No human, or team of humans, could possibly keep up with the avalanche of information produced by many of today’s physics and astronomy experiments. Some of them record terabytes of data every day — and the torrent is only increasing. The Square Kilometer Array, a radio telescope slated to switch on in the mid-2020s, will generate about as much data traffic each year as the entire internet.
The deluge has many scientists turning to artificial intelligence for help. With minimal human input, AI systems such as artificial neural networks — computer-simulated networks of neurons that mimic the function of brains — can plow through mountains of data, highlighting anomalies and detecting patterns that humans could never have spotted.
Of course, the use of computers to aid … Read the rest
In a lab at the Georgia Institute of Technology, physicists run experiments with robots that look as though they came from the dollar store. The robots can’t move through space. They can’t communicate. Mostly they flap their little arms, like beetles stuck on their backs.
But put a lot of these objects together and you get something from nothing: They hit each other, nudge each other and tangle with each other. And eventually, they start to work as a unit.
Researchers are learning how to control these systems so that they function in a manner similar to swarms of bees or colonies of ants: Each individual operates in response to the same basic set of instructions. But when the swarm comes together, its members can carry … Read the rest
Opinion: Computer science departments need to teach coders more than just how to code. The post Hey, Computer Scientists! Stop Hating on the Humanities appeared first on WIRED.… Read the rest
Computational physicist Sharon Glotzer is uncovering the rules by which complex collective phenomena emerge from simple building blocks. The post A ‘Digital Alchemist’ Unravels the Mysteries of Complexity appeared first on WIRED.… Read the rest
I came across this unattributed story: A tale of Electrical Engineering vs. Computer Science:
“Once upon a time, in a kingdom not far from here, a king summoned two of his advisors for a test. He showed them both a shiny metal box with two slots in the top, a control knob, and a lever. “What do you think this is?”
One advisor, an engineer, answered first. “It is a toaster,” he said. The king asked, “How would you design an embedded computer for it?” The engineer replied, “Using a four-bit microcontroller, I would write a simple program that reads the darkness knob and quantizes its position to one of 16 shades of darkness, from snow white to coal black. The program would use that
… Read the rest