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MIT & Harvard On Brain-Inspired A.I. Vision 27

An anonymous reader writes with this excerpt from TGDaily: "Researchers from Harvard and MIT have demonstrated a way to build better artificial visual systems with the help of low-cost, high-performance gaming hardware. [A video describing their research is available.] 'Reverse engineering a biological visual system — a system with hundreds of millions of processing units — and building an artificial system that works the same way is a daunting task,' says David Cox, Principal Investigator of the Visual Neuroscience Group at the Rowland Institute at Harvard. 'It is not enough to simply assemble together a huge amount of computing power. We have to figure out how to put all the parts together so that they can do what our brains can do.' The team drew inspiration from screening techniques in molecular biology, where a multitude of candidate organisms or compounds are screened in parallel to find those that have a particular property of interest. Rather than building a single model and seeing how well it could recognize visual objects, the team constructed thousands of candidate models, and screened for those that performed best on an object recognition task. The resulting models outperformed a crop of state-of-the-art computer vision systems across a range of test sets, more accurately identifying a range of objects on random natural backgrounds with variation in position, scale, and rotation. Using ordinary CPUs, the effort would have required either years or millions of dollars of computing hardware. Instead, by harnessing modern graphics hardware, the analysis was done in just one week, and at a small fraction of the cost."
Image

Scientists Say a Dirty Child Is a Healthy Child 331

Researchers from the School of Medicine at the University of California have shown that the more germs a child is exposed to, the better their immune system in later life. Their study found that keeping a child's skin too clean impaired the skin's ability to heal itself. From the article: "'These germs are actually good for us,' said Professor Richard Gallo, who led the research. Common bacterial species, known as staphylococci, which can cause inflammation when under the skin, are 'good bacteria' when on the surface, where they can reduce inflammation."

Comment Re:Why switch to openSuse? (Score 1) 207

This is nice and all but that's a pretty standard distro release, can anybody tell me why i would want to switch from a similar distro, say ubuntu 9.10 or fedora 12 to openSuse?

I've been running opensuse since 9.3 (when it was just SUSE 9.3). I don't know about switching from fedora, but opensuse 11.2 has a very nice kde 4.3 implementation. And you can run kde 4.3 without using pulseaudio which is a plus in my book since I don't see the need for pulse on my standard desktop. Of course YMMV.
Mars

Radar Map of Buried Mars Layers Confirms Climate Cycles 114

Matt_dk writes "A radar instrument on the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter has essentially looked below the surface of the Red Planet's north-polar ice cap, and found data to confirm theoretical models of Martian climate swings during the past few million years. The new, three-dimensional map using 358 radar observations provides a cross-sectional view of the north-polar layered deposits. 'The radar has been giving us spectacular results,' said Jeffrey Plaut of JPL, a member of the science team for the Shallow Radar instrument. 'We have mapped continuous underground layers in three dimensions across a vast area.'"
Science

Entanglement Could Be a Deterministic Phenomenon 259

KentuckyFC writes "Nobel prize-winning physicist Gerard 't Hooft has joined the likes of computer scientists Stephen Wolfram and Ed Fredkin in claiming that the universe can be accurately modeled by cellular automata. The novel aspect of 't Hooft's model is that it allows quantum mechanics and, in particular, the spooky action at a distance known as entanglement to be deterministic. The idea that quantum mechanics is fundamentally deterministic is known as hidden variable theory but has been widely discounted by physicists because numerous experiments have shown its predictions to be wrong. But 't Hooft says his cellular automaton model is a new class of hidden variable theory that falls outside the remit of previous tests. However, he readily admits that the new model has serious shortcomings — it lacks some of the basic symmetries that our universe enjoys, such as rotational symmetry. However, 't Hooft adds that he is working on modifications that will make the model more realistic (abstract)."
Toys

Polaroid Lovers Try To Revive Its Instant Film 443

Maximum Prophet nods a NY Times piece on a Dutch group living the retro dream: they are trying to bring back Polaroid film. This group has the machinery to make the film packs, but needs to recreate the chemicals. Polaroid Inc. stopping making the specialized chemicals years ago, after having stockpiled what they would need for their last production runs. "They want to recast an outdated production process in an abandoned Polaroid factory for an age that has fallen for digital pictures because they think people still have room in their hearts for retro photography that eschews airbrushing or Photoshop. 'This project is about building a very interesting business to last for at least another decade,' said Florian Kaps, the Austrian entrepreneur behind the effort [in Enschede, The Netherlands]. 'It is about the importance of analog aspects in a more and more digital world. ... If everyone runs in one direction [i.e. digital photography], it creates a niche market in the other.'"

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