Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Microsoft’s AI is first to reach a perfect Ms. Pac-Man score

The Verge reports: [edited]

The perfect score for arcade classic Ms. Pac-Man has been achieved. Maluuba — a deep learning team acquired by Microsoft — has created an AI system that’s learned how to reach the game’s maximum point value of 999,900 on Atari 2600, using a unique combination of reinforcement learning with a divide-and-conquer method.

Although AI has conquered a number of retro games, Ms. Pac-Man has remained elusive, due to the game’s lack of predictability. Maluuba tasked out responsibilities to over 150 agents. The team then taught the AI using what they call Hybrid Reward Architecture — a combination of reinforcement learning with a divide-and-conquer method. Individual agents were assigned piecemeal tasks — like finding a specific pellet before working in tandem with other agents to achieve greater goals. Maluuba then designated a top AI agent that took suggestions from the other agents in order to inform decisions on where to move Ms. Pac-Man.

The best results came when individual agents “acted very egotistically” and the top agent focused on what was best for the overall team, taking into account not only how many agents wanted to go in a particular direction, but the importance of that direction. (Example: fewer agents wanting to avoid a ghost took priority over a higher amount of agents wanting to pursue a pellet.) “There’s this nice interplay,” says Harm Van Seijen, a researcher with Maluuba, “between how they have to, on the one hand, cooperate based on the preferences of all the agents, but at the same time each agent cares only about one particular problem. It benefits the whole.”
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Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Coolar - Solar Powered Refrigeration

Coolar reports: [edited]

The Coolar system uses warm water generated through solar energy. It has no moving parts, hazardous cooling fluids or lubricants.

It employs the following cooling cycle...

1. Evaporation: Part of the water evaporates in the evaporator due to low pressure in the system. The resulting evaporation cooling effect cools the storage compartment.

2. Adsorption: An adsorbent binds the water vapour to its surface and frees up space in the evaporator, allowing more water to evaporate, multiplying the cooling effect.

3. Drying: When the adsorbent’s surface is saturated, cooling temporarily pauses.

4. Condensation: By heating, the adsorbent is dried and vapour is released from its surface. The vapour condenses and flows back into the evaporator.
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Thursday, June 01, 2017

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Hewlett Packard Enterprise developing 'The Machine'

Business Insider reports: [edited]

HPE has come a big step closer to launching a computer that it's been talking about, researching, and developing since 2014.

It uses a new kind of memory to be able to store and instantly analyse mind-boggling amounts of data. The current prototype that HPE is showing off today contains 160 terabytes (TB) of memory, enough to store and work with every book in the Library of Congress five times over.

But this new kind of memory can expand far beyond that. HPE expects to be able to build a machine that reaches up to 4,096 yottabytes, enough to hold 250,000 times all the data currently stored in the world. The Machine can crunch through "every digital health record of every person on earth; every piece of data from Facebook; every trip of Google’s autonomous vehicles; and every data set from space exploration all at the same time", HPE CEO Meg Whitman wrote in a blog post.

Not only has the company invented a new kind of memory to build this computer, but the company is breaking from its long-standing partnership with Microsoft and building a new operating system, based on Linux, to run this computer. It is also using ARM chips as the main processor, not Intel chips.
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Wednesday, May 10, 2017

Jim Kovaleski – Urban Nomadic Gardener



Boing Boing reports: [edited]

Justin Rhodes profiles Jim Kovaleski, an urban market gardener who leases other people's residential yards for planting produce, which he harvests and sells up and down the east coast of the United States.
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Wednesday, May 03, 2017

Glowee Bioluminescent Light

InnoEnergy reports: [edited]

Glowee develops a lighting system that does not consume any electricity, requires no power supply, and produces very little CO2 or light pollution.

Twenty-five-year-old design graduate Sandra Rey is a woman with a mission. For three years she has had a vision of a world lit by an inexhaustible, living and eco-friendly source of bioluminescence, the phenomenon that enables fireflies to glow and anglerfish to lure their prey. “I want to see a world where bioluminescence is part of everyday life,” says Sandra. Glowee, the company she founded, develops biological systems that reproduce this chemical reaction.

What Glowee makes is a gel made up of (nonpathogenic and nontoxic) bacteria in a nutrient solution in which the microbes thrive. The resulting culture comes in transparent pods of various shapes and sizes that emit a glow until the microorganisms eventually die.

Sandra claims that the product’s entire life cycle equates to half the CO2 emissions of an equivalent LED system. What’s more, the cold, soft light it emits will not disturb urban fauna and the system’s inherent portability makes it suitable for isolated communities and facilities. The product has a host of marketing applications, from shop windows to road signs and street furniture. In the longer term, it may be used in building materials and even in paints.

Originally translated from La Tribune.
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Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Lyrebird

Lyrebird reports: [edited]

Lyrebird will offer an API to copy the voice of anyone. It will need as little as one minute of audio recording of a speaker to compute a unique key defining her/his voice. This key will then allow to generate anything from its corresponding voice. The API will be robust enough to learn from noisy recordings.

[Ed. Check out the demos, very impressive.]
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Thursday, April 20, 2017

Early Macintosh Emulation

Internet Archive Blogs reports: [edited]

The Internet Archive can now emulate the early models of the Apple Macintosh, the black-and-white, mouse-driven computer that radically shifted the future of home computing in 1984.

The first set of emulated Macintosh software is located here.
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Wednesday, April 12, 2017

Shopify launches Burst royalty free image site

TechCrunch reports: [edited]

Shopify’s Burst site offers all its images royalty-free, under the Creative Commons Zero license.

Artists for individual photos are linked, so you can credit them if you want to.
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Wednesday, April 05, 2017

Extra portion of SpaceX rocket recovered

Reuters reports: [edited]

Shortly after the main section of SpaceX’s first recycled Falcon 9 booster landed itself on a platform in the ocean, half of the rocket’s nosecone, which protected a communications satellite during launch, splashed down via parachute nearby.

Measuring 13 metres long and 5 metres in diameter, the nosecone is big enough to hold a school bus. It separates into two pieces, exposing the satellite, about 4 minutes after liftoff. As a test, SpaceX outfitted the fairing with thrusters and a steerable parachute.

After some debate about whether the nosecone could be recovered, Musk said he told his engineering team, “Imagine you had $6 million in cash on a pallet flying through the air that’s just going to smash into the ocean. Would you try to recover that? Yes, you would.”
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Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Dell releases 8K monitor

engadget reports: [edited]

Dell's 31.5-inch 8K monitor, the Ultrasharp 32 is available on Dell's online store for initial shipping in mid-April. Assuming you've got a spare $5,000 to spend.


The Ultrasharp 32's 7,680 by 4,320 pixels and 100 percent Adobe RGB and sRGB colour support will benefit artists and photographers that need to view and edit massive files. It has a maximum 33.2MP resolution and 280 PPI density, and you'll need to pipe in the visuals over two DisplayPort 1.3 ports.
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Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Boiled Egg Topper

If you love boiled eggs, but dislike burning your fingers when cracking the shell, this is an elegant solution.

Place it on the top of a boiled egg, raise the plunger and let it drop. A sharp ridge on the inside of the stainless steel plunger cuts into the egg shell. The top can then be removed with the help of a sharp knife. Marvellous.
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Wednesday, March 15, 2017

First on-site printed house

Apis Core reports: [edited]

The first house printed using mobile 3D printing technology has been built in Stupino town, Moscow region. Printing of self-bearing walls, partitions and building envelope were done in less than a day. The area of the printed building is 38m². The interior includes a hall, a bathroom, a living room and a compact functional kitchen.

The construction cost of the printed house amounted to $10,134. This cost includes all the works that were done to make a complete house: work and materials for the construction of foundation, roof, exterior and interior finishing works, installation of heat insulation of walls, windows, floors and ceilings.

As the printer prints self-bearing walls and partitions, it saves up to 70% compared to traditional construction techniques.
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Wednesday, March 08, 2017

AirSelfie

AirSelfie reports: [edited]

AirSelfie is a pocket-size flying camera that connects with your smartphone to let you take HD photos of you, your friends, and your life from the sky. Its propellers can carry it up to 20 meters in the air, letting you capture photos and videos on your device.

The anti-vibration shock absorber and 5 MP camera ensure high quality images. And its 61g form slips into a special phone cover and charger (available for iPhone 6/6S, iPhone 7/7 Plus, Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge, Huawei P9 and Google Pixel).

Available to pre-order: £229.00
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