Saturday, December 18, 2010

Alice: A New Approach to Teaching Programming

This article covers a educational videogame (if the game is programming) called "Alice" from carnegie mellon that can teach the introductory concepts behind programming.

I think its very cool that it's available online for free, and whats more I can recommend it to kids and adults alike to help them learn programming! I installed the latest "Alice 3" and while I haven't had much chance to play with it in depth, I can see some kids liking this a lot.

About 10 percent of the nation’s colleges now use Alice, an open-source, graphical software program available free online that allows users to learn the very basics of programming -- concepts like iteration, if statements and methods -- while making 3-D animations. It also has a textbook to accompany it if needed.

'Logic Gates' Made to Program Bacteria as Computers

Can you say biocomputer? It's very cool in a geeky programmer/mad scientist kind of way to hear about being able to program living cells to become very tiny computers! Check out the article here!

This is slightly old new

"The purpose of programming cells is not to have them overtake electronic computers, rather, it is to be able to access all of the things that biology can do in a reliable, programmable way."

This is slightly old news though, as you can see here. Last year another group created bacterial computers capable of solving a classic mathematical problem known as the Hamiltonian Path Problem. An extention on previous work last year to produce bacterial computers that could solve the Burnt Pancake Problem.

Image-Translating iPhone App

Phone apps dont get much cooler than this! The application looks for characters within an image, assembles the characters into words then looks up the word litterally in the dictionary, and then (the coolest part) not only draws the translated words over the original, but replaces them entirely! surely with the characters recognized it was simple enough to take out that color information and fill it in with the surrounding information, but wow, they did a good job I cant wait to have someone with an iPhone try this out for me in person!

How to achieve ‘biological immortality’ naturally

Learn How to Stop Aging Now!

OK OK OK... So I read the paper, and as expected at the end there was a whole ton of "This is what I think people should do" from the author. but nestled in there was a interesting factor of evolutionary changes at work. While the paper is slightly laughable, nobody can take away the fact that the author bred flies that lived several times longer than average. Below was the only comment of note on the subject, but after a little more research I found this link which gives a far more detailed view of how it all came about.

He began his work on fruit flies by tricking natural selection to produce what eventually became “Methuselah flies,” for which he is well known. The trick? Take the eggs from fruit flies that have maintained enough of their physiological function to reproduce in old age, and repeat.

Selection for late-life reproduction eventually made longer-lived fruit flies. This delayed-reproduction lineage, Rose showed, lives up to five times longer than average.

Genetic Algorithm: Sudoku Solver

This page features an in depth explanation with code included on how the person went about creating a GA Sudoku solver! Its also a fun read as the writer has an entertaining personality.

"I remember that I once read something from someone who tried a GA C-library on Sudoku and concluded that it was not a suitable problem. If I could solve it with my slick library, that random person on the internet, whose web page I might never find again but who may exist as far as you know, would certainly be proven wrong. A worthy cause."

Friday, December 17, 2010

Machine Learning

Machine Learning

For anyone who Enjoys the topic, or just needs a good place for doing Research on machine learning, this is a great resource I've found that is extremely well referenced and full of content.
"Find a bug in a program, and fix it, and the program will work today. Show the program how to find and fix a bug, and the program will work forever."
- Oliver G. Selfridge,

Tinkercell: CAD for designing artificial life

Tinkercell. This cool program is intended to make it much easier to create and simulate life on a genetic level! More Detail.

"The package has a library of the components of life, from which users can pick different cells, membrane proteins, fluorescent proteins, enzymes and genes to create their organism. Tinkercell can then simulate the life form to see if it functions as expected."

Craig Venter creates synthetic life form

Artificial life is here!

Watch Craig Venter explain how his team of researchers created a new life form – and what happens next

When asked whether this latest venture wasn't, at least a bit, like "playing God?" His answer was swift and to the point. "No, we're not playing anything. We're learning the rules of life."

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Google AI Challenge

The online submission date is past due and after the submitted AI's duked it out and a winner has been declared, but the fun isnt over for those of you that missed the chance! Here is the page with all the starter kits in many various languages that will allow you to program an AI to play this game!

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Alife Game: bSerene


While you may need an old operating system to play it,its still cool to see an evolutionary algorithm put into game AI. This site hosts download for an Alife game that offers its source code called bSerene is a game where monsters learn to play against the player via Artificial Life. The behavior of the monsters is governed by about 50 parameters, which are used as genes in a genetic algorithm. At the end of every arena the monsters that have inflicted the most damage on the players are saved to file and used as the parents of monsters in subsequent games. Monsters who are close to another monster that manages to hit you get a percentage of the credit.

Without having to look at the source code: You can change the appearance of the program by putting in your own pictures for the explosions power-ups and projectiles, or you can design your own arenas by simply modifying some txt-files in the game folder. The source code and executable game is provided for download here.