Tagged: Robotics Toggle Comment Threads | Keyboard Shortcuts

  • richardmitnick 4:41 pm on May 13, 2022 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: "IQ-Learn" is performing beyond expectations., "Training Smarter Bots for the Real World", Robotics, Stanford Human-Centered Artificial Intelligence, , The next frontier for intelligent machines would involve building versatile agents that could learn to do complex tasks in ever-changing environments., Today's robots are good at learning exact tasks but can't adjust to changes in the environment., With the IQ-Learn approach robots simply watch humans to learn how to behave.   

    From Stanford University: “Training Smarter Bots for the Real World” 

    Stanford University Name

    From Stanford University

    1
    Stanford Human-Centered Artificial Intelligence

    May 11, 2022
    Nikki Goth Itoi

    With the IQ-Learn approach robots simply watch humans to learn how to behave.

    2
    Today’s robots are good at learning exact tasks but can’t adjust to changes in the environment. A new approach to Imitation Learning could create more adaptable robots that can learn faster from humans. | iStock/nd3000.

    In the fall of 2021, dozens of computer scientists submitted their best work to an AI bot challenge hosted by the Conference on Neural Information Processing Systems (NeurIPS), an annual machine learning event for distinguished researchers. Participants spent months preparing their agents to outperform the competition on four “almost lifelike” tasks in the virtual world of Minecraft:

    Find a cave
    Make a waterfall
    Create a village animal pen
    Build a village house

    To mimic the complexity of real-world situations, the organizers required each agent in the competition to learn the tasks by watching human demonstrations, without the use of rewards that typically reinforce a desired robot behavior. This was a significant change from prior contest rules, and it meant that most teams would have to cope with a slower and more complicated bot training process.

    For Divyansh Garg and Edmund Mills, who entered the competition as Team Obsidian just weeks before the deadline, the requirement presented an opportunity to shine. With less time and fewer resources than other teams, they rose to the top of the leader board and placed first in the Imitation Learning category (designated for agents that interact with their environments to learn rewards or policies). To their surprise, Team Obsidian also placed second overall — a noteworthy achievement because their agent did not use human feedback to boost its performance while playing the game, while many of their competitors did.

    The key to Team Obsidian’s remarkable success is a breakthrough approach to Imitation Learning called IQ-Learn. In the months leading up to the competition, which is officially known as the MineRL Benchmark for Agents that Solve Almost Lifelike Tasks (BASALT) challenge, Garg was developing this new method in collaboration with Stefano Ermon, an associate professor in the Department of Computer Science at Stanford. IQ-Learn already could play classic Atari games better than a human expert. And it was fast becoming the state-of-the-art for training AI agents that work in dynamic environments.

    A Passion for Deep Learning

    Today’s industrial robots are very good at learning to repeat an exact task through a process called behavioral cloning. But when something changes in the environment that the machine has not encountered before, it cannot adjust on the fly. The mistakes compound and the machine never recovers. If we expect one day to have AI agents that can drive cars, wash the dishes, or do the laundry as well or better than humans do, we need different ways of teaching them.

    As a student of computer science at Stanford with experience in robotic learning and generative modeling, Garg recognized that the next frontier for intelligent machines would involve building versatile agents that could learn to do complex tasks in ever-changing environments.

    “What a human can learn in an hour, a robot would need 10 years,” he says. “I wanted to design an algorithm that could learn and transfer behavior as efficiently as humans.”

    Imitation of an Expert

    During an internship with machine learning researcher Ian Goodfellow at Apple, Garg had come to understand several key concepts that informed how scientists were training smarter agents:

    Reinforcement Learning (RL) methods enabled an agent to interact with an environment, but researchers had to include a reward signal for the robot to learn a policy, or desired action.
    A subfield of RL called Q Learning allowed the agent to start with a known reward and then learn what the Deep Learning community calls an energy-based model or Q-function. Borrowed from the field of statistical physics, a Q-function can find relationships within a small dataset and then generalize to a larger dataset that follows the same patterns. In this way, the Q-function can represent the intended policy for the robot to follow.
    A related approach known as Imitation Learning held promise because it empowered an agent to learn the policy from watching visual demonstrations of an expert (human) doing the task.
    Inverse Reinforcement Learning had been considered state-of-the-art for the past five years, because, in theory, it took Imitation Learning a step further. In this case, instead of trying to learn a policy, the agent’s goal is to figure out a reward that explains the human example. The catch here is that Inverse RL requires an adversarial reinforcement process — meaning the model must solve mathematically for two unknown variables: a reward and a policy. According to Garg, this process is difficult to stabilize and does not scale well to more complex situations.

    With these concepts as the backdrop, Garg began thinking about how to achieve better results with a simpler approach to Imitation Learning. A nagging question began to keep him up at night: “What if you could solve for just one unknown variable instead of two?” If the two variables of reward and policy could be represented by a single, hidden Q-function, he reasoned, and if the agent learned this Q-function from watching human demonstrations, it could circumvent the need for problematic adversarial training.

    Garg spent his winter break working out an algorithm and coding it. He was surprised when it worked the first time around. After one month of development, the algorithm was beating every other existing method on simple tasks and had proved to be exceptionally stable.

    He recalls, “Professor Ermon looked at the results and said, ‘This is great, but why does it work?’ We didn’t know of any theory that could explain it, so I took on the challenge to write a mathematical framework that could prove the algorithm was optimal.”

    Expert-Level Performance

    Fast-forward to the summer of 2021, and this new method of inverse soft-Q learning (IQ-Learn for short) had achieved three- to seven-times better performance than previous methods of learning from humans. Garg and his collaborators first tested the agent’s abilities with several control-based video games — Acrobot, CartPole, and LunarLander. In each game, the agent reached expert-level performance faster than any other methods.

    Next, they tested the model on several classic Atari games — Pong, Breakout, and Space Invaders — and discovered their innovation also scaled well in more complex gaming environments. “We exceeded previous bests by 5x while requiring three times fewer environment steps, reaching close to expert performance,” Garg recalls. (An environment step refers to number of variations in the state that the agent introduced for the bot to reach this level of performance.)

    The resulting scientific paper received a Spotlight designation going into the 2021 NeurIPS Conference. It was with this level of confidence and momentum that Garg proposed trying IQ-Learn in the MineRL challenge.

    Success Without a Human in the Loop

    To be sure, some of the “almost lifelike” tasks in Minecraft were difficult for Team Obsidian. At one point in the challenge, their AI bot accidentally built a skyscraper by tiling up fences. It also managed to cage a villager instead of an animal. But Garg is pleased with the results. Their AI bot learned to make walls, build columns, and mount torches successfully. The first-place team overall used 82,000 human labeled images to help recognize scenes in the game and spent about five months coding domain expertise for each task. By comparison, Garg and Mills earned their place without adding any domain knowledge to the model and with only three weeks to prepare.

    “IQ-Learn is performing beyond our own expectations,” Garg says. “It’s a new paradigm for scaling intelligent machines that will be able to do everything from autonomous driving to helping provide health care.”

    Someday, Garg imagines, we’ll be able to teach robots how to grasp objects in any situation simply by showing them videos of humans picking up objects or maybe even by responding to voice commands. If we want to train agents to perceive and act in a multidimensional world, we need to enable faster models that perform well, given limited data and time. Efficiency, it seems, is the determining factor in how useful robots will be in real life.

    1

    See the full article here .


    five-ways-keep-your-child-safe-school-shootings
    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

    Stem Education Coalition

    Stanford University campus

    Leland and Jane Stanford founded Stanford University to “promote the public welfare by exercising an influence on behalf of humanity and civilization.” Stanford opened its doors in 1891, and more than a century later, it remains dedicated to finding solutions to the great challenges of the day and to preparing our students for leadership in today’s complex world. Stanford, is an American private research university located in Stanford, California on an 8,180-acre (3,310 ha) campus near Palo Alto. Since 1952, more than 54 Stanford faculty, staff, and alumni have won the Nobel Prize, including 19 current faculty members.

    Stanford University, officially Leland Stanford Junior University, is a private research university located in Stanford, California. Stanford was founded in 1885 by Leland and Jane Stanford in memory of their only child, Leland Stanford Jr., who had died of typhoid fever at age 15 the previous year. Stanford is consistently ranked as among the most prestigious and top universities in the world by major education publications. It is also one of the top fundraising institutions in the country, becoming the first school to raise more than a billion dollars in a year.

    Leland Stanford was a U.S. senator and former governor of California who made his fortune as a railroad tycoon. The school admitted its first students on October 1, 1891, as a coeducational and non-denominational institution. Stanford University struggled financially after the death of Leland Stanford in 1893 and again after much of the campus was damaged by the 1906 San Francisco earthquake. Following World War II, provost Frederick Terman supported faculty and graduates’ entrepreneurialism to build self-sufficient local industry in what would later be known as Silicon Valley.

    The university is organized around seven schools: three schools consisting of 40 academic departments at the undergraduate level as well as four professional schools that focus on graduate programs in law, medicine, education, and business. All schools are on the same campus. Students compete in 36 varsity sports, and the university is one of two private institutions in the Division I FBS Pac-12 Conference. It has gained 126 NCAA team championships, and Stanford has won the NACDA Directors’ Cup for 24 consecutive years, beginning in 1994–1995. In addition, Stanford students and alumni have won 270 Olympic medals including 139 gold medals.

    As of October 2020, 84 Nobel laureates, 28 Turing Award laureates, and eight Fields Medalists have been affiliated with Stanford as students, alumni, faculty, or staff. In addition, Stanford is particularly noted for its entrepreneurship and is one of the most successful universities in attracting funding for start-ups. Stanford alumni have founded numerous companies, which combined produce more than $2.7 trillion in annual revenue, roughly equivalent to the 7th largest economy in the world (as of 2020). Stanford is the alma mater of one president of the United States (Herbert Hoover), 74 living billionaires, and 17 astronauts. It is also one of the leading producers of Fulbright Scholars, Marshall Scholars, Rhodes Scholars, and members of the United States Congress.

    Stanford University was founded in 1885 by Leland and Jane Stanford, dedicated to Leland Stanford Jr, their only child. The institution opened in 1891 on Stanford’s previous Palo Alto farm.

    Jane and Leland Stanford modeled their university after the great eastern universities, most specifically Cornell University. Stanford opened being called the “Cornell of the West” in 1891 due to faculty being former Cornell affiliates (either professors, alumni, or both) including its first president, David Starr Jordan, and second president, John Casper Branner. Both Cornell and Stanford were among the first to have higher education be accessible, nonsectarian, and open to women as well as to men. Cornell is credited as one of the first American universities to adopt this radical departure from traditional education, and Stanford became an early adopter as well.

    Despite being impacted by earthquakes in both 1906 and 1989, the campus was rebuilt each time. In 1919, The Hoover Institution on War, Revolution and Peace was started by Herbert Hoover to preserve artifacts related to World War I. The Stanford Medical Center, completed in 1959, is a teaching hospital with over 800 beds. The DOE’s SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory (originally named the Stanford Linear Accelerator Center), established in 1962, performs research in particle physics.

    Land

    Most of Stanford is on an 8,180-acre (12.8 sq mi; 33.1 km^2) campus, one of the largest in the United States. It is located on the San Francisco Peninsula, in the northwest part of the Santa Clara Valley (Silicon Valley) approximately 37 miles (60 km) southeast of San Francisco and approximately 20 miles (30 km) northwest of San Jose. In 2008, 60% of this land remained undeveloped.

    Stanford’s main campus includes a census-designated place within unincorporated Santa Clara County, although some of the university land (such as the Stanford Shopping Center and the Stanford Research Park) is within the city limits of Palo Alto. The campus also includes much land in unincorporated San Mateo County (including the SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory and the Jasper Ridge Biological Preserve), as well as in the city limits of Menlo Park (Stanford Hills neighborhood), Woodside, and Portola Valley.

    Non-central campus

    Stanford currently operates in various locations outside of its central campus.

    On the founding grant:

    Jasper Ridge Biological Preserve is a 1,200-acre (490 ha) natural reserve south of the central campus owned by the university and used by wildlife biologists for research.
    SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory is a facility west of the central campus operated by the university for the Department of Energy. It contains the longest linear particle accelerator in the world, 2 miles (3.2 km) on 426 acres (172 ha) of land.
    Golf course and a seasonal lake: The university also has its own golf course and a seasonal lake (Lake Lagunita, actually an irrigation reservoir), both home to the vulnerable California tiger salamander. As of 2012 Lake Lagunita was often dry and the university had no plans to artificially fill it.

    Off the founding grant:

    Hopkins Marine Station, in Pacific Grove, California, is a marine biology research center owned by the university since 1892.
    Study abroad locations: unlike typical study abroad programs, Stanford itself operates in several locations around the world; thus, each location has Stanford faculty-in-residence and staff in addition to students, creating a “mini-Stanford”.

    Redwood City campus for many of the university’s administrative offices located in Redwood City, California, a few miles north of the main campus. In 2005, the university purchased a small, 35-acre (14 ha) campus in Midpoint Technology Park intended for staff offices; development was delayed by The Great Recession. In 2015 the university announced a development plan and the Redwood City campus opened in March 2019.

    The Bass Center in Washington, DC provides a base, including housing, for the Stanford in Washington program for undergraduates. It includes a small art gallery open to the public.

    China: Stanford Center at Peking University, housed in the Lee Jung Sen Building, is a small center for researchers and students in collaboration with Beijing University [北京大学](CN) (Kavli Institute for Astronomy and Astrophysics at Peking University(CN) (KIAA-PKU).

    Administration and organization

    Stanford is a private, non-profit university that is administered as a corporate trust governed by a privately appointed board of trustees with a maximum membership of 38. Trustees serve five-year terms (not more than two consecutive terms) and meet five times annually.[83] A new trustee is chosen by the current trustees by ballot. The Stanford trustees also oversee the Stanford Research Park, the Stanford Shopping Center, the Cantor Center for Visual Arts, Stanford University Medical Center, and many associated medical facilities (including the Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital).

    The board appoints a president to serve as the chief executive officer of the university, to prescribe the duties of professors and course of study, to manage financial and business affairs, and to appoint nine vice presidents. The provost is the chief academic and budget officer, to whom the deans of each of the seven schools report. Persis Drell became the 13th provost in February 2017.

    As of 2018, the university was organized into seven academic schools. The schools of Humanities and Sciences (27 departments), Engineering (nine departments), and Earth, Energy & Environmental Sciences (four departments) have both graduate and undergraduate programs while the Schools of Law, Medicine, Education and Business have graduate programs only. The powers and authority of the faculty are vested in the Academic Council, which is made up of tenure and non-tenure line faculty, research faculty, senior fellows in some policy centers and institutes, the president of the university, and some other academic administrators, but most matters are handled by the Faculty Senate, made up of 55 elected representatives of the faculty.

    The Associated Students of Stanford University (ASSU) is the student government for Stanford and all registered students are members. Its elected leadership consists of the Undergraduate Senate elected by the undergraduate students, the Graduate Student Council elected by the graduate students, and the President and Vice President elected as a ticket by the entire student body.

    Stanford is the beneficiary of a special clause in the California Constitution, which explicitly exempts Stanford property from taxation so long as the property is used for educational purposes.

    Endowment and donations

    The university’s endowment, managed by the Stanford Management Company, was valued at $27.7 billion as of August 31, 2019. Payouts from the Stanford endowment covered approximately 21.8% of university expenses in the 2019 fiscal year. In the 2018 NACUBO-TIAA survey of colleges and universities in the United States and Canada, only Harvard University, the University of Texas System, and Yale University had larger endowments than Stanford.

    In 2006, President John L. Hennessy launched a five-year campaign called the Stanford Challenge, which reached its $4.3 billion fundraising goal in 2009, two years ahead of time, but continued fundraising for the duration of the campaign. It concluded on December 31, 2011, having raised a total of $6.23 billion and breaking the previous campaign fundraising record of $3.88 billion held by Yale. Specifically, the campaign raised $253.7 million for undergraduate financial aid, as well as $2.33 billion for its initiative in “Seeking Solutions” to global problems, $1.61 billion for “Educating Leaders” by improving K-12 education, and $2.11 billion for “Foundation of Excellence” aimed at providing academic support for Stanford students and faculty. Funds supported 366 new fellowships for graduate students, 139 new endowed chairs for faculty, and 38 new or renovated buildings. The new funding also enabled the construction of a facility for stem cell research; a new campus for the business school; an expansion of the law school; a new Engineering Quad; a new art and art history building; an on-campus concert hall; a new art museum; and a planned expansion of the medical school, among other things. In 2012, the university raised $1.035 billion, becoming the first school to raise more than a billion dollars in a year.

    Research centers and institutes

    DOE’s SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory
    Stanford Research Institute, a center of innovation to support economic development in the region.
    Hoover Institution, a conservative American public policy institution and research institution that promotes personal and economic liberty, free enterprise, and limited government.
    Hasso Plattner Institute of Design, a multidisciplinary design school in cooperation with the Hasso Plattner Institute of University of Potsdam [Universität Potsdam](DE) that integrates product design, engineering, and business management education).
    Martin Luther King Jr. Research and Education Institute, which grew out of and still contains the Martin Luther King Jr. Papers Project.
    John S. Knight Fellowship for Professional Journalists
    Center for Ocean Solutions
    Together with UC Berkeley and UC San Francisco, Stanford is part of the Biohub, a new medical science research center founded in 2016 by a $600 million commitment from Facebook CEO and founder Mark Zuckerberg and pediatrician Priscilla Chan.

    Discoveries and innovation

    Natural sciences

    Biological synthesis of deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA) – Arthur Kornberg synthesized DNA material and won the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine 1959 for his work at Stanford.
    First Transgenic organism – Stanley Cohen and Herbert Boyer were the first scientists to transplant genes from one living organism to another, a fundamental discovery for genetic engineering. Thousands of products have been developed on the basis of their work, including human growth hormone and hepatitis B vaccine.
    Laser – Arthur Leonard Schawlow shared the 1981 Nobel Prize in Physics with Nicolaas Bloembergen and Kai Siegbahn for his work on lasers.
    Nuclear magnetic resonance – Felix Bloch developed new methods for nuclear magnetic precision measurements, which are the underlying principles of the MRI.

    Computer and applied sciences

    ARPANETStanford Research Institute, formerly part of Stanford but on a separate campus, was the site of one of the four original ARPANET nodes.

    Internet—Stanford was the site where the original design of the Internet was undertaken. Vint Cerf led a research group to elaborate the design of the Transmission Control Protocol (TCP/IP) that he originally co-created with Robert E. Kahn (Bob Kahn) in 1973 and which formed the basis for the architecture of the Internet.

    Frequency modulation synthesis – John Chowning of the Music department invented the FM music synthesis algorithm in 1967, and Stanford later licensed it to Yamaha Corporation.

    Google – Google began in January 1996 as a research project by Larry Page and Sergey Brin when they were both PhD students at Stanford. They were working on the Stanford Digital Library Project (SDLP). The SDLP’s goal was “to develop the enabling technologies for a single, integrated and universal digital library” and it was funded through the National Science Foundation, among other federal agencies.

    Klystron tube – invented by the brothers Russell and Sigurd Varian at Stanford. Their prototype was completed and demonstrated successfully on August 30, 1937. Upon publication in 1939, news of the klystron immediately influenced the work of U.S. and UK researchers working on radar equipment.

    RISCARPA funded VLSI project of microprocessor design. Stanford and University of California- Berkeley are most associated with the popularization of this concept. The Stanford MIPS would go on to be commercialized as the successful MIPS architecture, while Berkeley RISC gave its name to the entire concept, commercialized as the SPARC. Another success from this era were IBM’s efforts that eventually led to the IBM POWER instruction set architecture, PowerPC, and Power ISA. As these projects matured, a wide variety of similar designs flourished in the late 1980s and especially the early 1990s, representing a major force in the Unix workstation market as well as embedded processors in laser printers, routers and similar products.
    SUN workstation – Andy Bechtolsheim designed the SUN workstation for the Stanford University Network communications project as a personal CAD workstation, which led to Sun Microsystems.

    Businesses and entrepreneurship

    Stanford is one of the most successful universities in creating companies and licensing its inventions to existing companies; it is often held up as a model for technology transfer. Stanford’s Office of Technology Licensing is responsible for commercializing university research, intellectual property, and university-developed projects.

    The university is described as having a strong venture culture in which students are encouraged, and often funded, to launch their own companies.

    Companies founded by Stanford alumni generate more than $2.7 trillion in annual revenue, equivalent to the 10th-largest economy in the world.

    Some companies closely associated with Stanford and their connections include:

    Hewlett-Packard, 1939, co-founders William R. Hewlett (B.S, PhD) and David Packard (M.S).
    Silicon Graphics, 1981, co-founders James H. Clark (Associate Professor) and several of his grad students.
    Sun Microsystems, 1982, co-founders Vinod Khosla (M.B.A), Andy Bechtolsheim (PhD) and Scott McNealy (M.B.A).
    Cisco, 1984, founders Leonard Bosack (M.S) and Sandy Lerner (M.S) who were in charge of Stanford Computer Science and Graduate School of Business computer operations groups respectively when the hardware was developed.[163]
    Yahoo!, 1994, co-founders Jerry Yang (B.S, M.S) and David Filo (M.S).
    Google, 1998, co-founders Larry Page (M.S) and Sergey Brin (M.S).
    LinkedIn, 2002, co-founders Reid Hoffman (B.S), Konstantin Guericke (B.S, M.S), Eric Lee (B.S), and Alan Liu (B.S).
    Instagram, 2010, co-founders Kevin Systrom (B.S) and Mike Krieger (B.S).
    Snapchat, 2011, co-founders Evan Spiegel and Bobby Murphy (B.S).
    Coursera, 2012, co-founders Andrew Ng (Associate Professor) and Daphne Koller (Professor, PhD).

    Student body

    Stanford enrolled 6,996 undergraduate and 10,253 graduate students as of the 2019–2020 school year. Women comprised 50.4% of undergraduates and 41.5% of graduate students. In the same academic year, the freshman retention rate was 99%.

    Stanford awarded 1,819 undergraduate degrees, 2,393 master’s degrees, 770 doctoral degrees, and 3270 professional degrees in the 2018–2019 school year. The four-year graduation rate for the class of 2017 cohort was 72.9%, and the six-year rate was 94.4%. The relatively low four-year graduation rate is a function of the university’s coterminal degree (or “coterm”) program, which allows students to earn a master’s degree as a 1-to-2-year extension of their undergraduate program.

    As of 2010, fifteen percent of undergraduates were first-generation students.

    Athletics

    As of 2016 Stanford had 16 male varsity sports and 20 female varsity sports, 19 club sports and about 27 intramural sports. In 1930, following a unanimous vote by the Executive Committee for the Associated Students, the athletic department adopted the mascot “Indian.” The Indian symbol and name were dropped by President Richard Lyman in 1972, after objections from Native American students and a vote by the student senate. The sports teams are now officially referred to as the “Stanford Cardinal,” referring to the deep red color, not the cardinal bird. Stanford is a member of the Pac-12 Conference in most sports, the Mountain Pacific Sports Federation in several other sports, and the America East Conference in field hockey with the participation in the inter-collegiate NCAA’s Division I FBS.

    Its traditional sports rival is the University of California, Berkeley, the neighbor to the north in the East Bay. The winner of the annual “Big Game” between the Cal and Cardinal football teams gains custody of the Stanford Axe.

    Stanford has had at least one NCAA team champion every year since the 1976–77 school year and has earned 126 NCAA national team titles since its establishment, the most among universities, and Stanford has won 522 individual national championships, the most by any university. Stanford has won the award for the top-ranked Division 1 athletic program—the NACDA Directors’ Cup, formerly known as the Sears Cup—annually for the past twenty-four straight years. Stanford athletes have won medals in every Olympic Games since 1912, winning 270 Olympic medals total, 139 of them gold. In the 2008 Summer Olympics, and 2016 Summer Olympics, Stanford won more Olympic medals than any other university in the United States. Stanford athletes won 16 medals at the 2012 Summer Olympics (12 gold, two silver and two bronze), and 27 medals at the 2016 Summer Olympics.

    Traditions

    The unofficial motto of Stanford, selected by President Jordan, is Die Luft der Freiheit weht. Translated from the German language, this quotation from Ulrich von Hutten means, “The wind of freedom blows.” The motto was controversial during World War I, when anything in German was suspect; at that time the university disavowed that this motto was official.
    Hail, Stanford, Hail! is the Stanford Hymn sometimes sung at ceremonies or adapted by the various University singing groups. It was written in 1892 by mechanical engineering professor Albert W. Smith and his wife, Mary Roberts Smith (in 1896 she earned the first Stanford doctorate in Economics and later became associate professor of Sociology), but was not officially adopted until after a performance on campus in March 1902 by the Mormon Tabernacle Choir.
    “Uncommon Man/Uncommon Woman”: Stanford does not award honorary degrees, but in 1953 the degree of “Uncommon Man/Uncommon Woman” was created to recognize individuals who give rare and extraordinary service to the University. Technically, this degree is awarded by the Stanford Associates, a voluntary group that is part of the university’s alumni association. As Stanford’s highest honor, it is not conferred at prescribed intervals, but only when appropriate to recognize extraordinary service. Recipients include Herbert Hoover, Bill Hewlett, Dave Packard, Lucile Packard, and John Gardner.
    Big Game events: The events in the week leading up to the Big Game vs. UC Berkeley, including Gaieties (a musical written, composed, produced, and performed by the students of Ram’s Head Theatrical Society).
    “Viennese Ball”: a formal ball with waltzes that was initially started in the 1970s by students returning from the now-closed Stanford in Vienna overseas program. It is now open to all students.
    “Full Moon on the Quad”: An annual event at Main Quad, where students gather to kiss one another starting at midnight. Typically organized by the Junior class cabinet, the festivities include live entertainment, such as music and dance performances.
    “Band Run”: An annual festivity at the beginning of the school year, where the band picks up freshmen from dorms across campus while stopping to perform at each location, culminating in a finale performance at Main Quad.
    “Mausoleum Party”: An annual Halloween Party at the Stanford Mausoleum, the final resting place of Leland Stanford Jr. and his parents. A 20-year tradition, the “Mausoleum Party” was on hiatus from 2002 to 2005 due to a lack of funding, but was revived in 2006. In 2008, it was hosted in Old Union rather than at the actual Mausoleum, because rain prohibited generators from being rented. In 2009, after fundraising efforts by the Junior Class Presidents and the ASSU Executive, the event was able to return to the Mausoleum despite facing budget cuts earlier in the year.
    Former campus traditions include the “Big Game bonfire” on Lake Lagunita (a seasonal lake usually dry in the fall), which was formally ended in 1997 because of the presence of endangered salamanders in the lake bed.

    Award laureates and scholars

    Stanford’s current community of scholars includes:

    19 Nobel Prize laureates (as of October 2020, 85 affiliates in total)
    171 members of the National Academy of Sciences
    109 members of National Academy of Engineering
    76 members of National Academy of Medicine
    288 members of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences
    19 recipients of the National Medal of Science
    1 recipient of the National Medal of Technology
    4 recipients of the National Humanities Medal
    49 members of American Philosophical Society
    56 fellows of the American Physics Society (since 1995)
    4 Pulitzer Prize winners
    31 MacArthur Fellows
    4 Wolf Foundation Prize winners
    2 ACL Lifetime Achievement Award winners
    14 AAAI fellows
    2 Presidential Medal of Freedom winners

    Stanford University Seal

     
  • richardmitnick 10:18 am on May 6, 2022 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: "Programming agility", , , Robotics,   

    From The University of Delaware: “Programming agility” 

    U Delaware bloc

    From The University of Delaware

    May 05, 2022
    Article by Maddy Lauria
    Photos by Evan Krape

    1
    University of Delaware engineers will be working with this two-legged robot named Digit, as well as a specially designed treadmill system, to better understand and program the robot to handle changes in terrain.

    UD engineers aim to give robots a leg up.

    In Professor Ioannis Poulakakis’ lab at the University of Delaware, a human-sized robot is almost ready to play its role in engineering a better future.

    The robot, which walks on two legs and looks like something you would be more likely to see on the Star Wars planet of “Tatooine” than in the City of Newark, is part of an $800,000 research project supported by the National Science Foundation’s Major Research Instrumentation Program. The goal is to pair it with a new treadmill system that will help scientists and engineers better understand and program human-like robots to help in our everyday lives.

    Poulakakis, along with Department of Mechanical Engineering Professors Panos Artemiadis, Guoquan (Paul) Huang and Bert Tanner are spearheading the project, which will combine the nearly 5-foot-tall robot and a novel treadmill system that will allow researchers to test the robot’s ability to adjust to dynamic changes in the environment. It’s really about robotic infrastructure, Poulakakis said.

    “In the future, these robots will be walking in real environments, such as forests or rubble in a disaster area,” Artemiadis said. “We want to make sure those robots aren’t falling all over and that they are as robust as humans.”

    2
    A team of UD engineers have been awarded about $800,000 from the National Science Foundation’s Major Research Instrumentation Program to develop a data-based approach to improving two-legged robots’ ability to walk on changing terrains. Here, mechanical engineering graduate student Abhijeet Kulkarni (left) and Mechanical Engineering Professor Ioannis Poulakakis look at the controller for the high-tech robot named Digit.

    Making two-legged robots walk more effectively across varying terrains — say, from concrete to grass to sand — is more than just understanding the mechanics of the task, though. It’s about programming the robots to comprehend the complexities of their environment and act accordingly so that they don’t fall over an ant hill or get tripped up by the dog.

    “It’s like a weird human,” Poulakakis said as he described Digit, the impressive, high-tech two-legged robot purchased from Agility Robotics in Oregon. “But it’s not just about how you make it walk, but how it can see and perceive the environment around it and act accordingly. The key question is how does the robot understand change and how does it take action in correcting itself in response to changes?”

    By creating basic controllers that would cause the robot to move in particular ways, and as integrated with the novel treadmill system they’re building, this team of engineers can then collect valuable data from their work, evaluate and verify existing algorithms and programming, and create simulations and models to guide future improvements.

    This project also will collect valuable data on two-legged robots, which could ultimately help improve robotics technology enough that legged robots could be used commercially in warehousing or such related industries. And the testing tools developed by faculty and students will be available for researchers around the world to use.

    “At the end of the day, each one of us can list different lessons learned or insights drawn out of this experience,” said Tanner, an expert in the field of planning and control of robotic systems. “We’re just scratching the surface of how our machines could operate in and negotiate a variety of conditions in different environments. This instrument is just one way of scratching that surface.”

    Sensing, deciding and acting through programming

    Despite past predictions that the new millennia would be marked by robotic influences, there are yet to be pizza delivery robots walking up your front steps expecting a tip. But there are quite a few non-legged robots in our lives: self-driving cars are here, drones are pretty much mainstream, and of course, we cannot forget that the automated vacuum cleaners our cats love to ride are robots, too.

    3
    A $250,000 teal robot named Digit (shown in the forefront) will help a team of UD engineers improve two-legged robots’ ability to walk on changing terrain. Shown are (left to right) mechanical engineering graduate students Aditya Shreyas, Prem Chand, Prof. Ioannis Poulakakis, Dhruv Ashwinkumar Thanki, Abhijeet Kulkarni and Kunal Sanjay Narkhede.

    And while the military may use some legged robots for special tasks, most of the robots we see today are not yet walking around our homes or workplaces. This project encompasses exactly the kind of research that still needs to be done to make robots more efficient and applicable to the real world.

    By integrating the purchased robot with the treadmill being built in Artemiadis’ lab (where a smaller prototype already exists), the team of researchers will be able to profile the machine’s movements and reactions, ultimately to help pave the way to better robots.

    “Our platform will be able to simulate dynamic environments,” Artemiadis said. “If you want to feel like you’re walking on sand, I can make that happen, and I can change it interactively.”

    The robot itself, at about $250,000, accounts for more than a quarter of the funding provided by NSF for this project, which is why it’s ideal to test a robot on a treadmill in a laboratory setting rather than setting it free to see how it fares along a rickety boardwalk in the marsh, for example. A controlled environment is needed, and in the lab, it’s easier to collect data that can inform future programming.

    “All of the guarantees we have for the performance and safety of robots are the guarantees we get from simulations, theoretical analysis and algorithms,” Poulakakis said. “There’s no experiment device that’s going to test whether or not those guarantees work in practice.”

    For humans, processing environmental information, planning responsive motions and reacting to changes, can take a few hundred milliseconds of processing time. Meanwhile, the “digital synapses” in two-legged robots are only as good as they’re programmed to be.

    A handful of UD engineering students will work on programming the robot, creating dynamic models, designing and controlling the treadmill and creating models that integrate the robot and treadmill, under the guidance of the mechanical engineering faculty involved in the project.

    “This project is specifically focused on the transition to different types of terrains,” Tanner said. “Instead of trial and error on mud or sand or gravel or grass and reverse engineering what’s happening on the ground where the foot of the robot hit, with this instrument we can know how soft the surface under the robot was when it slipped or moved faster. We know how it reacts, how it balances itself, and then we can plan more microscopic motions through possible adjustments in the controls.”

    A path forward

    Motors, cameras and sensors are just the mechanical anatomy of a robot’s ability to move around — whether the robot walks on two legs or is an autonomous vehicle with four wheels. However, two-legged robots are far more complicated to work with than vehicles or simpler machines, Huang said.

    “Legged robots have better mobility than their wheeled relatives, they can navigate pretty much anywhere,” Artemiadis said. But from battery technology to energy consumption, there’s still a lot of work to be done, he added. “Putting one leg in front of another and not falling sounds easy, but it’s quite complex.”

    From the sensory information being gleaned from your foot putting pressure on a new surface to the years of learning balance and familiar environments, humans have a bit of a leg up when it comes to having senses to guide us. The research being done with the initial prototype of the instrument has focused on how humans walk, which Artemiadis said could help inform what’s needed for programming robots to navigate the world on two legs.

    In addition to building the treadmill system and better controls, the team will also create a dynamic model for the robot that captures the physics of its motion. Once they are working together, the goal is to create models of the robot and treadmill that can be used as virtual instruments, accessible from anywhere.

    Eventually, a model integrating the physics of the robot’s motions as well as the forces and influences of the treadmill and its changes, will produce a simulation that shows how any amount of change is likely to affect the robot. Those simulations can be compared with the actual interactions between the robot and the treadmill in the lab to verify accuracy.

    “The more data we have, the better we can train the machine-learning algorithms and validate our controllers,” Tanner said. “In fact, this data will be available to any researcher wanting to study legged locomotion in real-world conditions. Generating meaningful data these days in itself can contribute to the body of knowledge.”

    Those models, ultimately, will capture critical aspects of the robot’s physical behavior, Poulakakis said. And the better the models, the easier it is to enhance the robot’s predictive ability, and the more opportunities there will be to have modern day robotics assist us in the most risky or challenging of tasks (and sure, we’ll include picking up your own pizza in that definition, too).

    “One day, we hope they can become commonplace consumer electronics,” said Huang. “I think that’s still a long way away. But this is a great project for the robotics program we’re building here, and will be a chance to showcase some of our research results.”

    See the full article here .

    five-ways-keep-your-child-safe-school-shootings

    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

    Stem Education Coalition

    U Delaware campus

    The University of Delaware is a public land-grant research university located in Newark, Delaware. University of Delaware (US) is the largest university in Delaware. It offers three associate’s programs, 148 bachelor’s programs, 121 master’s programs (with 13 joint degrees), and 55 doctoral programs across its eight colleges. The main campus is in Newark, with satellite campuses in Dover, the Wilmington area, Lewes, and Georgetown. It is considered a large institution with approximately 18,200 undergraduate and 4,200 graduate students. It is a privately governed university which receives public funding for being a land-grant, sea-grant, and space-grant state-supported research institution.

    University of Delaware is classified among “R1: Doctoral Universities – Very high research activity”. According to The National Science Foundation , UD spent $186 million on research and development in 2018, ranking it 119th in the nation. It is recognized with the Community Engagement Classification by the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching.

    University of Delaware is one of only four schools in North America with a major in art conservation. In 1923, it was the first American university to offer a study-abroad program.

    University of Delaware traces its origins to a “Free School,” founded in New London, Pennsylvania in 1743. The school moved to Newark, Delaware by 1765, becoming the Newark Academy. The academy trustees secured a charter for Newark College in 1833 and the academy became part of the college, which changed its name to Delaware College in 1843. While it is not considered one of the colonial colleges because it was not a chartered institution of higher education during the colonial era, its original class of ten students included George Read, Thomas McKean, and James Smith, all three of whom went on to sign the Declaration of Independence. Read also later signed the United States Constitution.

    Science, Technology and Advanced Research (STAR) Campus

    On October 23, 2009, the University of Delaware signed an agreement with Chrysler to purchase a shuttered vehicle assembly plant adjacent to the university for $24.25 million as part of Chrysler’s bankruptcy restructuring plan. The university has developed the 272-acre (1.10 km^2) site into the Science, Technology and Advanced Research (STAR) Campus. The site is the new home of University of Delaware’s College of Health Sciences, which includes teaching and research laboratories and several public health clinics. The STAR Campus also includes research facilities for University of Delaware (US)’s vehicle-to-grid technology, as well as Delaware Technology Park, SevOne, CareNow, Independent Prosthetics and Orthotics, and the East Coast headquarters of Bloom Energy. In 2020 , University of Delaware expects to open the Ammon Pinozzotto Biopharmaceutical Innovation Center, which will become the new home of the UD-led National Institute for Innovation in Manufacturing Biopharmaceuticals. Also, Chemours recently opened its global research and development facility, known as the Discovery Hub, on the STAR Campus in 2020. The new Newark Regional Transportation Center on the STAR Campus will serve passengers of Amtrak and regional rail.

    Academics

    The university is organized into nine colleges:

    Alfred Lerner College of Business and Economics
    College of Agriculture and Natural Resources
    College of Arts and Sciences
    College of Earth, Ocean and Environment
    College of Education and Human Development
    College of Engineering
    College of Health Sciences
    Graduate College
    Honors College

    There are also five schools:

    Joseph R. Biden, Jr. School of Public Policy and Administration (part of the College of Arts & Sciences)
    School of Education (part of the College of Education & Human Development)
    School of Marine Science and Policy (part of the College of Earth, Ocean and Environment)
    School of Nursing (part of the College of Health Sciences)
    School of Music (part of the College of Arts & Sciences)

     
  • richardmitnick 9:43 am on May 4, 2022 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: "PneuAct" uses a machine knitting process — not dissimilar to your grandma's plastic needle knitting — but this machine operates autonomously., "Soft assistive robotic wearables get a boost from rapid design tool", Robotics, Scientists have created a design and fabrication tool for soft pneumatic actuators for integrated sensing which can power personalized health care; smart homes and gaming., , The team’s glove can be worn by a human to supplement finger muscle movement minimizing the amount of muscle activity needed to complete tasks and motions.   

    From The MIT Computer Science & Artificial Intelligence Laboratory (CSAIL) : “Soft assistive robotic wearables get a boost from rapid design tool” 

    1

    From The MIT Computer Science & Artificial Intelligence Laboratory (CSAIL)

    at

    The Massachusetts Institute of Technology

    May 3, 2022
    Rachel Gordon | MIT CSAIL

    Scientists have created a design and fabrication tool for soft pneumatic actuators for integrated sensing which can power personalized health care; smart homes and gaming.


    Wearable assistive robotics with integrated sensing.

    1
    MIT scientists created a rapid design and fabrication tool, and created machine-knitted pneumatic actuators: an assistive glove, a soft hand, and a pneumatic quadrupedal robot. Photos courtesy of MIT CSAIL.

    Soft, pneumatic actuators might not be a phrase that comes up in daily conversations, but more likely than not you might have benefited from their utility. The devices use compressed air to power motion, and with sensing capabilities, they’ve proven to be a critical backbone in a variety of applications such as assistive wearables, robotics, and rehabilitative technologies.

    But there’s a bit of a bottleneck in creating the little dynamic devices that have advantages like high response rates and power to input ratios. They require a manual design and fabrication pipeline, which translates to a lot of trial and error cycles to actually test and see whether the designs will work.

    Scientists from MIT’s Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory (CSAIL) devised a scalable pipeline to computationally design and digitally fabricate soft pneumatic actuators, called “PneuAct.”

    PneuAct uses a machine knitting process — not dissimilar to your grandma’s plastic needle knitting — but this machine operates autonomously. A human designer simply specifies the stitch and sensor design patterns in software to program how the actuator will move, and it can then be simulated before printing. The textile piece is fabricated by the knitting machine, which can be fixed to an inexpensive, off-the-shelf rubber silicone tube to complete the actuator.

    The knitted actuator integrates conductive yarn for sensing, allowing the actuators to “feel” what they touch. The team cooked up several prototypes spanning an assistive glove, a soft hand, an interactive robot, and a pneumatic walking quadruped. Their devices were wrapped in a soft, yellow fabric that made them look a little bit like banana fingers.

    While there’s been plenty of movement in the hardware development of soft pneumatic actuators over the years — a 2019 prototype of a collaborative robot used such actuators to reproduce human-like gripping in its hands — the design tools haven’t improved with quite as much speed. Old processes have typically used polymers and molding, but the scientists used a combination of elastic and sensing stitches (with conductive yarn) that allows for programming bending of the devices when they’re inflated, and the ability to incorporate real world feedback.

    For example, the team used the actuators to build a robot that sensed when it was touched specifically by human hands, and reacted to that touch.

    The team’s glove can be worn by a human to supplement finger muscle movement minimizing the amount of muscle activity needed to complete tasks and motions. This could hold a lot of potential for those with injury, limited mobility, or other trauma to the fingers. The method can also be used to make an exoskeleton (wearable robotic units controlled by a computer that supplement human motion and restore locomotion and movement); to that end the researchers made a sleeve that can help wearers bend their elbow, knee, or other body parts.

    “Digital machine knitting, which is a very common manufacturing method in today’s textile industry, enables ‘printing’ a design in one go, which makes it much more scalable,” says Yiyue Luo, MIT CSAIL PhD student and lead author of a new paper about the research [Association for Computing Machinery]. “Soft pneumatic actuators are intrinsically compliant and flexible, and combined with intelligent materials, they’ve become a necessary force in many robots and assistive technologies — and rapid fabrication, with our design tool, can hopefully increase ease and ubiquity.”

    Making sense of sensors

    One type of sensing the team incorporated was called “resistive pressure sensing,” where the actuator “sends” pressure. When fabricating a robotic gripper, it would try to grab onto something, and the pressure sensor would sense how much force was being applied to the object, and then it would try to see whether the grasp was successful or not. The other type is “capacitive sensing,” where the sensor discerns some information on the materials that the actuator is getting in touch with.

    The actuators are sturdy — no yarn was harmed in the process. One limitation of the system is that they were limited to tube-shaped actuators, because it’s very easy to buy them off the shelf. A logical next step is exploring actuators of different shapes, to avoid being constrained by that single structure. Another extension the scientists will explore is extending the tool to incorporate a task-driven, optimization-based design, where users can specify target poses and optimal stitch patterns that can be automatically synthesized.

    “Our software tool is fast, easy to use, and it accurately previews users’ designs, allowing them to quickly iterate virtually while only needing to fabricate once. But this process still requires some trial-and-error from humans. Can a computer reason about how textiles should be physically programmed in actuators to allow for rich, sensing-driven behavior? That’s the next frontier,” says Andrew Spielberg, postdoc in materials science and mechanical engineering at Harvard University, another author on the paper.

    Luo wrote the paper alongside Kui Wu, former MIT CSAIL PhD student, Spielberg, MIT postdoc Michael Foshey, and MIT professors Tomas Palacios, Daniela Rus, and Wojciech Matusik. They presented the paper at the ACM Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems.

    See the full article here .


    five-ways-keep-your-child-safe-school-shootings
    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

    Stem Education Coalition

    4

    The MIT Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory (CSAIL) is a research institute at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) formed by the 2003 merger of the Laboratory for Computer Science (LCS) and the Artificial Intelligence Laboratory (AI Lab). Housed within the Ray and Maria Stata Center, CSAIL is the largest on-campus laboratory as measured by research scope and membership. It is part of the Schwarzman College of Computing but is also overseen by the MIT Vice President of Research.

    Research activities

    CSAIL’s research activities are organized around a number of semi-autonomous research groups, each of which is headed by one or more professors or research scientists. These groups are divided up into seven general areas of research:

    Artificial intelligence
    Computational biology
    Graphics and vision
    Language and learning
    Theory of computation
    Robotics
    Systems (includes computer architecture, databases, distributed systems, networks and networked systems, operating systems, programming methodology, and software engineering among others)

    In addition, CSAIL hosts the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C).

    MIT Seal

    USPS “Forever” postage stamps celebrating Innovation at MIT.

    MIT Campus

    The Massachusetts Institute of Technology is a private land-grant research university in Cambridge, Massachusetts. The institute has an urban campus that extends more than a mile (1.6 km) alongside the Charles River. The institute also encompasses a number of major off-campus facilities such as the MIT Lincoln Laboratory (US), the MIT Bates Research and Engineering Center (US), and the Haystack Observatory (US), as well as affiliated laboratories such as the Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard(US) and Whitehead Institute (US).

    Massachusettes Institute of Technology-Haystack Observatory Westford, Massachusetts, USA, Altitude 131 m (430 ft).

    Founded in 1861 in response to the increasing industrialization of the United States, Massachusetts Institute of Technology adopted a European polytechnic university model and stressed laboratory instruction in applied science and engineering. It has since played a key role in the development of many aspects of modern science, engineering, mathematics, and technology, and is widely known for its innovation and academic strength. It is frequently regarded as one of the most prestigious universities in the world.

    As of December 2020, 97 Nobel laureates, 26 Turing Award winners, and 8 Fields Medalists have been affiliated with MIT as alumni, faculty members, or researchers. In addition, 58 National Medal of Science recipients, 29 National Medals of Technology and Innovation recipients, 50 MacArthur Fellows, 80 Marshall Scholars, 3 Mitchell Scholars, 22 Schwarzman Scholars, 41 astronauts, and 16 Chief Scientists of the U.S. Air Force have been affiliated with The Massachusetts Institute of Technology. The university also has a strong entrepreneurial culture and MIT alumni have founded or co-founded many notable companies. Massachusetts Institute of Technology is a member of the Association of American Universities (AAU).

    Foundation and vision

    In 1859, a proposal was submitted to the Massachusetts General Court to use newly filled lands in Back Bay, Boston for a “Conservatory of Art and Science”, but the proposal failed. A charter for the incorporation of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, proposed by William Barton Rogers, was signed by John Albion Andrew, the governor of Massachusetts, on April 10, 1861.

    Rogers, a professor from the University of Virginia , wanted to establish an institution to address rapid scientific and technological advances. He did not wish to found a professional school, but a combination with elements of both professional and liberal education, proposing that:

    “The true and only practicable object of a polytechnic school is, as I conceive, the teaching, not of the minute details and manipulations of the arts, which can be done only in the workshop, but the inculcation of those scientific principles which form the basis and explanation of them, and along with this, a full and methodical review of all their leading processes and operations in connection with physical laws.”

    The Rogers Plan reflected the German research university model, emphasizing an independent faculty engaged in research, as well as instruction oriented around seminars and laboratories.

    Early developments

    Two days after Massachusetts Institute of Technology was chartered, the first battle of the Civil War broke out. After a long delay through the war years, MIT’s first classes were held in the Mercantile Building in Boston in 1865. The new institute was founded as part of the Morrill Land-Grant Colleges Act to fund institutions “to promote the liberal and practical education of the industrial classes” and was a land-grant school. In 1863 under the same act, the Commonwealth of Massachusetts founded the Massachusetts Agricultural College, which developed as the University of Massachusetts Amherst ). In 1866, the proceeds from land sales went toward new buildings in the Back Bay.

    Massachusetts Institute of Technology was informally called “Boston Tech”. The institute adopted the European polytechnic university model and emphasized laboratory instruction from an early date. Despite chronic financial problems, the institute saw growth in the last two decades of the 19th century under President Francis Amasa Walker. Programs in electrical, chemical, marine, and sanitary engineering were introduced, new buildings were built, and the size of the student body increased to more than one thousand.

    The curriculum drifted to a vocational emphasis, with less focus on theoretical science. The fledgling school still suffered from chronic financial shortages which diverted the attention of the MIT leadership. During these “Boston Tech” years, Massachusetts Institute of Technology faculty and alumni rebuffed Harvard University president (and former MIT faculty) Charles W. Eliot’s repeated attempts to merge MIT with Harvard College’s Lawrence Scientific School. There would be at least six attempts to absorb MIT into Harvard. In its cramped Back Bay location, MIT could not afford to expand its overcrowded facilities, driving a desperate search for a new campus and funding. Eventually, the MIT Corporation approved a formal agreement to merge with Harvard, over the vehement objections of MIT faculty, students, and alumni. However, a 1917 decision by the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court effectively put an end to the merger scheme.

    In 1916, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology administration and the MIT charter crossed the Charles River on the ceremonial barge Bucentaur built for the occasion, to signify MIT’s move to a spacious new campus largely consisting of filled land on a one-mile-long (1.6 km) tract along the Cambridge side of the Charles River. The neoclassical “New Technology” campus was designed by William W. Bosworth and had been funded largely by anonymous donations from a mysterious “Mr. Smith”, starting in 1912. In January 1920, the donor was revealed to be the industrialist George Eastman of Rochester, New York, who had invented methods of film production and processing, and founded Eastman Kodak. Between 1912 and 1920, Eastman donated $20 million ($236.6 million in 2015 dollars) in cash and Kodak stock to MIT.

    Curricular reforms

    In the 1930s, President Karl Taylor Compton and Vice-President (effectively Provost) Vannevar Bush emphasized the importance of pure sciences like physics and chemistry and reduced the vocational practice required in shops and drafting studios. The Compton reforms “renewed confidence in the ability of the Institute to develop leadership in science as well as in engineering”. Unlike Ivy League schools, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (US) catered more to middle-class families, and depended more on tuition than on endowments or grants for its funding. The school was elected to the Association of American Universities in 1934.

    Still, as late as 1949, the Lewis Committee lamented in its report on the state of education at Massachusetts Institute of Technology that “the Institute is widely conceived as basically a vocational school”, a “partly unjustified” perception the committee sought to change. The report comprehensively reviewed the undergraduate curriculum, recommended offering a broader education, and warned against letting engineering and government-sponsored research detract from the sciences and humanities. The School of Humanities, Arts, and Social Sciences and the MIT Sloan School of Management were formed in 1950 to compete with the powerful Schools of Science and Engineering. Previously marginalized faculties in the areas of economics, management, political science, and linguistics emerged into cohesive and assertive departments by attracting respected professors and launching competitive graduate programs. The School of Humanities, Arts, and Social Sciences continued to develop under the successive terms of the more humanistically oriented presidents Howard W. Johnson and Jerome Wiesner between 1966 and 1980.

    Massachusetts Institute of Technology ‘s involvement in military science surged during World War II. In 1941, Vannevar Bush was appointed head of the federal Office of Scientific Research and Development and directed funding to only a select group of universities, including MIT. Engineers and scientists from across the country gathered at Massachusetts Institute of Technology (US)’s Radiation Laboratory, established in 1940 to assist the British military in developing microwave radar. The work done there significantly affected both the war and subsequent research in the area. Other defense projects included gyroscope-based and other complex control systems for gunsight, bombsight, and inertial navigation under Charles Stark Draper’s Instrumentation Laboratory; the development of a digital computer for flight simulations under Project Whirlwind; and high-speed and high-altitude photography under Harold Edgerton. By the end of the war, Massachusetts Institute of Technology became the nation’s largest wartime R&D contractor (attracting some criticism of Bush), employing nearly 4000 in the Radiation Laboratory alone and receiving in excess of $100 million ($1.2 billion in 2015 dollars) before 1946. Work on defense projects continued even after then. Post-war government-sponsored research at MIT included SAGE and guidance systems for ballistic missiles and Project Apollo.

    These activities affected Massachusetts Institute of Technology profoundly. A 1949 report noted the lack of “any great slackening in the pace of life at the Institute” to match the return to peacetime, remembering the “academic tranquility of the prewar years”, though acknowledging the significant contributions of military research to the increased emphasis on graduate education and rapid growth of personnel and facilities. The faculty doubled and the graduate student body quintupled during the terms of Karl Taylor Compton, president of Massachusetts Institute of Technology between 1930 and 1948; James Rhyne Killian, president from 1948 to 1957; and Julius Adams Stratton, chancellor from 1952 to 1957, whose institution-building strategies shaped the expanding university. By the 1950s, Massachusetts Institute of Technology no longer simply benefited the industries with which it had worked for three decades, and it had developed closer working relationships with new patrons, philanthropic foundations and the federal government.

    In late 1960s and early 1970s, student and faculty activists protested against the Vietnam War and Massachusetts Institute of Technology ‘s defense research. In this period Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s various departments were researching helicopters, smart bombs and counterinsurgency techniques for the war in Vietnam as well as guidance systems for nuclear missiles. The Union of Concerned Scientists was founded on March 4, 1969 during a meeting of faculty members and students seeking to shift the emphasis on military research toward environmental and social problems. Massachusetts Institute of Technology ultimately divested itself from the Instrumentation Laboratory and moved all classified research off-campus to the MIT Lincoln Laboratory facility in 1973 in response to the protests. The student body, faculty, and administration remained comparatively unpolarized during what was a tumultuous time for many other universities. Johnson was seen to be highly successful in leading his institution to “greater strength and unity” after these times of turmoil. However six Massachusetts Institute of Technology ( students were sentenced to prison terms at this time and some former student leaders, such as Michael Albert and George Katsiaficas, are still indignant about MIT’s role in military research and its suppression of these protests. (Richard Leacock’s film, November Actions, records some of these tumultuous events.)

    In the 1980s, there was more controversy at Massachusetts Institute of Technology over its involvement in SDI (space weaponry) and CBW (chemical and biological warfare) research. More recently, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (US)’s research for the military has included work on robots, drones and ‘battle suits’.

    Recent history

    Massachusetts Institute of Technology has kept pace with and helped to advance the digital age. In addition to developing the predecessors to modern computing and networking technologies, students, staff, and faculty members at Project MAC, the Artificial Intelligence Laboratory, and the Tech Model Railroad Club wrote some of the earliest interactive computer video games like Spacewar! and created much of modern hacker slang and culture. Several major computer-related organizations have originated at MIT since the 1980s: Richard Stallman’s GNU Project and the subsequent Free Software Foundation were founded in the mid-1980s at the AI Lab; the MIT Media Lab was founded in 1985 by Nicholas Negroponte and Jerome Wiesner to promote research into novel uses of computer technology; the World Wide Web Consortium standards organization was founded at the Laboratory for Computer Science in 1994 by Tim Berners-Lee; the MIT OpenCourseWare project has made course materials for over 2,000 Massachusetts Institute of Technology classes available online free of charge since 2002; and the One Laptop per Child initiative to expand computer education and connectivity to children worldwide was launched in 2005.

    Massachusetts Institute of Technology was named a sea-grant college in 1976 to support its programs in oceanography and marine sciences and was named a space-grant college in 1989 to support its aeronautics and astronautics programs. Despite diminishing government financial support over the past quarter century, MIT launched several successful development campaigns to significantly expand the campus: new dormitories and athletics buildings on west campus; the Tang Center for Management Education; several buildings in the northeast corner of campus supporting research into biology, brain and cognitive sciences, genomics, biotechnology, and cancer research; and a number of new “backlot” buildings on Vassar Street including the Stata Center. Construction on campus in the 2000s included expansions of the Media Lab, the Sloan School’s eastern campus, and graduate residences in the northwest. In 2006, President Hockfield launched the MIT Energy Research Council to investigate the interdisciplinary challenges posed by increasing global energy consumption.

    In 2001, inspired by the open source and open access movements, Massachusetts Institute of Technology launched OpenCourseWare to make the lecture notes, problem sets, syllabi, exams, and lectures from the great majority of its courses available online for no charge, though without any formal accreditation for coursework completed. While the cost of supporting and hosting the project is high, OCW expanded in 2005 to include other universities as a part of the OpenCourseWare Consortium, which currently includes more than 250 academic institutions with content available in at least six languages. In 2011, Massachusetts Institute of Technology announced it would offer formal certification (but not credits or degrees) to online participants completing coursework in its “MITx” program, for a modest fee. The “edX” online platform supporting MITx was initially developed in partnership with Harvard and its analogous “Harvardx” initiative. The courseware platform is open source, and other universities have already joined and added their own course content. In March 2009 the Massachusetts Institute of Technology faculty adopted an open-access policy to make its scholarship publicly accessible online.

    Massachusetts Institute of Technology has its own police force. Three days after the Boston Marathon bombing of April 2013, MIT Police patrol officer Sean Collier was fatally shot by the suspects Dzhokhar and Tamerlan Tsarnaev, setting off a violent manhunt that shut down the campus and much of the Boston metropolitan area for a day. One week later, Collier’s memorial service was attended by more than 10,000 people, in a ceremony hosted by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology community with thousands of police officers from the New England region and Canada. On November 25, 2013, Massachusetts Institute of Technology announced the creation of the Collier Medal, to be awarded annually to “an individual or group that embodies the character and qualities that Officer Collier exhibited as a member of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology community and in all aspects of his life”. The announcement further stated that “Future recipients of the award will include those whose contributions exceed the boundaries of their profession, those who have contributed to building bridges across the community, and those who consistently and selflessly perform acts of kindness”.

    In September 2017, the school announced the creation of an artificial intelligence research lab called the MIT-IBM Watson AI Lab. IBM will spend $240 million over the next decade, and the lab will be staffed by MIT and IBM scientists. In October 2018 MIT announced that it would open a new Schwarzman College of Computing dedicated to the study of artificial intelligence, named after lead donor and The Blackstone Group CEO Stephen Schwarzman. The focus of the new college is to study not just AI, but interdisciplinary AI education, and how AI can be used in fields as diverse as history and biology. The cost of buildings and new faculty for the new college is expected to be $1 billion upon completion.

    The Caltech/MIT Advanced aLIGO was designed and constructed by a team of scientists from California Institute of Technology, Massachusetts Institute of Technology , and industrial contractors, and funded by the National Science Foundation .

    Caltech /MIT Advanced aLigo

    It was designed to open the field of gravitational-wave astronomy through the detection of gravitational waves predicted by general relativity. Gravitational waves were detected for the first time by the LIGO detector in 2015. For contributions to the LIGO detector and the observation of gravitational waves, two Caltech physicists, Kip Thorne and Barry Barish, and Massachusetts Institute of Technology physicist Rainer Weiss won the Nobel Prize in physics in 2017. Weiss, who is also an Massachusetts Institute of Technology graduate, designed the laser interferometric technique, which served as the essential blueprint for the LIGO.

    The mission of Massachusetts Institute of Technology is to advance knowledge and educate students in science, technology, and other areas of scholarship that will best serve the nation and the world in the twenty-first century. We seek to develop in each member of The Massachusetts Institute of Technology community the ability and passion to work wisely, creatively, and effectively for the betterment of humankind.

     
  • richardmitnick 9:24 am on May 3, 2022 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: "Helping robots feel more human", , For his doctorate Johannes Weichart is developing an artificial skin that could give robots a sense of touch similar to humans. This would make them much more adept at handling objects., Robotics, , Weichart’s artificial skin is equipped with a large array of receptors.   

    From The Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Zürich [ETH Zürich] [Eidgenössische Technische Hochschule Zürich] (CH): “Helping robots feel more human” 

    From The Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Zürich [ETH Zürich] [Eidgenössische Technische Hochschule Zürich] (CH)

    3.5.22 [Just now in social media.]
    Felix Würsten

    For his doctorate Johannes Weichart is developing an artificial skin that could give robots a sense of touch similar to humans. This would make them much more adept at handling objects.

    1
    Developing an artificial skin for robots: Johannes Weichart with his supervisor, Christofer Hierold (left), and advisor, Cosmin Roman. Photograph: ETH Zürich / ETH transfer.

    One of many special human qualities is the ability to handle objects with skill and precision. This is all down to our sense of touch, which is particularly acute in the tips of our fingers. Using our hands, we are able to explore the shape and composition of objects and to feel the texture of their surface – and all without ever clapping eyes on them.

    Our sense of touch is incredibly refined. Just try and get a robot to achieve a similar degree of nuance. Production robots, for example, are able to pick up and move objects with impressive dexterity. To do so, however, they first need to know where the object is – or they require additional visual information to help with orientation. Ideally, too, they need to know how sturdy an object is, and its composition, before they grab it.

    Hundreds of sensors

    Johannes Weichart has an idea that could make robots much more adept at handling objects. Weichart, a doctoral student in the Micro-​ and Nanosystems (MNS) group at ETH Zürich, has developed an artificial skin that emulates the sense of touch in a human finger. He believes that this can endow robots with the ability to touch and feel. What’s more, the artificial skin is pliable, which means it can be used to cover soft and unevenly formed materials – a robot gripper, for example, in the shape of a human finger.

    In common with its human equivalent, Weichart’s artificial skin is equipped with a large array of receptors. “You need around one sensor per square millimetre,” he explains. Each sensor comprises various layers. Two of these are a conductive membrane and subjacent electrodes, which springs hold apart at a distance of three to four micrometres. Changes in the distance between them causes changes to an electrical signal captured by the electrodes.

    Refined sense of touch

    Connected to the conductive membrane is a small bead. When pressure is applied to the bead, the membrane deforms – and, with it, the signal measured by the sensor.

    2
    Schematic representation of a sensor: a force acting on the bead (grey) deforms the connected membrane (red), changing the capacitance to the electrodes (blue). (Photograph: ETH Zürich / Johannes Weichart)

    Half of the sensors are equipped with three electrodes rather than one. These measure not only the amount of force applied to the bead at any one point but also the angle of application. This gives the skin a much more nuanced sense of touch. “It means you can feel the quality and texture of a surface and recognise when an object is slipping over the surface of the skin by sampling the sensors at high enough frequencies,” Weichart explains.

    Too much raw data

    Weichart has spent the first three years of his doctoral studies demonstrating that his idea functions in principle. The challenge now is to make the skin more robust and, crucially, suitable for concrete applications. This still requires some work. “To be able to use the artificial skin in an everyday context, the sensors require a protective layer which we developed,” Weichart says. “And we also need to radically simplify the output signal. All that raw input data would overwhelm a robot. Besides, even humans don’t perceive the output of each individual receptor. We just register the overall impression.”

    Despite the work ahead, the project is already looking promising. Little wonder, then, that Weichart was among the nominees for the Spark Award, which was presented last week.

    Unconventional approach

    Weichart tends to favour a left-​field approach – as his desk readily reveals. Unlike the functional workspaces of his fellow students, his is literally surrounded by a mini jungle of houseplants.

    He was also quick to diverge from the initial suggestion of his supervisor, Christofer Hierold, and his advisor, Cosmin Roman. Their idea was to develop silicon-​based touch sensors. But Weichart opted to embed the sensors in a flexible substrate. That way, it will be easier to mount them onto soft and uneven surfaces. “My advisors were a bit sceptical at first,” he grins. “But, in retrospect, I think it was the right decision!”

    3
    Electron microscope image of a sensor showing the membrane and the bead attached to it. Photograph: Johannes Weichart/ETH Zürich.

    From fusion power to sensor technology

    Ultimately, it was problems with red tape that nudged Weichart in the direction of artificial skin. Freshly graduated from ETH Zürich with a degree in mechanical engineering, he first joined the company Evatec AG, where he worked on plasma processes for coating and etching integrated circuits. However, at the end of three years, the time seemed ripe for a move back into research.

    His work in industry had sparked an interest in fusion technology. “But, because I come from Liechtenstein, it was difficult for me to be considered for national research programs,” he explains. In search of a reference, he turned to Hierold, who had supervised his Master’s thesis. To his delight, Hierold proposed he start his project on tactile sensor technology.

    “My experience in industry has turned out to be really valuable,” Weichart says. “You don’t always need to reinvent the wheel – in fact, it’s often better to build on a technology already known.” Rather than striving for academic perfection, he aims for practical relevance: “That’s what makes me tick.” And relying on established tech can be an advantage when it comes to commercialising a new development, he says. “As a start-​up, you can never be in control of the entire process chain. There are always some parts you need to outsource.”

    For now, his entrepreneurial ambitions are on hold. “I’ve still got another year or so as a doctoral student, and then I’ll start thinking about my next move.” Were he to take the project forward himself – perhaps as a Pioneer Fellow – he would need to think very carefully about which area to focus on. He spies potential applications in a variety of fields, including medical robotics, telerobotics, warehouse robotics and also prosthetics. But there’s no way he can do all of these options justice at this stage of development.

    4
    The pliable skin can be mounted onto any surface. Clearly visible are the tiny beads that exert pressure on the sensing membrane. (Photograph: Johannes Weichart/ETH Zürich.

    Eyes on the prize

    Staying focused may well be his biggest challenge over the coming months. “I’m not obsessed with details,” he admits, “and I can quickly start chasing new ideas. But that can soon get out of hand.” As it is, he already has plenty on his plate: microtechnology, electronics, precision mechanics, data processing, materials integration and AI pattern recognition – all of these fields will exercise his attention for some time to come.

    Regular activity beyond the lab helps keep his eyes on the prize. “I go biking and ski touring in the mountains, swimming in the lake in winter, and do boxing and mixed martial arts to help with my coordination and self-​confidence,” he says. “That frees my head and helps me refocus on the job in hand.”

    See the full article here .

    five-ways-keep-your-child-safe-school-shootings

    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

    Stem Education Coalition

    ETH Zurich campus

    The Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Zürich [ETH Zürich] [Eidgenössische Technische Hochschule Zürich] (CH) is a public research university in the city of Zürich, Switzerland. Founded by the Swiss Federal Government in 1854 with the stated mission to educate engineers and scientists, the school focuses exclusively on science, technology, engineering and mathematics. Like its sister institution The Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Lausanne [EPFL-École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne](CH) , it is part of The Swiss Federal Institutes of Technology Domain (ETH Domain)) , part of the The Swiss Federal Department of Economic Affairs, Education and Research [EAER][Eidgenössisches Departement für Wirtschaft, Bildung und Forschung] [Département fédéral de l’économie, de la formation et de la recherche] (CH).

    The university is an attractive destination for international students thanks to low tuition fees of 809 CHF per semester, PhD and graduate salaries that are amongst the world’s highest, and a world-class reputation in academia and industry. There are currently 22,200 students from over 120 countries, of which 4,180 are pursuing doctoral degrees. In the 2021 edition of the QS World University Rankings ETH Zürich is ranked 6th in the world and 8th by the Times Higher Education World Rankings 2020. In the 2020 QS World University Rankings by subject it is ranked 4th in the world for engineering and technology (2nd in Europe) and 1st for earth & marine science.

    As of November 2019, 21 Nobel laureates, 2 Fields Medalists, 2 Pritzker Prize winners, and 1 Turing Award winner have been affiliated with the Institute, including Albert Einstein. Other notable alumni include John von Neumann and Santiago Calatrava. It is a founding member of the IDEA League and the International Alliance of Research Universities (IARU) and a member of the CESAER network.

    ETH Zürich was founded on 7 February 1854 by the Swiss Confederation and began giving its first lectures on 16 October 1855 as a polytechnic institute (eidgenössische polytechnische schule) at various sites throughout the city of Zurich. It was initially composed of six faculties: architecture, civil engineering, mechanical engineering, chemistry, forestry, and an integrated department for the fields of mathematics, natural sciences, literature, and social and political sciences.

    It is locally still known as Polytechnikum, or simply as Poly, derived from the original name eidgenössische polytechnische schule, which translates to “federal polytechnic school”.

    ETH Zürich is a federal institute (i.e., under direct administration by the Swiss government), whereas The University of Zürich [Universität Zürich ] (CH) is a cantonal institution. The decision for a new federal university was heavily disputed at the time; the liberals pressed for a “federal university”, while the conservative forces wanted all universities to remain under cantonal control, worried that the liberals would gain more political power than they already had. In the beginning, both universities were co-located in the buildings of the University of Zürich.

    From 1905 to 1908, under the presidency of Jérôme Franel, the course program of ETH Zürich was restructured to that of a real university and ETH Zürich was granted the right to award doctorates. In 1909 the first doctorates were awarded. In 1911, it was given its current name, Eidgenössische Technische Hochschule. In 1924, another reorganization structured the university in 12 departments. However, it now has 16 departments.

    ETH Zürich, EPFL (Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Lausanne) [École polytechnique fédérale de Lausanne](CH), and four associated research institutes form The Domain of the Swiss Federal Institutes of Technology (ETH Domain) [ETH-Bereich; Domaine des Écoles polytechniques fédérales] (CH) with the aim of collaborating on scientific projects.

    Reputation and ranking

    ETH Zürich is ranked among the top universities in the world. Typically, popular rankings place the institution as the best university in continental Europe and ETH Zürich is consistently ranked among the top 1-5 universities in Europe, and among the top 3-10 best universities of the world.

    Historically, ETH Zürich has achieved its reputation particularly in the fields of chemistry, mathematics and physics. There are 32 Nobel laureates who are associated with ETH Zürich, the most recent of whom is Richard F. Heck, awarded the Nobel Prize in chemistry in 2010. Albert Einstein is perhaps its most famous alumnus.

    In 2018, the QS World University Rankings placed ETH Zürich at 7th overall in the world. In 2015, ETH Zürich was ranked 5th in the world in Engineering, Science and Technology, just behind the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Stanford University and University of Cambridge (UK). In 2015, ETH Zürich also ranked 6th in the world in Natural Sciences, and in 2016 ranked 1st in the world for Earth & Marine Sciences for the second consecutive year.

    In 2016, Times Higher Education World University Rankings ranked ETH Zürich 9th overall in the world and 8th in the world in the field of Engineering & Technology, just behind the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Stanford University, California Institute of Technology, Princeton University, University of Cambridge(UK), Imperial College London(UK) and University of Oxford(UK) .

    In a comparison of Swiss universities by swissUP Ranking and in rankings published by CHE comparing the universities of German-speaking countries, ETH Zürich traditionally is ranked first in natural sciences, computer science and engineering sciences.

    In the survey CHE Excellence Ranking on the quality of Western European graduate school programs in the fields of biology, chemistry, physics and mathematics, ETH Zürich was assessed as one of the three institutions to have excellent programs in all the considered fields, the other two being Imperial College London (UK) and the University of Cambridge (UK), respectively.

     
  • richardmitnick 7:53 am on April 8, 2022 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: "Decoding Movement and Speech from the Brain of a Tetraplegic Person", Robotics,   

    From The California Institute of Technology: “Decoding Movement and Speech from the Brain of a Tetraplegic Person” 

    Caltech Logo

    From The California Institute of Technology

    March 31, 2022

    Lori Dajose
    (626) 395‑1217
    ldajose@caltech.edu

    1
    New research identifies a brain region where both imagined hand grasps and spoken words can be decoded, indicating a promising candidate region for brain implants for neuroprosthetic applications. Credit: Caltech.

    Every year, the lives of hundreds of thousands of people are severely disrupted when they lose the ability to move or speak as a result of spinal injury, stroke, or neurological diseases. At Caltech, neuroscientists in the laboratory of Richard Andersen, James G. Boswell Professor of Neuroscience, and Leadership Chair and Director of the Tianqiao & Chrissy Chen Brain-Machine Interface Center, are studying how the brain encodes movements and speech, in order to potentially restore these functions to those individuals who have lost them.

    Brain–machine interfaces (BMIs) are devices that record brain signals and interpret them to issue commands that operate external assistive devices, such as computers or robotic limbs. Thus, an individual can control such machinery just with their thoughts. For example, in 2015, the Andersen team and colleagues worked with a tetraplegic participant to implant recording electrodes into a part of the brain that forms intentions to move. The BMI enabled the participant to direct a robotic limb to reach out and grasp a cup, just by thinking about those actions.

    Now, new research from the Andersen lab has identified a region of the brain, called the supramarginal gyrus (SMG), that codes for both grasping movements and speech—indicating a promising candidate region for the implantation of more efficient BMIs that can control multiple types of prosthetics in both the grasp and speech domains.

    The research is described in a paper that appears in the journal Neuron on March 31. Sarah Wandelt, who is a graduate student in the computation and neural systems program at Caltech, is the study’s first author.

    The exact location in the brain where electrodes are implanted affects BMI performance and what the device can interpret from brain signals. In the previously mentioned 2015 study, the laboratory discovered that BMIs are able to decode motor intentions while a movement is being planned, and thus before the onset of that action, if they are reading signals from a high-level brain region that governs intentions: the posterior parietal cortex (PPC). Electrode implants in this area, then, could lead to control of a much larger repertoire of movements than more specialized motor areas of the brain.

    Because of the ability to decode intention and translate it into movement, an implant in the PPC requires only that a patient think about the desire to grasp an object rather than having to envision each the precise movements involved in grasping—opening the hand, unfolding each finger, placing the hand around an object, closing each finger, and so on.

    “When you reach out to grab a cup of water, you don’t consciously think about the precise grasping movements involved—you simply think about your desired action, and your more specialized motor areas do the rest,” says Wandelt. “Our goal is to find brain regions that can be easily decoded by a BMI to produce whole-grasp movements, or even speech, as we discovered in this study.”

    The SMG is a region within the PPC. Previous studies with nonhuman primates and functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) conducted with humans indicated that the SMG was activated for grasping movements. In this new research, the team implanted an array of microelectrodes into the SMG of a tetraplegic participant and then measured brain activity as the person imagined making grasping movements. The electrode array implant, which has 96 recording electrodes on a 4.4-by-4.2-millimeter-square chip, smaller than the nail of one’s thumb, measured activity from 40 to 50 neurons during each recording session. The study showed for the first time that populations of individual neurons in human SMG encode a variety of imagined grasps.

    Next, the team followed up on previous research suggesting that the SMG is involved in language processes to see if speech could be decoded from the neural signals recorded from the implant. The researchers asked the participant to speak specific words and simultaneously measured SMG activity. These experiments showed that spoken words, whether spoken grasp types (for example, hand positions called writing tripod or palmar pinch) or spoken colors (such as “green” or “yellow”) could be decoded from the neural activity. This suggests that the SMG would be a good candidate region for implanting BMIs, as the BMIs could be connected to prosthetics that enable a person to move and speak.

    “The finding of an area that encodes both imagined grasps and spoken words extends the concept of cognitive BMIs, in which signals from high-level cognitive areas of the brain can provide a very large variety of useful brain signals,” says Andersen. “In this study, the speech-related activity was for spoken words, and our next step is to see if imagined speech, that inner dialog we have with ourselves, can also be decoded from the SMG.”

    The paper is titled “Decoding grasp and speech signals from the cortical grasp circuit in a tetraplegic human.” In addition to Wandelt and Andersen, additional Caltech co-authors are former member of professional staff Spencer Kellis, now of Blackrock Neurotech; postdoctoral scholar David Bjånes; lab and clinical studies manager Kelsie Pejsa; and visiting associates in Biology and Biological Engineering from the Keck School of Medicine of USC Brian Lee (PhD ’06) and Charles Liu. Funding was provided by the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke, the T&C Chen Brain-machine Interface Center, and the Boswell Foundation.

    See the full article here .


    five-ways-keep-your-child-safe-school-shootings


    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

    Stem Education Coalition

    Caltech campus

    The The California Institute of Technology is a private research university in Pasadena, California. The university is known for its strength in science and engineering, and is one among a small group of institutes of technology in the United States which is primarily devoted to the instruction of pure and applied sciences.

    The California Institute of Technology was founded as a preparatory and vocational school by Amos G. Throop in 1891 and began attracting influential scientists such as George Ellery Hale, Arthur Amos Noyes, and Robert Andrews Millikan in the early 20th century. The vocational and preparatory schools were disbanded and spun off in 1910 and the college assumed its present name in 1920. In 1934, The California Institute of Technology was elected to the Association of American Universities, and the antecedents of National Aeronautics and Space Administration’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, which The California Institute of Technology continues to manage and operate, were established between 1936 and 1943 under Theodore von Kármán.

    The California Institute of Technology has six academic divisions with strong emphasis on science and engineering. Its 124-acre (50 ha) primary campus is located approximately 11 mi (18 km) northeast of downtown Los Angeles. First-year students are required to live on campus, and 95% of undergraduates remain in the on-campus House System at The California Institute of Technology. Although The California Institute of Technology has a strong tradition of practical jokes and pranks, student life is governed by an honor code which allows faculty to assign take-home examinations. The The California Institute of Technology Beavers compete in 13 intercollegiate sports in the NCAA Division III’s Southern California Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (SCIAC).

    As of October 2020, there are 76 Nobel laureates who have been affiliated with The California Institute of Technology, including 40 alumni and faculty members (41 prizes, with chemist Linus Pauling being the only individual in history to win two unshared prizes). In addition, 4 Fields Medalists and 6 Turing Award winners have been affiliated with The California Institute of Technology. There are 8 Crafoord Laureates and 56 non-emeritus faculty members (as well as many emeritus faculty members) who have been elected to one of the United States National Academies. Four Chief Scientists of the U.S. Air Force and 71 have won the United States National Medal of Science or Technology. Numerous faculty members are associated with the Howard Hughes Medical Institute as well as National Aeronautics and Space Administration. According to a 2015 Pomona College study, The California Institute of Technology ranked number one in the U.S. for the percentage of its graduates who go on to earn a PhD.

    Research

    The California Institute of Technology is classified among “R1: Doctoral Universities – Very High Research Activity”. Caltech was elected to The Association of American Universities in 1934 and remains a research university with “very high” research activity, primarily in STEM fields. The largest federal agencies contributing to research are National Aeronautics and Space Administration; National Science Foundation; Department of Health and Human Services; Department of Defense, and Department of Energy.

    In 2005, The California Institute of Technology had 739,000 square feet (68,700 m^2) dedicated to research: 330,000 square feet (30,700 m^2) to physical sciences, 163,000 square feet (15,100 m^2) to engineering, and 160,000 square feet (14,900 m^2) to biological sciences.

    In addition to managing NASA-JPL/Caltech, The California Institute of Technology also operates the Caltech Palomar Observatory; the Owens Valley Radio Observatory;the Caltech Submillimeter Observatory; the W. M. Keck Observatory at the Mauna Kea Observatory; the Laser Interferometer Gravitational-Wave Observatory at Livingston, Louisiana and Hanford, Washington; and Kerckhoff Marine Laboratory in Corona del Mar, California. The Institute launched the Kavli Nanoscience Institute at The California Institute of Technology in 2006; the Keck Institute for Space Studies in 2008; and is also the current home for the Einstein Papers Project. The Spitzer Science Center, part of the Infrared Processing and Analysis Center located on The California Institute of Technology campus, is the data analysis and community support center for NASA’s Spitzer Infrared Space Telescope [no longer in service].

    The California Institute of Technology partnered with University of California at Los Angeles to establish a Joint Center for Translational Medicine (UCLA-Caltech JCTM), which conducts experimental research into clinical applications, including the diagnosis and treatment of diseases such as cancer.

    The California Institute of Technology operates several Total Carbon Column Observing Network stations as part of an international collaborative effort of measuring greenhouse gases globally. One station is on campus.

     
  • richardmitnick 11:17 am on January 10, 2022 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: "Speeding up directed evolution of molecules in the lab", A new robotic platform can speed up directed evolution more than 100-fold., , , , , Natural evolution is a slow process that relies on the gradual accumulation of genetic mutations., PACE: phage-assisted continuous evolution, PRANCE: phage and robotics-assisted near-continuous evolution, Robotics, , The MIT team was able to generate an enzyme that can incorporate an additional amino acid., The researchers are now using PRANCE to try to make novel small-molecule drugs., The researchers used their new platform to engineer a molecule that allows viruses to encode their genes in a new way.   

    From The Massachusetts Institute of Technology (US) : “Speeding up directed evolution of molecules in the lab” 

    MIT News

    From The Massachusetts Institute of Technology (US)

    December 30, 2021
    Anne Trafton

    Using a new robotic platform, researchers can simultaneously track hundreds of microbial populations as they evolve new proteins or other molecules.

    1
    A new robotic platform can speed up directed evolution more than 100-fold, and allows hundreds of evolving populations to be monitored at the same time. The work was led by Kevin Esvelt and colleagues at the MIT Media Lab. Image: istockphoto.

    Natural evolution is a slow process that relies on the gradual accumulation of genetic mutations. In recent years, scientists have found ways to speed up the process on a small scale, allowing them to rapidly create new proteins and other molecules in their lab.

    This widely-used technique, known as directed evolution, has yielded new antibodies to treat cancer and other diseases, enzymes used in biofuel production, and imaging agents for magnetic resonance imaging (MRI).

    Researchers at MIT have now developed a robotic platform that can perform 100 times as many directed-evolution experiments in parallel, giving many more populations the chance to come up with a solution, while monitoring their progress in real-time. In addition to helping researchers develop new molecules more rapidly, the technique could also be used to simulate natural evolution and answer fundamental questions about how it works.

    “Traditionally, directed evolution has been much more of an art than a science, let alone an engineering discipline. And that remains true until you can systematically explore different permutations and observe the results,” says Kevin Esvelt, an assistant professor in MIT’s Media Lab and the senior author of the new study.

    MIT graduate student Erika DeBenedictis and postdoc Emma Chory are the lead authors of the paper, which appears today in Nature Methods.

    Rapid evolution

    Directed evolution works by speeding up the accumulation and selection of novel mutations. For example, if scientists wanted to create an antibody that binds to a cancerous protein, they would start with a test tube of hundreds of millions of yeast cells or other microbes that have been engineered to express mammalian antibodies on their surfaces. These cells would be exposed to the cancer protein that the researchers want the antibody to bind to, and researchers would pick out those that bind the best.

    Scientists would then introduce random mutations into the antibody sequence and screen these new proteins again. The process can be repeated many times until the best candidate emerges.

    About 10 years ago, as a graduate student at Harvard University (US), Esvelt developed a way to speed up directed evolution. This approach harnesses bacteriophages (viruses that infect bacteria) to help proteins evolve faster toward a desired function. The gene that the researchers hope to optimize is linked to a gene needed for bacteriophage survival, and the viruses compete against each other to optimize the protein. The selection process is run continuously, shortening each mutation round to the lifespan of the bacteriophage, which is about 20 minutes, and can be repeated many times, with no human intervention needed.

    Using this method, known as phage-assisted continuous evolution (PACE), directed evolution can be performed 1 billion times faster than traditional directed evolution experiments. However, evolution often fails to come up with a solution, requiring the researchers to guess which new set of conditions will do better.

    The technique described in the new Nature Methods paper, which the researchers have named phage and robotics-assisted near-continuous evolution (PRANCE), can evolve 100 times as many populations in parallel, using different conditions.

    In the new PRANCE system, bacteriophage populations (which can only infect a specific strain of bacteria) are grown in wells of a 96-well plate, instead of a single bioreactor. This allows for many more evolutionary trajectories to occur simultaneously. Each viral population is monitored by a robot as it goes through the evolution process. When the virus succeeds in generating the desired protein, it produces a fluorescent protein that the robot can detect.

    “The robot can babysit this population of viruses by measuring this readout, which allows it to see whether the viruses are performing well, or whether they’re really struggling and something needs to be done to help them,” DeBenedictis says.

    If the viruses are struggling to survive, meaning that the target protein is not evolving in the desired way, the robot can help save them from extinction by replacing the bacteria they’re infecting with a different strain that makes it easier for the viruses to replicate. This prevents the population from dying out, which is a cause of failure for many directed evolution experiments.

    “We can tune these evolutions in real-time, in direct response to how well these evolutions are occurring,” Chory says. “We can tell when an experiment is succeeding and we can change the environment, which gives us many more shots on goal, which is great from both a bioengineering perspective and a basic science perspective.”

    Novel molecules

    In this study, the researchers used their new platform to engineer a molecule that allows viruses to encode their genes in a new way. The genetic code of all living organisms stipulates that three DNA base pairs specify one amino acid. However, the MIT team was able to evolve several viral transfer RNA (tRNA) molecules that read four DNA base pairs instead of three.

    In another experiment, they evolved a molecule that allows viruses to incorporate a synthetic amino acid into the proteins they make. All viruses and living cells use the same 20 naturally occurring amino acids to build their proteins, but the MIT team was able to generate an enzyme that can incorporate an additional amino acid called Boc-lysine.

    The researchers are now using PRANCE to try to make novel small-molecule drugs. Other possible applications for this kind of large-scale directed evolution include trying to evolve enzymes that degrade plastic more efficiently, or molecules that can edit the epigenome, similarly to how CRISPR can edit the genome, the researchers say.

    With this system, scientists can also gain a better understanding of the step-by-step process that leads to a particular evolutionary outcome. Because they can study so many populations in parallel, they can tweak factors such as the mutation rate, size of original population, and environmental conditions, and then analyze how those variations affect the outcome. This type of large-scale, controlled experiment could allow them to potentially answer fundamental questions about how evolution naturally occurs.

    “Our system allows us to actually perform these evolutions with substantially more understanding of what’s happening in the system,” Chory says. “We can learn about the history of the evolution, not just the end point.”

    The research was funded by the MIT Media Lab, an Alfred P. Sloan Research Fellowship, the Open Philanthropy Project, the Reid Hoffman Foundation, the National Institute of Digestive and Kidney Diseases, the National Institute for Allergy and Infectious Diseases, and a Ruth L. Kirschstein NRSA Fellowship from the National Cancer Institute.

    See the full article here .


    five-ways-keep-your-child-safe-school-shootings
    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

    Stem Education Coalition

    MIT Seal

    USPS “Forever” postage stamps celebrating Innovation at MIT.

    MIT Campus

    The Massachusetts Institute of Technology (US) is a private land-grant research university in Cambridge, Massachusetts. The institute has an urban campus that extends more than a mile (1.6 km) alongside the Charles River. The institute also encompasses a number of major off-campus facilities such as the MIT Lincoln Laboratory (US), the MIT Bates Research and Engineering Center (US), and the Haystack Observatory (US), as well as affiliated laboratories such as the Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard(US) and Whitehead Institute (US).

    Massachusettes Institute of Technology-Haystack Observatory(US) Westford, Massachusetts, USA, Altitude 131 m (430 ft).

    Founded in 1861 in response to the increasing industrialization of the United States, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (US) adopted a European polytechnic university model and stressed laboratory instruction in applied science and engineering. It has since played a key role in the development of many aspects of modern science, engineering, mathematics, and technology, and is widely known for its innovation and academic strength. It is frequently regarded as one of the most prestigious universities in the world.

    As of December 2020, 97 Nobel laureates, 26 Turing Award winners, and 8 Fields Medalists have been affiliated with MIT as alumni, faculty members, or researchers. In addition, 58 National Medal of Science recipients, 29 National Medals of Technology and Innovation recipients, 50 MacArthur Fellows, 80 Marshall Scholars, 3 Mitchell Scholars, 22 Schwarzman Scholars, 41 astronauts, and 16 Chief Scientists of the U.S. Air Force have been affiliated with The Massachusetts Institute of Technology (US) . The university also has a strong entrepreneurial culture and MIT alumni have founded or co-founded many notable companies. Massachusetts Institute of Technology (US) is a member of the Association of American Universities (AAU).

    Foundation and vision

    In 1859, a proposal was submitted to the Massachusetts General Court to use newly filled lands in Back Bay, Boston for a “Conservatory of Art and Science”, but the proposal failed. A charter for the incorporation of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, proposed by William Barton Rogers, was signed by John Albion Andrew, the governor of Massachusetts, on April 10, 1861.

    Rogers, a professor from the University of Virginia (US), wanted to establish an institution to address rapid scientific and technological advances. He did not wish to found a professional school, but a combination with elements of both professional and liberal education, proposing that:

    “The true and only practicable object of a polytechnic school is, as I conceive, the teaching, not of the minute details and manipulations of the arts, which can be done only in the workshop, but the inculcation of those scientific principles which form the basis and explanation of them, and along with this, a full and methodical review of all their leading processes and operations in connection with physical laws.”

    The Rogers Plan reflected the German research university model, emphasizing an independent faculty engaged in research, as well as instruction oriented around seminars and laboratories.

    Early developments

    Two days after Massachusetts Institute of Technology (US) was chartered, the first battle of the Civil War broke out. After a long delay through the war years, MIT’s first classes were held in the Mercantile Building in Boston in 1865. The new institute was founded as part of the Morrill Land-Grant Colleges Act to fund institutions “to promote the liberal and practical education of the industrial classes” and was a land-grant school. In 1863 under the same act, the Commonwealth of Massachusetts founded the Massachusetts Agricultural College, which developed as the University of Massachusetts Amherst (US)). In 1866, the proceeds from land sales went toward new buildings in the Back Bay.

    Massachusetts Institute of Technology (US) was informally called “Boston Tech”. The institute adopted the European polytechnic university model and emphasized laboratory instruction from an early date. Despite chronic financial problems, the institute saw growth in the last two decades of the 19th century under President Francis Amasa Walker. Programs in electrical, chemical, marine, and sanitary engineering were introduced, new buildings were built, and the size of the student body increased to more than one thousand.

    The curriculum drifted to a vocational emphasis, with less focus on theoretical science. The fledgling school still suffered from chronic financial shortages which diverted the attention of the MIT leadership. During these “Boston Tech” years, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (US) faculty and alumni rebuffed Harvard University (US) president (and former MIT faculty) Charles W. Eliot’s repeated attempts to merge MIT with Harvard College’s Lawrence Scientific School. There would be at least six attempts to absorb MIT into Harvard. In its cramped Back Bay location, MIT could not afford to expand its overcrowded facilities, driving a desperate search for a new campus and funding. Eventually, the MIT Corporation approved a formal agreement to merge with Harvard, over the vehement objections of MIT faculty, students, and alumni. However, a 1917 decision by the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court effectively put an end to the merger scheme.

    In 1916, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (US) administration and the MIT charter crossed the Charles River on the ceremonial barge Bucentaur built for the occasion, to signify MIT’s move to a spacious new campus largely consisting of filled land on a one-mile-long (1.6 km) tract along the Cambridge side of the Charles River. The neoclassical “New Technology” campus was designed by William W. Bosworth and had been funded largely by anonymous donations from a mysterious “Mr. Smith”, starting in 1912. In January 1920, the donor was revealed to be the industrialist George Eastman of Rochester, New York, who had invented methods of film production and processing, and founded Eastman Kodak. Between 1912 and 1920, Eastman donated $20 million ($236.6 million in 2015 dollars) in cash and Kodak stock to MIT.

    Curricular reforms

    In the 1930s, President Karl Taylor Compton and Vice-President (effectively Provost) Vannevar Bush emphasized the importance of pure sciences like physics and chemistry and reduced the vocational practice required in shops and drafting studios. The Compton reforms “renewed confidence in the ability of the Institute to develop leadership in science as well as in engineering”. Unlike Ivy League schools, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (US) catered more to middle-class families, and depended more on tuition than on endowments or grants for its funding. The school was elected to the Association of American Universities (US)in 1934.

    Still, as late as 1949, the Lewis Committee lamented in its report on the state of education at Massachusetts Institute of Technology (US) that “the Institute is widely conceived as basically a vocational school”, a “partly unjustified” perception the committee sought to change. The report comprehensively reviewed the undergraduate curriculum, recommended offering a broader education, and warned against letting engineering and government-sponsored research detract from the sciences and humanities. The School of Humanities, Arts, and Social Sciences and the MIT Sloan School of Management were formed in 1950 to compete with the powerful Schools of Science and Engineering. Previously marginalized faculties in the areas of economics, management, political science, and linguistics emerged into cohesive and assertive departments by attracting respected professors and launching competitive graduate programs. The School of Humanities, Arts, and Social Sciences continued to develop under the successive terms of the more humanistically oriented presidents Howard W. Johnson and Jerome Wiesner between 1966 and 1980.

    Massachusetts Institute of Technology (US)‘s involvement in military science surged during World War II. In 1941, Vannevar Bush was appointed head of the federal Office of Scientific Research and Development and directed funding to only a select group of universities, including MIT. Engineers and scientists from across the country gathered at Massachusetts Institute of Technology (US)’s Radiation Laboratory, established in 1940 to assist the British military in developing microwave radar. The work done there significantly affected both the war and subsequent research in the area. Other defense projects included gyroscope-based and other complex control systems for gunsight, bombsight, and inertial navigation under Charles Stark Draper’s Instrumentation Laboratory; the development of a digital computer for flight simulations under Project Whirlwind; and high-speed and high-altitude photography under Harold Edgerton. By the end of the war, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (US) became the nation’s largest wartime R&D contractor (attracting some criticism of Bush), employing nearly 4000 in the Radiation Laboratory alone and receiving in excess of $100 million ($1.2 billion in 2015 dollars) before 1946. Work on defense projects continued even after then. Post-war government-sponsored research at MIT included SAGE and guidance systems for ballistic missiles and Project Apollo.

    These activities affected Massachusetts Institute of Technology (US) profoundly. A 1949 report noted the lack of “any great slackening in the pace of life at the Institute” to match the return to peacetime, remembering the “academic tranquility of the prewar years”, though acknowledging the significant contributions of military research to the increased emphasis on graduate education and rapid growth of personnel and facilities. The faculty doubled and the graduate student body quintupled during the terms of Karl Taylor Compton, president of Massachusetts Institute of Technology (US) between 1930 and 1948; James Rhyne Killian, president from 1948 to 1957; and Julius Adams Stratton, chancellor from 1952 to 1957, whose institution-building strategies shaped the expanding university. By the 1950s, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (US) no longer simply benefited the industries with which it had worked for three decades, and it had developed closer working relationships with new patrons, philanthropic foundations and the federal government.

    In late 1960s and early 1970s, student and faculty activists protested against the Vietnam War and Massachusetts Institute of Technology (US)’s defense research. In this period Massachusetts Institute of Technology (US)’s various departments were researching helicopters, smart bombs and counterinsurgency techniques for the war in Vietnam as well as guidance systems for nuclear missiles. The Union of Concerned Scientists was founded on March 4, 1969 during a meeting of faculty members and students seeking to shift the emphasis on military research toward environmental and social problems. Massachusetts Institute of Technology (US) ultimately divested itself from the Instrumentation Laboratory and moved all classified research off-campus to the MIT (US) Lincoln Laboratory facility in 1973 in response to the protests. The student body, faculty, and administration remained comparatively unpolarized during what was a tumultuous time for many other universities. Johnson was seen to be highly successful in leading his institution to “greater strength and unity” after these times of turmoil. However six Massachusetts Institute of Technology (US) students were sentenced to prison terms at this time and some former student leaders, such as Michael Albert and George Katsiaficas, are still indignant about MIT’s role in military research and its suppression of these protests. (Richard Leacock’s film, November Actions, records some of these tumultuous events.)

    In the 1980s, there was more controversy at Massachusetts Institute of Technology (US) over its involvement in SDI (space weaponry) and CBW (chemical and biological warfare) research. More recently, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (US)’s research for the military has included work on robots, drones and ‘battle suits’.

    Recent history

    Massachusetts Institute of Technology (US) has kept pace with and helped to advance the digital age. In addition to developing the predecessors to modern computing and networking technologies, students, staff, and faculty members at Project MAC, the Artificial Intelligence Laboratory, and the Tech Model Railroad Club wrote some of the earliest interactive computer video games like Spacewar! and created much of modern hacker slang and culture. Several major computer-related organizations have originated at MIT since the 1980s: Richard Stallman’s GNU Project and the subsequent Free Software Foundation were founded in the mid-1980s at the AI Lab; the MIT Media Lab was founded in 1985 by Nicholas Negroponte and Jerome Wiesner to promote research into novel uses of computer technology; the World Wide Web Consortium standards organization was founded at the Laboratory for Computer Science in 1994 by Tim Berners-Lee; the MIT OpenCourseWare project has made course materials for over 2,000 Massachusetts Institute of Technology (US) classes available online free of charge since 2002; and the One Laptop per Child initiative to expand computer education and connectivity to children worldwide was launched in 2005.

    Massachusetts Institute of Technology (US) was named a sea-grant college in 1976 to support its programs in oceanography and marine sciences and was named a space-grant college in 1989 to support its aeronautics and astronautics programs. Despite diminishing government financial support over the past quarter century, MIT launched several successful development campaigns to significantly expand the campus: new dormitories and athletics buildings on west campus; the Tang Center for Management Education; several buildings in the northeast corner of campus supporting research into biology, brain and cognitive sciences, genomics, biotechnology, and cancer research; and a number of new “backlot” buildings on Vassar Street including the Stata Center. Construction on campus in the 2000s included expansions of the Media Lab, the Sloan School’s eastern campus, and graduate residences in the northwest. In 2006, President Hockfield launched the MIT Energy Research Council to investigate the interdisciplinary challenges posed by increasing global energy consumption.

    In 2001, inspired by the open source and open access movements, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (US) launched OpenCourseWare to make the lecture notes, problem sets, syllabi, exams, and lectures from the great majority of its courses available online for no charge, though without any formal accreditation for coursework completed. While the cost of supporting and hosting the project is high, OCW expanded in 2005 to include other universities as a part of the OpenCourseWare Consortium, which currently includes more than 250 academic institutions with content available in at least six languages. In 2011, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (US) announced it would offer formal certification (but not credits or degrees) to online participants completing coursework in its “MITx” program, for a modest fee. The “edX” online platform supporting MITx was initially developed in partnership with Harvard and its analogous “Harvardx” initiative. The courseware platform is open source, and other universities have already joined and added their own course content. In March 2009 the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (US) faculty adopted an open-access policy to make its scholarship publicly accessible online.

    Massachusetts Institute of Technology (US) has its own police force. Three days after the Boston Marathon bombing of April 2013, MIT Police patrol officer Sean Collier was fatally shot by the suspects Dzhokhar and Tamerlan Tsarnaev, setting off a violent manhunt that shut down the campus and much of the Boston metropolitan area for a day. One week later, Collier’s memorial service was attended by more than 10,000 people, in a ceremony hosted by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (US) community with thousands of police officers from the New England region and Canada. On November 25, 2013, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (US) announced the creation of the Collier Medal, to be awarded annually to “an individual or group that embodies the character and qualities that Officer Collier exhibited as a member of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (US) community and in all aspects of his life”. The announcement further stated that “Future recipients of the award will include those whose contributions exceed the boundaries of their profession, those who have contributed to building bridges across the community, and those who consistently and selflessly perform acts of kindness”.

    In September 2017, the school announced the creation of an artificial intelligence research lab called the MIT-IBM Watson AI Lab. IBM will spend $240 million over the next decade, and the lab will be staffed by MIT and IBM scientists. In October 2018 MIT announced that it would open a new Schwarzman College of Computing dedicated to the study of artificial intelligence, named after lead donor and The Blackstone Group CEO Stephen Schwarzman. The focus of the new college is to study not just AI, but interdisciplinary AI education, and how AI can be used in fields as diverse as history and biology. The cost of buildings and new faculty for the new college is expected to be $1 billion upon completion.

    The Caltech/MIT Advanced aLIGO (US) was designed and constructed by a team of scientists from California Institute of Technology (US), Massachusetts Institute of Technology (US), and industrial contractors, and funded by the National Science Foundation (US) .

    Caltech /MIT Advanced aLigo

    It was designed to open the field of gravitational-wave astronomy through the detection of gravitational waves predicted by general relativity. Gravitational waves were detected for the first time by the LIGO detector in 2015. For contributions to the LIGO detector and the observation of gravitational waves, two Caltech physicists, Kip Thorne and Barry Barish, and Massachusetts Institute of Technology (US) physicist Rainer Weiss won the Nobel Prize in physics in 2017. Weiss, who is also an Massachusetts Institute of Technology (US) graduate, designed the laser interferometric technique, which served as the essential blueprint for the LIGO.

    The mission of Massachusetts Institute of Technology (US) is to advance knowledge and educate students in science, technology, and other areas of scholarship that will best serve the nation and the world in the twenty-first century. We seek to develop in each member of The Massachusetts Institute of Technology community the ability and passion to work wisely, creatively, and effectively for the betterment of humankind.

     
  • richardmitnick 5:12 pm on December 1, 2021 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: "AI experts establish the “North Star” for the domestic robotics field", A multidisciplinary team of researchers at Stanford University has released the Benchmark for Everyday Household Activities in Virtual; Interactive; and Ecological Environments (BEHAVIOR)., A robot must be able to perceive; reason; and operate with not only full awareness of its own physical dimension and capabilities but also of the world and objects around it., A Stanford AI team creates benchmarks for 100 everyday household tasks for robot assistants creating a path for more useful agents., Deciding the best way to achieve a goal based on what the robot perceives and knows about the environment and about its own capabilities is an important aspect in BEHAVIOR., Each of these steps-navigation; search; grasping; cleaning; evaluating-may require hours or even days of training in simulation to be learned ., Imagine the challenge of creating a single robot that can do all., Imagine the multiple problems a robot has to overcome to achieve a simple task like cleaning a countertop., In creating the BEHAVIOR benchmark the team has established a “North Star”-a visual reference point by which to gauge the success of future AI solution., Robotics, Robots that do everything from helping people get dressed in the morning to washing (and putting away) the dishes have been a dream for as long people have uttered the words “artificial intelligence, , Taken as a whole BEHAVIOR delivers a breadth of tasks and a level of detailed descriptions about each task that was previously unavailable in AI.   

    From Stanford University Engineering (US) : “AI experts establish the “North Star” for the domestic robotics field” 

    From Stanford University Engineering (US)

    at

    Stanford University Name

    From Stanford University (US)

    November 15, 2021
    Andrew Myers

    A Stanford AI team creates benchmarks for 100 everyday household tasks for robot assistants creating a path for more useful agents.

    1
    To be useful in the home, robots must have a combination of situational and physical awareness and capability. Photo by Miriam Doerr.

    Robots that do everything from helping people get dressed in the morning to washing (and putting away) the dishes have been a dream for as long people have uttered the words “artificial intelligence.”

    But, in a field where the state of the art currently rests far short of that level of sophistication, a fundamental challenge has emerged: Namely, what will “success” even look like, should the day come when robots are able to perform these key tasks to human standards.

    To do these mundane but surprisingly complex tasks, a robot must be able to perceive; reason; and operate with not only full awareness of its own physical dimension and capabilities but also of the world and objects around it. In robotics, this combination of situational and physical awareness and capability is known as embodied AI.

    Now, a multidisciplinary team of researchers at Stanford University has released the Benchmark for Everyday Household Activities in Virtual; Interactive; and Ecological Environments (BEHAVIOR). It is a catalog of the physical and intellectual details of 100 everyday household tasks — washing dishes, picking up toys, cleaning floors, etc. — and an implementation of those tasks in multiple simulated homes. A paper describing BEHAVIOR was recently accepted to the Conference on Robot Learning(CoRL).

    BEHAVIOR imbues a set of realistic, varied, and complex activities with a new logical and symbolic language, a fully functional 3-D simulator with a virtual reality interface, and a set of success metrics drawn from the performance of humans doing the same tasks in virtual reality. Taken as a whole BEHAVIOR delivers a breadth of tasks and a level of detailed descriptions about each task that was previously unavailable in AI.

    “While any one of those tasks is already highly complex in its own right, imagine the challenge of creating a single robot that can do all of these things,” says Jiajun Wu, assistant professor of computer science and a senior author on the paper. “Creating these benchmarks now, before the field has evolved too far, will help to set up potential common goals for the community.”

    A Monumental Task

    Imagine the multiple problems a robot has to overcome to achieve a simple task like cleaning a countertop. The robot not only has to perceive and understand what a countertop is, where to find it, that it needs cleaning, and the counter’s physical dimensions, but also what tools and products are best used to clean it and how to coordinate its motions to get it clean. The robot would then have to determine the best course of action, step by step, needed to clean the counter. It even requires a complex understanding of things humans think nothing of, such as what tools or materials are “soakable” and how to detect and declare a countertop “clean.” In BEHAVIOR, this level of complexity is achieved in 100 activities performed in multiple different simulated houses.

    Each of these steps-navigation; search; grasping; cleaning; evaluating-may require hours or even days of training in simulation to be learned — far beyond the capabilities of current autonomous robots.

    “Deciding the best way to achieve a goal based on what the robot perceives and knows about the environment and about its own capabilities is an important aspect in BEHAVIOR,” says Roberto Martin-Martin, a postdoctoral scholar in computer science who worked on the planning aspects of the benchmark. “It requires not only an understanding of the environment and what needs to be done, but in what order they need to be done to achieve a task. All this for 100 tasks in different environments!”

    Sim to Real

    In creating the BEHAVIOR benchmark the team, led by Stanford Institute for Human-Centered AI co-director and computer scientist Fei-Fei Li, together with experts from computer science, psychology, and neuroscience, has established a “North Star”-a visual reference point by which to gauge the success of future AI solutions, which might also be used to develop and train robotic assistants in virtual environments that are then migrated to operate in literal ones — a paradigm known in the field as “sim to real.”

    “Making this leap from simulation to the real world is a non-trivial thing, but there have been a lot of promising results in training robots in simulation and then putting that same algorithm into a physical robot,” says co-author Sanjana Srivastava, a doctoral candidate in computer science who specializes in the task definition aspects of the benchmark.

    “I got involved specifically to see how far we can push simulation technology,” says co-author Michael Lingelbach, a doctoral candidate in neuroscience. “Sim to real is a big area in robotic research and one we’d like to see develop more fully. Working with a simulator is just a much more accessible way to approach robotics.”

    Next up, the BEHAVIOR team hopes to provide initial solutions to the benchmark while extending it with new tasks not currently benchmarked. According to the team, that effort will require contributions from the entire field: robotics, computer vision, computer graphics, cognitive science. Other researchers are invited to try their own solutions; to that end, the current version of BEHAVIOR is open-source and publicly available at http://www.behavior.stanford.edu

    “If you think about these one hundred activities at the level of detail we provide, you begin to comprehend how difficult — and important — benchmarking is,” says co-author Chengshu Li, a doctoral candidate in computer science. “In that regard, BEHAVIOR is not final. We will continue to iterate and add new tasks to our list.”

    See the full article here .

    five-ways-keep-your-child-safe-school-shootings

    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

    Stem Education Coalition

    Stanford Engineering (US) has been at the forefront of innovation for nearly a century, creating pivotal technologies that have transformed the worlds of information technology, communications, health care, energy, business and beyond.

    The school’s faculty, students and alumni have established thousands of companies and laid the technological and business foundations for Silicon Valley. Today, the school educates leaders who will make an impact on global problems and seeks to define what the future of engineering will look like.
    Mission

    Our mission is to seek solutions to important global problems and educate leaders who will make the world a better place by using the power of engineering principles, techniques and systems. We believe it is essential to educate engineers who possess not only deep technical excellence, but the creativity, cultural awareness and entrepreneurial skills that come from exposure to the liberal arts, business, medicine and other disciplines that are an integral part of the Stanford experience.

    Our key goals are to:

    Conduct curiosity-driven and problem-driven research that generates new knowledge and produces discoveries that provide the foundations for future engineered systems
    Deliver world-class, research-based education to students and broad-based training to leaders in academia, industry and society
    Drive technology transfer to Silicon Valley and beyond with deeply and broadly educated people and transformative ideas that will improve our society and our world.

    The Future of Engineering

    The engineering school of the future will look very different from what it looks like today. So, in 2015, we brought together a wide range of stakeholders, including mid-career faculty, students and staff, to address two fundamental questions: In what areas can the School of Engineering make significant world‐changing impact, and how should the school be configured to address the major opportunities and challenges of the future?

    One key output of the process is a set of 10 broad, aspirational questions on areas where the School of Engineering would like to have an impact in 20 years. The committee also returned with a series of recommendations that outlined actions across three key areas — research, education and culture — where the school can deploy resources and create the conditions for Stanford Engineering to have significant impact on those challenges.

    Stanford University

    Leland and Jane Stanford founded Stanford University (US) to “promote the public welfare by exercising an influence on behalf of humanity and civilization.” Stanford opened its doors in 1891, and more than a century later, it remains dedicated to finding solutions to the great challenges of the day and to preparing our students for leadership in today’s complex world. Stanford, is an American private research university located in Stanford, California on an 8,180-acre (3,310 ha) campus near Palo Alto. Since 1952, more than 54 Stanford faculty, staff, and alumni have won the Nobel Prize, including 19 current faculty members.

    Stanford University, officially Leland Stanford Junior University, is a private research university located in Stanford, California. Stanford was founded in 1885 by Leland and Jane Stanford in memory of their only child, Leland Stanford Jr., who had died of typhoid fever at age 15 the previous year. Stanford is consistently ranked as among the most prestigious and top universities in the world by major education publications. It is also one of the top fundraising institutions in the country, becoming the first school to raise more than a billion dollars in a year.

    Leland Stanford was a U.S. senator and former governor of California who made his fortune as a railroad tycoon. The school admitted its first students on October 1, 1891, as a coeducational and non-denominational institution. Stanford University struggled financially after the death of Leland Stanford in 1893 and again after much of the campus was damaged by the 1906 San Francisco earthquake. Following World War II, provost Frederick Terman supported faculty and graduates’ entrepreneurialism to build self-sufficient local industry in what would later be known as Silicon Valley.

    The university is organized around seven schools: three schools consisting of 40 academic departments at the undergraduate level as well as four professional schools that focus on graduate programs in law, medicine, education, and business. All schools are on the same campus. Students compete in 36 varsity sports, and the university is one of two private institutions in the Division I FBS Pac-12 Conference. It has gained 126 NCAA team championships, and Stanford has won the NACDA Directors’ Cup for 24 consecutive years, beginning in 1994–1995. In addition, Stanford students and alumni have won 270 Olympic medals including 139 gold medals.

    As of October 2020, 84 Nobel laureates, 28 Turing Award laureates, and eight Fields Medalists have been affiliated with Stanford as students, alumni, faculty, or staff. In addition, Stanford is particularly noted for its entrepreneurship and is one of the most successful universities in attracting funding for start-ups. Stanford alumni have founded numerous companies, which combined produce more than $2.7 trillion in annual revenue, roughly equivalent to the 7th largest economy in the world (as of 2020). Stanford is the alma mater of one president of the United States (Herbert Hoover), 74 living billionaires, and 17 astronauts. It is also one of the leading producers of Fulbright Scholars, Marshall Scholars, Rhodes Scholars, and members of the United States Congress.

    Stanford University was founded in 1885 by Leland and Jane Stanford, dedicated to Leland Stanford Jr, their only child. The institution opened in 1891 on Stanford’s previous Palo Alto farm.

    Jane and Leland Stanford modeled their university after the great eastern universities, most specifically Cornell University. Stanford opened being called the “Cornell of the West” in 1891 due to faculty being former Cornell affiliates (either professors, alumni, or both) including its first president, David Starr Jordan, and second president, John Casper Branner. Both Cornell and Stanford were among the first to have higher education be accessible, nonsectarian, and open to women as well as to men. Cornell is credited as one of the first American universities to adopt this radical departure from traditional education, and Stanford became an early adopter as well.

    Despite being impacted by earthquakes in both 1906 and 1989, the campus was rebuilt each time. In 1919, The Hoover Institution on War, Revolution and Peace was started by Herbert Hoover to preserve artifacts related to World War I. The Stanford Medical Center, completed in 1959, is a teaching hospital with over 800 beds. The DOE’s SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory(US)(originally named the Stanford Linear Accelerator Center), established in 1962, performs research in particle physics.

    Land

    Most of Stanford is on an 8,180-acre (12.8 sq mi; 33.1 km^2) campus, one of the largest in the United States. It is located on the San Francisco Peninsula, in the northwest part of the Santa Clara Valley (Silicon Valley) approximately 37 miles (60 km) southeast of San Francisco and approximately 20 miles (30 km) northwest of San Jose. In 2008, 60% of this land remained undeveloped.

    Stanford’s main campus includes a census-designated place within unincorporated Santa Clara County, although some of the university land (such as the Stanford Shopping Center and the Stanford Research Park) is within the city limits of Palo Alto. The campus also includes much land in unincorporated San Mateo County (including the SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory and the Jasper Ridge Biological Preserve), as well as in the city limits of Menlo Park (Stanford Hills neighborhood), Woodside, and Portola Valley.

    Non-central campus

    Stanford currently operates in various locations outside of its central campus.

    On the founding grant:

    Jasper Ridge Biological Preserve is a 1,200-acre (490 ha) natural reserve south of the central campus owned by the university and used by wildlife biologists for research.
    SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory is a facility west of the central campus operated by the university for the Department of Energy. It contains the longest linear particle accelerator in the world, 2 miles (3.2 km) on 426 acres (172 ha) of land.
    Golf course and a seasonal lake: The university also has its own golf course and a seasonal lake (Lake Lagunita, actually an irrigation reservoir), both home to the vulnerable California tiger salamander. As of 2012 Lake Lagunita was often dry and the university had no plans to artificially fill it.

    Off the founding grant:

    Hopkins Marine Station, in Pacific Grove, California, is a marine biology research center owned by the university since 1892.
    Study abroad locations: unlike typical study abroad programs, Stanford itself operates in several locations around the world; thus, each location has Stanford faculty-in-residence and staff in addition to students, creating a “mini-Stanford”.

    Redwood City campus for many of the university’s administrative offices located in Redwood City, California, a few miles north of the main campus. In 2005, the university purchased a small, 35-acre (14 ha) campus in Midpoint Technology Park intended for staff offices; development was delayed by The Great Recession. In 2015 the university announced a development plan and the Redwood City campus opened in March 2019.

    The Bass Center in Washington, DC provides a base, including housing, for the Stanford in Washington program for undergraduates. It includes a small art gallery open to the public.

    China: Stanford Center at Peking University, housed in the Lee Jung Sen Building, is a small center for researchers and students in collaboration with Beijing University [北京大学](CN) (Kavli Institute for Astronomy and Astrophysics at Peking University(CN) (KIAA-PKU).

    Administration and organization

    Stanford is a private, non-profit university that is administered as a corporate trust governed by a privately appointed board of trustees with a maximum membership of 38. Trustees serve five-year terms (not more than two consecutive terms) and meet five times annually.[83] A new trustee is chosen by the current trustees by ballot. The Stanford trustees also oversee the Stanford Research Park, the Stanford Shopping Center, the Cantor Center for Visual Arts, Stanford University Medical Center, and many associated medical facilities (including the Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital).

    The board appoints a president to serve as the chief executive officer of the university, to prescribe the duties of professors and course of study, to manage financial and business affairs, and to appoint nine vice presidents. The provost is the chief academic and budget officer, to whom the deans of each of the seven schools report. Persis Drell became the 13th provost in February 2017.

    As of 2018, the university was organized into seven academic schools. The schools of Humanities and Sciences (27 departments), Engineering (nine departments), and Earth, Energy & Environmental Sciences (four departments) have both graduate and undergraduate programs while the Schools of Law, Medicine, Education and Business have graduate programs only. The powers and authority of the faculty are vested in the Academic Council, which is made up of tenure and non-tenure line faculty, research faculty, senior fellows in some policy centers and institutes, the president of the university, and some other academic administrators, but most matters are handled by the Faculty Senate, made up of 55 elected representatives of the faculty.

    The Associated Students of Stanford University (ASSU) is the student government for Stanford and all registered students are members. Its elected leadership consists of the Undergraduate Senate elected by the undergraduate students, the Graduate Student Council elected by the graduate students, and the President and Vice President elected as a ticket by the entire student body.

    Stanford is the beneficiary of a special clause in the California Constitution, which explicitly exempts Stanford property from taxation so long as the property is used for educational purposes.

    Endowment and donations

    The university’s endowment, managed by the Stanford Management Company, was valued at $27.7 billion as of August 31, 2019. Payouts from the Stanford endowment covered approximately 21.8% of university expenses in the 2019 fiscal year. In the 2018 NACUBO-TIAA survey of colleges and universities in the United States and Canada, only Harvard University(US), the University of Texas System(US), and Yale University(US) had larger endowments than Stanford.

    In 2006, President John L. Hennessy launched a five-year campaign called the Stanford Challenge, which reached its $4.3 billion fundraising goal in 2009, two years ahead of time, but continued fundraising for the duration of the campaign. It concluded on December 31, 2011, having raised a total of $6.23 billion and breaking the previous campaign fundraising record of $3.88 billion held by Yale. Specifically, the campaign raised $253.7 million for undergraduate financial aid, as well as $2.33 billion for its initiative in “Seeking Solutions” to global problems, $1.61 billion for “Educating Leaders” by improving K-12 education, and $2.11 billion for “Foundation of Excellence” aimed at providing academic support for Stanford students and faculty. Funds supported 366 new fellowships for graduate students, 139 new endowed chairs for faculty, and 38 new or renovated buildings. The new funding also enabled the construction of a facility for stem cell research; a new campus for the business school; an expansion of the law school; a new Engineering Quad; a new art and art history building; an on-campus concert hall; a new art museum; and a planned expansion of the medical school, among other things. In 2012, the university raised $1.035 billion, becoming the first school to raise more than a billion dollars in a year.

    Research centers and institutes

    DOE’s SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory(US)
    Stanford Research Institute, a center of innovation to support economic development in the region.
    Hoover Institution, a conservative American public policy institution and research institution that promotes personal and economic liberty, free enterprise, and limited government.
    Hasso Plattner Institute of Design, a multidisciplinary design school in cooperation with the Hasso Plattner Institute of University of Potsdam [Universität Potsdam](DE) that integrates product design, engineering, and business management education).
    Martin Luther King Jr. Research and Education Institute, which grew out of and still contains the Martin Luther King Jr. Papers Project.
    John S. Knight Fellowship for Professional Journalists
    Center for Ocean Solutions
    Together with UC Berkeley(US) and UC San Francisco(US), Stanford is part of the Biohub, a new medical science research center founded in 2016 by a $600 million commitment from Facebook CEO and founder Mark Zuckerberg and pediatrician Priscilla Chan.

    Discoveries and innovation

    Natural sciences

    Biological synthesis of deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA) – Arthur Kornberg synthesized DNA material and won the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine 1959 for his work at Stanford.
    First Transgenic organism – Stanley Cohen and Herbert Boyer were the first scientists to transplant genes from one living organism to another, a fundamental discovery for genetic engineering. Thousands of products have been developed on the basis of their work, including human growth hormone and hepatitis B vaccine.
    Laser – Arthur Leonard Schawlow shared the 1981 Nobel Prize in Physics with Nicolaas Bloembergen and Kai Siegbahn for his work on lasers.
    Nuclear magnetic resonance – Felix Bloch developed new methods for nuclear magnetic precision measurements, which are the underlying principles of the MRI.

    Computer and applied sciences

    ARPANETStanford Research Institute, formerly part of Stanford but on a separate campus, was the site of one of the four original ARPANET nodes.

    Internet—Stanford was the site where the original design of the Internet was undertaken. Vint Cerf led a research group to elaborate the design of the Transmission Control Protocol (TCP/IP) that he originally co-created with Robert E. Kahn (Bob Kahn) in 1973 and which formed the basis for the architecture of the Internet.

    Frequency modulation synthesis – John Chowning of the Music department invented the FM music synthesis algorithm in 1967, and Stanford later licensed it to Yamaha Corporation.

    Google – Google began in January 1996 as a research project by Larry Page and Sergey Brin when they were both PhD students at Stanford. They were working on the Stanford Digital Library Project (SDLP). The SDLP’s goal was “to develop the enabling technologies for a single, integrated and universal digital library” and it was funded through the National Science Foundation, among other federal agencies.

    Klystron tube – invented by the brothers Russell and Sigurd Varian at Stanford. Their prototype was completed and demonstrated successfully on August 30, 1937. Upon publication in 1939, news of the klystron immediately influenced the work of U.S. and UK researchers working on radar equipment.

    RISCARPA funded VLSI project of microprocessor design. Stanford and UC Berkeley are most associated with the popularization of this concept. The Stanford MIPS would go on to be commercialized as the successful MIPS architecture, while Berkeley RISC gave its name to the entire concept, commercialized as the SPARC. Another success from this era were IBM’s efforts that eventually led to the IBM POWER instruction set architecture, PowerPC, and Power ISA. As these projects matured, a wide variety of similar designs flourished in the late 1980s and especially the early 1990s, representing a major force in the Unix workstation market as well as embedded processors in laser printers, routers and similar products.
    SUN workstation – Andy Bechtolsheim designed the SUN workstation for the Stanford University Network communications project as a personal CAD workstation, which led to Sun Microsystems.

    Businesses and entrepreneurship

    Stanford is one of the most successful universities in creating companies and licensing its inventions to existing companies; it is often held up as a model for technology transfer. Stanford’s Office of Technology Licensing is responsible for commercializing university research, intellectual property, and university-developed projects.

    The university is described as having a strong venture culture in which students are encouraged, and often funded, to launch their own companies.

    Companies founded by Stanford alumni generate more than $2.7 trillion in annual revenue, equivalent to the 10th-largest economy in the world.

    Some companies closely associated with Stanford and their connections include:

    Hewlett-Packard, 1939, co-founders William R. Hewlett (B.S, PhD) and David Packard (M.S).
    Silicon Graphics, 1981, co-founders James H. Clark (Associate Professor) and several of his grad students.
    Sun Microsystems, 1982, co-founders Vinod Khosla (M.B.A), Andy Bechtolsheim (PhD) and Scott McNealy (M.B.A).
    Cisco, 1984, founders Leonard Bosack (M.S) and Sandy Lerner (M.S) who were in charge of Stanford Computer Science and Graduate School of Business computer operations groups respectively when the hardware was developed.[163]
    Yahoo!, 1994, co-founders Jerry Yang (B.S, M.S) and David Filo (M.S).
    Google, 1998, co-founders Larry Page (M.S) and Sergey Brin (M.S).
    LinkedIn, 2002, co-founders Reid Hoffman (B.S), Konstantin Guericke (B.S, M.S), Eric Lee (B.S), and Alan Liu (B.S).
    Instagram, 2010, co-founders Kevin Systrom (B.S) and Mike Krieger (B.S).
    Snapchat, 2011, co-founders Evan Spiegel and Bobby Murphy (B.S).
    Coursera, 2012, co-founders Andrew Ng (Associate Professor) and Daphne Koller (Professor, PhD).

    Student body

    Stanford enrolled 6,996 undergraduate and 10,253 graduate students as of the 2019–2020 school year. Women comprised 50.4% of undergraduates and 41.5% of graduate students. In the same academic year, the freshman retention rate was 99%.

    Stanford awarded 1,819 undergraduate degrees, 2,393 master’s degrees, 770 doctoral degrees, and 3270 professional degrees in the 2018–2019 school year. The four-year graduation rate for the class of 2017 cohort was 72.9%, and the six-year rate was 94.4%. The relatively low four-year graduation rate is a function of the university’s coterminal degree (or “coterm”) program, which allows students to earn a master’s degree as a 1-to-2-year extension of their undergraduate program.

    As of 2010, fifteen percent of undergraduates were first-generation students.

    Athletics

    As of 2016 Stanford had 16 male varsity sports and 20 female varsity sports, 19 club sports and about 27 intramural sports. In 1930, following a unanimous vote by the Executive Committee for the Associated Students, the athletic department adopted the mascot “Indian.” The Indian symbol and name were dropped by President Richard Lyman in 1972, after objections from Native American students and a vote by the student senate. The sports teams are now officially referred to as the “Stanford Cardinal,” referring to the deep red color, not the cardinal bird. Stanford is a member of the Pac-12 Conference in most sports, the Mountain Pacific Sports Federation in several other sports, and the America East Conference in field hockey with the participation in the inter-collegiate NCAA’s Division I FBS.

    Its traditional sports rival is the University of California, Berkeley, the neighbor to the north in the East Bay. The winner of the annual “Big Game” between the Cal and Cardinal football teams gains custody of the Stanford Axe.

    Stanford has had at least one NCAA team champion every year since the 1976–77 school year and has earned 126 NCAA national team titles since its establishment, the most among universities, and Stanford has won 522 individual national championships, the most by any university. Stanford has won the award for the top-ranked Division 1 athletic program—the NACDA Directors’ Cup, formerly known as the Sears Cup—annually for the past twenty-four straight years. Stanford athletes have won medals in every Olympic Games since 1912, winning 270 Olympic medals total, 139 of them gold. In the 2008 Summer Olympics, and 2016 Summer Olympics, Stanford won more Olympic medals than any other university in the United States. Stanford athletes won 16 medals at the 2012 Summer Olympics (12 gold, two silver and two bronze), and 27 medals at the 2016 Summer Olympics.

    Traditions

    The unofficial motto of Stanford, selected by President Jordan, is Die Luft der Freiheit weht. Translated from the German language, this quotation from Ulrich von Hutten means, “The wind of freedom blows.” The motto was controversial during World War I, when anything in German was suspect; at that time the university disavowed that this motto was official.
    Hail, Stanford, Hail! is the Stanford Hymn sometimes sung at ceremonies or adapted by the various University singing groups. It was written in 1892 by mechanical engineering professor Albert W. Smith and his wife, Mary Roberts Smith (in 1896 she earned the first Stanford doctorate in Economics and later became associate professor of Sociology), but was not officially adopted until after a performance on campus in March 1902 by the Mormon Tabernacle Choir.
    “Uncommon Man/Uncommon Woman”: Stanford does not award honorary degrees, but in 1953 the degree of “Uncommon Man/Uncommon Woman” was created to recognize individuals who give rare and extraordinary service to the University. Technically, this degree is awarded by the Stanford Associates, a voluntary group that is part of the university’s alumni association. As Stanford’s highest honor, it is not conferred at prescribed intervals, but only when appropriate to recognize extraordinary service. Recipients include Herbert Hoover, Bill Hewlett, Dave Packard, Lucile Packard, and John Gardner.
    Big Game events: The events in the week leading up to the Big Game vs. UC Berkeley, including Gaieties (a musical written, composed, produced, and performed by the students of Ram’s Head Theatrical Society).
    “Viennese Ball”: a formal ball with waltzes that was initially started in the 1970s by students returning from the now-closed Stanford in Vienna overseas program. It is now open to all students.
    “Full Moon on the Quad”: An annual event at Main Quad, where students gather to kiss one another starting at midnight. Typically organized by the Junior class cabinet, the festivities include live entertainment, such as music and dance performances.
    “Band Run”: An annual festivity at the beginning of the school year, where the band picks up freshmen from dorms across campus while stopping to perform at each location, culminating in a finale performance at Main Quad.
    “Mausoleum Party”: An annual Halloween Party at the Stanford Mausoleum, the final resting place of Leland Stanford Jr. and his parents. A 20-year tradition, the “Mausoleum Party” was on hiatus from 2002 to 2005 due to a lack of funding, but was revived in 2006. In 2008, it was hosted in Old Union rather than at the actual Mausoleum, because rain prohibited generators from being rented. In 2009, after fundraising efforts by the Junior Class Presidents and the ASSU Executive, the event was able to return to the Mausoleum despite facing budget cuts earlier in the year.
    Former campus traditions include the “Big Game bonfire” on Lake Lagunita (a seasonal lake usually dry in the fall), which was formally ended in 1997 because of the presence of endangered salamanders in the lake bed.

    Award laureates and scholars

    Stanford’s current community of scholars includes:

    19 Nobel Prize laureates (as of October 2020, 85 affiliates in total)
    171 members of the National Academy of Sciences
    109 members of National Academy of Engineering
    76 members of National Academy of Medicine
    288 members of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences
    19 recipients of the National Medal of Science
    1 recipient of the National Medal of Technology
    4 recipients of the National Humanities Medal
    49 members of American Philosophical Society
    56 fellows of the American Physics Society (since 1995)
    4 Pulitzer Prize winners
    31 MacArthur Fellows
    4 Wolf Foundation Prize winners
    2 ACL Lifetime Achievement Award winners
    14 AAAI fellows
    2 Presidential Medal of Freedom winners

    Stanford University Seal

     
  • richardmitnick 9:21 am on December 1, 2021 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: "Team builds first living robots that can reproduce", AI-designed Xenobots reveal entirely new form of biological self-replication—promising for regenerative medicine., , , , , It’s very hard actually to get the system to keep reproducing., On its own the Xenobot parent made of some 3000 cells forms a sphere., Robotics, The AI came up with some strange designs after months of chugging away including one that resembled Pac-Man., The Wyss Institute (US), These new Xenobots can go out find cells and build copies of themselves. Again and again.   

    From The Wyss Institute (US): “Team builds first living robots that can reproduce” 

    Harvard bloc tiny
    Wyss Institute bloc
    From The Wyss Institute (US)

    at

    Harvard University (US)

    November 29, 2021
    Joshua Brown, The University of Vermont (US) Communications

    AI-designed Xenobots reveal entirely new form of biological self-replication—promising for regenerative medicine.

    1
    AI-designed (C-shaped) organisms push loose stem cells (white) into piles as they move through their environment. Credit: Douglas Blackiston and Sam Kriegman.

    To persist, life must reproduce. Over billions of years, organisms have evolved many ways of replicating, from budding plants to sexual animals to invading viruses.

    Now scientists at The University of Vermont (US), Tufts University (US), and the Wyss Institute for Biologically Inspired Engineering at Harvard University have discovered an entirely new form of biological reproduction—and applied their discovery to create the first-ever, self-replicating living robots.

    The same team that built the first living robots (“Xenobots,” assembled from frog cells—reported in 2020) [PNAS] has discovered that these computer-designed and hand-assembled organisms can swim out into their tiny dish, find single cells, gather hundreds of them together, and assemble “baby” Xenobots inside their Pac-Man-shaped “mouth”—that, a few days later, become new Xenobots that look and move just like themselves.

    And then these new Xenobots can go out find cells and build copies of themselves. Again and again.

    “With the right design—they will spontaneously self-replicate,” says Joshua Bongard, Ph.D., a computer scientist and robotics expert at the University of Vermont who co-led the new research.

    The results of the new research were published November 29, 2021, in the PNAS.

    Into the Unknown

    In a Xenopus laevis frog, these embryonic cells would develop into skin. “They would be sitting on the outside of a tadpole, keeping out pathogens and redistributing mucus,” says Michael Levin, Ph.D., a professor of biology and director of the Allen Discovery Center at Tufts University and co-leader of the new research. “But we’re putting them into a novel context. We’re giving them a chance to reimagine their multicellularity.” Levin is also an Associate Faculty member at the Wyss Institute.

    And what they imagine is something far different than skin. “People have thought for quite a long time that we’ve worked out all the ways that life can reproduce or replicate. But this is something that’s never been observed before,” says co-author Douglas Blackiston, Ph.D., the senior scientist at Tufts University and the Wyss Institute who assembled the Xenobot “parents” and developed the biological portion of the new study.

    “This is profound,” says Levin. “These cells have the genome of a frog, but, freed from becoming tadpoles, they use their collective intelligence, a plasticity, to do something astounding.” In earlier experiments, the scientists were amazed that Xenobots could be designed to achieve simple tasks. Now they are stunned that these biological objects—a computer-designed collection of cells—will spontaneously replicate. “We have the full, unaltered frog genome,” says Levin, “but it gave no hint that these cells can work together on this new task,” of gathering and then compressing separated cells into working self-copies.

    “These are frog cells replicating in a way that is very different from how frogs do it. No animal or plant known to science replicates in this way,” says Sam Kriegman, Ph.D., the lead author on the new study, who completed his Ph.D. in Bongard’s lab at UVM and is now a post-doctoral researcher at Tuft’s Allen Center and Harvard University’s Wyss Institute for Biologically Inspired Engineering.

    On its own the Xenobot parent made of some 3000 cells forms a sphere. “These can make children but then the system normally dies out after that. It’s very hard actually to get the system to keep reproducing,” says Kriegman. But with an artificial intelligence program working on the Deep Green supercomputer cluster at UVM’s Vermont Advanced Computing Core, an evolutionary algorithm was able to test billions of body shapes in simulation—triangles, squares, pyramids, starfish—to find ones that allowed the cells to be more effective at the motion-based “kinematic” replication reported in the new research.

    3
    Deep Green supercomputer at The University of Vermont (US).

    “We asked the supercomputer at UVM to figure out how to adjust the shape of the initial parents, and the AI came up with some strange designs after months of chugging away including one that resembled Pac-Man,” says Kriegman. “It’s very non-intuitive. It looks very simple, but it’s not something a human engineer would come up with. Why one tiny mouth? Why not five? We sent the results to Doug and he built these Pac-Man-shaped parent Xenobots. Then those parents built children, who built grandchildren, who built great-grandchildren, who built great-great-grandchildren.” In other words, the right design greatly extended the number of generations.

    4
    An AI-designed “parent” organism (C shape; red) beside stem cells that have been compressed into a ball (“offspring”; green). Credit: Douglas Blackiston and Sam Kriegman.

    Kinematic replication is well-known at the level of molecules—but it has never been observed before at the scale of whole cells or organisms.

    “We’ve discovered that there is this previously unknown space within organisms, or living systems, and it’s a vast space,” says Bongard. “How do we then go about exploring that space? We found Xenobots that walk. We found Xenobots that swim. And now, in this study, we’ve found Xenobots that kinematically replicate. What else is out there?”

    Or, as the scientists write in the PNAS study: “life harbors surprising behaviors just below the surface, waiting to be uncovered.”

    Responding to Risk

    Some people may find this exhilarating. Others may react with concern, or even terror, to the notion of a self-replicating biotechnology. For the team of scientists, the goal is deeper understanding.

    “We are working to understand this property: replication. The world and technologies are rapidly changing. It’s important, for society as a whole, that we study and understand how this works,” says Bongard. These millimeter-sized living machines, entirely contained in a laboratory, easily extinguished, and vetted by federal, state and institutional ethics experts, “are not what keep me awake at night. What presents risk is the next pandemic; accelerating ecosystem damage from pollution; intensifying threats from climate change,” says UVM’s Bongard. “This is an ideal system in which to study self-replicating systems. We have a moral imperative to understand the conditions under which we can control it, direct it, douse it, exaggerate it.”

    Bongard points to the COVID epidemic and the hunt for a vaccine. “The speed at which we can produce solutions matters deeply. If we can develop technologies, learning from Xenobots, where we can quickly tell the AI: ‘We need a biological tool that does X and Y and suppresses Z,’ —that could be very beneficial. Today, that takes an exceedingly long time.” The team aims to accelerate how quickly people can go from identifying a problem to generating solutions—”like deploying living machines to pull microplastics out of waterways or build new medicines,” Bongard says.

    “We need to create technological solutions that grow at the same rate as the challenges we face,” Bongard says.

    And the team sees promise in the research for advancements toward regenerative medicine. “If we knew how to tell collections of cells to do what we wanted them to do, ultimately, that’s regenerative medicine—that’s the solution to traumatic injury, birth defects, cancer, and aging,” says Levin. “All of these different problems are here because we don’t know how to predict and control what groups of cells are going to build. Xenobots are a new platform for teaching us.”

    See the full article here .

    five-ways-keep-your-child-safe-school-shootings

    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

    Stem Education Coalition

    Wyss Institute campus

    The Wyss (pronounced “Veese”) Institute (US) for Biologically Inspired Engineering uses Nature’s design principles to develop bioinspired materials and devices that will transform medicine and create a more sustainable world.

    Working as an alliance among Harvard’s Schools of Medicine, Engineering, and Arts & Sciences, and in partnership with Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, Boston Children’s Hospital, Brigham and Women’s Hospital, Dana Farber Cancer Institute, Massachusetts General Hospital, the University of Massachusetts Medical School, Spaulding Rehabilitation Hospital, Tufts University, and Boston University, the Institute crosses disciplinary and institutional barriers to engage in high-risk research that leads to transformative technological breakthroughs.

    Harvard University campus

    Harvard University is a private Ivy League research university in Cambridge, Massachusetts. Established in 1636 and named for its first benefactor, clergyman John Harvard, Harvard is the oldest institution of higher learning in the United States and among the most prestigious in the world.
    The Massachusetts colonial legislature, the General Court, authorized Harvard’s founding. In its early years, Harvard College primarily trained Congregational and Unitarian clergy, although it has never been formally affiliated with any denomination. Its curriculum and student body were gradually secularized during the 18th century, and by the 19th century, Harvard had emerged as the central cultural establishment among the Boston elite. Following the American Civil War, President Charles William Eliot’s long tenure (1869–1909) transformed the college and affiliated professional schools into a modern research university; Harvard became a founding member of the Association of American Universities in 1900.[10] James B. Conant led the university through the Great Depression and World War II; he liberalized admissions after the war.
    The university is composed of ten academic faculties plus the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study. Arts and Sciences offers study in a wide range of academic disciplines for undergraduates and for graduates, while the other faculties offer only graduate degrees, mostly professional. Harvard has three main campuses: the 209-acre (85 ha) Cambridge campus centered on Harvard Yard; an adjoining campus immediately across the Charles River in the Allston neighborhood of Boston; and the medical campus in Boston’s Longwood Medical Area. Harvard’s endowment is valued at $41.9 billion, making it the largest of any academic institution. Endowment income helps enable the undergraduate college to admit students regardless of financial need and provide generous financial aid with no loans The Harvard Library is the world’s largest academic library system, comprising 79 individual libraries holding about 20.4 million items.
    Harvard has more alumni, faculty, and researchers who have won Nobel Prizes (161) and Fields Medals (18) than any other university in the world and more alumni who have been members of the U.S. Congress, MacArthur Fellows, Rhodes Scholars (375), and Marshall Scholars (255) than any other university in the United States. Its alumni also include eight U.S. presidents and 188 living billionaires, the most of any university. Fourteen Turing Award laureates have been Harvard affiliates. Students and alumni have also won 10 Academy Awards, 48 Pulitzer Prizes, and 108 Olympic medals (46 gold), and they have founded many notable companies.
    Colonial
    Harvard was established in 1636 by vote of the Great and General Court of the Massachusetts Bay Colony. In 1638, it acquired British North America’s first known printing press. In 1639, it was named Harvard College after deceased clergyman John Harvard, an alumnus of the University of Cambridge(UK) who had left the school £779 and his library of some 400 volumes.[22] The charter creating the Harvard Corporation was granted in 1650.
    A 1643 publication gave the school’s purpose as “to advance learning and perpetuate it to posterity, dreading to leave an illiterate ministry to the churches when our present ministers shall lie in the dust.” It trained many Puritan ministers in its early years and offered a classic curriculum based on the English university model—many leaders in the colony had attended the University of Cambridge—but conformed to the tenets of Puritanism. Harvard has never affiliated with any particular denomination, though many of its earliest graduates went on to become clergymen in Congregational and Unitarian churches.
    Increase Mather served as president from 1681 to 1701. In 1708, John Leverett became the first president who was not also a clergyman, marking a turning of the college away from Puritanism and toward intellectual independence.
    19th century
    In the 19th century, Enlightenment ideas of reason and free will were widespread among Congregational ministers, putting those ministers and their congregations in tension with more traditionalist, Calvinist parties. When Hollis Professor of Divinity David Tappan died in 1803 and President Joseph Willard died a year later, a struggle broke out over their replacements. Henry Ware was elected to the Hollis chair in 1805, and the liberal Samuel Webber was appointed to the presidency two years later, signaling the shift from the dominance of traditional ideas at Harvard to the dominance of liberal, Arminian ideas.
    Charles William Eliot, president 1869–1909, eliminated the favored position of Christianity from the curriculum while opening it to student self-direction. Though Eliot was the crucial figure in the secularization of American higher education, he was motivated not by a desire to secularize education but by Transcendentalist Unitarian convictions influenced by William Ellery Channing and Ralph Waldo Emerson.
    20th century
    In the 20th century, Harvard’s reputation grew as a burgeoning endowment and prominent professors expanded the university’s scope. Rapid enrollment growth continued as new graduate schools were begun and the undergraduate college expanded. Radcliffe College, established in 1879 as the female counterpart of Harvard College, became one of the most prominent schools for women in the United States. Harvard became a founding member of the Association of American Universities in 1900.
    The student body in the early decades of the century was predominantly “old-stock, high-status Protestants, especially Episcopalians, Congregationalists, and Presbyterians.” A 1923 proposal by President A. Lawrence Lowell that Jews be limited to 15% of undergraduates was rejected, but Lowell did ban blacks from freshman dormitories.
    President James B. Conant reinvigorated creative scholarship to guarantee Harvard’s preeminence among research institutions. He saw higher education as a vehicle of opportunity for the talented rather than an entitlement for the wealthy, so Conant devised programs to identify, recruit, and support talented youth. In 1943, he asked the faculty to make a definitive statement about what general education ought to be, at the secondary as well as at the college level. The resulting Report, published in 1945, was one of the most influential manifestos in 20th century American education.

    Between 1945 and 1960, admissions were opened up to bring in a more diverse group of students. No longer drawing mostly from select New England prep schools, the undergraduate college became accessible to striving middle class students from public schools; many more Jews and Catholics were admitted, but few blacks, Hispanics, or Asians. Throughout the rest of the 20th century, Harvard became more diverse.
    Harvard’s graduate schools began admitting women in small numbers in the late 19th century. During World War II, students at Radcliffe College (which since 1879 had been paying Harvard professors to repeat their lectures for women) began attending Harvard classes alongside men. Women were first admitted to the medical school in 1945. Since 1971, Harvard has controlled essentially all aspects of undergraduate admission, instruction, and housing for Radcliffe women. In 1999, Radcliffe was formally merged into Harvard.
    21st century
    Drew Gilpin Faust, previously the dean of the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study, became Harvard’s first woman president on July 1, 2007. She was succeeded by Lawrence Bacow on July 1, 2018.
    Research
    Harvard is a founding member of the Association of American Universities and a preeminent research university with “very high” research activity (R1) and comprehensive doctoral programs across the arts, sciences, engineering, and medicine according to the Carnegie Classification.
    With the medical school consistently ranking first among medical schools for research, biomedical research is an area of particular strength for the university. More than 11,000 faculty and over 1,600 graduate students conduct research at the medical school as well as its 15 affiliated hospitals and research institutes. The medical school and its affiliates attracted $1.65 billion in competitive research grants from the National Institutes of Health in 2019, more than twice as much as any other university.

     
  • richardmitnick 8:17 am on October 20, 2021 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: "One giant leap for the mini cheetah", Robotics,   

    From The Massachusetts Institute of Technology (US) : “One giant leap for the mini cheetah” 

    MIT News

    From The Massachusetts Institute of Technology (US)

    October 20, 2021
    Adam Zewe


    One giant leap for the mini cheetah.

    1
    MIT researchers have developed a system that improves the speed and agility of legged robots as they jump across gaps in the terrain. Photo courtesy of the researchers.

    A loping cheetah dashes across a rolling field, bounding over sudden gaps in the rugged terrain. The movement may look effortless, but getting a robot to move this way is an altogether different prospect.

    In recent years, four-legged robots inspired by the movement of cheetahs and other animals have made great leaps forward, yet they still lag behind their mammalian counterparts when it comes to traveling across a landscape with rapid elevation changes.

    “In those settings, you need to use vision in order to avoid failure. For example, stepping in a gap is difficult to avoid if you can’t see it. Although there are some existing methods for incorporating vision into legged locomotion, most of them aren’t really suitable for use with emerging agile robotic systems,” says Gabriel Margolis, a PhD student in the lab of Pulkit Agrawal, professor in the Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory (CSAIL) at MIT.

    Now, Margolis and his collaborators have developed a system that improves the speed and agility of legged robots as they jump across gaps in the terrain. The novel control system is split into two parts — one that processes real-time input from a video camera mounted on the front of the robot and another that translates that information into instructions for how the robot should move its body. The researchers tested their system on the MIT mini cheetah, a powerful, agile robot built in the lab of Sangbae Kim, professor of mechanical engineering.

    Unlike other methods for controlling a four-legged robot, this two-part system does not require the terrain to be mapped in advance, so the robot can go anywhere. In the future, this could enable robots to charge off into the woods on an emergency response mission or climb a flight of stairs to deliver medication to an elderly shut-in.

    Margolis wrote the paper with senior author Pulkit Agrawal, who heads the Improbable AI lab at MIT and is the Steven G. and Renee Finn Career Development Assistant Professor in the Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science; Professor Sangbae Kim in the Department of Mechanical Engineering at MIT; and fellow graduate students Tao Chen and Xiang Fu at MIT. Other co-authors include Kartik Paigwar, a graduate student at The Arizona State University (US); and Donghyun Kim, an assistant professor at The University of Massachusettes-Amherst (US). The work will be presented next month at the Conference on Robot Learning.

    It’s all under control

    The use of two separate controllers working together makes this system especially innovative.

    A controller is an algorithm that will convert the robot’s state into a set of actions for it to follow. Many blind controllers — those that do not incorporate vision — are robust and effective but only enable robots to walk over continuous terrain.

    Vision is such a complex sensory input to process that these algorithms are unable to handle it efficiently. Systems that do incorporate vision usually rely on a “heightmap” of the terrain, which must be either preconstructed or generated on the fly, a process that is typically slow and prone to failure if the heightmap is incorrect.

    To develop their system, the researchers took the best elements from these robust, blind controllers and combined them with a separate module that handles vision in real-time.

    The robot’s camera captures depth images of the upcoming terrain, which are fed to a high-level controller along with information about the state of the robot’s body (joint angles, body orientation, etc.). The high-level controller is a neural network that “learns” from experience.

    That neural network outputs a target trajectory, which the second controller uses to come up with torques for each of the robot’s 12 joints. This low-level controller is not a neural network and instead relies on a set of concise, physical equations that describe the robot’s motion.

    “The hierarchy, including the use of this low-level controller, enables us to constrain the robot’s behavior so it is more well-behaved. With this low-level controller, we are using well-specified models that we can impose constraints on, which isn’t usually possible in a learning-based network,” Margolis says.

    Teaching the network

    The researchers used the trial-and-error method known as reinforcement learning to train the high-level controller. They conducted simulations of the robot running across hundreds of different discontinuous terrains and rewarded it for successful crossings.

    Over time, the algorithm learned which actions maximized the reward.

    Then they built a physical, gapped terrain with a set of wooden planks and put their control scheme to the test using the mini cheetah.

    “It was definitely fun to work with a robot that was designed in-house at MIT by some of our collaborators. The mini cheetah is a great platform because it is modular and made mostly from parts that you can order online, so if we wanted a new battery or camera, it was just a simple matter of ordering it from a regular supplier and, with a little bit of help from Sangbae’s lab, installing it,” Margolis says.

    Estimating the robot’s state proved to be a challenge in some cases. Unlike in simulation, real-world sensors encounter noise that can accumulate and affect the outcome. So, for some experiments that involved high-precision foot placement, the researchers used a motion capture system to measure the robot’s true position.

    Their system outperformed others that only use one controller, and the mini cheetah successfully crossed 90 percent of the terrains.

    “One novelty of our system is that it does adjust the robot’s gait. If a human were trying to leap across a really wide gap, they might start by running really fast to build up speed and then they might put both feet together to have a really powerful leap across the gap. In the same way, our robot can adjust the timings and duration of its foot contacts to better traverse the terrain,” Margolis says.

    Leaping out of the lab

    While the researchers were able to demonstrate that their control scheme works in a laboratory, they still have a long way to go before they can deploy the system in the real world, Margolis says.

    In the future, they hope to mount a more powerful computer to the robot so it can do all its computation on board. They also want to improve the robot’s state estimator to eliminate the need for the motion capture system. In addition, they’d like to improve the low-level controller so it can exploit the robot’s full range of motion, and enhance the high-level controller so it works well in different lighting conditions.

    “It is remarkable to witness the flexibility of machine learning techniques capable of bypassing carefully designed intermediate processes (e.g. state estimation and trajectory planning) that centuries-old model-based techniques have relied on,” Kim says. “I am excited about the future of mobile robots with more robust vision processing trained specifically for locomotion.”

    The research is supported, in part, by the MIT’s Improbable AI Lab, Biomimetic Robotics Laboratory, NAVER LABS, and the DARPA Machine Common Sense Program.

    Science paper:
    OpenReview.net

    See the full article here .


    five-ways-keep-your-child-safe-school-shootings
    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

    Stem Education Coalition

    MIT Seal

    USPS “Forever” postage stamps celebrating Innovation at MIT.

    MIT Campus

    The Massachusetts Institute of Technology (US) is a private land-grant research university in Cambridge, Massachusetts. The institute has an urban campus that extends more than a mile (1.6 km) alongside the Charles River. The institute also encompasses a number of major off-campus facilities such as the MIT Lincoln Laboratory (US), the MIT Bates Research and Engineering Center (US), and the Haystack Observatory (US), as well as affiliated laboratories such as the Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard(US) and Whitehead Institute (US).

    Founded in 1861 in response to the increasing industrialization of the United States, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (US) adopted a European polytechnic university model and stressed laboratory instruction in applied science and engineering. It has since played a key role in the development of many aspects of modern science, engineering, mathematics, and technology, and is widely known for its innovation and academic strength. It is frequently regarded as one of the most prestigious universities in the world.

    As of December 2020, 97 Nobel laureates, 26 Turing Award winners, and 8 Fields Medalists have been affiliated with MIT as alumni, faculty members, or researchers. In addition, 58 National Medal of Science recipients, 29 National Medals of Technology and Innovation recipients, 50 MacArthur Fellows, 80 Marshall Scholars, 3 Mitchell Scholars, 22 Schwarzman Scholars, 41 astronauts, and 16 Chief Scientists of the U.S. Air Force have been affiliated with The Massachusetts Institute of Technology (US) . The university also has a strong entrepreneurial culture and MIT alumni have founded or co-founded many notable companies. Massachusetts Institute of Technology (US) is a member of the Association of American Universities (AAU).

    Foundation and vision

    In 1859, a proposal was submitted to the Massachusetts General Court to use newly filled lands in Back Bay, Boston for a “Conservatory of Art and Science”, but the proposal failed. A charter for the incorporation of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, proposed by William Barton Rogers, was signed by John Albion Andrew, the governor of Massachusetts, on April 10, 1861.

    Rogers, a professor from the University of Virginia (US), wanted to establish an institution to address rapid scientific and technological advances. He did not wish to found a professional school, but a combination with elements of both professional and liberal education, proposing that:

    “The true and only practicable object of a polytechnic school is, as I conceive, the teaching, not of the minute details and manipulations of the arts, which can be done only in the workshop, but the inculcation of those scientific principles which form the basis and explanation of them, and along with this, a full and methodical review of all their leading processes and operations in connection with physical laws.”

    The Rogers Plan reflected the German research university model, emphasizing an independent faculty engaged in research, as well as instruction oriented around seminars and laboratories.

    Early developments

    Two days after Massachusetts Institute of Technology (US) was chartered, the first battle of the Civil War broke out. After a long delay through the war years, MIT’s first classes were held in the Mercantile Building in Boston in 1865. The new institute was founded as part of the Morrill Land-Grant Colleges Act to fund institutions “to promote the liberal and practical education of the industrial classes” and was a land-grant school. In 1863 under the same act, the Commonwealth of Massachusetts founded the Massachusetts Agricultural College, which developed as the University of Massachusetts Amherst (US)). In 1866, the proceeds from land sales went toward new buildings in the Back Bay.

    Massachusetts Institute of Technology (US) was informally called “Boston Tech”. The institute adopted the European polytechnic university model and emphasized laboratory instruction from an early date. Despite chronic financial problems, the institute saw growth in the last two decades of the 19th century under President Francis Amasa Walker. Programs in electrical, chemical, marine, and sanitary engineering were introduced, new buildings were built, and the size of the student body increased to more than one thousand.

    The curriculum drifted to a vocational emphasis, with less focus on theoretical science. The fledgling school still suffered from chronic financial shortages which diverted the attention of the MIT leadership. During these “Boston Tech” years, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (US) faculty and alumni rebuffed Harvard University (US) president (and former MIT faculty) Charles W. Eliot’s repeated attempts to merge MIT with Harvard College’s Lawrence Scientific School. There would be at least six attempts to absorb MIT into Harvard. In its cramped Back Bay location, MIT could not afford to expand its overcrowded facilities, driving a desperate search for a new campus and funding. Eventually, the MIT Corporation approved a formal agreement to merge with Harvard, over the vehement objections of MIT faculty, students, and alumni. However, a 1917 decision by the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court effectively put an end to the merger scheme.

    In 1916, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (US) administration and the MIT charter crossed the Charles River on the ceremonial barge Bucentaur built for the occasion, to signify MIT’s move to a spacious new campus largely consisting of filled land on a one-mile-long (1.6 km) tract along the Cambridge side of the Charles River. The neoclassical “New Technology” campus was designed by William W. Bosworth and had been funded largely by anonymous donations from a mysterious “Mr. Smith”, starting in 1912. In January 1920, the donor was revealed to be the industrialist George Eastman of Rochester, New York, who had invented methods of film production and processing, and founded Eastman Kodak. Between 1912 and 1920, Eastman donated $20 million ($236.6 million in 2015 dollars) in cash and Kodak stock to MIT.

    Curricular reforms

    In the 1930s, President Karl Taylor Compton and Vice-President (effectively Provost) Vannevar Bush emphasized the importance of pure sciences like physics and chemistry and reduced the vocational practice required in shops and drafting studios. The Compton reforms “renewed confidence in the ability of the Institute to develop leadership in science as well as in engineering”. Unlike Ivy League schools, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (US) catered more to middle-class families, and depended more on tuition than on endowments or grants for its funding. The school was elected to the Association of American Universities (US)in 1934.

    Still, as late as 1949, the Lewis Committee lamented in its report on the state of education at Massachusetts Institute of Technology (US) that “the Institute is widely conceived as basically a vocational school”, a “partly unjustified” perception the committee sought to change. The report comprehensively reviewed the undergraduate curriculum, recommended offering a broader education, and warned against letting engineering and government-sponsored research detract from the sciences and humanities. The School of Humanities, Arts, and Social Sciences and the MIT Sloan School of Management were formed in 1950 to compete with the powerful Schools of Science and Engineering. Previously marginalized faculties in the areas of economics, management, political science, and linguistics emerged into cohesive and assertive departments by attracting respected professors and launching competitive graduate programs. The School of Humanities, Arts, and Social Sciences continued to develop under the successive terms of the more humanistically oriented presidents Howard W. Johnson and Jerome Wiesner between 1966 and 1980.

    Massachusetts Institute of Technology (US)‘s involvement in military science surged during World War II. In 1941, Vannevar Bush was appointed head of the federal Office of Scientific Research and Development and directed funding to only a select group of universities, including MIT. Engineers and scientists from across the country gathered at Massachusetts Institute of Technology (US)’s Radiation Laboratory, established in 1940 to assist the British military in developing microwave radar. The work done there significantly affected both the war and subsequent research in the area. Other defense projects included gyroscope-based and other complex control systems for gunsight, bombsight, and inertial navigation under Charles Stark Draper’s Instrumentation Laboratory; the development of a digital computer for flight simulations under Project Whirlwind; and high-speed and high-altitude photography under Harold Edgerton. By the end of the war, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (US) became the nation’s largest wartime R&D contractor (attracting some criticism of Bush), employing nearly 4000 in the Radiation Laboratory alone and receiving in excess of $100 million ($1.2 billion in 2015 dollars) before 1946. Work on defense projects continued even after then. Post-war government-sponsored research at MIT included SAGE and guidance systems for ballistic missiles and Project Apollo.

    These activities affected Massachusetts Institute of Technology (US) profoundly. A 1949 report noted the lack of “any great slackening in the pace of life at the Institute” to match the return to peacetime, remembering the “academic tranquility of the prewar years”, though acknowledging the significant contributions of military research to the increased emphasis on graduate education and rapid growth of personnel and facilities. The faculty doubled and the graduate student body quintupled during the terms of Karl Taylor Compton, president of Massachusetts Institute of Technology (US) between 1930 and 1948; James Rhyne Killian, president from 1948 to 1957; and Julius Adams Stratton, chancellor from 1952 to 1957, whose institution-building strategies shaped the expanding university. By the 1950s, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (US) no longer simply benefited the industries with which it had worked for three decades, and it had developed closer working relationships with new patrons, philanthropic foundations and the federal government.

    In late 1960s and early 1970s, student and faculty activists protested against the Vietnam War and Massachusetts Institute of Technology (US)’s defense research. In this period Massachusetts Institute of Technology (US)’s various departments were researching helicopters, smart bombs and counterinsurgency techniques for the war in Vietnam as well as guidance systems for nuclear missiles. The Union of Concerned Scientists was founded on March 4, 1969 during a meeting of faculty members and students seeking to shift the emphasis on military research toward environmental and social problems. Massachusetts Institute of Technology (US) ultimately divested itself from the Instrumentation Laboratory and moved all classified research off-campus to the MIT (US) Lincoln Laboratory facility in 1973 in response to the protests. The student body, faculty, and administration remained comparatively unpolarized during what was a tumultuous time for many other universities. Johnson was seen to be highly successful in leading his institution to “greater strength and unity” after these times of turmoil. However six Massachusetts Institute of Technology (US) students were sentenced to prison terms at this time and some former student leaders, such as Michael Albert and George Katsiaficas, are still indignant about MIT’s role in military research and its suppression of these protests. (Richard Leacock’s film, November Actions, records some of these tumultuous events.)

    In the 1980s, there was more controversy at Massachusetts Institute of Technology (US) over its involvement in SDI (space weaponry) and CBW (chemical and biological warfare) research. More recently, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (US)’s research for the military has included work on robots, drones and ‘battle suits’.

    Recent history

    Massachusetts Institute of Technology (US) has kept pace with and helped to advance the digital age. In addition to developing the predecessors to modern computing and networking technologies, students, staff, and faculty members at Project MAC, the Artificial Intelligence Laboratory, and the Tech Model Railroad Club wrote some of the earliest interactive computer video games like Spacewar! and created much of modern hacker slang and culture. Several major computer-related organizations have originated at MIT since the 1980s: Richard Stallman’s GNU Project and the subsequent Free Software Foundation were founded in the mid-1980s at the AI Lab; the MIT Media Lab was founded in 1985 by Nicholas Negroponte and Jerome Wiesner to promote research into novel uses of computer technology; the World Wide Web Consortium standards organization was founded at the Laboratory for Computer Science in 1994 by Tim Berners-Lee; the MIT OpenCourseWare project has made course materials for over 2,000 Massachusetts Institute of Technology (US) classes available online free of charge since 2002; and the One Laptop per Child initiative to expand computer education and connectivity to children worldwide was launched in 2005.

    Massachusetts Institute of Technology (US) was named a sea-grant college in 1976 to support its programs in oceanography and marine sciences and was named a space-grant college in 1989 to support its aeronautics and astronautics programs. Despite diminishing government financial support over the past quarter century, MIT launched several successful development campaigns to significantly expand the campus: new dormitories and athletics buildings on west campus; the Tang Center for Management Education; several buildings in the northeast corner of campus supporting research into biology, brain and cognitive sciences, genomics, biotechnology, and cancer research; and a number of new “backlot” buildings on Vassar Street including the Stata Center. Construction on campus in the 2000s included expansions of the Media Lab, the Sloan School’s eastern campus, and graduate residences in the northwest. In 2006, President Hockfield launched the MIT Energy Research Council to investigate the interdisciplinary challenges posed by increasing global energy consumption.

    In 2001, inspired by the open source and open access movements, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (US) launched OpenCourseWare to make the lecture notes, problem sets, syllabi, exams, and lectures from the great majority of its courses available online for no charge, though without any formal accreditation for coursework completed. While the cost of supporting and hosting the project is high, OCW expanded in 2005 to include other universities as a part of the OpenCourseWare Consortium, which currently includes more than 250 academic institutions with content available in at least six languages. In 2011, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (US) announced it would offer formal certification (but not credits or degrees) to online participants completing coursework in its “MITx” program, for a modest fee. The “edX” online platform supporting MITx was initially developed in partnership with Harvard and its analogous “Harvardx” initiative. The courseware platform is open source, and other universities have already joined and added their own course content. In March 2009 the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (US) faculty adopted an open-access policy to make its scholarship publicly accessible online.

    Massachusetts Institute of Technology (US) has its own police force. Three days after the Boston Marathon bombing of April 2013, MIT Police patrol officer Sean Collier was fatally shot by the suspects Dzhokhar and Tamerlan Tsarnaev, setting off a violent manhunt that shut down the campus and much of the Boston metropolitan area for a day. One week later, Collier’s memorial service was attended by more than 10,000 people, in a ceremony hosted by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (US) community with thousands of police officers from the New England region and Canada. On November 25, 2013, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (US) announced the creation of the Collier Medal, to be awarded annually to “an individual or group that embodies the character and qualities that Officer Collier exhibited as a member of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (US) community and in all aspects of his life”. The announcement further stated that “Future recipients of the award will include those whose contributions exceed the boundaries of their profession, those who have contributed to building bridges across the community, and those who consistently and selflessly perform acts of kindness”.

    In September 2017, the school announced the creation of an artificial intelligence research lab called the MIT-IBM Watson AI Lab. IBM will spend $240 million over the next decade, and the lab will be staffed by MIT and IBM scientists. In October 2018 MIT announced that it would open a new Schwarzman College of Computing dedicated to the study of artificial intelligence, named after lead donor and The Blackstone Group CEO Stephen Schwarzman. The focus of the new college is to study not just AI, but interdisciplinary AI education, and how AI can be used in fields as diverse as history and biology. The cost of buildings and new faculty for the new college is expected to be $1 billion upon completion.

    The Caltech/MIT Advanced aLIGO (US) was designed and constructed by a team of scientists from California Institute of Technology (US), Massachusetts Institute of Technology (US), and industrial contractors, and funded by the National Science Foundation (US) .

    MIT/Caltech Advanced aLigo .

    It was designed to open the field of gravitational-wave astronomy through the detection of gravitational waves predicted by general relativity. Gravitational waves were detected for the first time by the LIGO detector in 2015. For contributions to the LIGO detector and the observation of gravitational waves, two Caltech physicists, Kip Thorne and Barry Barish, and Massachusetts Institute of Technology (US) physicist Rainer Weiss won the Nobel Prize in physics in 2017. Weiss, who is also an Massachusetts Institute of Technology (US) graduate, designed the laser interferometric technique, which served as the essential blueprint for the LIGO.

    The mission of Massachusetts Institute of Technology (US) is to advance knowledge and educate students in science, technology, and other areas of scholarship that will best serve the nation and the world in the twenty-first century. We seek to develop in each member of The Massachusetts Institute of Technology community the ability and passion to work wisely, creatively, and effectively for the betterment of humankind.

     
  • richardmitnick 8:53 am on September 10, 2021 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: "A first road test for EPFL Xplore's space rover", "Argos"– a nod to the mythological Greek ship Argo in which Jason set sail to recover the Golden Fleece – was built from scratch in the course of a single year., EPFL Xplore, Robotics,   

    From Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Lausanne [EPFL-École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne] (CH): “A first road test for EPFL Xplore’s space rover” 

    From Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Lausanne [EPFL-École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne] (CH)

    10.09.21
    Laureline Duvillard

    1
    At the start of the 2020 fall semester, a group of EPFL students set up the EPFL Xplore association with the goal of building a rover from scratch. Their vehicle, named Argos, will compete in this weekend’s European Rover Challenge – Europe’s most prestigious competition dedicated to mobile robots.

    Standing tall on its six wheels and fitted with a robotic arm, a LIDAR sensor for scanning the terrain, and a rocker-bogie suspension system modeled after one developed by NASA, the gleaming metal rover is the center of attention. Gathered around it, the robot’s engineers present it with gusto. Argos – a nod to the mythological Greek ship Argo in which Jason set sail to recover the Golden Fleece – was built from scratch in the course of a single year.

    Selected to take part in the European Rover Challenge, one of the most high-profile international competitions, Argos will be put through its paces on 10–12 September in Kielce, Poland. Competing teams must show that their rovers can assess the terrain, perform certain tasks reliably, move about in an autonomous or semi-autonomous manner, and collect samples.

    This is an exciting opportunity for the four students behind the EPFL Xplore project, who decided to design a rover after reading about the University Rover Challenge that’s held every year in a desert in southern Utah. Jonathan Wei and Quentin Delfosse, the EPFL Xplore association’s president and vice-president, respectively, are first-year Master’s students in microengineering and robotics. They are former members of the EPFL Rocket Team and passionate about robotics – and eager for a new challenge.

    The third student, system engineer Thomas Manteaux, provides technical coordination for the project. Now in the second year of his Master’s degree in microengineering, Manteaux understands the link between robotics and mechanics, and likes the project’s cross-disciplinary nature. “It’s a great supplement to our classes, where we don’t really get hands-on experience. For example, before this I had never touched a machine tool. It also lets us connect with students in other areas.”

    Arion Zimmermann, the fourth Argonaut, is a first-year Master’s student in electrical engineering. He’s a whiz at coding, which he has been doing since he was 12. “I really enjoy it, it’s a creative act. You can build an incredibly complex application from the ground up, limited only by your imagination,” he says. After helping to develop an onboard computer for the EPFL Rocket Team, Zimmermann wanted to use his creativity on another project. Although he started out as a system engineer, he ended up “building those parts of the rover that we couldn’t find anyone else to take on.” He developed the communication protocol between the rover and the control station, as well as the rover’s 600 Wh battery, safety system, main power supply, and simulator for testing how the motors would behave.


    EPFL Xplore Presentation.

    EPFL Xplore currently brings together some fifty students from different disciplines. As a MAKE project, it receives support from EPFL and students can receive credit for it as a semester project or towards their Master’s degree. It is overseen by an academic advisor, Alexandre Alahi, a tenure-track assistant professor who heads up EPFL’s Visual Intelligence for Transportation Laboratory (VITA), and David Rodriguez, an engineer at the EPFL Space Center.

    “The team is made up of seven groups; each group is responsible for one of the rover’s sub-systems. Coordinating communication between the groups and planning out the project proved to be a challenge. We underestimated how much time it would take, and as a result we had to work extremely hard during the final phase to be able to test the robot prior to the competition,” says Delfosse.

    Above all, developing the algorithms that govern the autonomous navigation took much more time than expected. “Analyzing the rover’s surroundings and avoiding obstacles involves a great deal of overlapping data, and we needed algorithms that could run simultaneously,” says Delfosse. There was an additional challenge: “we also needed to create an interface between the sub-systems that control the robot’s fourteen motors, because we had two communication protocols.”

    Successful test results

    The team managed to overcome these obstacles, which also included getting funding. “We received about CHF 115,000. Fundraising was quite difficult at first, because we had nothing to show potential sponsors,” says Wei, who learned a great deal about both sponsorship and project management.

    2
    The Rover at the Mars Yard. © EPFL Xplore 2021.

    For more than a month, the EPFL Xplore students tested their rover on campus on a special track they built – the “Mars Yard,” a rectangular stretch of sand with the occasional rock – and made some final adjustments. “We were quite pleased with the results. We succeeded in creating a stable, high-performance rover – even though it could have been even lighter and more compact. Since the initial tests, we managed to lighten it a bit, but it still exceeds the 50 kg weight limit, and we weren’t able to replace certain steel parts with printable ones, since printed components don’t have the right mechanical properties. It’s a start and we still have room for improvement. The competition is one step in a process and regardless of the outcome, it will have been a rewarding experience,” say the four students who spearheaded the project. One day, these Argonauts hope to enter their robot in the University Rover Challenge. In addition, they want to develop a polar robot for scientific expeditions – a first step before shooting for the moon.

    See the full article here .

    five-ways-keep-your-child-safe-school-shootings

    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

    Stem Education Coalition

    EPFL bloc

    EPFL campus

    The Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Lausanne [EPFL-École polytechnique fédérale de Lausanne] (CH) is a research institute and university in Lausanne, Switzerland, that specializes in natural sciences and engineering. It is one of the two Swiss Federal Institutes of Technology, and it has three main missions: education, research and technology transfer.

    The QS World University Rankings ranks EPFL(CH) 14th in the world across all fields in their 2020/2021 ranking, whereas Times Higher Education World University Rankings ranks EPFL(CH) as the world’s 19th best school for Engineering and Technology in 2020.

    EPFL(CH) is located in the French-speaking part of Switzerland; the sister institution in the German-speaking part of Switzerland is the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology ETH Zürich [Eidgenössische Technische Hochschule Zürich)](CH) . Associated with several specialized research institutes, the two universities form the Domain of the Swiss Federal Institutes of Technology (ETH Domain) [ETH-Bereich; Domaine des Écoles polytechniques fédérales] (CH) which is directly dependent on the Federal Department of Economic Affairs, Education and Research. In connection with research and teaching activities, EPFL(CH) operates a nuclear reactor CROCUS; a Tokamak Fusion reactor; a Blue Gene/Q Supercomputer; and P3 bio-hazard facilities.

    ETH Zürich, EPFL (Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Lausanne) [École polytechnique fédérale de Lausanne](CH), and four associated research institutes form the Domain of the Swiss Federal Institutes of Technology (ETH Domain) [ETH-Bereich; Domaine des Écoles polytechniques fédérales] (CH) with the aim of collaborating on scientific projects.

    The roots of modern-day EPFL(CH) can be traced back to the foundation of a private school under the name École spéciale de Lausanne in 1853 at the initiative of Lois Rivier, a graduate of the École Centrale Paris (FR) and John Gay the then professor and rector of the Académie de Lausanne. At its inception it had only 11 students and the offices was located at Rue du Valentin in Lausanne. In 1869, it became the technical department of the public Académie de Lausanne. When the Académie was reorganised and acquired the status of a university in 1890, the technical faculty changed its name to École d’ingénieurs de l’Université de Lausanne. In 1946, it was renamed the École polytechnique de l’Université de Lausanne (EPUL). In 1969, the EPUL was separated from the rest of the University of Lausanne and became a federal institute under its current name. EPFL(CH), like ETH Zürich(CH), is thus directly controlled by the Swiss federal government. In contrast, all other universities in Switzerland are controlled by their respective cantonal governments. Following the nomination of Patrick Aebischer as president in 2000, EPFL(CH) has started to develop into the field of life sciences. It absorbed the Swiss Institute for Experimental Cancer Research (ISREC) in 2008.

    In 1946, there were 360 students. In 1969, EPFL(CH) had 1,400 students and 55 professors. In the past two decades the university has grown rapidly and as of 2012 roughly 14,000 people study or work on campus, about 9,300 of these being Bachelor, Master or PhD students. The environment at modern day EPFL(CH) is highly international with the school attracting students and researchers from all over the world. More than 125 countries are represented on the campus and the university has two official languages, French and English.

    Organization

    EPFL is organised into eight schools, themselves formed of institutes that group research units (laboratories or chairs) around common themes:

    School of Basic Sciences (SB, Jan S. Hesthaven)

    Institute of Mathematics (MATH, Victor Panaretos)
    Institute of Chemical Sciences and Engineering (ISIC, Emsley Lyndon)
    Institute of Physics (IPHYS, Harald Brune)
    European Centre of Atomic and Molecular Computations (CECAM, Ignacio Pagonabarraga Mora)
    Bernoulli Center (CIB, Nicolas Monod)
    Biomedical Imaging Research Center (CIBM, Rolf Gruetter)
    Interdisciplinary Center for Electron Microscopy (CIME, Cécile Hébert)
    Max Planck-EPFL Centre for Molecular Nanosciences and Technology (CMNT, Thomas Rizzo)
    Swiss Plasma Center (SPC, Ambrogio Fasoli)
    Laboratory of Astrophysics (LASTRO, Jean-Paul Kneib)

    School of Engineering (STI, Ali Sayed)

    Institute of Electrical Engineering (IEL, Giovanni De Micheli)
    Institute of Mechanical Engineering (IGM, Thomas Gmür)
    Institute of Materials (IMX, Michaud Véronique)
    Institute of Microengineering (IMT, Olivier Martin)
    Institute of Bioengineering (IBI, Matthias Lütolf)

    School of Architecture, Civil and Environmental Engineering (ENAC, Claudia R. Binder)

    Institute of Architecture (IA, Luca Ortelli)
    Civil Engineering Institute (IIC, Eugen Brühwiler)
    Institute of Urban and Regional Sciences (INTER, Philippe Thalmann)
    Environmental Engineering Institute (IIE, David Andrew Barry)

    School of Computer and Communication Sciences (IC, James Larus)

    Algorithms & Theoretical Computer Science
    Artificial Intelligence & Machine Learning
    Computational Biology
    Computer Architecture & Integrated Systems
    Data Management & Information Retrieval
    Graphics & Vision
    Human-Computer Interaction
    Information & Communication Theory
    Networking
    Programming Languages & Formal Methods
    Security & Cryptography
    Signal & Image Processing
    Systems

    School of Life Sciences (SV, Gisou van der Goot)

    Bachelor-Master Teaching Section in Life Sciences and Technologies (SSV)
    Brain Mind Institute (BMI, Carmen Sandi)
    Institute of Bioengineering (IBI, Melody Swartz)
    Swiss Institute for Experimental Cancer Research (ISREC, Douglas Hanahan)
    Global Health Institute (GHI, Bruno Lemaitre)
    Ten Technology Platforms & Core Facilities (PTECH)
    Center for Phenogenomics (CPG)
    NCCR Synaptic Bases of Mental Diseases (NCCR-SYNAPSY)

    College of Management of Technology (CDM)

    Swiss Finance Institute at EPFL (CDM-SFI, Damir Filipovic)
    Section of Management of Technology and Entrepreneurship (CDM-PMTE, Daniel Kuhn)
    Institute of Technology and Public Policy (CDM-ITPP, Matthias Finger)
    Institute of Management of Technology and Entrepreneurship (CDM-MTEI, Ralf Seifert)
    Section of Financial Engineering (CDM-IF, Julien Hugonnier)

    College of Humanities (CDH, Thomas David)

    Human and social sciences teaching program (CDH-SHS, Thomas David)

    EPFL Middle East (EME, Dr. Franco Vigliotti)[62]

    Section of Energy Management and Sustainability (MES, Prof. Maher Kayal)

    In addition to the eight schools there are seven closely related institutions

    Swiss Cancer Centre
    Center for Biomedical Imaging (CIBM)
    Centre for Advanced Modelling Science (CADMOS)
    École cantonale d’art de Lausanne (ECAL)
    Campus Biotech
    Wyss Center for Bio- and Neuro-engineering
    Swiss National Supercomputing Centre

     
c
Compose new post
j
Next post/Next comment
k
Previous post/Previous comment
r
Reply
e
Edit
o
Show/Hide comments
t
Go to top
l
Go to login
h
Show/Hide help
shift + esc
Cancel
%d bloggers like this: