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Carnegie Mellon's CHIMP Robot Prepares for DARPA Robotics Challenge Finals June 5–6

Byron Spice Tuesday May 26, 2015
"Faster" is the byword for the Tartan Rescue Team from Carnegie Mellon University's National Robotics Engineering Center (NREC) as it makes final preparations for the DARPA Robotics Challenge (DRC) Finals June 5–6.The team's four-limbed robot, CHIMP, is capable of performing all eight tasks, including driving a vehicle, climbing stairs and using power tools, that it will encounter in a simulated disaster course the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency is assembling at the Fairplex in Pomona, Calif. But it will need to complete all tasks within the one-hour run time if it is to win the $2... 

Carnegie Mellon Phone Service Uses Funny Recordings To Make Anti-Ebola Health Messages "Go Viral" in Guinea

Byron Spice Wednesday May 20, 2015
Halting the Ebola outbreak in West Africa is no laughing matter, but a phone information service developed by Carnegie Mellon University researchers is leveraging people's interest in phone games and wacky humor to help spread urgent health information in Guinea.The phone project, called Polly, began operating in March through the U.S. Embassy in Guinea, where the current Ebola epidemic began in December 2013 and where people are still grappling with the outbreak. This week, Polly is part of an anti-Ebola campaign in Forecariah, a territory in western Guinea hard hit by the virus.Originally... 

Carnegie Mellon Project Uses Machine Learning To Help Apartment Hunters Estimate Utility Costs

Byron Spice Friday May 15, 2015
A new online resource from Carnegie Mellon University seeks to help people find the perfect rental property by using tools such as a machine learning algorithm that can estimate utility costs based not only on the housing unit itself but on the renter’s lifestyle.The free service, EDigs, is available through either a website or an Android app, and is part of a research project on livability and sustainability directed by Jennifer Mankoff, an associate professor in the Human-Computer Interaction Institute, and Associate Professor of Design Cameron Tonkinwise.Mankoff said EDigs will incorporate... 

Poker Pros Rake In More Chips Than Carnegie Mellon's Artificial Intelligence Program During 80,000-Hand Contest

Ken Walters (Carnegie Mellon) and Emily Watts (Rivers Casino) Friday May 08, 2015
Four of the world's best players of heads-up no-limit Texas Hold'em amassed more poker chips than the Carnegie Mellon University artificial intelligence program called Claudico as they collectively played 80,000 hands of poker in a two-week competition that concluded today at Rivers Casino.Though three of the four pros had higher winnings than Claudico, their $732,713 collective lead over the A.I. program was not quite large enough to attain statistical significance — in other words, the results can't be accepted as scientifically reliable. In all, $170 million was "bet" during the two-week "... 

Brunskill Named 2015 ONR Young Investigator

Byron Spice Monday May 04, 2015
The Department of the Navy has named Emma Brunskill, assistant professor of computer science, one of 36 recipients of its 2015 Young Investigator Program — one of the oldest and most selective scientific research advancement programs in the country.Brunskill was awarded $510,000 to support her research regarding online reinforcement learning. This work concentrates on developing algorithms that can learn with very little data to find good strategies. These algorithms will help chose individualized activities to help students learn as part of a self-optimizing intelligent tutoring system.The... 

Carnegie Mellon and Astrobotic Awarded NASA Contracts To Develop Prospecting Technologies for Moon, Planets

Byron Spice Friday May 01, 2015
NASA's Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) program has awarded $375,000 in contracts to Astrobotic Technology and Carnegie Mellon University to develop sensing and navigation technologies for finding minerals and other resources on the moon, Mars, and other planetary bodies."Water, minerals and volatiles are critical resources for exploration of the solar system, but they are trapped in rugged, dark and remote terrain," said Kevin Peterson, Astrobotic's chief technology officer. "The technology we are developing in this research will enable robots to robustly search and explore dark and... 

Poker Pros Lead at Halfway Point of "Brains Vs. Artificial Intelligence"

Ken Walters (Carnegie Mellon) and Emily Watts (Rivers Casino) Friday May 01, 2015
Today marks the halfway point of an 80,000-hand journey in the "Brains Vs. Artificial Intelligence" poker competition. After 40,000 hands, the humans — four professional poker players — have taken a lead over Carnegie Mellon University's artificial intelligence program, Claudico.Hosted at Rivers Casino, this first-ever challenge began on Friday, April 24.  The pros — Doug Polk, Dong Kim, Bjorn Li and Jason Les — were confident that they would crush Claudico over the course of two weeks. Though the pros have prevailed overall, Claudico has won some days and maintains a lead over one... 

Carnegie Mellon Project Divides Everyday Tasks, Expenses in Ways Scientifically Calculated To Make Everyone Happy

Byron Spice Monday April 27, 2015
The next time you share a cab, get a little help on splitting the fare from a Nobel laureate in economics. That's possible as of today through Carnegie Mellon University's Spliddit.org website, which offers "provably fair" solutions to everyday dilemmas.The free, not-for-profit website, which launched last fall to provide help in dividing rents, sharing credit on work and splitting inheritances, is adding two new services today: how to divide chores or work shifts, and how to fairly divide cab fares. Like the previous Spliddit services, the new ones leverage decades of academic research on... 
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