Wikibot

A bot (a common nickname for software robot) is an automated or semi-automated tool that carries out repetitive and mundane tasks to maintain the 41,532,705 pages of the English Wikipedia. Bots are able to make edits very rapidly and can disrupt Wikipedia if they are incorrectly designed or operated. For these reasons, a bot policy has been developed.

There are currently 2,067 bot tasks approved for use on the English Wikipedia; however, not all approved tasks involve actively carrying out edits. Bots will leave messages on user talk pages if the action that the bot has carried out is of interest to that editor. Some bots can be excluded from leaving these messages by using the {{bots}} tags. There are 160 exclusion-compliant bots, which are listed in this category. There are 314 bots flagged with the “bot” flag right now. There is also a range of tools that allow semi-automated editing of large numbers of articles.

Green tea-laced capacitor to power next-gen devices

Scientists have used green tea compounds to develop a new flexible and compact rechargeable energy storage device which may power more comfortable wearable electronics such as heart rate monitors.

The most prominent versions of wearable electronics are sold in the form of watches or sports bands.

More comfortable products could become available in softer materials made in part with an unexpected ingredient — green tea, researchers said.

Powering soft wearable electronics with a long-lasting source of energy remains a big challenge.

However, most supercapacitors are rigid, and the compressible supercapacitors developed so far have run into roadblocks. “Our objective is to fabricate wearable electronic devices. Compressible energy storage devices are the first step towards achieving that objective,” Kothandam Krishnamoorthy, from the CSIR-Network of Institutes for Solar Energy said.

Supercapacitors have been made with carbon-coated polymer sponges, but the coating material tends to bunch up and compromise performance.

Researchers, including those from CSIR-National Chemical Laboratory in Pune and Academy of Scientific and Innovative Research in New Delhi, wanted to take a different approach.

The researchers prepared polymer gels in green tea extract, which infuses the gel with polyphenols.

The polyphenols converted a silver nitrate solution into a uniform coating of silver nanoparticles. Thin layers of conducting gold and poly (3,4-ethylenedioxythiophene) were then applied.

The resulting supercapacitor demonstrated power and energy densities of 2,715 watts per kg and 22 watt- hours per kg — enough to operate a heart rate monitor, LEDs or a bluetooth module.

Giant penguin lived along dinosaurs

A giant penguin foot-bone discovered in New Zealand shows that the ancestors of everyone’s favourite flightless bird waddled Earth during the age of dinosaurs, researchers have found.

Before an asteroid wiped out non-avian dinosaurs some 65.5 million years ago, in other words, super-sized penguins breathed the same air as Triceratops and the flesh-ripping Tyrannosaurus.

The new find, unearthed by an amateur fossil hunter near the Waipara River in New Zealand, does not by itself prove penguin-dinosaur cohabitation.

The eight-centimetre bone dates from about 61 million years ago, well after Tyrannosaurus Rex and company faded from the scene.

India to unveil its fastest Supercomputer soon!

Come June, India will likely unveil its most powerful supercomputer. If its processors operate at the full capacity of 10 petaflops (1 followed by 15 zeroes of floating point operations per second), a clock speed a million times faster than the fastest consumer laptops, it could earn a place among the world’s top 10 fastest supercomputers.

Though India has built or hosted supercomputers since the 1990s, it held a ‘top 10’ spot only once, in 2007, thanks to the EKA built by the Computational Research Laboratories, which is part of the Tata group. This position was lost, though several ultra-fast machines exist in Indian academic institutions: they feature in the 100s or 200s in global rankings.

The as-yet-unnamed machine will be jointly hosted at the Indian Institute of Tropical Meteorology, Pune and the National Centre for Medium Range Weather Forecasting at Noida in Uttar Pradesh.

The government has sanctioned ₹400 crore for the project this year. Most of the machine’s computing power will help in monsoon forecasting, using a dynamical model. This requires simulating the weather for a given month — say March — and letting a custom-built model calculate how the actual weather will play out over June, July, August and September.

The processing speed of supercomputers is only one of the factors that determine its worth, with power usage and arrangement of processors, being other key metrics that determine the worth of a system.

Top500, the global authority tracking the fastest 500 computers, said in its latest report that China and the U.S. were “pacing each other for supercomputing supremacy.”

Artificial Intelligence

Artificial intelligence (AI) is intelligence exhibited by machines. In computer science, the field of AI research defines itself as the study of “intelligent agents”: any device that perceives its environment and takes actions that maximize its chance of success at some goal. Colloquially, the term “artificial intelligence” is applied when a machine mimics “cognitive” functions that humans associate with other human minds, such as “learning” and “problem solving”. As machines become increasingly capable, mental facilities once thought to require intelligence are removed from the definition. For example, optical character recognition is no longer perceived as an exemplar of “artificial intelligence”, having become a routine technology. Capabilities currently classified as AI include successfully understanding human speech, competing at a high level in strategic game systems (such as Chess and Go), self-driving cars, intelligent routing in content delivery networks, and interpreting complex data.

AI research is divided into subfields that focus on specific problems or on specific approaches or on the use of a particular tool or towards satisfying particular applications.

The central problems (or goals) of AI research include reasoning, knowledge, planning, learning, natural language processing (communication), perception and the ability to move and manipulate objects. General intelligence is among the field’s long-term goals. Approaches include statistical methods, computational intelligence, and traditional symbolic AI. Many tools are used in AI, including versions of search and mathematical optimization, logic, methods based on probability and economics. The AI field draws upon computer science, mathematics, psychology, linguistics, philosophy, neuroscience and artificial psychology.

The field was founded on the claim that human intelligence “can be so precisely described that a machine can be made to simulate it”. This raises philosophical arguments about the nature of the mind and the ethics of creating artificial beings endowed with human-like intelligence, issues which have been explored by myth, fiction and philosophy since antiquity. Some people also consider AI a danger to humanity if it progresses unabatedly. Attempts to create artificial intelligence have experienced many setbacks, including the ALPAC report of 1966, the abandonment of perceptrons in 1970, the Lighthill Report of 1973, the second AI winter 1987–1993 and the collapse of the Lisp machine market in 1987.

In the twenty-first century, AI techniques, both “hard” and “soft” have experienced a resurgence following concurrent advances in computer power, sizes of training sets, and theoretical understanding, and AI techniques have become an essential part of the technology industry, helping to solve many challenging problems in computer science.

OpenAI

OpenAI is a non-profit artificial intelligence (AI) research company, associated with business magnate Elon Musk, that aims to carefully promote and develop friendly AI in such a way as to benefit, rather than harm, humanity as a whole. The organization aims to “freely collaborate” with other institutions and researchers by making its patents and research open to the public. The company is supported by over US$1 billion in commitments; however, only a tiny fraction of the $1 billion pledged is expected to be spent in the first few years. The founders are motivated in part by concerns about existential risk from artificial general intelligence.

Elon Musk: A man with vision of transforming our world

Elon Reeve Musk  is a South African-born Canadian-American business magnate, investor, engineer, and inventor.

unnamed.jpg

He is the founder, CEO, and CTO of SpaceX; co-founder, CEO, and product architect of Tesla Inc.; co-founder and chairman of SolarCity; co-chairman of OpenAI; co-founder of Zip2; and founder of X.com which merged with PayPal of Confinity. As of June 2016, he has an estimated net worth of US$11.5 billion, making him the 83rd wealthiest person in the world. In December 2016, Musk was ranked 21st on Forbes list of The World’s Most Powerful People.

Musk has stated that the goals of SolarCity, Tesla, and SpaceX revolve around his vision to change the world and humanity. His goals include reducing global warming through sustainable energy production and consumption, and reducing the “risk of human extinction” by “making life multiplanetary” by setting up a human colony on Mars.

In addition to his primary business pursuits, he has also envisioned a high-speed transportation system known as the Hyperloop, and has proposed a VTOL supersonic jet aircraft with electric fan propulsion, known as the Musk electric jet.

Human Carrying Drone

Chinese drone-maker Ehang has developed the 184, a prototype of the first autonomous drone that will fly humans.

The helicopter-like flying machine seats one, and after the flier enters the destination, it will require just two button presses from the rider: take off and land. That’s all it takes to pilot the thing.

The 184 (one passenger, eight propellers, four arms), isn’t ready to fly just yet. There are all kinds of government clearances that it will have to obtain before you can fly by drone to work. But Ehang says it is working closely with government agencies on the technology.

Meanwhile Dubai has made a habit of pushing the transportation envelope, and its latest ambitions are literally sky high.

Dubai’s transportation agency chief announced Monday at the World Government Summit that human-ferrying drones would begin transporting people across the city’s iconic skyline in July, according to the Associated Press.

Indeed, the government has “actually experimented with this vehicle flying in Dubai’s skies” already, Mattar al-Tayer told the AP. It was not clear how much each ride will cost.

The drone can carry a single passenger weighing up to 220 pounds and a small suitcase for 30 minutes. The traveler climbs into the drone and inputs a destination within 31 miles, then takes to the sky at a speed of 62 mph, according to the AP. The drone is monitored via a control room.

The drone takes off from and lands at predetermined points and uses a camera to ensure a safe landing, according to EHang’s website. If the drone malfunctions or disconnects from 4G mobile service, it promises to land immediately at the nearest safe location, the company says.

ISRO successfully launches 104 satellites; sets record!

The Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) set a new record in space mission achievements after it successfully launched 104 satellites in one go from the Satish Dhawan Space Centre in Sriharikota, Andhra Pradesh, on Wednesday morning.

Do watch the mission and take pride.

This was ISRO’s first space mission for the year 2017, and the most complicated mission it has ever carried out. Prime Minister Narendra Modi and President Pranab Mukherjee congratulated the space agency for the historic event that significantly boosts India’s space programme.

The space agency began the countdown for the launch of the Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV)’s 39th flight on Tuesday after the Mission Readiness Review committee and Launch Authorisation Board gave its approval for lift off, ISRO said.

The PSLV-C37/Cartosat2 Series satellite mission included the primary satellite (Cartosat-2) and 101 international nano satellites. It also launched two of its own nano satellites, INS-1A and INS-1B.

The world media commented after India scripted history by successfully launching 104 satellites using a single rocket.

India has emerged as a “key player” in a growing global commercial market for space-based surveillance and communication, world media commented on Thursday after the country scripted history by successfully launching 104 satellites using a single rocket.

The launch was “another success for the Indian Space Research Organisation, which is rapidly gaining a reputation globally for its effective yet low-cost missions,”, The Washington Post said, noting that India has already sent up dozens of satellites, including 20 at once last year.

The New York Times said that by sending a flock of 104 satellites into space within minutes, nearly tripling the previous record for single-day satellite launches and establishing India as a “key player” in a growing commercial market for space-based surveillance and communication.

“The launch was high-risk because the satellites, released in rapid—fire fashion every few seconds from a single rocket as it traveled at 17,000 miles an hour, could collide with one another in space if ejected into the wrong path,” the paper noted.

“Forget the US versus Russia. The real space race is taking place in Asia,” CNN commented.

London’s Times newspaper reported that by today’s feat, India has reinforced its ambition to join the elite space- faring nations.

Many of India’s landmark missions have cost far less than their equivalents in Russia, Europe and the US. Isro’s Mars mission cost USD 73 million, compared with Nasa’s Maven Mars launch, which came in at USD 671 million, the British paper pointed out.

UK’s Guardian newspaper, commented that the record- breaking space launch will help India to cement its place as a serious player in the burgeoning private space market.

“India, which became just the sixth nation to launch its own rocket in 1980, has long made space research a priority.

The Indian government has increased the budget for its space programme this year and also announced plans to send a mission to Venus,” the British paper said.

The BBC, quoting observers, said today’s space success was a “sign that India is emerging as a major player in the multi-billion dollar space market.”

“The successful launch is yet another feather in the cap of India’s ambitious space programme that has earned a reputation of offering a reliable low cost alternative to existing international players,” it said.

Over the past two decades, India has become a key player in the lucrative commercial space market offering a low-cost alternative, the British public broadcaster said.

China’s state-run media took note of India’s success in the space sector.

“India created history by successfully launching 104 satellites in a single space mission, breaking the previous record of 37 satellites launched by Russia in 2014, Xinhua news agency reported.

Project Loon can now predict weather systems

More than half of the world’s population is still without Internet access. Project Loon is a network of balloons traveling on the edge of space, designed to extend Internet connectivity to people in rural and remote areas worldwide.

VBKPROJECTLOON.jpg

Project Loon is a research and development project being developed by X (formerly Google X) with the mission of providing Internet access to rural and remote areas. The project uses high-altitude balloons placed in the stratosphere at an altitude of about 18 km (11 mi) to create an aerial wireless network with up to 4G-LTE speeds. It was named Project Loon, since even Google itself found the idea of providing Internet access to the remaining 5 billion population unprecedented and “crazy.”

The balloons are maneuvered by adjusting their altitude in the stratosphere to float to a wind layer after identifying the wind layer with the desired speed and direction using wind data from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). Users of the service connect to the balloon network using a special Internet antenna attached to their building. The signal travels through the balloon network from balloon to balloon, then to a ground-based station connected to an Internet service provider (ISP), then onto the global Internet. The system aims to bring Internet access to remote and rural areas poorly served by existing provisions, and to improve communication during natural disasters to affected regions. Key people involved in the project include Rich DeVaul, chief technical architect, who is also an expert on wearable technology; Mike Cassidy, a project leader; and Cyrus Behroozi, a networking and telecommunication lead.

The balloons use patch antennas – which are directional antennas – to transmit signals to ground stations or LTE users. Some smartphones with Google SIM cards can use Google Internet services. The whole infrastructure is based on LTE; the eNodeB component (the equivalent of the “base station” that talks directly to handsets) is carried in the balloon.

Researchers at Google have moved a step closer to rolling out a network of huge balloons to provide Internet connectivity to billions of people around the world, particularly those in difficult-to-reach rural areas.

The Project Loon team, part of the company’s X research lab, said it can now use machine learning to predict weather systems.

The advance means Google has much more control over where its balloons reach, making it possible to focus on a specific region, rather than circumnavigating the globe.

“We can now run an experiment and try to give service in a particular place in the world with ten, twenty or thirty balloons,” rather than the hundreds needed previously, the company said.

“Real users” will be able to make use of the system in the “coming months”, however, the company did not specify where the initial roll-out would take place.

The company has experimented with beaming down connectivity from a network of huge, tennis-court sized balloons rather than undertaking huge construction projects to replicate connectivity networks in the developed world.