The Columbia Chronicle

Vulfpeck keeps the funk on its own terms

By Arts & Culture Editor

February 15, 2016

With a mix of freewheeling funk and top-notch humor, Vulfpeck—the self-proclaimed half-Jewish post-geographic rhythm section—is quickly making a name for itself as one of the most original independent groups to watch. Vulfpeck leader Jack Stratton decided to start the band while attending University of Michigan as a hypothetical rhythm section. The band now features multi-instrumentalists Stratton and Theo Katzman, as well ...

Garcia not done yet, runoff brings six more weeks of campaigning

By Metro Reporter

February 25, 2015

The work is not over for Jesus “Chuy” Garcia supporters who danced the night away to blaring basses and saxophones.With 34 percent of the vote Garcia, a Cook County Commissioner, forced Mayor Rahm Emanuel into a runoff that will take place on April 7.For Garcia supporters at the Albambra Palace Resturant, the news comes as no surprise. Foreseeing the runoff, supporters wore buttons urging voters to turn out on April 7. S...

Cooking robot may offer artificial culinary intelligence

By Sports & Health Editor

January 26, 2015

One of the greatest questions in developing of artificial intelligence is how to provide robots with a software template that enables them to recognize objects and learn actions by watching humans. Researchers from the University of Maryland Institute for Advanced Computer Studies and the National Information Communications Technology Research Centre of Excellence in Australia have developed a software system that allows robots to learn actions and make inferences by watching cooking videos from YouTube.“It’s very difficult [to teach robots] actions where something is manipulated because there’s a lot of variation in the way the action happens,” said co-author Cornelia Fermüller, a research scientist at the University of Maryland’s Institute for Advanced Computer Studies. “If I do it or someone else does it, we do it very differently. We could use different tools so you have to find a way of capturing this variation. ”The intelligent system that enabled the robot to glean information from the videos includes two artificial neural networks that mimic the human eye’s processing resulting in object recognition, according to the study. The networks enabled the robot to recognize objects it viewed in the videos and determine the type of grasp required to manipulate objects such as knives and tomatoes when chopping, dicing and preparing food. “In addition to [accounting for variation] there is the difficulty involved in capturing it visually,” Fermüller said. “We’ve looked at the goal of the task and then decomposed it on the basis of that.”Fermüller said the group classified the two types of grasping the robot performed as “power” versus “precision.” Broadly, power grasping is used when an object needs to be held firmly in order to apply force—like when holding a knife to make a cut. Holding a tomato in place to stabilize it is considered precision grasping—a more fine-grain action that calls for accuracy, according to the paper. When observing human activity in real life, robotic systems are able to perceive the movements and objects they are designed to recognize in three dimensions over time, Fermüller said. However, when the movement and objects are viewed in a video, that information is not as immediately understood. “The way we think of videos is as a three-dimensional entity in the sense that there are two dimensions of space and one dimension of time,” said Jason Corso, an associate professor of electrical engineering and computer science at the University of Michigan. “It’s not as 3D as the world we live in, but one can use a video … which is a spacetime signal, and from it correspond feature points that could be used to reconstruct the 3D environment that is being seen or imaged in that video.”According to the paper, the development of deep neural networks that are able to efficiently capture raw data from video and enable robots to perceive actions and objects have revolutionized how visual recognition in artificially intelligent systems function. The algorithms programmed into the University of Maryland’s cooking robot are one example of this neural functioning.“So what was used here was really the hand description and object tool description, and then the action was inferred out of that,” Fermüller said. Previous research on robotic manipulation and action recognition has been conducted using hand trackers and motion capture gloves to overcome the inherent limitations of trying to design artificial intelligence that can learn by example, she said. “Part of the problem is that robot hands today are so behind what biological manipulation is capable of,” said Ken Forbus, a professor of computer science and education at Northwestern University. “We have more dynamic range in terms of our touch sensing. It’s very, very difficult to calibrate, as there’s all sorts of problems that might be real problems and any system is going to have to solve them.”Forbus said some of the difficulty that presents itself in robotic design arises from the fact that the tools robots are outfitted with are far behind the ones humans are born with both physically and in terms of sense perception.“There is tons of tacit knowledge in human understanding—tons,” Forbus said. “Not just in manipulation, [but] in conceptual knowledge.”According to Forbus, artificial intelligence researchers have three ways to incorporate this type of conceptual thinking into intelligent systems. The first option is to try to design robots that can think and analyze in a manner superior to humans, and the second is articulating the tacit knowledge that humans possess by trying to boil it down into a programmable set of rules. The third way is to attempt to model the AI on the type of analogical thinking humans use as they discern information and make generalizations that help provide a framework for how to act during future experiences. “That’s a model that’s daunting in the sense that it requires lots and lots of [programmed] experience,” Forbus said. “But it’s promising in that if we can make analogical generalization work in scale … it’s going to be a very human-like way of doing it.”

Fall grads deserve commencement

By Editorial Board

December 8, 2014

Hundreds of seniors graduate at the end of each fall semester without a ceremony dedicated specifically to them. These seniors must choose to walk the spring before or wait for the next ceremonies the following spring or not walk across the stage at all.Hosting a fall commencement ceremony is a worthwhile venture that the administration should consider because of the significant number of students who graduate in December.In Spring...

Columbia celebrates Earth with climate award

By Assistant Campus Editor

March 10, 2014

Columbia’s campus might currently be cold and dreary, but it has been selected as one of the leading green schools in the country.Columbia has been named a finalist as one of 20 U.S. colleges for the 2014 Climate Leadership Award from Second Nature, an organization whose mission is to sustainably transform higher education.Second Nature works with the American College and University Presidents’ Climate Commitment, an organization...

Turkey: A window into the eastern world for NATO

By Contributing Writer

May 16, 2012

By Austin MontgomeryAfter joining NATO in 1952, Turkey has become responsible for providing a key link between the western NATO members and the Muslim world.With a population that is 98 percent Muslim, Turkey is also one of the only predominantly Muslim countries with a westernized democratic style. With long term goals ranging from integrating all of the western Balkan and Euro-Atlantic countries to providing government ...

Illini win Big Ten, individual awards

By Lindsey Woods

April 16, 2012

The scores were close, and everyone knew it. After two-and-a-half hours of intense competition, the Big Ten title came down to the last event: the floor routine. University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign freshman C.J. Maestas had just finished a near-perfect routine, and now the competition was up to redshirt senior Paul Ruggeri.Ruggeri had fallen twice on the high bar earlier in the day, an uncharacteristic mistake considering he ...

Contention about adjunct contract a disgrace

By Editorial Board

March 12, 2012

Columbia’s administrators and its part-time faculty union, P-Fac, which have been at odds for the last two years regarding contract negotiations, have not held formal bargaining sessions since Oct. 28, 2011, according to college officials.Unfortunately, each side has a different explanation for why the negotiation process is at a standstill and each is blaming the other. This delay in the negotiation process is not only...

Big Ten and Big East Tournament predictions

By Lindsey Woods

March 5, 2012

The Big Ten Tournament:Lindsey Says...The Michigan State University SpartansThe Spartans finished the season strong (13-4 in the Big Ten and 24-6 all season) and dominated the Big Ten for the past couple of weeks. But momentum won’t be the only thing propelling them to a win in the tournament.While the East Lansing lads may not have as ostentatious an offense as the Ohio State Buckeyes or Indiana, their defense will shut ...

Robert Morris University Eagles women’s hockey team fly into postseason at No. 3

By Lindsey Woods

February 6, 2012

Robert Morris University’s women’s hockey team started this season fresh with new coaches, new captains and a new attitude.Losing forwards Mandy Dion and Danielle McCutcheon, two of the team’s top scorers from last season, hasn’t slowed the Eagles’ ratings, as the players are ranked No. 3 in the American Collegiate Hockey Association going into the postseason.“We had a little bit of a rocky start just getting the f...

New laws can’t stop cyber bullies

By Gabrielle Rosas

January 17, 2012

Most people have probably heard sad stories of cyber bullying, ending in self-harm or suicide. In most cases, the harm could not be prevented because of the will of an angry student and the accessibility of the Internet. For the past few years, new laws have been passed across the country to make the consequences of cyber bullying harsher, but this will not be enough.On Jan. 1, House Bill 3281 took effect in Illinois schools. T...

Big Ten surprise teams on tournament bubble

By Etheria Modacure

March 7, 2011

It was supposed be the season when the University of Minnesota could make a deep run in the NCAA tournament. Penn State University and the University of Michigan were deemed good but are struggling to make it to postseason play.For all three teams, the season hasn’t turned out as many expected. Penn State and Michigan are on the bubble of the NCAA tournament and Minnesota appears to be headed to the National Invitationa...

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