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A Thousand Kilobots Self-Assemble Into Complex Shapes 56

Posted by timothy
from the aaaaaand-improvise! dept.
An anonymous reader writes "Researchers at Harvard's Self-Organizing Systems Research Group—describe their thousand-robot swarm in a paper published today in Science (they actually built 1024 robots). In the past, researchers have only been able to program at most a couple hundred robots to work together. Now, these researchers have programmed the biggest robot swarm yet. Alone, the simple little robot can't do much, but working with 1,000 or more like-minded fellow bots, it becomes part of a swarm that can self-assemble into any two-dimensional shape. These are some of the first steps toward creating huge herds of tiny robots that form larger structures—including bigger robots."

Comment: "Can Learn and Tolerate BS" Certificate (Score 2) 148

by SpeedBump0619 (#47324809) Attached to: What's Your STEM Degree Worth?

I got through about 2.5 years of college before I was too poor to continue. I lucked out, got a job doing exactly the type of programming I wanted to do (custom automation control systems) but making next to nothing doing it (about $15k/year). Eventually being poor got old and I took a job with a "real" company making $60k. Six months in they bumped me to $68k and took me on as a full time employee.

Eventually I went back and finished my degree (BS in Comp Sci). I lost my job at almost the same time I finished the degree (I wasn't willing to move then the company did). That's why I know that the degree gave me a 10-15% bump in pay.

I learned almost nothing in college about programming. To this day I am of the belief that it is a certificate attesting that when told to do something silly you have the fortitude to actually get it done. Oh, and maybe you have the ability to learn new things...maybe. In the end I'm glad I got it, but only because of what it means to other people. Directly to me it means almost nothing.

Comment: Re:Legislation? Or a Constitutional Amendment? (Score 1) 308

by SpeedBump0619 (#47299709) Attached to: Interviews: Ask Lawrence Lessig About His Mayday PAC

This is why I asked about his opinion on the Money vs. Speech question. If he honestly believes money isn't speech then it's now a constitutional issue, since the Supreme Court has essentially decided Money == Speech. If he believes money is speech then legislating a restriction on money won't (now) pass constitutional muster. In either case legislation appears to be a losing proposition (long term at least).

Comment: Money vs. Free Speech (Score 1) 308

by SpeedBump0619 (#47298613) Attached to: Interviews: Ask Lawrence Lessig About His Mayday PAC

I'd love to hear your opinion on the debate over Money as a form of Speech. Should expenditure of money be protected as a form of expression or restricted as a form of coercion (just like some forms of speech are)? How are speech and money similar and how are they fundamentally distinct?

Comment: Re:Notepad has the same problem as an IDE. (Score 1) 627

by SpeedBump0619 (#46336087) Attached to: Does Relying On an IDE Make You a Bad Programmer?

Then once you sit down, its about reading the code, analyzing it, re factoring it, debugging it. For all those things, typing is almost irrelevant. If your typing efficiency actually makes a dent in your productivity in the grand scheme of things, your job is probably outsourcable.

This, right here, is the point. I can type in text in just about any editor ever created. But navigating through a pile of code I don't know, to find how it's structured, its call chains, what data belongs to which subsections? That's where a good IDE provides true value to me.

I use SlickEdit because it has the most functional code navigation I've found. Ctrl-/ and a sub-windows shows me every reference to a symbol, in a tagged list showing each reference, by file, and information about where it was referenced (in what scope) and how (defined, declared, called, assigned, read, other). Click on one of them and I'm taken to that reference. Ctrl-. and I'm taken to the definition of the symbol my cursor's on; Ctrl-, and I'm back where I came from (to an arbitrary depth). I use this to navigate through unfamiliar code following through call chains and data structures. 20 years ago I used grep, a text editor and a whiteboard (foo.c:782, foo.h:94, foo.c:122, bar.h:15, qux.s:343), but never again.

Comment: Re:The problem: (Score 1) 377

by SpeedBump0619 (#45642911) Attached to: Study: People Are Biased Against Creative Thinking

Also...It sometimes help to remember that half of us have below average intelligence.

I'm not sure what this statistical tautology has to do with anything.

The average of 101, 101, 101, and 97 is 100, but 3/4 of the sample is above the average. Also, since it's an extremely large sample size and there's a relatively large number of people who are exactly average intelligence, the number of people below (and above) the average will be less than 50%.


The Next Big Fiber Showdown: Austin 230

Posted by timothy
from the att-dsl-sure-leaves-me-unimpressed dept.
Nerval's Lobster writes "Google might have big plans to wire America with high-speed broadband, but at least one carrier isn't willing to let Google Fiber have a free run: AT&T has announced that it will deploy a '100 percent fiber' network in Austin, Texas, capable of delivering speeds of up to 1GB per second. That location is auspicious, given how Google's already decided to make Austin the next city to receive Google Fiber. Whereas Google plans on connecting Austin households to its network in mid-2014, however, AT&T promises to start deploying its own high-speed solution in December. But there's a few significant catches. First, AT&T's service will initially roll out to 'tens of thousands of customer locations throughout Austin' (according to a press release), which is a mere fraction of the city's 842,592 residents; second, AT&T has offered no roadmap for expanding beyond that initial base; and third, despite promises that the service will roll out in December, the carrier has yet to choose the initial neighborhoods for its expansion. Could this be a case of a carrier freaking out about a new company's potential to disrupt its longtime business?"

"It's curtains for you, Mighty Mouse! This gun is so futuristic that even *I* don't know how it works!" -- from Ralph Bakshi's Mighty Mouse