"games" entries

Four short links: 6 April 2016

Four short links: 6 April 2016

Hi-Techtiles, Recreating 3D, Mobile Deep Learning, and Correlation Games

  1. U.S. Textile Industry Turns to Tech as Gateway to RevivalWarwick Mills is joining the Defense Department, universities including the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and nearly 50 other companies in an ambitious $320 million project to push the American textile industry into the digital age. Key to the plan is a technical ingredient: embedding a variety of tiny semiconductors and sensors into fabrics that can see, hear, communicate, store energy, warm or cool a person, or monitor the wearer’s health.
  2. 2D to 3D With Deep CNNs (PDF) — source code on github.
  3. Squeezing AI into Mobile Systems (IEEE Spectrum) — Sze, working with Joel Emer, also an MIT computer science professor and senior distinguished research scientist at Nvidia, developed Eyeriss­, the first custom chip designed to run a state-of-the-art convolutional neural network. They showed they could run AlexNet, a particularly demanding algorithm, using less than one-tenth the energy of a typical mobile GPU: instead of consuming 5 to 10 watts, Eyeriss used 0.3 W.
  4. The 8-Bit Game That Makes Statistics Addictive (The Atlantic) — that game is Guess The Correlation. “As a researcher, you read papers and a lot of the time, you eyeball the figures without even reading the text,” he says. “You see a plot—it could even be your own plot—and make a judgment based on it. Contrary to what people believe, they’re not very good at this. And I have the data to prove that.”
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Four short links: 1 April 2016

Four short links: 1 April 2016

AI Centaurs, In-Game Warfare, Global Data Protection Laws, and Chinese Chatbots

  1. Centaurs Not Butlers (Matt Jones) — In competitive chess, teams of human and non-human intelligences are referred to as ‘Centaurs’ How might we create teams of human and non-human intelligences in the service of better designed systems, products, environments?
  2. Casino-Funded In-Game Warthis was just the opening round of what could be the largest military mobilization in that game’s history. Digging deeper into the subject, we’ve been able to chart the rise of a new in-game faction, called the Moneybadger Coalition, a group of thousands of players being bankrolled by an online casino. (via BoingBoing)
  3. Data Protection Laws Around the World — useful guide to the laws in different jurisdictions. If this is your migraine, I pity you.
  4. More Chinese Mobile UI TrendsThis year, Microsoft China released an AI chatbot called 小冰 (xiǎobīng) that has been popular. She’s accessible via the web, via a standalone app, via WeChat, via Cortana, and through a dedicated button in Xiaomi’s own seldom-used messaging app. It’s fun to toss annoying questions at her and see how she responds. Some people even confide in her. She’s kind of the love child of Siri, ELIZA, and Cleverbot.
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Four short links: 31 March 2016

Four short links: 31 March 2016

Accountable Machines, Forbidden Gaming, Make Things, and Crypto Monoculture

  1. Accountable MachinesSome of the proposals discussed at our workshop included having machine learning processes verify the outcomes of algorithmic decisions and provide transparency, and that systems should be designed to permit auditing as well as to audit other related systems. To me this appeared as an especially accountable version of bureaucracy, where results from each system’s accounting dynamically report up through an iterative (but still accountable) chain of command. This is not bureaucratic in the sense of inventing process for its own sake, but it is bureaucratic in the sense that it establishes many processes of accountability that are the responsibility of entities who report to one another through a structure where trust is related to the capacity to validate decisions.
  2. Russia Bans Queue — banned the Polish board game that recreates the experience of life under Communism. Games that are simulations are effective educational experiences, too effective for Russia.
  3. Tech Economies Must Still Make Things (Vaclav Smil) — Bill Gates’s favorite scientist/policy analyst weighs in on the next economy. Take away manufacturing and you’re left with…selfies.
  4. On the Impending Crypto Monoculture (Peter Gutmann) — A number of IETF standards groups are currently in the process of applying the second-system effect to redesigning their crypto protocols. A major feature of these changes includes the dropping of traditional encryption algorithms and mechanisms like RSA, DH, ECDH/ECDSA, SHA-2, and AES, for a completely different set of mechanisms, including Curve25519 (designed by Dan Bernstein et al), EdDSA (Bernstein and colleagues), Poly1305 (Bernstein again) and ChaCha20 (by, you guessed it, Bernstein). What’s more, the reference implementations of these algorithms also come from Dan Bernstein (again with help from others), leading to a never-before-seen crypto monoculture in which it’s possible that the entire algorithm suite used by a security protocol, and the entire implementation of that suite, all originate from one person. How on earth did it come to this?
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Four short links: 11 March 2016

Four short links: 11 March 2016

Deep-Learning Catan, Scala Tutorials, Legal Services, and Shiny Echo

  1. Strategic Dialogue Management via Deep Reinforcement Learning (Adrian Colyer) — a neural network learns to play Settlers of Catan. Is nothing sacred?
  2. scala school — Twitter’s instructional material for coming up to speed on scala.
  3. Robin Hood Fellowship — fellowship to use technology to increase access to legal services for New Yorkers. Stuff that matters.
  4. The Echo From Amazon Brims With Groundbreaking Promise (NY Times) — A bit more than a year after its release, the Echo has morphed from a gimmicky experiment into a device that brims with profound possibility. The longer I use it, the more regularly it inspires the same sense of promise I felt when I used the first iPhone — a sense this machine is opening up a vast new realm in personal computing, and gently expanding the role that computers will play in our future.
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Four short links: 10 February 2016

Four short links: 10 February 2016

Bitcoin Textbook, Brain Books, Post-Quantum Crypto, and Amazon's Game Engine

  1. Princeton Bitcoin Book (PDF) — The Coursera course accompanying this book had 30,000 students in its first version, and it was a success based on engagement and end-of-course feedback. Large introduction to Bitcoin from Princeton. (via Cory Doctorow)
  2. A Quartet of Complementary Brain Books (Vaughan Bell) — The books have been chosen to complement each other and the idea is that if you read all four, you should have a solid grounding in modern cognitive neuroscience and beyond.
  3. NIST Report on Post-Quantum Cryptography (PDF) — in case you missed it, “post-quantum crypto” is “existing crypto relies on how hard it is to find the prime factors of large numbers, of which we suspect quantum computers may make a mockery. Wut to do?” The goal of post-quantum cryptography (also called quantum-resistant cryptography) is to develop cryptographic systems that are secure against both quantum and classical computers, and can interoperate with existing communications protocols and networks.
  4. Amazon Lumberyarda free, cross-platform, 3D game engine for you to create the highest-quality games, connect your games to the vast compute and storage of the AWS Cloud, and engage fans on Twitch. From Amazon.
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Four short links: 9 February 2016

Four short links: 9 February 2016

Collaborative Mario Agents, ElasticSearch at Scale, Anomaly Detection, Robotics Experiment

  1. Social Intelligence in Mario Bros (YouTube) — collaborative agents built by cognitive AI researchers … they have drives, communicate, learn from each other, and solve problems. Oh, and the agents are Mario, Luigi, Yoshi, and Toad within a Super Mario Brothers clone. No code or papers about it on the research group’s website yet, just a YouTube video and a press release on the university’s website, so appropriately adjust your priors for imminent world destruction at the hands of a rampaging super-AI. (via gizmag)
  2. How we Monitor and Run ElasticSearch at Scale (SignalFx) — sweet detail on metrics, dashboards, and alerting.
  3. Simple Anomaly Detection for Weekly PatternsRule-based heuristics do not scale and do not adapt easily, especially if we have thousands of alarms to set up. Some statistical approach is needed that is generic enough to handle many different metric behaviours.
  4. How to Design a Robotics Experiment (Robohub) — although there are many good experimental scientists in the robotic community, there has not been uniformly good experimental work and reporting within the community as a whole. This has advice such as “the five components of a well-designed experiment.”
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Four short links: 28 January 2016

Four short links: 28 January 2016

Augmented Intelligence, Social Network Limits, Microsoft Research, and Google's Go

  1. Chimera (Paper a Day) — the authors summarise six main lessons learned while building Chimera: (1) Things break down at large scale; (2) Both learning and hand-crafted rules are critical; (3) Crowdsourcing is critical, but must be closely monitored; (4) Crowdsourcing must be coupled with in-house analysts and developers; (5) Outsourcing does not work at a very large scale; (6) Hybrid human-machine systems are here to stay.
  2. Do Online Social Media Remove Constraints That Limit the Size of Offline Social Networks? (Royal Society) — paper by Robin Dunbar. Answer: The data show that the size and range of online egocentric social networks, indexed as the number of Facebook friends, is similar to that of offline face-to-face networks.
  3. Microsoft Embedding ResearchTo break down the walls between its research group and the rest of the company, Microsoft reassigned about half of its more than 1,000 research staff in September 2014 to a new group called MSR NExT. Its focus is on projects with greater impact to the company rather than pure research. Meanwhile, the other half of Microsoft Research is getting pushed to find more significant ways it can contribute to the company’s products. The challenge is how to avoid short-term thinking from your research team. For instance, Facebook assigns some staff to focus on long-term research, and Google’s DeepMind group in London conducts pure AI research without immediate commercial considerations.
  4. Google’s Go-Playing AIThe key to AlphaGo is reducing the enormous search space to something more manageable. To do this, it combines a state-of-the-art tree search with two deep neural networks, each of which contains many layers with millions of neuron-like connections. One neural network, the “policy network,” predicts the next move, and is used to narrow the search to consider only the moves most likely to lead to a win. The other neural network, the “value network,” is then used to reduce the depth of the search tree — estimating the winner in each position in place of searching all the way to the end of the game.
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Four short links: 30 November 2015

Four short links: 30 November 2015

Chinese Manufacturing, Visual Question Answering, Editing Animal Genes, and AIs for RTS Games

  1. Behind the Hoverboard Craze (BoingBoing) — Bernstein is interested in this phenomenon as “memeufacturing” — a couple of social-media stars (or garden-variety celebs) post viral videos of themselves using an obscure gadget, and halfway around the world, factories shut down their e-cig lines and convert them, almost overnight, to hoverboard manufacturing lines. Bernstein cites a source who says that there are 1,000 hoverboard factories in South China.
  2. neural-vqaVIS+LSTM model for Visual Question Answering. Scroll to the end and see the questions it’s answering about photos.
  3. Open Season in Editing Genes of Animals (NY Times) — “We’re going to see a stream of edited animals coming through because it’s so easy,” said Bruce Whitelaw, a professor of animal biotechnology at the Roslin Institute at the University of Edinburgh. “It’s going to change the societal question from, ‘If we could do it, would we want it?’ to, ‘Next year we will have it; will we allow it?’”
  4. RTS AI (PDF) — standard techniques used for playing classic board games, such as game tree search, cannot be directly applied to solve RTS games without the definition of some level of abstraction, or some other simplification. Interestingly enough, humans seem to be able to deal with the complexity of RTS games, and are still vastly superior to computers in these types of games. Talks about the challenges in writing AIs for Real-Time Strategy games.
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Four short links: 20 November 2015

Four short links: 20 November 2015

Table Mining, Visual Microphones, Platformed Government, and NP-Hard Video Games

  1. DeepDive — Stanford project to create structured data (SQL tables) from unstructured information (text documents) and integrate such data with an existing structured database. DeepDive is used to extract sophisticated relationships between entities and make inferences about facts involving those entities. Code is open source (Apache v2 license). (via Infoworld)
  2. Visual Microphone (MIT) — turn everyday objects — a glass of water, a potted plant, a box of tissues, or a bag of chips — into visual microphones using high-speed photography to detect the small vibrations caused by sound. (via Infoworld)
  3. 10 Rules for Distributed/Networked/Platformed Government (Richard Pope) — Be as vigilant against creating concentrations of power as you are in creating efficiency or bad user experiences. (via Paul Downey)
  4. Classic Nintendo Games are (Computationally) HardWe prove NP-hardness results for five of Nintendo’s largest video game franchises: Mario, Donkey Kong, Legend of Zelda, Metroid, and Pokemon.
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Parallax scrolling for iOS with Swift and Sprite Kit

Learn how to add this popular visual effect to your iOS project.

Up until the mid 1990s, the pinnacle of video game graphics was parallax scrolling: the use of multiple scrolling backgrounds, which created a sense of depth and perspective in the game. When you’re being a 2D game in Sprite Kit, you can create this effect by creating multiple sprites, and managing their position over time.

In this example, we’re creating a scene where there are four components, listed in order of proximity:

  • A dirt path
  • Some nearby hills
  • Some further distant hills
  • The sky

You can see the final scene below:

Read more…

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