Entertaining AI links

October 6, 2005

Autonomous robotic fish made it into the London aquarium (Video), while japanese robots learn to bicycle (actually: to keep the balance on the bike even when stationary – they managed to build bicycling robots many years ago).

The German weekly “Die Zeit” has a quite interesting (but loooong) article about AskJeeves.

And finally, although not really AI related: need a bigger mobile display? You may want to Tatoo one into you skin

Grand Challenge finalists announced

October 5, 2005

DARPA has announced the finalists for the Grand Challenge. I’m saddened that Team Jefferson and their robot (propably the only Java Bot) didn’t make it 😦

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The RFID Conspiracy …

October 5, 2005

Wired has a review of the book “Spychips : How Major Corporations and Government Plan to Track Your Every Move with RFID”, almost the same book is also availlable as “The Spychips Threat : Why Christians Should Resist RFID and Computer Tracking”.

Albrecht and McIntyre make a staggering accusation in Spychips: that Philips, Procter and Gamble, Gillette, NCR and IBM are conspiring with each other and the federal government to follow individual consumers everywhere, using embedded radio tags planted in their clothing and belongings.

I’m always wondering when privacy advocates will awake to the dangers of face recognition; afterall RFID Tags need to be put on a person, both the RFID tag and the transceiver are easily detectable, you can destroy RFID chips and you can easily put things in a conducting bag – stopping anyone from “seeing” RFID tags inside. With face recognition things are different: all you need is (a couple of) cameras that can be easily concealed or you just reuse existing CCTV cameras. No need to put anything on a person, no way to tell if your face is recognized and face recognition software has already shown is robustness against disguises.
The potentials for this technologies are endless – finally supermarkets can track how often costumers come to the store, even if they pay cash or don’t buy anything at all. After you paid with your credit card once, all employees in all stores of the same chain will greet you by name …
Expect face recognition enabled cctv cameras in the supermarket near you in 5 years.

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Topix.net – A Concept Based News Portal?

October 5, 2005

Just came across an article describing Topix.net – a site that automatically classifies news stories according to their topics. Another major feature seems to be the integrated background knowledge about US geography. Search for Springfield to understand what I mean: not only does the system ask for a disambiguation about which Springfield you mean, but it also offers a list of “Nearby Cities”.

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First finalists for DARPA Grand Challenge ..

October 4, 2005

DARPA has changed the qualification schedule – 10 teams are already qualified for the finals and don’t need to make more track runs (out of a total of 43 semifinalists, 20 teams will be selected to compete in the finals).

The lucky ones are:

  • RedTeam (Sandstorm and H1ghlander)
  • IVST1
  • Team TerraMax
  • Team Cornell
  • SciAutonics
  • Virginia Tech team Rocky
  • Axion racing
  • Standford Racing
  • Team Caltech
  • btw: Grand Challenge Pictures at Flikr.

    Update:
    DARPA now says that:

    DARPA cautioned teams and observers to draw no conclusions from today’s approach to runs and practice. The NQE evaluation process includes many tests and standards, of which actual run completion is only one measure.

    So I might have been a bit fast with calling the ten teams “finalists” (but hey – Team Cornell even says so on their homepage) but these teams did very well and I would be surprised if one of them gets eliminated in the semifinals. Tonight we’ll now.

    Update 2:
    Tom’s Hardware Guide has nice Grand Challenge coverage

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    Altova SemanticWorks 2006

    October 4, 2005

    From Businesswire:

    Altova(R) (www.altova.com), creator of XMLSpy(R) and other leading XML, data management, UML, and Web services tools, today announced a new addition to its award-winning line of XML applications. Altova SemanticWorks(TM) 2006 is a visual Semantic Web development tool with support for Resource Description Framework (RDF) and Web Ontology Language (OWL) creation and editing.

    Altova SemanticWorks allows developers to graphically create and edit RDF instance documents, RDF Schema (RDFS) vocabularies, and OWL ontologies with full syntax checking. Context-sensitive entry helpers present developers with a list of permitted choices based on the RDF or OWL dialect they are using, so they can create valid documents quickly and easily.

    More at the Altova Page. It costs $249, but there is a 30day trial version available.

    Haven’t tried it yet and I’m not a specialist for ontology editing tools, but at least the visualizations(you need to scroll down a bit) certainly look different from what I’ve seen before.

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    NSF Funding for Semantic Web Development

    October 1, 2005

    From Genetic Engineering News

    The National Center for Genome Resources (NCGR) announced today a $1.7 million grant from the National Science Foundation (NSF) to develop a Virtual Plant Information Network (VPIN) in collaboration with Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory (CSHL), Cold Spring Harbor, N.Y., and The Institute for Genomic Research (TIGR), Rockville, Md.

    The VPIN will greatly advance semantic Web development for biologists by allowing multiple plant information Web sites to associate their data and services with publicly accessible ontologies

    (I’m always happy to hear that even without DARPA there is still some public US money for Semantic Web research)

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    Grand Challenge

    October 1, 2005

    The qualification for DARPA’s robot race “Grand Challenge” has started on the 29th. The real race is planned for October the 8th. You can get much more information on www.grandchallenge.org (click on NQE for the newest qualification results). Some pictures can be found at C-Net.

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    Ugly Ants and Google Earth

    October 1, 2005

    From the Google Blog:

    At a time when the power of information technology doubles every 12 to 15 months and extends to capture every scrap we have, digitizing biodiversity information is a final frontier for IT. It’s an essential step to ensure society maintains and hopefully increases bio-literacy. Toward this end, there’s Antweb. It’s a project from the California Academy of Sciences that has incorporated the Google Earth interface to provide location-based access to the diversity and wonder of ants: from your backyard to the Congo Basin.

    You can find more information at GoogleBlog and learn how to try it yourself at the Ant Web page. In the Google Blog entry you can also see the picture of the (extremely ugly) ant “Proceratium google”, named this way to thank google for their support in building the application.

    In case you’re wondering why I write about this in the Semantic Web context: Everybody can have her data shown in Google Earth if she just creates a suitable XML file – and thats exactly the idea of the Semantic Web: more machine understandable web data makes the web more user friendly / powefull. And now that this KMZ file is on the web you can use it in other applications – for example your tourism information system for people with Myrmecophobia (fear of ants). Alright … that may not the best example, but you get the idea.

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    HCLSIG

    September 30, 2005

    The charter of the “Semantic Web for Health Care and Life Sciences Interest Group” is now available for review. Its mission statement is:

    The Semantic Web for Health-care and Life Sciences Interest Group (HCLSIG) is chartered to develop and support the use of Semantic Web technologies to improve collaboration, research and development, and innovation adoption in the of Health-care and Life Science domains. Success in these domains depends on a foundation of semantically rich system, process and information interoperability. To these ends, the HCLSIG will focus on the development of use cases that illustrate the business value of Semantic Web technology adoption, core vocabularies, guidelines and best practices regarding unique identifiers, and provide a forum for supporting communication, education, collaboration and implementation. The HCLSIG will also work with the other Semantic Web related groups to gather suggestions for further HCLSIG development work. Further, the HCLSIG will provide a forum to support and encourage the use of Semantic Web technologies and foster the growth of interoperable, policy-aware data and databases in the Life Sciences and Health Care industries.

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