LONDON, England (CNN) -- The computer wizard dubbed the "father of the World Wide Web" is to receive a knighthood for services to the Internet.
Tim Berners-Lee invented the information superhighway known as the Web, which allows anyone with a computer and browser to use the Internet. Famously, he created it in his spare time, and gave it away for free.
In the famous sketch from the TV show "Monty Python's Flying Circus,'' the actor John Cleese had many ways of saying a parrot was dead, among them, "This parrot is no more," "He's expired and gone to meet his maker," and "His metabolic processes are now history."
The old Star Trek intro had it all wrong. In the world of the future, the one envisioned by MIT computer scientist and robot builder Daniela Rus, outer space won't be the place to ogle humanity's whiz-bang technology. You'll just plant your feet in a cow field. In Rus's future world, cows wear computerized collars hooked up to Global Positioning System technology that keeps tabs on the critters' every move.
IF she could buy a pair of legs for $5,000, Una-May O'Reilly would probably do it. No doubt a nice set of working limbs would help Cardea, the humanoid robot she is building at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, look the part.
Pamela Lipson can be forgiven for sounding a bit like the announcer in that classic comedy sketch who praises a new miracle foam: Shimmer is a floor wax! And a dessert topping! Get Lipson going, and the 36-year-old co-founder and president of Imagen will gush about how her product can distinguish faces in a crowd, recommend makeup, diagnose diseases and spot imperfections on a circuit board.
We paraphrase all the time, often without thinking about it. Try to give a computer the means to reword a sentence, however, and it becomes apparent that figuring out how to say it differently is complicated.
In July 2003, idea markets made an unexpected appearance in the headlines as the Pentagon was taken to task for its plan to use one to help pinpoint potential terrorism targets. The market would have allowed participants to trade opinions on where terrorists were most likely to strike in much the same way as one trades securities or commodities in other markets. Officials believed they could learn something worthwhile from the relative value that traders placed on different targets.
If a polyhedron were flat, MIT's next artist-in-residence would have the shape emblazoned on his chest. Alumnus George W. Hart is "polyhedron man," the sculptor, scholar, engineer, educator, computer scientist and mathematical magician whose passion for the three-dimensional form with flat polygon sides has made him a superhero across disciplines in the arts and the sciences.
Two students at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology have developed a system for sharing music within their campus community that they say can avoid the copyright battles that have pitted the music industry against many customers.
The news this week that 22-year-old Canadian scientist Erik Demaine had won a $500,000 (U.S.) MacArthur Foundation "genius" award partly for research into "computational origami" may have evoked more than a few "huhs" in the minds of non-technical people.
They certainly cannot be faulted for a lack of ambition. The scientists and engineers who gathered this week in Oxford for the first International Workshop on Complex Agent-Based Dynamic Networks are seeking to explain much of the world's behaviour through the use of “agents”. In this context, an agent is a program that acts in a self-interested manner in its dealings with numerous other agents inside a computer. This arrangement can mimic almost any interactive system: a stockmarket; a habitat; even a business supply-chain. If the constituent parts can be understood, the reasoning goes, some insight into the whole will follow.
For years, iRobot designed stuff cool enough for the Sci-Fi Channel, but its new product sells on the Home Shopping Network. Here's how a boutique high-tech firm broke out by reinventing itself as an appliance company.
In the "Sorcerer's Apprentice" sequence from the Disney film Fantasia, Mickey Mouse nearly drowns when he tries to make a broom do his chores. He shows it what to do, but the broom has no sense of its environment and keeps filling the wash basin to overflowing, creating a sea-size mishap.