Harvard University professor Leslie Valiant has been awarded a top technology prize for research that has paved the way for computers that more closely mimic how humans think, including "Jeopardy!" tournament-winning Watson. The $250,000 award is considered the Nobel Prize of computing.
For people, being touched can initiate many different reactions from comfort to discomfort, from intimacy to aggression. But how might people react if they were touched by a robot? In an initial study, researchers at the Georgia Institute of Technology found people generally had a positive response toward being touched by a robotic nurse, but that their perception of the robot’s intent made a significant difference.
How can robots use non-verbal communication to interact more naturally with humans? Researchers at the Georgia Institute of Technology found that when robots move in a more human-like fashion, with one movement leading into the next, that people can not only better recognize what the robot is doing, but they can also better mimic it themselves.
Researchers from the European Centre for Soft Computing and the UPM’s Facultad de Informática have developed an antonym-based technique for building maps for mobile robots. This technique can be applied to improve current robot navigation systems.
Over the week, the R&D Daily has been highlighting MIT's Project Angstrom, an ambitious initiative to create tomorrow’s computing systems from the ground up by developing new hardware and a new operating system to take advantage of multicore chips. MIT's Larry Hardesty continues discussing the development of new algorithms. Today, efforts to adapt Fourier transforms for everyday computing use are described.
At its most fundamental, computer science is about the search for better algorithms. But most new algorithms are designed to run on serial computers, which process instructions one after another. Retooling them to run on parallel processors is rarely simple.
Georgia Tech is taking the lead on creating a new virtual world to improve Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) education for all students, especially those with disabilities. The project is part of a National Science Foundation Alliance collaborative grant that partners Georgia Tech with the Univ. of Georgia as lead institutions.
Ultrasensitive electronic skin developed by Stanford researcher Zhenan Bao is getting even better. Now she's demonstrated that it can detect chemicals and biological molecules, in addition to sensing an incredibly light touch. And it can now be powered by a new, stretchable solar cell she's developed in her lab, opening up more applications in clothing, robots, prosthetic limbs, and more.
JAXA is considering putting a talking humanoid robot on the International Space Station to watch the mission while astronauts are asleep, monitor their health and stress levels and communicate to Earth through the microblogging site Twitter. It’s part of a larger effort by the Japanese space agency to refine robots that can be used by the elderly in Japan’s rapidly aging population.
Watson, which took 25 IBM scientists four years to create, is more than just a trivia whiz, some experts say. IBM’s work is changing the way people think about artificial intelligence and how a computer can be programmed to give conversational answers — not merely lists of sometimes not-germane entries. Watsons in the future could do far more than win trivia contests.
So far, the human vs. machine bout is a tie. Originally filmed in January, the three “Jeopardy!” episodes airing this week are a test of IBM’s Watson computer and its ability to deal with the many subtleties, puns, and riddles that make Jeopardy! a great deal harder to program for than, say, the famous 1997 chess matches between Garry Kasparov and Deep Blue. The outcome of the matches is still under wraps.
Surgeons of the future might use a system that recognizes hand gestures as commands to control a robotic scrub nurse or tell a computer to display medical images of the patient during an operation.
As sensors that do things like detect touch and motion in cell phones get smaller, cheaper, and more reliable, computer manufacturers are beginning to take seriously the decade-old idea of"smart dust". In order for such networks to make collective decisions, however, they need to integrate information gathered by many devices. A team from MIT and the Israel Institute of Technology has developed a new algorithm that handles bottlenecks much more effectively than its predecessors. The algorithm is designed to work in so-called ad hoc networks overseeing the network as a whole.
A computer chip that performs imprecise calculations could process some types of data thousands of times more efficiently than existing chips.
Battle simulations, in some form or another, have long been practiced. Their humble, yet important beginning can be traced back to as early as 1,000 B.C. and the creation of Wei Hai —a strategy-based game invented by Art of War author Sun Tzu—which used simple colored stones to depict armies and their movements. During this time, a four-sided board game from India, Chaturanga , used a roll of the dice to determine each player’s next maneuver.