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World’s fastest computer boots up

August 20, 2001

IBM has switched on the world’s most powerful computer, ASCI White, at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory. It is the first computer capable of more than 10 trillion calculations per second and 1,000 times faster than IBM’s Deep Blue.

Computer games stunt teen brains

August 20, 2001

Computer games are creating a dumbed-down generation of children far more disposed to violence than their parents, according to a controversial new study by Professor Ryuta Kawashima and his team at Tohoku University in Japan.The level of brain activity was measured in hundreds of teenagers playing a Nintendo game and compared to the brain scans of other students doing a simple, repetitive arithmetical exercise. The computer game only stimulated activity… read more

Robots Tested in Mock Search for Urban Disaster Victims

August 20, 2001

Search-and-rescue teams of robots competed in a recent standardized obstacle course in an earthquake simulation. The event was part of the annual Robocup competition, held in conjunction with the International Joint Conference on Artificial Intelligence.

Designed by robotics experts around the world, the competitors are early iterations of search-and-rescue robots that can enter buildings after earthquakes, fires or bombings.

Cosmic Laws Like Speed of Light Might Be Changing

August 20, 2001

The basic laws of nature may be changing slightly as the universe ages, an international team of astrophysicists has discovered.Observations of the behavior of metallic atoms in gas clouds 12 billion light years away revealed patterns of light absorption that the team could not explain without assuming a change in a basic constant of nature involving the strength of the attraction between electrically charged particles.

If confirmed, the finding… read more

Cloning and the New Jacobins

August 20, 2001

A curious coalition of the religious right and anti-science left has been
whipping up a storm about the idea of a nationwide, or even worldwide ban on
human reproductive cloning lately — an example of the clash of visions
between the Lockean, Burkean, and Rousseauean temperaments in Anglosphere
politics.

Silicon senses

August 19, 2001

“Silicon senses” could dramatically change the way we perceive our worlds.
Examples include a head-mounted device projects a high-resolution image directly on the retina, a robot controlled by the brain-stem cells of a fish, a computer that emits odor, and a laptop that translates spoken words into another language by searching sentences for keywords that provide a clue to their meaning.

Synthespians more prevalent in future films

August 19, 2001

Newly developed computer tools are allowing filmmakers to add synthespians (virtual actors) into the action. New technology for digitally modeling hair, cloth, skin and muscles will make digital humans even more prevalent and indistinguishable from the flesh-and-blood kind over the next year.

Virtual clones take over SIGGRAPH

August 16, 2001

LOS ANGELES – What’s missing from Web sites is personality. That’s about to change.Pulse is previewing software for creating photoreal, 3D characters for use on Web sites. You can build a virtual character in just five minutes by taking a digital photo of a face, converting to a 3D model, and adding voice or text-to-speech for lip-synching, as we confirmed in a demo.

Uses include email, instant… read more

SGI Reality Center wows SIGGRAPH attendees

August 15, 2001

LOS ANGELES, August 14 — SGI is wowing SIGGRAPH attendees with its 35 by 10 foot wraparound immersive Reality Center visualization facility here.The display seamlessly combines images from three projectors driven by SGI Onyx 3400 computers, generating 3.5 million pixel images in real time.

Demonstrations include a breathtaking journey through the sixth-century Buddhist kingdom of Silla, from the SGI Reality Center in Seoul, Korea; an urban drive-around simulation of… read more

Quantum memories should mimic ours

August 13, 2001

Quantum-computer engineers should design memories like our own, storing information as patterns rather than putting each item in its own labelled box, as in conventional computers, says Carlo Trugenberger of InfoCodex in Geneva, Switzerland.
Quantum memories, Trugenberger suggests, could be associative while accessing the full storage potential of the collection of memory elements. He shows that, even if the input to such a device is noisy or incomplete, the most… read more

Self-assembling nanotubes

August 13, 2001

The principle that makes DNA strands link together may someday be used to manufacture molecular wires and other components for use in electronic devices, according to Hicham Fenniri, an assistant professor of chemistry at Purdue Univ. To develop the self-assembling structures, Fenniri and his colleagues borrowed chemistry from DNA to create a series of molecules that are “programmed” to link in groups of six to form rosette-shaped rings, which then… read more

Still Waiting on Neural Nets

August 13, 2001

Neural network technology needs to connect with current research about how the human brain works, said researchers gathered at a session of the International Joint Conference on Neural Networks in Washington, DC in July.
Jim Olds, director of George Mason University’s Krasnow Institute for Advanced Study in Fairfax, VA, remarked that the information about brain function that computer scientists have been relying on is about 30 years old.

Neuroinformatics… read more

Mining newsgroups

August 13, 2001

Researchers are developing software that mines online newsgroups for public-opinion content.Computational linguist Warren Sack’s Conversation Map software maps how often words or phrases appear, and how close they are to one another.

One use is for market researchers: with the right tools, they could turn newsgroups containing millions of opinions into the ultimate focus group.

Automated invention machines

August 13, 2001

Genetic programming research has reinvented engineering patents generated as recently as last year, says John Koza, consulting professor of biomedical informatics at Stanford.

Concentrating on what he calls “the black arts” — areas where there’s no known mathematical method to solve the problem quickly — Koza’s recent focuses include controllers, analog circuits and cellular automata.

Koza’s resources include a 1,000-node parallel computing cluster at Genetic Programmingread more

Robots beat human commodity traders

August 12, 2001

Software-based robotic trading agents made seven per cent more cash than people in an IBM test.
Jeffrey Kephart of IBM says his team’s findings could have a much greater impact than the famous victory of IBM’s Deep Blue supercomputer over chess supremo Gary Kasparov. “The impact might be measured in billions of dollars annually,” he says.

He believes that in the future billions of economic robotic agents will replace… read more

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