What is a Blog?

Gone are the days of writing personal Diary entries and trying your best to hide them from your brothers or sisters. People these days keep a Blog, w… Read story



One of IBM's Watson natural language Big Data supercomputer systems (Photo: IBM)

One of IBM’s Watson natural language Big Data supercomputer systems (Photo: IBM)

IBM has announced that it will provide a Watson supercomputer system to Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (RPI) for a three year period, the first time that a complete Watson system has been provided to a university. Faculty, graduate students, and undergraduates will have opportunities to work directly with the Watson system. Not only will Watson be the object of Artificial Intelligence (AI) research, but it will also (virtually) attend courses in English and math to hone its analytic skills.

Watson has been given a unique ability to understand natural language, sift through and identify data of interest, and to quickly answer questions put to it while providing evidence to back up those answers. The two major goals for IBM and RPI are to improve Watson’s mathematical ability and to aid its recognition and interpretation of new words. Another goal is to improve its ability to handle unstructured information, such as the flood of data in the form of images, videos and emails continually being posted on the Web.

Why would a computer need math lessons? The key here is that we are not talking about arithmetic, but rather if Watson can figure out how to prove, for example, that pi is transcendental. Roughly speaking, real numbers that are the solution of an algebraic equation are algebraic, and all others are transcendental. Determining if a number is transcendental is quite difficult, but it happens there is a fairly easy proof for pi. Given enough background in mathematics (the necessary tools, that is), can Watson develop its own proof? No one knows at this point.

“It’s a big step for us,” said Michael Henesey, IBM’s vice president of business development. “We consider it (Watson) absolutely strategic technology for IBM in the future. And we want to evolve it, of course, thoughtfully, but also in collaboration with the best and brightest in academia.” The original Watson remains at IBM’s Research Headquarters in Westchester County, about 100 miles south of the school.

Source: IBM via pddnet

About the Author

Brian Dodson From an early age Brian wanted to become a scientist. He did, earning a Ph.D. in physics and embarking on an R&D career which has recently broken the 40th anniversary. What he didn’t expect was that along the way he would become a patent agent, a rocket scientist, a gourmet cook, a biotech entrepreneur, an opera tenor and a science writer.   All articles by Brian Dodson

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Venezuela leader Chavez

VENEZUELAN President Hugo Chavez, who is recovering in Cuba after a fourth cancer surgery, is improving each day and becoming more engaged in his work, a top aide says.

Chavez is getting “better each day, and more involved in his official duties,” Science and Technology Minister Jorge Arreaza told VTV television by phone from Havana.

Arreaza, who is also Chavez’s son-in-law and has served as a family spokesman in recent weeks, said he had just come from a meeting with the Venezuelan leader.

The 58-year-old president was in full command of his mental faculties and “giving orders like a dynamo,” Arreaza said.

Chavez – leader of the country with the world’s largest proven oil reserves – is convalescing from cancer surgery in Cuba and has not been seen or heard from since his latest operation on December 11.

Venezuela’s government has said the absent leader suffered a lung infection following his treatment that he subsequently overcame.

Officials have also said that Chavez is signing documents, and even cracking jokes with aides.

But for many Venezuelans, the idea that Chavez – a garrulous and bombastic leader who typically is seen for several hours every day on state radio and television – would choose to be silent is so unthinkable that it calls the government’s account of his health into question.

On Saturday, Vice President Nicolas Maduro said Chavez had entered a phase of “complementary treatment to combat his illness”.

Maduro, Chavez’s handpicked political heir, did not say if that meant more radiation therapy, chemotherapy or some alternative cancer care, and no date was given for when the president will return to Caracas.

The president is a former paratrooper who first came to power in the South American country in 1999.

He won another six-year term in October’s election, despite questions about his health.

Throughout his illness, first detected in June 2011, Chavez has refused to relinquish the powers of the presidency, even when leaving for Cuba last month.

He was too sick to attend his own January 10 inauguration, prompting the government to delay the swearing-in indefinitely under an interpretation of the constitution that was heavily criticised by the opposition.

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New landing technology will aid Gladstone pilots in 2014

Topics:  gladstone airport, landing technology, pilots, technology

Gladstone Regional Airport.Gladstone Regional Airport. Christopher Chan

THE arrival time of new landing technology at Gladstone Regional Airport remains up in the air.

The instrument landing system, which is designed to guide pilots to make precise runway landings in low visibility, was jointly funded by LNG companies in Gladstone to redirect flights from airspace above Curtis Island.

In 2011 Santos GLNG, QCLNG, APLNG and Arrow Energy injected $10.5million into the project, after it was found that plumes from projects on Curtis Island could interfere with the safe landing of aircraft.

This weekend the skills of pilots landing in Gladstone were tested after storms and flash flooding.

Gladstone Airport Corporation CEO Phillip Cash said the project was on track.

“The system is scheduled to be installed in the third quarter of this year,” Mr Cash said.

Mr Cash also said that flying conditions would have been poor at the weekend, regardless of whether the ILS was in place.

A Santos GLNG representative said the instrument landing system should be in place and fully operational by 2014.

“The system will significantly improve the ability of aircraft to land at the airport during adverse weather conditions, meaning fewer flight diversions to Rockhampton,” the representative said.

Gladstone Regional Council Mayor Gail Sellers welcomed the completion of the project and said it would improve flight punctuality at the airport.

When the technology is built it will be the third device of its kind to operate in Queensland.

What is ILS?

  • Helps pilots to make a precision approach to a runway.
  • ILS is used when pilots land the aeroplane.
  • Used in very poor visibility or at night.