Results tagged “AAAI” from kwc blog

AAAI Photos: Maze of Carnage

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I forgot who set this booth up. I assume it was an obstacle course for search and rescue robots, but as I gazed across the scene and witnessed the disembodied limbs sticking up in the air, waving back and forth, and the mannequins ripped in half in various trapped positions, I couldn't help but think that with a little more red paint they might have a good haunted house for Halloween.

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AAAI Photos: Personal Rover

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Although the conference floor was rather sparse with booths, there were two booths that caught my attention: NASA and a Maze of Carnage. The NASA booth had a small playpen with one of their personal rovers that I thought was pretty neat. Its head has a tilting camera that can be programmed to take panoramic photos. Granted, the resulting photo is stitched together horribly, but you forgive the robot for its cuteness.

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Google HQ

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Had my first tour of the new Google HQ today. It was an event held for AAAI participants that was a thinly veiled recruiting event, though the recruiters stayed far away, letting us munch down on really, really good food and drinks on their large patio. They gave us some cool shwag -- Nalgene bottles with Google logos and black Google t-shirts -- and afterwards there were some fairly open tours of the actual campus.

I managed to wander over to where benoit sat during his orientation time, which was near Eric Schmidt's and Brin/Page's offices. I was surprised that even people like Brin, Page, and Norvig all have to share offices, and there's a lot of shared cubicles as well. I guess they wanted to foster that communal spirit. The food they give their own employees is awesome -- everywhere you look there's free, high-quality snacks; I would gain 50 pounds my first week, or as meta would say, I would be sportin' a third trimester food baby in no time.

On the way out they handed out free shares of their stock and showed me their warehouse with the Ark of the Covenant, but alas, I'm under NDA, and can say no more -- I can't tell you what was inside the Ark.

AAAI Summary

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I don't expect anyone other than myself to actually go through all the talk notes I've been posting, but I will point to three in particular that I enjoyed and thought were useful. The first was a tutorial on Automating the Design of Visualizations, which was a great blend of cognitive science, computer science, and user studies to help try and foster better computer-generated visual designs (target audience: people with Tufte on their shelves).

Two of the invited talks, AI and the New Exploration Vision (NASA) and If Not Turing's Test, Then What? are high-level enough to be approachable. The NASA talked a lot about the technologies they are using/will use/want to use in their Mars and future lunar missions. The Turing talk discusses some of the grand challenges for AI and was also a meta talk about the properties of grand challenges.

I find myself drinking from the fire hose here -- many of the talks were topics that I knew little or nothing about, nor had any mathematical background for. If you don't understand my notes, rest assured that I may not understand them little, though being at the conference is rather like learning a foreign language in a foreign country, with the immersion making for quick study.

Update: Added to photo entries
- Mars Personal Rover
- Maze of Carnage

Talk: Real Robots for the Real World

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Sebastian Thrun, Stanford

This talk was mostly over my head in terms of the math, but the work is interesting.

Talk: AI and the New Exploration Vision

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Dan Clancy, NASA

I enjoyed this talk -- it was a survey of NASA's current AI-based missions, including current and future Mars missions (Sojourner/Spirit/Opportunity). metamanda would have liked at least one point the talk made, which was that NASA is working on a personal rover robot to create/inspire kids, and in particular, girls. They have found in their exhibits that robots are more engaging to girls than boys, who enjoy the embodied interaction, so they see in it an opportunity to bridge a gender gap as well as inspire a future generation in NASA's vision. It was interesting how the Personal Exploration Rover pictures really did look like baby versions of the Spirit/Opportunity rovers, i.e. there was a certain amount of anthropomorphism to the vehicle, and it appeared child-like that could help engender a care-taker relationship between a kid and the robot.

Read on for notes.

My niche

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I'd just like to note, having bombed you all with 25 entries in the past two days, that I am fairly certain that I am the only blog out there that is bringing you combined coverage of:

So piss off all you Democratic National Convention bloggers. No one wants your crappy thoughts on politics. The kwc-SDCC-TdF-AAAI connection is where it's at!

Maneesh Agrawala, Julie Heiser, and Barbara Tversky Tutorial session at AAAI

Two implemented systems explored for automated design of visualizations: map routes and assembly instructions. Map routes system (LineDrive) used by MapBlast (now mappoint.msn.com).

Three parts to talk: cog sci/CS background, map routes, assembly instructions.

Notes: Stochastic Local Searches

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Tutorial session at AAAI

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