Wednesday, August 31, 2016

PI Pieter Abeel Co-Principal Investigator for New Center for Human-Compatible Aritificial Intelligence

Pieter Abbeel will serve as a co-principal investigator for newly launched Center for Human-Compatible Aritificial Intelligence along with Anca Dragan (UC Berkeley), Tom Griffiths  (UC Berkeley), Bart Selman (Cornell University), Joseph Halpern (Cornell University) Michael Wellman (University of Michigan),  and Satinder Singh Baveja (University of Michigan). Professor Abbeel is also co-principal investigator of TerraSwarm funded research project on the Human Intranet.

The new center is being launched with a $5.5 million grant from the Open Philanthropy Project. Additional grants from Levehume Trust and the Future of Life Institute will fund the center's research.  It will be lead by University of Califonia, Berkeley Professor of Electrical Engineering and Computer Sciences Stuart Russell. The Center for Human-Compatible Aritificial Intelligence will focus on ensuring that sophisticated artificial intelligence systems function in a manner that is aligned with human values. “AI systems must remain under human control, with suitable constraints on behavior, despite capabilities that may eventually exceed our own,” Russell explained in UC Berkeley's news article. “This means we need cast-iron formal proofs, not just good intentions.”

Monday, August 8, 2016

Apple Buys TerraSwarm PI Carlos Guestrin's Startup Turi

Turi, an artificial intelligence startup founded by TerraSwarm PI Carlos Guestrin, has been acquired by Apple. News of the purchase appeared in several articles including the Wall Street Journal's, "Apple Buys Machine-Learning Startup Turi" and Geek Wire's "Exclusive: Apple acquires Turi in major exit for Seattle-based machine learning and AI startup."

Turi enables companies to make sense of data, offering a software platform that helps them develop and manage applications with machine learning capabilities. It allows developers to detect fraud, create recommendation engines, analyze customer data, and target potential customers.

Carlos Guestrin, the Associate Professor of Machine Learning at the Computer Science and Engineering Department of the University of Washington, founded Turi in 2013. Formerly GraphLab and Dato, the startup adopted it's current name in July. The name is a reference to software creation techniques that rely on computers making inferences from data to essentially teach themselves without specific instructions.

Apple uses machine learning in predicting word completion in messages, photo facial recognition, and applications such as Siri. It's acquisition of Turi is seen as part of a larger push by Apple into artificial intelligence and machine learning.

Friday, August 5, 2016

First Dust-Sized Wireless Sensors Built by TerraSwarm PIs Jose Carmena, Michel Maharbiz, and Jan Rabaey

An August 3, 2016 news article, "Sprinkling of neural dust opens door to electroceuticals," reports that a team of University of California, Berkeley engineers including TerraSwarm PIs Jose Carmena, Michel Maharbiz, and Jan Rabaey have developed the first dust-sized, wireless, implantable sensors. Measuring 1 millimeter cube, the sensors are approximately the size of a grain of sand. The batteryless sensors use ultrasound as both a power source and to communicate results, overcoming one of the major challenges to this type of technology. Unlike radio waves, ultrasound vibrations can penetrate most of the human body, and is already widely used in healthcare settings. This opens the possibility for applications deep within the body.  Piezoelectric crystal is used to convert ultrasound vibrations from outside the body into the electricity needed to power the device's on-board transistor, which is in contact with nerve or muscle fiber. Changes in the voltage of the fiber alters the circuit of the device causing variation in the echo picked up by the ultrasound receiver.

Applications include real time monitoring and stimulation of internal organs, muscles, or nerves. This technology opens the door to new diagnostic and treatment of a wide range of conditions including epilepsy, inflammation, and paralysis. Compared to currently available implantable electrodes that require wires to be passed externally, these sensors are sealed in the body decreasing the likelihood of infection and accidental displacement. The researchers are currently working on building sensors using biocompatible thin films, which would allow the sensors to function in the body for a decade or more without degradation. Future work includes developing even smaller sensors.

Monday, August 1, 2016

TerraSwarm PI Richard Murray Named to Defense Innovation Advisory Board

TerraSwarm PI Richard Murray has been appointed by Secretary of Defense Ash Carter to the Defense Innovation Advisory Board. As reported in the July 29, 2016 article "Caltech's Richard Murray Named to Department of Defense Panel on Innovation," the panel is composed of fifteen members. It was established in March with a mandate to provide independent advice to department leaders on innovative and adaptive ways to meet future organizational challenges with the goal of quickly identifying solutions to DoD problems. It includes innovators and scholars with expertise in new technologies and organizational behavior, and represents a commitment to ongoing private public partnerships.

TerraSwarm PI Richard Murray is the Thomas E. and Doris Everhart Professor of Control & Dynamical Systems and Bioengineering at California Institute of Technology. He is an expert in systems and control engineering, including leading a recent AFOSR-sponsored MURI on specification, design and verification of distributed embedded systems. His appointment to the Defense Innovation Advisory Board was announced on July 26th by Secretary of Defense Ash Carter at the opening of Defense Innovation Unit Experimental office in Boston. With work beginning this summer, the panel is scheduled to provide initial recommendations to the secretary in October.