Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Google Creates A "Computer Brain"

There's a certain grim inevitability to the fact that the YouTube company's creation began watching stills from cat videos

Google Creates 'Computer Brain' - And It Immediately Starts Watching Cat Videos On YouTube -- Daily Mail

* 16,000 processors create brain-style 'neural network'
* Network learns by itself to identify cat faces
* Works with pool of 10 million images from YouTube

Google has created an 'artificial brain' from 16,000 computer processors, and sat it down with an internet connection.

There's a certain grim inevitability to the fact that the YouTube company's creation began watching stills from cat videos.

The team, led by Google's Dr Jeff Dean, used the 16,000 processor array to create a brain-style 'neural network' with more than a billion connections.

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My Comment: I am not a "cat person".

Friday, June 22, 2012

Remembering Alan Turing, The Father Of The Computer

Remembering Alan Turing At 100 -- Endgadget

Alan Turing would have turned 100 this week, an event that would have, no doubt, been greeted with all manner of pomp -- the centennial of a man whose mid-century concepts would set the stage for modern computing. Turing, of course, never made it that far, found dead at age 41 from cyanide poisoning, possibly self-inflicted. His story is that of a brilliant mind cut down in its prime for sad and ultimately baffling reasons, a man who accomplished so much in a short time and almost certainly would have had far more to give, if not for a society that couldn't accept him for who he was.

Read more ....

More News On Alan Turing

Alan Turing, the father of the computer, is finally getting his due -- Washington Post
Alan Turing 100: Visionary, war winner ... game maker? -- The Register
Alan Turing: the short, brilliant life and tragic death of an enigma -- The Guardian
Centenary of the birth of WWII code breaker Alan Turing -- BBC
Happy 100th birthday, Alan Turing -- MSNBC
The Enigma of Computing's Lost Genius -- Wall Street Journal
Alan Turing: The experiment that shaped artificial intelligence -- BBC
How to Pass the Turing Artificial Intelligence Test -- Wired Science
LEGO Turing Machine Is Simple, Yet Sublime -- Underwire
What was Alan Turing's greatest contribution? -- BBC
Alan Turing: Is he really the father of computing? -- BBC

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Robots Get A Feel For The World

Like the human finger, the group's BioTac® sensor has a soft, flexible skin over a liquid filling. (Credit: USC)

Robots Get A Feel For The World: Touch More Sensitve Than A Human's -- Science Daily

ScienceDaily (June 18, 2012) — What does a robot feel when it touches something? Little or nothing until now. But with the right sensors, actuators and software, robots can be given the sense of feel -- or at least the ability to identify different materials by touch.

Researchers at the University of Southern California's Viterbi School of Engineering published a study June 18 in Frontiers in Neurorobotics showing that a specially designed robot can outperform humans in identifying a wide range of natural materials according to their textures, paving the way for advancements in prostheses, personal assistive robots and consumer product testing.

Read more

My Comment: This has many real world applications.

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

More News On The Super-Computer Wars

The Sequoia: This grey slab is just part the most powerful computer on the planet, and will be used in nuclear power research, with perhaps a game or two of chess on the side

U.S. Reclaims Top Spot In Super-Computer Wars With Machine That 'Can Do More In An Hour Than The World's Population Working Non-Stop For 320 Years' -- Daily Mail

* IBM's 'Sequoia' beats Japan's 'K machine', running 1.55 times faster while being 15 per cent more energy efficient
* Computer - which is nearly 300,00 times faster than machines from 20 years ago - will be used for nuclear studies

In the super-computing league table, the U.S. has reclaimed 'top spot' from Japan.

IBM's Sequoia computer, which is 1.55 times faster than Japan's previous record-breaker, the Fujitsu K Computer, was installed and switched on at the U.S. Department of Energy's Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory in California.

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My Comment: Impressive speeds .... and they are still getting faster.

Swarms Of Cyborg Insect Drones Are The Future Of Military Surveillance

Fingertip: The US Air Force unveiled insect-sized spies 'as tiny as bumblebees' that could not be detected and would be able to fly into buildings

Is That Really Just A Fly? Swarms Of Cyborg Insect Drones Are The Future Of Military Surveillance -- Daily Mail

The kinds of drones making the headlines daily are the heavily armed CIA and U.S. Army vehicles which routinely strike targets in Pakistan - killing terrorists and innocents alike.

But the real high-tech story of surveillance drones is going on at a much smaller level, as tiny remote controlled vehicles based on insects are already likely being deployed.

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My Comment: This is impressive tech, and an indication on what the future in surveillance will be all about.

Monday, June 18, 2012

IBM Supercomputer Sequoia Overtakes Fujitsu As World's Fastest

IBM Supercomputer Overtakes Fujitsu As World's Fastest -- BBC

IBM's Sequoia has taken the top spot on the list of the world's fastest supercomputers for the US.

The newly installed system trumped Japan's K Computer made by Fujitsu which fell to second place.

It is the first time the US can claim pole position since it was beaten by China two years ago.

Sequoia will be used to carry out simulations to help extend the life of aging nuclear weapons, avoiding the need for real-world underground tests.

It is installed at the US Department of Energy's Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory in California.

Read more

More News On Livermore’s Sequoia Supercomputer Earning The Number #1 Rank As The World's Fastest

California Nuke Simulator Is World’s Most Powerful Computer -- Wired
IBM supercomputer overtakes Japan's Fujitsu as world's fastest -- Tech Spot
US regains top spot for fastest supercomputer -- AFP
IBM's Sequoia is the world's fastest supercomputer -- The Guardian
IBM's Sequoia Supercomputer is Now the World's Fastest Computing Machine -- Popular Science
NNSA Sequoia supercomputer takes worlds fastest title, prevents nuclear testing -- Endgadget
Nuclear weapons supercomputer reclaims world speed record for US -- The Telegraph
With 16 petaflops and 1.6M cores, DOE supercomputer is world’s fastest -- Ars Technica

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Quantum Computers Move One Step Closer

Image Caption: SFU physicist Mike Thewalt and grad student Kamyar Saeedi with a sample of highly isotopically enriched silicon - its unique properties could advance quantum computing. Credit: SFU

Quantum Computers Move One Step Closer -- Red Orbit

The quantum computer is a futuristic machine that could operate at speeds even more mind-boggling than the world’s fastest super-computers.

Research involving physicist Mike Thewalt of Simon Fraser University offers a new step towards making quantum computing a reality, through the unique properties of highly enriched and highly purified silicon.

Quantum computers right now exist pretty much in physicists’ concepts, and theoretical research. There are some basic quantum computers in existence, but nobody yet can build a truly practical one—or really knows how.

Read more ....

My Comment: Bottom line .... are are still a long way from having a real quantum computer.

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

A Rat Is Still Smarter Than Google

Clever - but still learning: Google Navigation, pictured here on an Android phone, is a clever, intelligent-seeming system - but it is still just code, following instructions

Why Google Is Nowhere Near As Clever As A Rat - But One Day, Even Your Smartphone Will Be Smarter Than You -- Daily Mail

* Clever technology such as Google is still powered by rote-learning and pattern-matching, say AI researchers...
* ...But over the next 30 years, super-computers will become smarter, cheaper, and smaller

Google has spent the last 15 years becoming smarter and smarter, learning how to power our lives - from our homes, our cars, our phones.

But - and with apologies to founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin - all of that work is still no match to the intelligence of a common rat.

Or taking it further, even a gnat.

The point was made by artificial intelligence researchers Yann LeCun and Josh Tenenbaum, who were not criticising the search engine, just pointing out how much further we have to go until we can create computers which contain - or at least, perfectly mimic - intelligent life.

Read more ....

My Comment: We have made progress .... but we definitely still have a long way to go before an AI platform is smarter than a rat.

Robot Ethics: Morals And The Machine

Robot Ethics: Morals And The Machine -- The Economist

As robots grow more autonomous, society needs to develop rules to manage them

IN THE classic science-fiction film “2001”, the ship’s computer, HAL, faces a dilemma. His instructions require him both to fulfil the ship’s mission (investigating an artefact near Jupiter) and to keep the mission’s true purpose secret from the ship’s crew. To resolve the contradiction, he tries to kill the crew.

Read more ....

My Comment
: As advancements in robots and drones continue to develop .... the issue on how to manage them will become more important .... especially robots and drones with military applications. But we better move fast .... because that time is fast approaching

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Robots Go To War

March Of The Robots -- Economist

Robotics: From reconnaissance to bomb-defusal to launching attacks, military robots are on the march, raising knotty ethical quandaries.

IN THE early afternoon of August 18th 2008, a reconnaissance unit of about 100 French paratroopers, accompanied by a small number of Afghan and American soldiers, was ambushed by a similarly sized Taliban force in the Uzbin Valley, not far from Kabul. Ten French soldiers were killed in fighting that continued into the night—France’s biggest loss since it sent soldiers to Afghanistan in 2002. But it might have been avoided had the unit had a single aerial-robot scout, says GĂ©rard de Boisboissel, a specialist on military robots at the French army’s Saint-Cyr military academy. That assessment, shared by many, led to a retooling of France’s armed forces. Today drones, also called unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), routinely accompany even small French units.

Read more ....

Sunday, June 3, 2012


Meet ROBOT-Rx, The Robot Pharmacist Doling Out 350 Million Doses Per Year -- Singularity Hub

Come to think of it, why do we still have pharmacists? I mean, how hard is it to count by “twos”? I’m just kidding of course. You probably want that extra pair of human eyes to check on your prescription. But after the pharmacist has double-checked the prescription and answered your questions, why not let robots count the pills out for them?

Read more ....

My Comment: It's only a matter of time before 'robot pharmacists' become standard issue.