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Comment Re:Estimation of distribution algorithm (Score 2) 48

Yep - it looks like they rediscovered known methods for optimization using a series of cheap approximations of the black-box. You find the optimal solution of the approximation and use that to choose one or more points to evaluate on the original black-box. Then you update your approximation with the results and repeat. I was doing this in college back in 1999. I wrote to generate pseudo-random functions to test on, and we used the same class of functions as approximations for the harder, more expensive problem.

Comment Mines (Score 2) 318

The group that's complaining doesn't realize that we've deployed "killer robots" for a century now - they're called mines and especially naval mines. They may not be your traditional humanoid Robbie the Robot with a gun, but they are fully autonomous, capable of selecting targets on their own, and definitely capable of killing people. Many of the arguments they make in the article are bogus anyway. If you took the text and substituted "people" for "robot" it would read just as well and make just as much sense. The authors act like people don't routinely mess up, make bad decisions, follow charismatic, insane evil overlords, or do generally nasty things to each other for very little reason all the time.

Comment Re:Strategy? (Score 2) 463

There is a lot of strategy. However, since the battle happens in 3D and there's no real way to maintain formations, you tend to end up with these blobs of friendly ships and enemy ships. The strategy is in maintaining the proper range to friends and enemies. Weapons have different ranges and tracking speeds. Similarl, the repair ships (think healers) have limited range as well (roughly 50 km for the largest). In these big fights, a lot of the work is in choosing targets, trying to do enough damage to destroy the target before his repairs kick in. There's also a fair amount of complication from the electronic warfare possibilities - jamming and such.

Comment All the time (Score 1) 1086

I work in the defense industry, writing software for both fielded systems and the modeling and simulation used to define and design such systems. I constantly use algebra, trigonometry, FFTs, logarithms, complex mathematics, statistics, probability, and a bit of calculus underlying many of the models. I do a fair amount of data analysis, which has me thinking about the various ways to condense and display data. My coworkers who can't understand the math are relegated to building UIs and writing messaging interfaces. Those of us who can understand the math create all the underlying code doing the real work. The former are much more likely to be viewed as replaceable and laid off in the bad times.

Comment Re:State school = less debt. (Score 1) 283

I did precisely what you described - good state school undergrad followed by top-tier university for graduate school. I still met many of the leaders in the field while a PhD student and got paid to go - tuition waiver plus stipend. I came out with a PhD debt-free and have never regretted it. Paid internships or co-op work are definitely worthwhile.

Comment No robots here. (Score 1) 286

This would be a lot more interesting if it was actual autonomous vehicles. The article makes this sound like the same old human-labor intensive process, just by a tethered remote vehicle. It seems like a well designed set of robots would be capable of finding, identifying, and destroying the mines with minimal supervision. You could run a mothership to supply power and fresh explosives. A bit of effort could clean up ALL the mines in the area, not just the few that happen to be in the way of this particular pipeline.

Comment Re:Sad, but predictable (Score 1) 540

Agree. The "who learns about the transmission or storage of information about certain illegal activities or an illegal image " part is critical. It doesn't say you have to screen everything that passes through your Wi-fi connection, just that you are obligated to report such a crime if you should happen to spot it.

Submission + - Anisotropic Filtering and Antialiasing Explained

mikemuch writes: "In case you're not up on the techniques that make today's games look smooth and sharp, Jason Cross at ExtremeTech has written a guide to the various flavors of antialiasing and anisotropic filtering. He touches on what current graphics hardware is capable of in these realms and shows "real-life" examples of the techniques in action in current game titles."

Take Two's New Chairman Reassures Investors 12

Via Gamasutra, an article at TheStreet.com talking with the interim CEO of Take Two Interactive. In the wake of the chaos of the board overthrow, Strauss Zelnick is taking pains to reassure investors that stability and security are now the company's goals. He also pointed out that his position as CEO is a short-term situation: "Before we seek to fill the CEO slot we want to stabilize morale, develop our strategy and improve the structure of the company... So, I don't think we will have a new CEO right away but I would guess we have someone in the chair permanently within the next 12 months."

Submission + - Citibank to Offer Obopay Mobile Payments

Chris Blake writes: "Citi and Obopay to Pilot Innovative Mobile Person-to-Person Payment Service New York — February 28, 2007 — Citi today announced that an agreement has been reached with Obopay, Inc. to pilot an innovative, real-time Person-to-Person mobile payments service later this year. The service will be offered to new and existing Citi credit and debit card customers. Further details, including cities for the consumer pilot, are to be confirmed and announced at a later time. The new Citi-Obopay Mobile Person-to-Person service will allow pilot participants to easily and securely send and receive money instantly via any mobile phone. Participants will be able to remotely track and manage their mobile payment accounts by checking balances, viewing payment histories, and adding funds directly from their mobile phone. Funds received via the Citi-Obopay Mobile Person-to-Person service can also be accessed with a debit card provided with the service. "Citi's commitment is to put clients first. We are working with Obopay on this pilot to continue to meet our customers' needs to access their money the way many increasingly prefer — through their mobile phones — in a fast, convenient, and secure manner," said Amy Radin, Chief Innovation Officer, Global Consumer Group, Citi. "Together, Citi and Obopay are making it easier for consumers to instantly send, spend and get cash when it's needed most," said Obopay CEO Carol L. Realini. "We're proud to be working with Citi to offer their customers a convenient and secure mobile payments solution that supports their mobile lifestyle." About Citi Citi, the leading global financial services company, has some 200 million customer accounts and does business in more than 100 countries, providing consumers, corporations, governments and institutions with a broad range of financial products and services, including consumer banking and credit, corporate and investment banking, securities brokerage, and wealth management. Major brand names under the trademark red arc include: Citibank, CitiFinancial, Primerica, Citi Smith Barney and Banamex. Additional information may be found at www.citigroup.com or www.citi.com. About Obopay Obopay has delivered the first comprehensive mobile payment and social money services in the U.S. The services are enjoying rapid growth among active, on-the-go consumers who want to easily and instantly get, send, spend and track money directly via any mobile phone, anywhere, anytime. Obopay was founded in 2005 and is based in Redwood City, Calif. For more information, please visit www.obopay.com. # # #"

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