Notices tagged with epic

Cherry Hintog (cherry)'s status on Thursday, 06Dec2018 01:23:40 PST Cherry Hintog Precious Cubegoes are the stepping stone for your characters to conquer new #Arena and collect massive rewards.
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shp (shpuld)'s status on Tuesday, 04Dec2018 11:54:21 PST shp @lain yeah it's #epic we are truly #blessed with the amount of #phantasmagoric #creations on this #moce #fediverse #platform such as #gamedev people who make #videogames and talk about #2hu and #cofe 
you're looking at an ace (lain)'s status on Thursday, 15Nov2018 13:14:40 PST you're looking at an ace @Gargron @brainblasted we try to only do it in extreme situations and not in general #btfo #epic 
shp (shpuld)'s status on Wednesday, 31Oct2018 22:49:42 PDT shp @nerthos #epic 
heise online (inoffiziell) (heiseonline)'s status on Thursday, 25Oct2018 03:44:27 PDT heise online (inoffiziell) Umsatz und Gewinn steigen, trotzdem verliert die Aktie an Wert: AMD blieb im vorigen Quartal auf Grafikkarten sitzen und erwartet Umsatzeinbrüche. www.heise.de/newsticker/meldun… #AMD #Bilanz #Epic #Geschäftszahlen #Grafikkarten #Prozessoren #Radeon #RyZen 
Linux (linux)'s status on Thursday, 11Oct2018 07:55:58 PDT Linux Epic Games (Fortnite) have rolled out Unreal Engine 4.21 preview, Linux improvements.
Linuxspecific improvements:
* Linux Platform Get Media Player  From 4.21 on, you can use bundled WebMMedia plugin to play back .webm VPX8/9 videos.
* Linux Crash Report Client Has a GUI  They've added support for the Crash Reporter GUI to now pop up when a crash occurs. Which should help improve feedback.==> https://www.gamingonlinux.com/articles/epicgameshaverolledoutunrealengine421previewwithlinuximprovements.12733
_
#Linux #gaming #UnrealEngine #Unreal #Epic #EpicGames #gameengine 
Hacker News ( unofficial ) (hackernews)'s status on Thursday, 20Sep2018 14:11:41 PDT Hacker News ( unofficial ) Titans of Mathematics Clash Over Epic Proof of ABC Conjecture
Two mathematicians have found what they say is a hole at the heart of a proof that has convulsed the mathematics community for nearly six years.
Article word count: 2894HN Discussion: https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=18034714
Posted by digital55 (karma: 8189)
Post stats: Points: 133  Comments: 41  20180920T19:00:58Z#HackerNews #abc #clash #conjecture #epic #mathematics #over #proof #titans
Article content:
In a report [1]posted online today, [2]Peter Scholze of the University of Bonn and [3]Jakob Stix of Goethe University Frankfurt describe what Stix calls a “serious, unfixable gap” within a [4]mammoth [5]series [6]of [7]papers by [8]Shinichi Mochizuki, a mathematician at Kyoto University who is renowned for his brilliance. Posted online in 2012, Mochizuki’s papers supposedly prove the abc conjecture, one of the most farreaching problems in number theory.
Despite multiple [9]conferences dedicated to explicating Mochizuki’s proof, number theorists have struggled to come to grips with its underlying ideas. His series of papers, which total more than 500 pages, are written in an impenetrable style, and refer back to a further 500 pages or so of previous work by Mochizuki, creating what one mathematician, [10]Brian Conrad of Stanford University, [11]has called “a sense of infinite regress.”
Between 12 and 18 mathematicians who have studied the proof in depth believe it is correct, wrote [12]Ivan Fesenko of the University of Nottingham in an email. But only mathematicians in “Mochizuki’s orbit” have vouched for the proof’s correctness, Conrad [13]commented in a blog discussion last December. “There is nobody else out there who has been willing to say even off the record that they are confident the proof is complete.”
Nevertheless, wrote [14]Frank Calegari of the University of Chicago in a December [15]blog post, “mathematicians are very loath to claim that there is a problem with Mochizuki’s argument because they can’t point to any definitive error.”
That has now changed. In their report, Scholze and Stix argue that a line of reasoning near the end of the proof of “Corollary 3.12” in Mochizuki’s third of four papers is fundamentally flawed. The corollary is central to Mochizuki’s proposed abc proof.
“I think the abc conjecture is still open,” Scholze said. “Anybody has a chance of proving it.”
Scholze and Stix’s conclusions are based not only on their own study of the papers but also on a weeklong visit they paid to Mochizuki and his colleague [16]Yuichiro Hoshi in March at Kyoto University to discuss the proof. That visit helped enormously, Scholze said, in distilling his and Stix’s objections down to their essence. The pair “came to the conclusion that there is no proof,” they wrote in their report.
But the meeting led to an oddly unsatisfying conclusion: Mochizuki couldn’t convince Scholze and Stix that his argument was sound, but they couldn’t convince him that it was unsound. Mochizuki has now posted Scholze’s and Stix’s report on his website, along with [17]several reports of his own in rebuttal. (Mochizuki and Hoshi did not respond to requests for comments for this article.)
In his rebuttal, Mochizuki attributes Scholze and Stix’s criticism to “certain fundamental misunderstandings” about his work. Their “negative position,” he wrote, “does not imply the existence of any flaws whatsoever” in his theory.
Just as Mochizuki’s high reputation made mathematicians view his work as a serious attempt on the abc conjecture, Scholze and Stix’s stature guarantees that mathematicians will pay attention to what they have to say. Though only 30, Scholze has risen quickly to the top of his field. He was [18]awarded the Fields Medal, mathematics’ highest honor, in August. Stix, meanwhile, is an expert in Mochizuki’s particular area of research, a field known as anabelian geometry.
“Peter and Jakob are extremely careful and thoughtful mathematicians,” Conrad said. “Any concerns that they have … definitely merit being cleared up.”
The Sticking Point
The abc conjecture, which Conrad [19]has called “one of the outstanding conjectures in number theory,” starts with one of the simplest equations imaginable: a + b = c. The three numbers a, b and c are supposed to be positive integers, and they are not allowed to share any common prime factors — so, for example, we could consider the equation 8 + 9 = 17, or 5 + 16 = 21, but not 6 + 9 = 15, since 6, 9 and 15 are all divisible by 3.
Given such an equation, we can look at all the primes that divide any of the three numbers — so, for instance, for the equation 5 + 16 = 21, our primes are 5, 2, 3 and 7. Multiplying these together produces 210, a much larger number than any of the numbers in the original equation. By contrast, for the equation 5 + 27 = 32, whose primes are 5, 3 and 2, the prime product is 30 — a smaller number than the 32 in the original equation. The product comes out so small because 27 and 32 have only small prime factors (3 and 2, respectively) that get repeated many times to make them.
If you start playing around with other abc triples, you’ll find that this second scenario is extremely rare. For example, among the 3,044 different triples you can make in which a and b are between 1 and 100, there are only seven in which the product of primes is smaller than c. The abc conjecture, which was first formulated in the 1980s, codifies the intuition that this kind of triple hardly ever happens.
More specifically, coming back to the 5 + 27 = 32 example, 32 is larger than 30, but only by a little. It’s smaller than 30^2, or 30^1.5, or even 30^1.02, which is about 32.11. The abc conjecture says that if you pick any exponent bigger than 1, then there are only finitely many abc triples in which c is larger than the product of the prime factors raised to your chosen exponent.
“The abc conjecture is a very elementary statement about multiplication and addition,” said [20]Minhyong Kim of the University of Oxford. It’s the kind of statement, he said, where “you feel like you’re revealing some kind of very fundamental structure about number systems in general that you hadn’t seen before.”
And the simplicity of the a + b = c equation means that a wide range of other problems fall under the conjecture’s sway. For instance, Fermat’s Last Theorem is about equations of the form x^n + y^n = z^n, and Catalan’s Conjecture, which says that 8 and 9 are the only two consecutive perfect powers (since 8 = 2^3 and 9 = 3^2), is about the equation x^m + 1 = y^n. The abc conjecture (in certain forms) would offer new proofs of these two theorems and solve a host of related open problems.
The conjecture “always seems to lie on the boundary of what is known and what is unknown,” [21]Dorian Goldfeld of Columbia University [22]has written.
The wealth of consequences that would spring from a proof of the abc conjecture had convinced number theorists that proving the conjecture was likely to be very hard. So when word spread in 2012 that Mochizuki had presented a proof, many number theorists dived enthusiastically into his work — only to be stymied by the unfamiliar language and unusual presentation. Definitions went on for pages, followed by theorems whose statements were similarly long, but whose proofs only said, essentially, “this follows immediately from the definitions.”
“Each time I hear of an analysis of Mochizuki’s papers by an expert (off the record) the report is disturbingly familiar: vast fields of trivialities followed by an enormous cliff of unjustified conclusions,” Calegari [23]wrote in his December blog post.
Scholze was one of the paper’s early readers. Known for his ability to absorb mathematics quickly and deeply, he got further than many number theorists, completing what he called a “rough reading” of the four main papers shortly after they came out. Scholze was bemused by the long theorems with their short proofs, which struck him as valid but insubstantial. In the two middle papers, he [24]later wrote, “very little seems to happen.”
Then Scholze got to Corollary 3.12 in the third paper. Mathematicians usually use the word “corollary” to denote a theorem that is a secondary consequence of a previous, more important theorem. But in the case of Mochizuki’s Corollary 3.12, mathematicians agree that it is at the core of the proof of abc. Without it, “there is no proof at all,” Calegari [25]wrote. “It is a critical step.”
This corollary is the only theorem in the two middle papers whose proof is longer than a few lines — it fills nine pages. As Scholze read through them, he reached a point where he couldn’t follow the logic at all.
Scholze, who was only 24 at the time, believed the proof was flawed. But he mostly stayed out of discussions about the papers, except when asked directly for his thoughts. After all, he thought, perhaps other mathematicians would find significant ideas in the paper that he had missed. Or, perhaps, they would eventually come to the same conclusion as he had. One way or the other, he thought, the mathematics community would surely be able to sort things out.
Escher’s Staircase
Meanwhile, other mathematicians were grappling with the densely written papers. Many had high hopes for a [26]meeting dedicated to Mochizuki’s work in late 2015 at the University of Oxford. But as several of Mochizuki’s close associates tried to describe the key ideas of the proof, a “cloud of fog” seemed to descend over the listeners, Conrad wrote in a [27]report shortly after the meeting. “Those who understand the work need to be more successful at communicating to arithmetic geometers what makes it tick,” he wrote.
Within days of Conrad’s post, he received unsolicited emails from three different mathematicians (one of them Scholze), all with the same story: They had been able to read and understand the papers until they hit a particular part. “For each of these people, the proof that had stumped them was for 3.12,” Conrad [28]later wrote.
Kim heard similar concerns about Corollary 3.12 from another mathematician, [29]Teruhisa Koshikawa, currently at Kyoto University. And Stix, too, got perplexed in the same spot. Gradually, various number theorists became aware that this corollary was a sticking point, but it wasn’t clear whether the argument had a hole or Mochizuki simply needed to explain his reasoning better.
Then in late 2017 a rumor spread, to the consternation of many number theorists, that Mochizuki’s papers had been accepted for publication. Mochizuki himself was the editorinchief of the journal in question, [30]Publications of the Research Institute for Mathematical Sciences, an arrangement that Calegari called “[31]poor optics” (though editors generally recuse themselves in such situations). But much more concerning to many number theorists was the fact that the papers were still, as far as they were concerned, unreadable.
“No expert who claims to understand the arguments has succeeded in explaining them to any of the (very many) experts who remain mystified,” [32]Matthew Emerton of the University of Chicago [33]wrote.
Calegari wrote a [34]blog post decrying the situation as “a complete disaster,” to a chorus of amens from prominent number theorists. “We do now have the ridiculous situation where ABC is a theorem in Kyoto but a conjecture everywhere else,” Calegari wrote.
PRIMS soon responded to press inquiries with a statement that the papers had not, in fact, been accepted. Before they had done so, however, Scholze resolved to state publicly what he had been saying privately to number theorists for some time. The whole discussion surrounding the proof had gotten “too sociological,” he decided. “Everybody was talking just about how this feels like it isn’t a proof, but nobody was actually saying, ‘Actually there is this point where nobody understands the proof.’”
So in the comments section below Calegari’s blog post, Scholze wrote that he was “entirely unable to follow the logic after Figure 3.8 in the proof of Corollary 3.12.” He added that mathematicians “who do claim to understand the proof are unwilling to acknowledge that more must be said there.”
[35]Shigefumi Mori, Mochizuki’s colleague at Kyoto University and a winner of the Fields Medal, wrote to Scholze offering to facilitate a meeting between him and Mochizuki. Scholze in turn reached out to Stix, and in March the pair traveled to Kyoto to discuss the sticky proof with Mochizuki and Hoshi.
Mochizuki’s approach to the abc conjecture translates the problem into a question about [36]elliptic curves, a special type of cubic equation in two variables, x and y. The translation, which was well known before Mochizuki’s work, is simple — you associate each abc equation with the elliptic curve whose graph crosses the xaxis at a, b and the origin — but it allows mathematicians to exploit the rich structure of elliptic curves, which connect number theory to geometry, calculus and other subjects. (This same translation is at the heart of [37]Andrew Wiles’ 1994 proof of Fermat’s Last Theorem.)
The abc conjecture then boils down to proving a certain inequality between two quantities associated with the elliptic curve. Mochizuki’s work translates this inequality into yet another form, which, Stix said, can be thought of as comparing the volumes of two sets. Corollary 3.12 is where Mochizuki presents his proof of this new inequality, which, if true, would prove the abc conjecture.
The proof, as Scholze and Stix describe it, involves viewing the volumes of the two sets as living inside two different copies of the real numbers, which are then represented as part of a circle of six different copies of the real numbers, together with mappings that explain how each copy relates to its neighbors along the circle. To keep track of how the volumes of sets relate to one another, it’s necessary to understand how volume measurements in one copy relate to measurements in the other copies, Stix said.
“If you have an inequality of two things but the measuring stick is sort of shrunk by a factor which you don’t control, then you lose control over what the inequality actually means,” Stix said.
It is at this crucial spot in the argument that things go wrong, Scholze and Stix believe. In Mochizuki’s mappings, the measuring sticks are locally compatible with one another. But when you go around the circle, Stix said, you end up with a measuring stick that looks different from if you had gone around the other way. The situation, he said, is akin to Escher’s famous winding staircase, which climbs and climbs only to somehow end up below where it started.
This incompatibility in the volume measurements means that the resulting inequality is between the wrong quantities, Scholze and Stix assert. And if you adjust things so the volume measurements are globally compatible, then the inequality becomes meaningless, they say.
Scholze and Stix have “identified a way that the argument can’t possibly work,” said [38]Kiran Kedlaya, a mathematician at the University of California, San Diego, who has studied Mochizuki’s papers in depth. “So if the argument is to be correct, it has to do something different, and something a lot more subtle” than what Scholze and Stix describe.
Something more subtle is exactly what the proof does, Mochizuki contends. Scholze and Stix err, he wrote, in making arbitrary identifications between mathematical objects that should be regarded as distinct. When he told colleagues the nature of Scholze and Stix’s objections, he wrote, his descriptions “were met with a remarkably unanimous response of utter astonishment and even disbelief (at times accompanied by bouts of laughter!) that such manifestly erroneous misunderstandings could have occurred.”
Mathematicians will now have to absorb Scholze and Stix’s argument and Mochizuki’s response. But Scholze hopes that, in contrast with the situation for Mochizuki’s original series of papers, this should not be a protracted process, since the gist of his and Stix’s objection is not highly technical. Other number theorists “would have totally been able to follow the discussions that we had had this week with Mochizuki,” he said.
Mochizuki sees things very differently. In his view, Scholze and Stix’s criticism stems from a “lack of sufficient time to reflect deeply on the mathematics under discussion,” perhaps coupled with “a deep sense of discomfort, or unfamiliarity, with new ways of thinking about familiar mathematical objects.”
Mathematicians who are already skeptical of Mochizuki’s abc proof may well consider Scholze and Stix’s report the end of the story, said Kim. Others will want to study the new reports for themselves, an activity that Kim himself has commenced. “I don’t think I can completely avoid the need to check more carefully for myself before making up my mind,” he wrote in an email.
In the past couple of years, many number theorists have given up on trying to understand Mochizuki’s papers. But if Mochizuki or his followers can provide a thorough and coherent explanation for why Scholze and Stix’s picture is too simplistic (assuming that it is), “this might go a long way towards relieving some of the fatigue and maybe giving people more willingness to look into this thing again,” Kedlaya said.
In the meantime, Scholze said, “I think this should not be considered a proof until Mochizuki does some very substantial revisions and explains this key step much better.” Personally, he said, “I didn’t really see a key idea that would get us closer to the proof of the abc conjecture.”
Regardless of the eventual outcome of this discussion, the pinpointing of such a specific part of Mochizuki’s argument should lead to greater clarity, Kim said. “What Jakob and Peter have done is an important service to the community,” he said. “Whatever happens, I’m pretty confident that the reports will be progress of a definite sort.”
References
Visible links
1. http://www.kurims.kyotou.ac.jp/~motizuki/SS201808.pdf
2. http://www.math.unibonn.de/people/scholze/
3. https://www.math.unifrankfurt.de/~stix/
4. http://www.kurims.kyotou.ac.jp/~motizuki/Interuniversal%20Teichmuller%20Theory%20I.pdf
5. http://www.kurims.kyotou.ac.jp/~motizuki/Interuniversal%20Teichmuller%20Theory%20II.pdf
6. http://www.kurims.kyotou.ac.jp/~motizuki/Interuniversal%20Teichmuller%20Theory%20III.pdf
7. http://www.kurims.kyotou.ac.jp/~motizuki/Interuniversal%20Teichmuller%20Theory%20IV.pdf
8. http://www.kurims.kyotou.ac.jp/~motizuki/topenglish.html
9. https://www.quantamagazine.org/hoperekindledforabcproof20151221/
10. http://math.stanford.edu/~conrad/
11. https://mathbabe.org/2015/12/15/notesontheoxfordiutworkshopbybrianconrad/
12. https://www.maths.nottingham.ac.uk/personal/ibf/
13. http://www.math.columbia.edu/~woit/wordpress/?p=9871&cpage=1#comments
14. http://math.uchicago.edu/~fcale/research.html
15. https://galoisrepresentations.wordpress.com/2017/12/17/theabcconjecturehasstillnotbeenproved/
16. http://www.kurims.kyotou.ac.jp/~yuichiro/index_e.html
17. http://www.kurims.kyotou.ac.jp/~motizuki/IUTchdiscussions201803.html
18. https://www.quantamagazine.org/peterscholzebecomesoneoftheyoungestfieldsmedalistsever20180801/
19. https://mathbabe.org/2015/12/15/notesontheoxfordiutworkshopbybrianconrad/
20. http://people.maths.ox.ac.uk/kimm/
21. http://www.math.columbia.edu/~goldfeld/index.html
22. https://pdfs.semanticscholar.org/e10f/abaf419e185b1e2029e54783c110a86a5737.pdf
23. https://galoisrepresentations.wordpress.com/2017/12/17/theabcconjecturehasstillnotbeenproved/
24. https://galoisrepresentations.wordpress.com/2017/12/17/theabcconjecturehasstillnotbeenproved/
25. https://galoisrepresentations.wordpress.com/2017/12/17/theabcconjecturehasstillnotbeenproved/
26. https://www.quantamagazine.org/hoperekindledforabcproof20151221/
27. https://mathbabe.org/2015/12/15/notesontheoxfordiutworkshopbybrianconrad/
28. https://galoisrepresentations.wordpress.com/2017/12/17/theabcconjecturehasstillnotbeenproved/
29. http://www.kurims.kyotou.ac.jp/en/list/koshikawa.html
30. http://www.kurims.kyotou.ac.jp/~prims/index.html
31. https://galoisrepresentations.wordpress.com/2017/12/17/theabcconjecturehasstillnotbeenproved/
32. http://www.math.uchicago.edu/~emerton/
33. http://www.math.columbia.edu/~woit/wordpress/?p=9871&cpage=1#comments
34. https://galoisrepresentations.wordpress.com/2017/12/17/theabcconjecturehasstillnotbeenproved/
35. https://kuias.kyotou.ac.jp/e/profile/mori/
36. https://www.quantamagazine.org/tag/ellipticcurves/
37. http://www.jstor.org/stable/2118559?origin=crossref&seq=1#page_scan_tab_contents
38. https://math.ucsd.edu/~kedlaya/HackerNewsBot debug: Calculated post rank: 102  Loop: 123  Rank min: 100  Author rank: 108

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Hacker News ( unofficial ) (hackernews)'s status on Saturday, 18Aug2018 19:14:00 PDT Hacker News ( unofficial ) Researcher at center of epic fraud remains an enigma to those who exposed him
After years of detective work, it's still unclear why a Japanese doctor faked dozens of clinical trials
Article word count: 4342HN Discussion: https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=17790245
Posted by maxerickson (karma: 23856)
Post stats: Points: 114  Comments: 23  20180818T19:45:46Z#HackerNews #center #enigma #epic #exposed #fraud #him #remains #researcher #those #who
Article content:
By [1]Kai KupferschmidtAug. 17, 2018 , 9:15 AM
JAPAN—The first thing that went through Alison Avenellʼs head when she heard Yoshihiro Sato had died was that it might be a trick. It was March 2017, and in the previous years, Avenell, a clinical nutritionist at the University of Aberdeen in the United Kingdom, had spent thousands of hours combing through Satoʼs papers, together with three colleagues in New Zealand. They had discovered that Sato, a bone researcher at a hospital in southern Japan, had fabricated data for dozens of clinical trials published in international journals. "With so much going on, so much fabrication, you just wonder if itʼs convenient for the person to go and hide," Avenell says.
Her second thought was that Sato might have killed himself. "We have no indication that he committed suicide, but it concerns us," Avenell said when I met her at her office in late 2017. Three years earlier, [2]Japanese stem cell scientist Yoshiki Sasai had hanged himself in the stairwell of the RIKEN Center for Developmental Biology in Kobe after he was caught up in a stem cell scandal. "We were aware of the culture in Japan and the dishonor something like this could bring," Avenell said.
It was one more mystery in a deeply unsettling case.
Satoʼs fraud was one of the biggest in scientific history. The impact of his fabricated reports—many of them on how to reduce the risk of bone fractures—rippled far and wide. Metaanalyses that included his trials came to the wrong conclusion; professional societies based medical guidelines on his papers. To follow up on studies they did not know were faked, researchers carried out new trials that enrolled thousands of real patients. Exposing Satoʼs lies and correcting the literature had been a bruising struggle for Avenell and her colleagues.
Yet they could not understand why Sato faked so many studies, or how he got away with it for so long. They puzzled over the role of his coauthors, some of whom had their names on dozens of his papers. ("Do we honestly believe they knew nothing at all about what was going on?" Avenell asked.) They wondered whether other doctors at his hospital read Satoʼs work—and whether the Japanese scientific community ever questioned how he managed to publish more than 200 papers, many of them ambitious studies that would have taken most researchers years to complete.
The tools of science that the group had used—analyzing studies, calculating statistics, writing papers—could reveal fraud. But they could not expose the personal and cultural factors that drove it, or assess its emotional toll. So I set off on a quest that would eventually lead me to the Mitate Hospital in Tagawa, a small town on the island of Kyushu, where Sato had worked in the last 13 years of his life.
I: Suspicion
Avenellʼs own quest began in 2006, when she was combing through dozens of papers for a review evaluating whether vitamin D reduces the risk of bone fractures. In two papers by Sato, she stumbled on a weird coincidence. They described different trials—one in stroke victims, the other in Parkinsonʼs disease patients—but the control and study groups in both studies had the exact same mean body mass index. Looking further, she quickly found several other anomalies. She decided not to include Satoʼs studies in her analysis.
She wasnʼt the first to notice something was off. In a [3]2005 Neurology paper, Sato claimed that a drug named risedronate reduces the risk of hip fractures in women who have had a stroke by a stunning 86%. In a [4]polite letter to the journal, three researchers from the University of Cambridge in the United Kingdom noted that the study was "potentially of great importance," but marveled that the authors had managed to recruit 374 patients in just 4 months.
Given the number of papers he published, he must have spent a very large amount of time on them. I donʼt understand what his gain was. … There must have been some reason to do it. Mark Bolland, University of Auckland
Two years later, a letter in what was then the Archives of Internal Medicine was less polite. [5]A study of male stroke patients published by Sato had managed to enroll 280 patients in just 2 months; another one, of [6]women with Alzheimerʼs disease, recruited a staggering 500 in an equally short period. Sato claimed to have diagnosed all of the Alzheimerʼs patients himself and done followup assessments of all 780 patients every 4 weeks for 18 months. Both studies had very few dropouts, and both showed risedronate, again, to be a resounding success. "We are deeply concerned whether the data provided by Sato et al are valid," Jutta Halbekath of ArzneiTelegramm, a Berlinbased bulletin about the drug industry, [7]and her coauthors wrote. Sato apologized in a [8]published response and claimed the study had been conducted at three hospitals, not one. "The authors did not describe this fact, the reason being that these hospitals were reluctant to have their names in the article," he wrote. He didnʼt name the other hospitals or explain why they wanted to remain anonymous. The journal apparently accepted the explanation.
The letterʼs authors also spotted a troubling pattern. In addition to the two papers in the Archives of Internal Medicine, they found 11 further studies by Sato, published elsewhere, that tested whether sunlight, vitamin D, vitamin K, folate, and other drugs could reduce the risk of hip fractures. All but two reported "extremely large effects with significant results," they noted. But the Archives of Internal Medicine didnʼt want to point fingers at other journals. "You may allude to your concern that other papers have similar concerns," its editors warned Halbekath, "but we cannot allow you to mention those other papers by journal name."
By now, several researchers had raised red flags and waved them for everyone to see—and then everybody moved on. "The trail just went cold," Avenell says.
II: Evidence
Mark Bolland had never heard of Sato when Avenell first mentioned him in late 2012. She and Bolland, a clinical epidemiologist at the University of Auckland in New Zealand, have never met in person, but they joined forces to write metaanalyses on calcium supplements in 2008, together with Andrew Grey and Greg Gamble, both also at the University of Auckland. One topic the quartet discussed frequently was why metaanalyses on the same topic sometimes reach different conclusions. Avenell mentioned Satoʼs studies and noted that the effects they reported were so strong that they might swing metaanalyses if they were included.
Intrigued, Bolland looked up the papers. He, too, was stunned by the large cohorts, the low number of dropouts, and the big effects of almost any treatment tested. "There is nothing that I can think of that produces a 70% to 80% reduction in hip fractures, yet Sato was able to do it consistently in all his trials," he says.
To follow up on his suspicions, Bolland turned to statistics. When scientists compare a treatment and a control group, they usually report "baseline characteristics" for each—things like age, weight, and sex, or, in osteoporosis studies, bone density and calcium intake. From these values, scientists can calculate pvalues that are a measure of the similarity of two groups for a given characteristic; the closer to one the value is, the more the groups resemble each other. Because the groups are randomly selected, the pvalues should normally be "equally distributed"; the value for age or weight is just as likely to be between 0 and 0.1 as between 0.9 and 1.0, for example.
Included in systematic reviews, metaanalyses, or treatment guidelines Did not change the outcome Unclear whether outcome changed Changed the outcome Used as (partial) rationale for a new trial 2002 1998 2006 2010 2014 2018 Number of citations by year Trial published Number of patients 628 84 Retracted 32 A 2006 paper on hip fractures in Parkinson’s patients was cited as evidence behind 2008 U.S. College of Physicians treatment guidelines. Other scientists cited a 2005 paper in The Journal of the American Medical Association to help justify five new trials. 0 10 20 0 10 20 0 10 20 Number of papers 0 10 20 30 Total scientific output Clinical trials 1996 2000 2004 2008 2012 Number of patients 0 100 200 300 400 500 600 700 1980 1990 2000 2010 2015 Retracted Not retracted A farreaching fraud A team of four researchers has worked since 2012 to expose scientific misconduct by Japanese bone researcher Yoshihiro Sato, who published more than 200 papers before he died in 2016. The team has focused on Sato’s 33 clinical trials, together involving 5894 patients. Ripple effects The 12 trials Sato published in highimpact journals have been widely cited. Many were included in meta analyses, sometimes changing the outcomes, or were translated into treatment guidelines. Other researchers used Sato’s fake data as part of the rationale for launching new clinical studies.
(GRAPHIC) J. YOU/SCIENCE; (DATA) F. STEWART, A. AVENELL, A. GREY, G. GAMBLE, AND M. BOLLAND; WEB OF SCIENCE
Bolland extracted the baseline characteristics from the 33 clinical trials Sato had published at the time, more than 500 variables all in all, and calculated their pvalues. More than half were above 0.8, he found. "That just shouldnʼt happen," he says. "The randomized groups were incredibly similar." There was just one plausible explanation, he says: Sato had fabricated data for both groups and had made them more similar than they would ever be in real life.
The team felt it had a damning indictment. "I thought: ‘This is so convincing. Everybody is going to believe this,’" Avenell says. Still, "It needed detailed statistical refereeing, and it needed to be published by a journal so that other affected journals would take note," she adds. So they wrote their accusation as a scientific paper. All they had to do was publish it and wait for researchers, journals, and institutions to react, investigate, and retract. Or so they thought.
III: Accusation
In March 2013, the team submitted the manuscript to The Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA), the highest profile journal [9]Sato had published in, and one it felt might have the resources for an indepth investigation. After reviewing the evidence, JAMA EditorinChief Howard Bauchner told the team the editors would ask Sato and, if necessary, his institution to respond.
Two years later, in April 2015, JAMA told the researchers the hospital had not responded, and it would publish an "expression of concern"—a short note to flag Satoʼs JAMA paper as suspicious. It would not publish the whistleblowersʼ paper, however; if the team had concerns about other papers, it should contact the journals that had published them, Bauchner said.
The four researchers were shocked. "To find out after waiting 2 years that in fact nothing much had really happened and, other than an expression of concern, was going to happen in JAMA, was quite frustrating," Bolland says. (Bauchner declined to answer Scienceʼs questions about the case.)
Next, the paper was rejected by JAMA Internal Medicine, which had also published Satoʼs work. The Journal of Bone and Mineral Research, a highly rated journal in the osteoporosis field, said it would investigate Satoʼs papers, but would not publish the manuscript either. The editors of Trials, which had not published Satoʼs work, said it would not be appropriate to get involved.
Bolland became demoralized. The other three persuaded him not to give up. "If you ever embark on something like this, make sure you have a good support team," he says now. Avenell, too, was sometimes despondent. Whereas the other three researchers at least saw each other in Auckland, she was on her own, frustrated, in the dreary, gray town of Aberdeen. Sometimes, she says, she would just sit in a corner of her open floor plan office and cry.
Journals don’t really like going back to investigate when things go wrong. …They complain that it’s timeconsuming and laborious and difficult. Andrew Grey, University of Auckland
Then, in June 2015, came a small success: The Journal of Bone and Mineral Research [10]retracted one of the 33 trials the team had analyzed. A few other journals followed suit in the months after. But some seemed irritated by the groupʼs persistence. "It is apparent that the responses to the JAMA investigation by Dr. Sato and his institution have been either inadequate or not forthcoming," Grey wrote to Bauchner in December 2015. "At what point will JAMA consider more decisive action, such as retraction?" "We will consider your opinion about how you think it best we should conduct the investigation," Bauchner responded. "We often hear from people how they think we should perform our responsibilities as editors."
In what Bolland calls "really just the last throw of the dice," that same month the group submitted the paper to Neurology, where Sato had published three papers about bone fractures in patients with neurological disease. When it was accepted 8 months later, Avenell cried again. "Iʼm not one usually given to showing such emotion, especially when all I have is a computer screen and emails to look at," she says.
"Journals donʼt really like going back to investigate when things go wrong," Grey concludes. "They complain that itʼs timeconsuming and laborious and difficult." (It is all of that, says Avenell, "and no one ever thanks you for it.") The group says investigations of this scale should not be handled by journals or institutions; it has suggested a levy on journals to fund an independent investigative body.
By the time [11]Neurology published the investigation in December 2016, 10 of the 33 trials had been retracted, all but one by journals the team had contacted. One month later, Avenell received an email from an editor with troubling news. Sato was dead.
IV: Ripples
When scientists die, their published papers live on—even if theyʼre based on lies. Downloaded in seconds from anywhere in the world, fake results continue to steal other scientistsʼ time, influencing their choice of which research avenues to follow and which trials to design and seek ethical approval for.
Today, 21 of Satoʼs 33 trials have been retracted by the journals or Sato himself; Avenell has crossed them off a list taped next to her computer with a red marker. But now the team is following the ripples that the studies caused, focusing, for the time being, on a dozen papers published in the journals with the highest impact factors. Together, these studies reported results for 3182 participants. They have been referenced more than 1000 times, and 23 systematic reviews or metaanalyses have included one or more of the 12 trials.
[12]One metaanalysis, which found drugs called bisphosphonates to be highly effective in preventing hip fractures in elderly patients with stroke or Parkinsonʼs, is based entirely on eight trials from Sato, as he was the only one to study the issue. A key conclusion [13]in another metaanalysis rests only on Satoʼs four studies on bone mineral density in Alzheimerʼs patients. [14]Two other [15]metaanalyses would probably come to different conclusions if Satoʼs trials were removed, Avenell says. One of those, a [16]review showing that vitamin K helps prevent fractures, was the basis of [17]2011 Japanese guidelines that recommend the supplement for people at risk.
The fake trials led to further, real research. Eight trials referenced at least one of Satoʼs fabricated papers in explaining the rationale for the trial. Researchers in the Netherlands, for instance, launched a huge study in 2008 to determine whether B vitamins could help prevent hip fractures. Two previous studies found they didnʼt, but Sato had observed "a large protective effect" in elderly women. "Given the conflicting results and low generalizability to the general older population, further investigation is needed," the Dutch researchers wrote to explain their thinking. The [18]2year study in 2919 elderly people found no effect of the vitamins.
The fraud has also drawn attention to the two coauthors whose names appear on Satoʼs papers most often. One is Kei Satoh, president of Hirosaki University, in a small town at the northern tip of Japanʼs main island, Honshu. Sato worked at Hirosaki University, where he collaborated with Satoh, until 2003; even after he left for Mitate Hospital, 1600 kilometers to the southwest, he and Satoh remained frequent coauthors, including on 13 of the 33 clinical trials.
Satoh—whose name, confusingly, is sometimes spelled Sato—did not respond to Scienceʼs emails. In a short letter to Grey, Hirosaki University Vice President Chizuko Kohri wrote last November that the university had asked "three outside experts" to investigate after the Neurology paper was published. The committee investigated 38 papers, Kohri wrote. Of these, Sato had already retracted seven and wanted to retract another seven. The committee "concluded that there was research misconduct in these 14 papers," Kohri wrote, but that Sato alone was responsible. According to Japanese press reports, Satoh maintains that he only corrected the English in the papers. As a sign of contrition, he gave up 10% of his salary for 3 months.
Satoʼs most important collaborator, however, was Jun Iwamoto. A board member of the Osteoporosis Society of Japan, Iwamoto was a senior lecturer at Keio University in Tokyo—one of the countryʼs most prestigious—until 2017, when his contract wasnʼt renewed in the wake of the Sato affair. He and Sato collaborated for more than a decade and published more than 130 papers together, including 25 of the 33 clinical trials.
A panel at Keio University has been investigating Iwamotoʼs clinical trials. Iwamoto told the panel that he first contacted Sato in 1998, when Iwamoto was working at the New York University Winthrop Hospital in Mineola. In 2002 they started to put each otherʼs name on every paper they authored. Still, Iwamoto claims he was unaware of Satoʼs practice. "We talked to Dr. Iwamoto and in most of the papers which Dr. Sato published, which included Dr. Iwamotoʼs name, Dr. Iwamoto did not know that his name was included," says cancer researcher Hideyuki Saya, who heads the investigation. The panel was "very shocked" by this, Saya says. At the same time, he says, "For Dr. Iwamoto it was an honor to put his name on Dr. Satoʼs [papers] even though he did not know much about the content."
Although considered highly irregular today, such "gift authorships" were common in the recent past, Saya argues. A [19]2014 study in the International Journal of Japanese Sociology found they are particularly common in Japan. "We speculate that most natural science researchers in Japan may be either confused about or struggle with the situation where the strict global criteria conflict with specific local cultures that often condone gift and ghost authorships," the researchers wrote.
Saya says the seven trials listing Iwamoto as the first author appear not to be fabricated. Data for the first four of those no longer exist, but Iwamoto canʼt be faulted for that, says Saya, because under rules at the time they were conducted, he had to save the data for only 5 years. Iwamoto did provide data for three more recent trials. "That data, it seems, was really collected," Saya says.
But Avenell and her colleagues say they have uncovered many problems in trials on which Iwamoto was a first author as well. For instance, two of them, which tested a drug named alendronate, seem to include the same group of 25 patients, as indicated by their average age, height, serum calcium, and numerous other characteristics, but the two papers give different recruitment dates and inclusion criteria, and some of the outcome data differ. Saya chalks problems in the papers up to "immaturity." "We do not think there is fabrication," he says.
Iwamoto now works at another hospital, Saya says. "He has a very nice reputation." When I mention that I would like to talk to him, he suggests I should not. "He is very exhausted," he says. "Better not to contact him at this moment." Otherwise "the same thing" might happen that happened with Sato.
"What happened with Sato?" I ask. "People say he committed suicide over this," Saya says. But he doesnʼt know whether thatʼs true.
V: Enigma
Satoʼs fraudulent work has propelled him to No. 6 on [20]Retraction Watchʼs list of researchers who have racked up the most retractions. At the top is Japanese anesthesiologist Yoshitaka Fujii, with 183 retractions; his frequent coauthor Yuhji Saitoh, also from Japan, is at 10th place, while Japanese endocrinologist Shigeaki Kato is No. 8. Iwamoto is at No. 9. That means half of the top 10 are Japanese researchers. Yet only about 5% of published research comes from Japan. What explains the number of prolific Japanese fraudsters?
Michiie Sakamoto, who is leading another investigation at Keio University, into Iwamotoʼs studies in animals, says it has to do with respect. "In Japan, we donʼt usually doubt a professor," he says. "We basically believe people. We think we donʼt need strict rules to watch them carefully." As a result, researchers faking their results may be exposed only after they have racked up many publications.
Outside researchers may also be less likely to question anomalous results from Japan. Several early critics of Satoʼs work say they thought at first that his unusual results might be due to something uniquely Japanese. One case in point: In 2003, [21]Sato published a study on data from 40 patients with a very rare affliction named neuroleptic malignant syndrome, collected over 3 years. In a letter to the journal, a U.K. neurologist said he and his colleagues "could only recall two such cases in living memory"—but instead of casting doubt on the study, they said it was interesting that the syndrome seemed so prevalent in Japan.
In Japan, we don’t usually doubt a professor. We basically believe people. We think we don’t need strict rules to watch them carefully. Michiie Sakamoto, Keio University
But none of that explains why Sato decided to embark on his fraud—and nobody seems to be able to shed much light on that question. "Given the number of papers he published, he must have spent a very large amount of time on them," Bolland says. "I donʼt understand what his gain was. … There must have been some reason to do it." The Keio University panel is just as puzzled. "We discussed this a lot in the committee," Saya says. It might have been like a hobby, he suggests. A thrill. Saya uses the word "otaku," a Japanese term often applied to people who read manga obsessively.
I thought I might find more clarity at the place where Sato perpetrated the fraud.
Mitate Hospital is not known for its scientific excellence. Except for one 2006 paper on schizophrenia, its entire research output over the past 20 years was produced by Sato.
The hospital is a sprawling complex of beige buildings set against green hills. I walk up to the reception. Itʼs quiet, no patients in sight. The receptionist does not understand me and asks me to write down what I want to say. "I am a journalist," I write. "I would like to talk to the director about Yoshihiro Sato."
Her eyes widen as she reads the name and she calls a nurse who speaks English. The nurse calls the director. "He does not want to talk to you," she says after she hangs up. We stand awkwardly next to each at the reception desk, both embarrassed. It is clear that everybody wants me to leave.
As I walk back to the bus stop I look back at the hospital. It is an unlikely place for an unlikely story. What did people here think about the research superstar in their midst? What do they remember about the man?
The effects of Satoʼs fraud are still rippling out: citations, retractions, investigations. But the place at the epicenter of the disaster reveals nothing. Mitate Hospital squats silently in the midday sun.
VI: Epilogue
Hours before I leave Japan, I meet Iwamotoʼs lawyer, Satoshi Ogawa. We sit in the lobby of my Tokyo hotel, our words echoing from the bare walls and the marble floor. Ogawa says Iwamoto agreed to our conversation because he wants me to understand his point of view. "From his perspective, he is a victim." Avenellʼs team, says Ogawa, is now giving Iwamotoʼs papers a level of scrutiny that is unfair and is causing his client a great deal of distress.
Ogawa says Sato wrote a detailed account of his interactions with Iwamoto a year before he died. He shows me an English version of the document, signed by Sato and witnessed by Ogawa and a notary. "I strongly requested Mr. Iwamoto to include my name as an author on the articles for which Mr. Iwamoto was the lead author," Sato wrote. "I also started including Mr. Iwamotoʼs name in the articles for which I myself was the lead author."
The letter does not mention fraud, however. "I couldnʼt force him to confess," Ogawa says. "I think he had a mental illness." His emails were not logical, he says. "To tell the truth, I predicted that he would commit suicide."
Suicide. Is he sure thatʼs what happened?
"I received the information from the lawyer of Mr. Sato," Ogawa says. Sato also left a note, he says, and he paraphrases it: "I am very sorry for Mr. Iwamoto. I decided to commit suicide."
When I call Avenell after my return from Japan and tell her what I have learned, there is stunned silence at first. "Thatʼs what we were dreading," she says. "Thatʼs horrible, really horrible." Exposing the misconduct was important, she says. "Could we have done it without Sato committing suicide? So that he felt less guilty? I just donʼt know."
Later she follows up with an email, still astonished at "how such a small piece of data analysis a long time ago can end up with someone dying." As a clinician and a researcher, Avenell wrote, she knows her work can eventually make the difference between life and death. "But seldom is the connection between a clinician and another human beingʼs death so obvious."
References
Visible links
1. http://www.sciencemag.org/author/kaikupferschmidt
2. http://www.sciencemag.org/news/2014/08/seniorrikenscientistinvolvedstemcellscandalcommitssuicide
3. http://n.neurology.org/content/64/5/811.long
4. http://n.neurology.org/content/65/9/1513.full
5. https://jamanetwork.com/journals/jamainternalmedicine/fullarticle/765620?resultClick=1
6. https://jamanetwork.com/journals/jamainternalmedicine/fullarticle/765639?resultClick=1
7. https://jamanetwork.com/journals/jamainternalmedicine/articleabstract/411829
8. https://jamanetwork.com/journals/jamainternalmedicine/articleabstract/411832?resultClick=1
9. https://jamanetwork.com/journals/jama/fullarticle/200453
10. https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/jbmr.2725
11. http://n.neurology.org/content/early/2016/11/09/WNL.0000000000003387
12. https://www.strokejournal.org/article/S10523057(14)003048/pdf
13. https://www.hindawi.com/journals/tswj/2012/872173/
14. https://jamanetwork.com/journals/jamainternalmedicine/fullarticle/410550
15. http://www.mdpi.com/20726643/7/5/3322
16. https://jamanetwork.com/journals/jamainternalmedicine/fullarticle/410550
17. https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007%2Fs1165701201099
18. https://academic.oup.com/ajcn/article/100/6/1578/4576655
19. https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/abs/10.1111/ijjs.12016
20. https://retractionwatch.com/theretractionwatchleaderboard/
21. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1738449/HackerNewsBot debug: Calculated post rank: 83  Loop: 104  Rank min: 80  Author rank: 19

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