or reclaimed water for toilet flushing (RWTF) are compared with those of a conventional freshwater system, through a life-cycle assessment and sensitivity analysis. The potential applications of these processes are also assessed. The results support the environmental sustainability of the SWTF approach, but its potential application depends on the coastal distance and effective population density of a city. Developed coastal cities with an effective population density exceeding 3000 persons·km–2 and located less than 30?km from the seashore (for the main pipe supplying seawater to the city) would benefit from applying SWTF, regardless of other impact parameters. By further applying the sulfate reduction, autotrophic denitrification, and nitrification integrated (SANI) process for wastewater treatment, the maximum distance from the seashore can be extended to 60?km. Considering that most modern urbanized cities fulfill these criteria, the next generation of water supply systems could consist of a freshwater supply coupled with a seawater supply for sustainable urban development.
Host-microbe interactions at the gastrointestinal interface have emerged as a key component in the governance of human health and disease. Advances in micro-physiological systems are providing researchers with unprecedented access and insights into this complex relationship. These systems combine the benefits of microengineering, microfluidics, and cell culture in a bid to recreate the environmental conditions prevalent in the human gut. Here we present the human-microbial cross talk (HuMiX) platform, one such system that leverages this multidisciplinary approach to provide a representative in vitro model of the human gastrointestinal interface. HuMiX presents a novel and robust means to study the molecular interactions at the host-microbe interface. We summarize our proof-of-concept results obtained using the platform and highlight its potential to greatly enhance our understanding of host-microbe interactions with a potential to greatly impact the pharmaceutical, food, nutrition, and healthcare industries in the future. A number of key questions and challenges facing these technologies are also discussed.
The human microbiota is an aggregate of microorganisms residing in the human body, mostly in the gastrointestinal tract (GIT). Our gut microbiota evolves with us and plays a pivotal role in human health and disease. In recent years, the microbiota has gained increasing attention due to its impact on host metabolism, physiology, and immune system development, but also because the perturbation of the microbiota may result in a number of diseases. The gut microbiota may be linked to malignancies such as gastric cancer and colorectal cancer. It may also be linked to disorders such as nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD); obesity and diabetes, which are characterized as “lifestyle diseases” of the industrialized world; coronary heart disease; and neurological disorders. Although the revolution in molecular technologies has provided us with the necessary tools to study the gut microbiota more accurately, we need to elucidate the relationships between the gut microbiota and several human pathologies more precisely, as understanding the impact that the microbiota plays in various diseases is fundamental for the development of novel therapeutic strategies. Therefore, the aim of this review is to provide the reader with an updated overview of the importance of the gut microbiota for human health and the potential to manipulate gut microbial composition for purposes such as the treatment of antibiotic-resistant Clostridium difficile (C. difficile) infections. The concept of altering the gut community by microbial intervention in an effort to improve health is currently in its infancy. However, the therapeutic implications appear to be very great. Thus, the removal of harmful organisms and the enrichment of beneficial microbes may protect our health, and such efforts will pave the way for the development of more rational treatment options in the future.
The earth-rockfill dam is one of the primary dam types in the selection of high dams to be constructed in Western China, since it is characterized by favorable adaptability of the dam foundation; full utilization of local earth, rock, and building-excavated materials; low construction cost; and low cement consumption. Many major technical issues regarding earth-rockfill dams with a height of over 250 m were studied and solved successfully in the construction of the 261.5 m Nuozhadu earth core rockfill dam. This paper describes research achievements and basic conclusions; systematically summarizes the accumulated experiences from the construction of the Nuozhadu Dam and other high earth-rockfill dams; and discusses major technical issues, such as deformation control, seepage control, dam slope stability, safety and control of flood discharging, safety and quality control of dam construction, safety assessments, early warning, and other key technical difficulties. This study also provides a reference and technological support for the future construction of 300 m high earth-rockfill dams.
The train-bridge dynamic interaction problem began with the development of railway technology, and requires an evaluation method for bridge design in order to ensure the safety and stability of the bridge and the running train. This problem is studied using theoretical analysis, numerical simulation, and experimental study. In the train-bridge dynamic interaction system proposed in this paper, the train vehicle model is established by the rigid-body dynamics method, the bridge model is established by the finite element method, and the wheel/rail vertical and lateral interaction are simulated by the corresponding assumption and the Kalker linear creep theory, respectively. Track irregularity, structure deformation, wind load, collision load, structural damage, foundation scouring, and earthquake action are regarded as the excitation for the system. The train-bridge dynamic interaction system is solved by inter-history iteration. A case study of the dynamic response of a CRH380BL high-speed train running through a standard-design bridge in China is discussed. The dynamic responses of the vehicle and of the bridge subsystems are obtained for speeds ranging from 200 km·h-1 to 400 km·h-1, and the vibration mechanism are analyzed.
Solar-powered carbon dioxide (CO2)-to-fuel conversion presents itself as an ideal solution for both CO2 mitigation and the rapidly growing world energy demand. In this work, the heating effect of light irradiation onto a bed of supported nickel (Ni) catalyst was utilized to facilitate CO2 conversion. Ceria (CeO2)-titania (TiO2) oxide supports of different compositions were employed and their effects on photothermal CO2 conversion examined. Two factors are shown to be crucial for instigating photothermal CO2 methanation activity: ① Fine nickel deposits are required for both higher active catalyst area and greater light absorption capacity for the initial heating of the catalyst bed; and ② the presence of defect sites on the support are necessary to promote adsorption of CO2 for its subsequent activation. Titania inclusion within the support plays a crucial role in maintaining the oxygen vacancy defect sites on the (titanium-doped) cerium oxide. The combination of elevated light absorption and stabilized reduced states for CO2 adsorption subsequently invokes effective photothermal CO2 methanation when the ceria and titania are blended in the ideal ratio(s).
The stiffness and nanotopographical characteristics of the extracellular matrix (ECM) influence numerous developmental, physiological, and pathological processes in vivo. These biophysical cues have therefore been applied to modulate almost all aspects of cell behavior, from cell adhesion and spreading to proliferation and differentiation. Delineation of the biophysical modulation of cell behavior is critical to the rational design of new biomaterials, implants, and medical devices. The effects of stiffness and topographical cues on cell behavior have previously been reviewed, respectively; however, the interwoven effects of stiffness and nanotopographical cues on cell behavior have not been well described, despite similarities in phenotypic manifestations. Herein, we first review the effects of substrate stiffness and nanotopography on cell behavior, and then focus on intracellular transmission of the biophysical signals from integrins to nucleus. Attempts are made to connect extracellular regulation of cell behavior with the biophysical cues. We then discuss the challenges in dissecting the biophysical regulation of cell behavior and in translating the mechanistic understanding of these cues to tissue engineering and regenerative medicine.
In recent decades, diseases concerning the gut microbiota have presented some of the most serious public health problems worldwide. The human host’s physiological status is influenced by the intestinal microbiome, thus integrating external factors, such as diet, with genetic and immune signals. The notion that chronic inflammation drives carcinogenesis has been widely established for various tissues. It is surprising that the role of the microbiota in tumorigenesis has only recently been recognized, given that the presence of bacteria at tumor sites was first described more than a century ago. Extensive epidemiological studies have revealed that there is a strong link between the gut microbiota and some common cancers. However, the exact molecular mechanisms linking the gut microbiota and cancer are not yet fully understood. Changes to the gut microbiota are instrumental in determining the occurrence and progression of hepatocarcinoma, chronic liver diseases related to alcohol, nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD), and cirrhosis. To be specific, the gut milieu may play an important role in systemic inflammation, endotoxemia, and vasodilation, which leads to complications such as spontaneous bacterial peritonitis and hepatic encephalopathy. Relevant animal studies involving gut microbiota manipulations, combined with observational studies on patients with NAFLD, have provided ample evidence pointing to the contribution of dysbiosis to the pathogenesis of NAFLD. Given the poor prognosis of these clinical events, their prevention and early management are essential. Studies of the composition and function of the gut microbiota could shed some light on understanding the prognosis because the microbiota serves as an essential component of the gut milieu that can impact the aforementioned clinical events. As far as disease management is concerned, probiotics may provide a novel direction for therapeutics for hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) and NAFLD, given that probiotics function as a type of medicine that can improve human health by regulating the immune system. Here, we provide an overview of the relationships among the gut microbiota, tumors, and liver diseases. In addition, considering the significance of bacterial homeostasis, we discuss probiotics in this article in order to guide treatments for related diseases.
Thermal treatment technologies hold an important niche in the remediation of hydrocarbon-contaminated soils and sediments due to their ability to quickly and reliably meet cleanup standards. However, sustained high temperature can be energy intensive and can damage soil properties. Despite the broad applicability and prevalence of thermal remediation, little work has been done to improve the environmental compatibility and sustainability of these technologies. We review several common thermal treatment technologies for hydrocarbon-contaminated soils, assess their potential environmental impacts, and propose frameworks for sustainable and low-impact deployment based on a holistic consideration of energy and water requirements, ecosystem ecology, and soil science. There is no universally appropriate thermal treatment technology. Rather, the appropriate choice depends on the contamination scenario (including the type of hydrocarbons present) and on site-specific considerations such as soil properties, water availability, and the heat sensitivity of contaminated soils. Overall, the convergence of treatment process engineering with soil science, ecosystem ecology, and plant biology research is essential to fill critical knowledge gaps and improve both the removal efficiency and sustainability of thermal technologies.