Benjamin Chang: Might technology tip the global scales?

The United States and China seem locked in an ever-tightening embrace, superpowers entangled in a web of economic and military concerns. “Every issue critical to world order — whether climate change, terrorism, or trade — is clearly and closely intertwined with U.S.-China relations,” says Benjamin Chang, a fourth-year PhD candidate in political science concentrating in international relations and security studies. “Competition between these nations will shape all outcomes anyone cares about in the next 50 years or more.” Little surprise, then, that Chang is homing in on this relationship for his thesis, which broadly examines the impact of artificial intelligence on military power. As China and the United States circle each other as rivals and uneasy partners on the global stage, Chang hopes to learn what the integration of artificial intelligence in different domains might mean for the balance of power. “There is a set of questions related to how Continue reading Benjamin Chang: Might technology tip the global scales?

‘Flapping wings’ powered by the sun

In ancient Greek mythology, Icarus’ wax wings melted when he dared to fly too close to the sun. Now, researchers have made artificial wings that are actually powered by the sun. The tiny wings, which can flap even faster than those of butterflies, could someday be used in robots or devices for solar energy harvesting, the researchers say. More details

How Robotics Teams Prepared for DARPA’s SubT Challenge: Urban Circuit

Six months ago, 11 teams and their robots took on the NIOSH research mine in the Tunnel Circuit of the DARPA Subterranean Challenge. Next week, those 11 teams will travel to Washington State, where they’ll compete in the SubT Urban Circuit at Satsop Business Park just outside of Olympia. A six-month break between events is not a lot of time, and from what we’ve heard, teams have been working feverishly take everything they learned during the Tunnel Circuit and prepare themselves for the Urban Circuit. But the urban underground is very different from a mine, and teams’ strategy (and hardware) will have to adapt to this new environment. Over the last few weeks, we sent each team three questions about what lessons they took away from the Tunnel Circuit, how they’ve been getting ready for the next challenge, and how they expect things to be different this time around. The Continue reading How Robotics Teams Prepared for DARPA’s SubT Challenge: Urban Circuit

DARPA’s Tim Chung Answers Our Questions About the SubT Challenge Urban Circuit

With the DARPA Subterranean Challenge Urban Circuit kicking off on Thursday, we made sure to have a chat in advance with Dr. Timothy Chung, DARPA SubT program manager. We last spoke with Tim nearly a year ago, just after SubT was announced, to get his perspective on the Subterranean Challenge in general, and we took the opportunity in this interview to ask about how DARPA felt about the Tunnel Circuit, and what we have to look forward to in the Urban Circuit. For more details about the SubT Urban Circuit, make sure to check out our course preview post, and check back tomorrow for a Q&A with the systems track teams.

DARPA Subterranean Challenge: Urban Circuit Preview

The Urban Circuit of the DARPA Subterranean Challenge is the second of four robotics competitions that send teams of state-of-the-art robots into challenging underground environments in an attempt to seek out artifacts while creating detailed maps. Last August, the robots explored a man-made tunnel system in the NIOSH research mine near Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. And starting this Thursday, the teams will be taking on the urban underground, at Satsop Business Park in Elma, Wash.

Computer-based weather forecast: New algorithm outperforms mainframe computer systems

The exponential growth in computer processing power seen over the past 60 years may soon come to a halt. Complex systems such as those used in weather forecast, for example, require high computing capacities, but the costs for running supercomputers to process large quantities of data can become a limiting factor. Researchers have recently unveiled an algorithm that can solve complex problems with remarkable facility — even on a personal computer. More details