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Jul 31, 2021

Facebook AI Open-Sources ‘Droidlet’, A Platform For Building Robots With Natural Language Processing And Computer Vision To Understand The World Around Them

Posted by in categories: information science, robotics/AI

Robots today have been programmed to vacuum the floor or perform a preset dance, but there is still much work to be done before they can achieve their full potential. This mainly has something to do with how robots are unable to recognize what is in their environment at a deep level and therefore cannot function properly without being told all of these details by humans. For instance, while it may seem like backup programming for when bumping into an object that would help prevent unwanted collisions from happening again, this idea isn’t actually based on understanding anything about chairs because the robot doesn’t know exactly what one is!

Facebook AI team just released Droidlet, a new platform that makes it easier for anyone to build their smart robot. It’s an open-source project explicitly designed with hobbyists and researchers in mind so you can quickly prototype your AI algorithms without having to spend countless hours coding everything from scratch.

Droidlet is a platform for building embodied agents capable of recognizing, reacting to, and navigating the world. It simplifies integrating all kinds of state-of-the-art machine learning algorithms in these systems so that users can prototype new ideas faster than ever before!

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Jul 31, 2021

DeepMind AI predicts 350,000 protein structures

Posted by in categories: bioengineering, biotech/medical, information science, robotics/AI

DeepMind CEO and co-founder. “We believe this work represents the most significant contribution AI has made to advancing the state of scientific knowledge to date. And I think it’s a great illustration and example of the kind of benefits AI can bring to society. We’re just so excited to see what the community is going to do with this.” https://www.futuretimeline.net/images/socialmedia/


AlphaFold is an artificial intelligence (AI) program that uses deep learning to predict the 3D structure of proteins. Developed by DeepMind, a London-based subsidiary of Google, it made headlines in November 2020 when competing in the Critical Assessment of Structure Prediction (CASP). This worldwide challenge is held every two years by the scientific community and is the most well-known protein modelling benchmark. Participants must “blindly” predict the 3D structures of different proteins, and their computational methods are subsequently compared with real-world laboratory results.

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Jul 30, 2021

This Robot Taught Itself to Run, Then Proceeded to Knock Out a 5K

Posted by in categories: information science, robotics/AI

Granted, it’s a little different for a robot, since they don’t have lungs or a heart. But they do have a “brain” (software), “muscles” (hardware), and “fuel” (a battery), and these all had to work together for Cassie to be able to run.

The brunt of the work fell to the brain—in this case, a machine learning algorithm developed by students at Oregon State University’s Dynamic Robotics Laboratory. Specifically, they used deep reinforcement learning, a method that mimics the way humans learn from experience by using a trial-and-error process guided by feedback and rewards. Over many repetitions, the algorithm uses this process to learn how to accomplish a set task. In this case, since it was trying to learn to run, it may have tried moving the robot’s legs varying distances or at distinct angles while keeping it upright.

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Jul 29, 2021

Machine-learning technique used to pinpoint quantum errors

Posted by in categories: information science, quantum physics, robotics/AI

Researchers at the University of Sydney and quantum control startup Q-CTRL today announced a way to identify sources of error in quantum computers through machine learning, providing hardware developers the ability to pinpoint performance degradation with unprecedented accuracy and accelerate paths to useful quantum computers.

A joint scientific paper detailing the research, titled “Quantum Oscillator Noise Spectroscopy via Displaced Cat States,” has been published in the Physical Review Letters, the world’s premier physical science research journal and flagship publication of the American Physical Society (APS Physics).

Focused on reducing errors caused by environmental “noise”—the Achilles’ heel of —the University of Sydney team developed a technique to detect the tiniest deviations from the precise conditions needed to execute quantum algorithms using trapped ion and superconducting quantum computing hardware. These are the core technologies used by world-leading industrial quantum computing efforts at IBM, Google, Honeywell, IonQ, and others.

Jul 28, 2021

Berkeley Lab’s CAMERA leads international effort on autonomous scientific discoveries

Posted by in categories: information science, mathematics, robotics/AI

Experimental facilities around the globe are facing a challenge: their instruments are becoming increasingly powerful, leading to a steady increase in the volume and complexity of the scientific data they collect. At the same time, these tools demand new, advanced algorithms to take advantage of these capabilities and enable ever-more intricate scientific questions to be asked—and answered. For example, the ALS-U project to upgrade the Advanced Light Source facility at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (Berkeley Lab) will result in 100 times brighter soft X-ray light and feature superfast detectors that will lead to a vast increase in data-collection rates.

To make full use of modern instruments and facilities, researchers need new ways to decrease the amount of data required for and address data acquisition rates humans can no longer keep pace with. A promising route lies in an emerging field known as autonomous discovery, where algorithms learn from a comparatively little amount of input data and decide themselves on the next steps to take, allowing multi-dimensional parameter spaces to be explored more quickly, efficiently, and with minimal human intervention.

“More and more experimental fields are taking advantage of this new optimal and autonomous data acquisition because, when it comes down to it, it’s always about approximating some function, given noisy data,” said Marcus Noack, a research scientist in the Center for Advanced Mathematics for Energy Research Applications (CAMERA) at Berkeley Lab and lead author on a new paper on Gaussian processes for autonomous data acquisition published July 28 in Nature Reviews Physics. The paper is the culmination of a multi-year, multinational effort led by CAMERA to introduce innovative autonomous discovery techniques across a broad scientific community.

Jul 28, 2021

Watch Cassie the bipedal robot run a 5K

Posted by in categories: information science, robotics/AI

And it did so on its own without a tether.


Cassie, a bipedal robot that’s all legs, has successfully run five kilometers on a single charge, all without having a tether. The machine serves as the basis for Agility Robotics’ delivery robot Digit, as TechCrunch notes, though you may also remember it for “blindly” navigating a set of stairs. Oregon State University engineers were able to train Cassie in a simulator to enable it to go up and down a flight of stairs without the use of cameras or LIDAR. Now, engineers from the same team were able to train Cassie to run using a deep reinforcement learning algorithm.

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Jul 27, 2021

Quantifying Biological Age: Blood Test #3 in 2021

Posted by in categories: biotech/medical, genetics, information science, life extension

Links to biological age calculators:
Levine’s PhenoAge calculator is embedded as an Excel file:

https://michaellustgarten.com/2019/09/09/quantifying-biological-age/

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Jul 23, 2021

Autonomous flight algorithm beats ‘world-class’ human drone racing pilots [video]

Posted by in categories: drones, information science, robotics/AI

There are many reasons for drones to be quick. The professional drone racing circuit aside, speed bodes well when you are searching for survivors on a disaster site, or delivering cargo, or even inspecting critical infrastructure. But how do you get something done in the shortest possible time with limited battery life when you have to navigate through obstacles, changing speeds, and altitude? You use an algorithm.

Jul 22, 2021

Making clean hydrogen is hard, but researchers just solved a major hurdle

Posted by in categories: chemistry, information science, solar power, sustainability

For decades, researchers around the world have searched for ways to use solar power to generate the key reaction for producing hydrogen as a clean energy source—splitting water molecules to form hydrogen and oxygen. However, such efforts have mostly failed because doing it well was too costly, and trying to do it at a low cost led to poor performance.

Now, researchers from The University of Texas at Austin have found a low-cost way to solve one half of the equation, using sunlight to efficiently split off oxygen molecules from water. The finding, published recently in Nature Communications, represents a step forward toward greater adoption of hydrogen as a key part of our energy infrastructure.

As early as the 1970s, researchers were investigating the possibility of using solar energy to generate hydrogen. But the inability to find materials with the combination of properties needed for a device that can perform the key chemical reactions efficiently has kept it from becoming a mainstream method.

Jul 20, 2021

New Protein Folding AI Just Made a ‘Once In a Generation’ Advance in Biology

Posted by in categories: biological, information science, mapping, particle physics, robotics/AI

The tool next examines how one protein’s amino acids interact with another within the same protein, for example, by examining the distance between two distant building blocks. It’s like looking at your hands and feet fully stretched out, versus in a backbend measuring the distance between those extremities as you “fold” into a yoga pose.

Finally, the third track looks at 3D coordinates of each atom that makes up a protein building block—kind of like mapping the studs on a Lego block—to compile the final 3D structure. The network then bounces back and forth between these tracks, so that one output can update another track.

The end results came close to those of DeepMind’s tool, AlphaFold2, which matched the gold standard of structures obtained from experiments. Although RoseTTAFold wasn’t as accurate as AlphaFold2, it seemingly required much less time and energy. For a simple protein, the algorithm was able to solve the structure using a gaming computer in about 10 minutes.

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