Archive

Posts Tagged ‘computer scientists’

Pixar Names Main Studio Building For Steve Jobs

November 7th, 2012 11:36 admin View Comments

Businesses

Hugh Pickens writes writes “Jordan Kahn reports that the main building on Pixar’s campus has been named in memory of Steve Jobs who actually played a big role in designing the building itself as CEO of Pixar. Pixar’s campus design originally separated different employee disciplines into different buildings – one for computer scientists, another for animators, and a third building for everybody else but according to Jobs’ recent biography, the headquarters was to be a place that ‘promoted encounters and unplanned collaborations.’ Because Jobs was fanatic about unplanned collaborations, he envisioned a campus where these encounters could take place, and his design included a great atrium space that acts as a central hub for the campus. ‘Steve’s theory worked from day one,’ says John Lasseter, Pixar’s chief creative officer. ‘I’ve never seen a building that promoted collaboration and creativity as well as this one.‘”

Source: Pixar Names Main Studio Building For Steve Jobs

Frankenstein Code Stitches Code Bodies Together To Hide Malware

September 1st, 2012 09:47 admin View Comments

Security

mikejuk writes “A recent research technique manages to hide malware by stitching together bits of program that are already installed in the system to create the functionality required. Although the Frankenstein system is only a proof of concept, and the code created just did some simple tasks, sorting and XORing, without having the ability to replicate, computer scientists from University of Texas, Dallas, have proved that the method is viable. What it does is to scan the machine’s disk for fragments of code, gadgets, that do simple standard tasks. Each task can have multiple gadgets that can be used to implement it and each gadget does a lot of irrelevant things as well as the main task. The code that you get when you stitch a collection of gadgets together is never the same and this makes it difficult to detect the malware using a signature. Compared to the existing techniques of hiding malware the Frankenstein approach has lots of advantages — the question is, is it already in use?” Except for the malware part, this has a certain familiar ring.

Source: Frankenstein Code Stitches Code Bodies Together To Hide Malware

Robot Learning To Recognize Itself In Mirror

August 23rd, 2012 08:11 admin View Comments

Robotics

First time accepted submitter Thorodin writes in with a story at the BBC about scientists at Yale who have built a robot that they hope will be able to recognize itself in a mirror. “A robot named Nico could soon pass a landmark test – recognizing itself in a mirror. Such self-awareness would represent a step towards the ultimate goal of thinking robots. Nico, developed by computer scientists at Yale University, will take the test in the coming months. The ultimate aim is for Nico to use a mirror to interpret objects around it, in the same way as humans use a rear-view mirror to look for cars. ‘It is a spatial reasoning task for the robot to understand that its arm is on it not on the other side of the mirror,’ Justin Hart, the PhD student leading the research told BBC News. So far the robot has been programmed to recognize a reflection of its arm, but ultimately Mr Hart wants it to pass the “full mirror test”. The so-called mirror test was originally developed in 1970 and has become the classic test of self-awareness.”

Source: Robot Learning To Recognize Itself In Mirror

A New Glider Found For Conway’s Game of Life

August 7th, 2012 08:09 admin View Comments

Math

An anonymous reader writes “Conway’s Game of Life is now forty two years old, but it continues toinspire as well as being the basis of an actively researched field, with computer scientists now announcing they have found a new form of the famous ‘glider’ pattern (once suggested by Eric S Raymond as the insignia of computer hackers) that runs over a so-called Penrose universe.”

Source: A New Glider Found For Conway’s Game of Life

Harvard Software 3D Prints Articulated Action Figures

August 2nd, 2012 08:28 admin View Comments

Printer

An anonymous reader writes with an excerpt from an article at Geek.com “A team of computer scientists at Harvard University have developed a piece of software that allows anyone to 3D print their own action figures at home. Not only will the models carry the likeness of the character, they will also be fully articulated. The software can take an animated 3D character and figure out where best to place its joints. In what is referred to as reverse rendering, the software first looks at an animated character’s shape and movement and identifies the best joint points (original paper, paywalled). It then adjusts the size of the different parts of the model so as to allow a real joint to work once printed. Optimizations are then carried out to produce a model as close as possible to the on-screen version, but at the same time workable as an actual real-world, articulated 3D model.” The bad news: Harvard is patenting everything and wants to commercialize it on a proprietary basis.

Source: Harvard Software 3D Prints Articulated Action Figures

Asimov’s Psychohistory Becoming a Reality?

July 17th, 2012 07:53 admin View Comments

Stats

northernboy writes “Today’s LA Times has an article describing how a Wikileaks data dump from Afghanistan plus some advanced algorithms are allowing accurate predictions about the behavior of large groups of people. From the article: ‘The programmers used simple code to extract dates and locations from about 77,000 incident reports that detailed everything from simple stop-and-search operations to full-fledged battles. The resulting map revealed the outlines of the country’s ongoing violence: hot spots near the Pakistani border but not near the Iranian border, and extensive bloodshed along the country’s main highway. They did it all in just one night. Now one member of that group has teamed up with mathematicians and computer scientists and taken the project one major step further: They have used the WikiLeaks data to predict the future.’ Considering they did not discriminate between types of skirmish, but only when and where there was violence, this seems like an amazing result. It looks like our robotic overlords will have even less trouble controlling us than I previously thought.”

Source: Asimov’s Psychohistory Becoming a Reality?

Feds Plan ‘Fog of Disinformation’ To Track Information Leaks

July 5th, 2012 07:20 admin View Comments

Government

skipkent tips a story at Wired’s Danger Room, according to which “Pentagon-funded researchers have come up with a new plan for busting leakers: Spot them by how they search, and then entice the secret-spillers with decoy documents that will give them away. Computer scientists call it it ‘Fog Computing’ — a play on today’s cloud computing craze. And in a recent paper for Darpa, the Pentagon’s premiere research arm, researchers say they’ve built ‘a prototype for automatically generating and distributing believable misinformation and then tracking access and attempted misuse of it. We call this “disinformation technology.”‘”

Source: Feds Plan ‘Fog of Disinformation’ To Track Information Leaks

‘Inexact’ Chips Save Power By Fudging the Math

May 18th, 2012 05:15 admin View Comments

Power

Barence writes “Computer scientists have unveiled a computer chip that turns traditional thinking about mathematical accuracy on its head by fudging calculations. The concept works by allowing processing components — such as hardware for adding and multiplying numbers — to make a few mistakes, which means they are not working as hard, and so use less power and get through tasks more quickly. The Rice University researchers say prototypes are 15 times more efficient and could be used in some applications without having a negative effect.”

Source: ‘Inexact’ Chips Save Power By Fudging the Math

Cambridge Course on “Usability of Programming Languages”

December 19th, 2011 12:42 admin View Comments

From the syllabus of the Cambridge course on Usability of Programming Languages

Compiler construction is one of the basic skills of all computer scientists, and thousands of new programming, scripting and customisation languages are created every year. Yet very few of these succeed in the market, or are well regarded by their users. This course addresses the research questions underlying the success of new programmable tools. A programming language is essentially a means of communicating between humans and computers. Traditional computer science research has studied the machine end of the communications link at great length, but there is a shortage of knowledge and research methods for understanding the human end of the link. This course provides practical research skills necessary to make advances in this essential field. The skills acquired will also be valuable for students intending to pursue research in advanced HCI, or designing evaluation studies as a part of their MPhil research project.

Is this kind of HCI based research going to lead to better languages? Or more regurgitations of languages people are already comfortable with?

Source: Cambridge Course on “Usability of Programming Languages”

Pancake Flipping Is Hard — NP Hard

November 4th, 2011 11:43 admin View Comments

Image

mikejuk writes “French computer scientists have finally proved that sorting pancakes is hard — NP hard. No really — this isn’t a joke. Well, it is slightly amusing but that’s just because it is being presented as pancake flipping. The algorithm in question is sorting a permutation using prefix reversal — which is much easier to understand in terms of pancakes. Basically you have to sort a pancake stack by simply inserting your spatula and flipping the top part of the stack. We now know that if you can do the this in polynomial time then you have proved that P=NP.”

Source: Pancake Flipping Is Hard — NP Hard