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AI

Two Teams Win the BotPrize 56

Posted by Soulskill
from the just-make-them-swear-a-lot-over-xbox-live dept.
An anonymous reader writes "For the past five years, the 2K BotPrize has challenged artificial intelligence researchers and programmers to create a computer-game-playing bot that plays like a person. It's one thing to make bots that play computer games very well — computers are faster and more accurate than a person can ever be — but it's a different thing to make bots that are fun to play against. In a breakthrough result, after years of striving and improvement from 14 different international teams from nine countries, two teams have crossed the humanness barrier! The teams share $7000 in prize money and a trip to games company 2K's Canberra studio. The winners are the UT^2 team from the University of Texas at Austin, and Mihai Polceanu, a doctoral student from Romania, currently studying Artificial Intelligence at ENIB CERV — Centre de Réalité Virtuelle, Brest, France. The UT^2 team is Professor Risto Miikulainen, and doctoral students Jacob Schrum and Igor Karpov. The bots created by the two teams both achieved a humanness rating of 52%, easily exceeding the average humanness rating of the human players, at 40%. It is especially fitting that the prize has been won in the 2012 Alan Turing Centenary Year. The famous Turing test — where a computer has to have a conversation with a human, and pretends to be another human — was the inspiration for the BotPrize competition. Where to now for human-like bots? Next year we hope to propose a new and exciting challenge for game playing bot creators to push their technologies to the next level of human-like performance."
PC Games (Games)

How Indie Devs Made an 1,800-Player Action Game Mod In Their Spare Time 87

Posted by Soulskill
from the massively-multiplayer-regular-game dept.
An anonymous reader writes "Just Cause 2 Multiplayer has been getting a lot of press lately, but this making-of feature points out how the mod raises serious questions about the games industry: if 1,800-player massively multiplayer action games are possible on one server, why did it take a group of modders to prove it? From the article: 'There’s more chaos to come. That 1,800 player limit isn’t maxing out the server or the software by any means. Foote says that the team, who first met online seven years ago playing the similar Multi Theft Auto GTA mod, are "yet to reach any real barrier or limitation preventing us from reaching an even higher player count than the previous public tests." When it’s ready, the team will release the software for everyone to download and run their own servers, wherever they are in the world.'"
AMD

AMD's Hondo Chip 'A Windows 8 Product' 229

Posted by Soulskill
from the riding-a-new-horse dept.
dgharmon points out comments from AMD's Steve Belt, who was asked about the company's upcoming Hondo APU. Hondo is their biggest attempt to date to break into the tablet market, and they're doing so with a distinct focus on Windows 8. Belt said, "This is a Windows 8 product, only. We're not doing Android on this platform, at least not now. ... It is a conscious decision not to go after Android. We think the Windows 8 space has a lot of opportunity, there's plenty of TAM [total addressable market] there for us to go at. So we don't need to spread ourselves into other markets, we think Windows 8 is a great place to start. Down the road we may look at Android, right now we're focused on Windows 8." The article adds, "With both AMD and Intel readying Hondo and Clover Trail respectively for Windows 8 and pushing their respective customers to come up with designs at roughly the same time, it will be interesting to see just how many Windows RT tablets will appear at the operating system's launch. However one thing is clear, neither AMD nor Intel will have Android x86 tablets running with their respective next generation ultra low voltage chips." Fortunately, there's nothing stopping users and manufacturers from running other OSes on Hondo.
Businesses

Are Commercial Games Finally Going To Make It To Linux? 242

Posted by Soulskill
from the yes-no-maybe dept.
colinneagle writes "Those of us who actively promote Linux as a viable desktop alternative to Windows are often greeted with the following refrain: 'Nobody will use Linux because there are no good games.' The prevailing wisdom is that the abundance of high-quality, commercial video gaming is a key factor in the market-share dominance that Microsoft Windows enjoys. And, in all reality, this is somewhat true. So, then, the obvious course of action is to convince the video game publishers and developers of the world that Linux is a viable (if, perhaps, a bit niche) market. And by 'viable' I mean one thing and one thing only – 'profitable.'Luckily, there have been three high-profile recent examples of Linux users going absolutely nuts over video games, forking over their hard-earned cash in the process: the Humble Indie Bundle (drawing in huge numbers of sales — for a DRM-free product, no less — with sales numbers by Linux users consistently beating out sales to MacOS X users); Canonical's Ubuntu Software Center (where video games make up the top 10 paid software packages); Valve's announcement that it is bringing the Steam store, and community portal, to Linux desktop (specifically Ubuntu). Will the indie game developers (along with Valve) reap the bulk of the rewards that releasing games on Linux is offering...or will some of the big publishers realize what they're missing out on and join in the fun?"
Crime

Pirate Bay Co-Founder Detained In Sweden 95

Posted by Soulskill
from the stockholm-syndrome dept.
wiredmikey writes "The co-founder of The Pirate Bay filesharing website was detained in Sweden on Friday, days after his deportation from Cambodia, officials said. Gottfrid Svartholm Warg, 27, faces a one-year prison sentence for promoting copyright infringement in his home country. His current detention is for an investigation into his involvement in the hacking of a Swedish IT firm named Logica. He was arrested in the Cambodian capital Phnom Penh on August 30 at Stockholm's behest and expelled late on Monday."
GNU is Not Unix

Bringing Free Software To a Street Near You 78

Posted by Soulskill
from the first-hit-is-free-but-so-are-all-the-others dept.
Blug_fred writes "It's that time of year again; the nights are drawing in, the leaves are beginning to turn, and literally hundreds of teams of dedicated F/OSS enthusiasts from around the world are preparing to hit the streets in celebration of Software Freedom Day 2012. In an effort to increase awareness of free and open source software among the general public, SFD teams will be standing around town centers and shopping malls, holding talks at schools and universities, giving demonstrations and handing out GNU/Linux and FOSS collections for Windows on CD. With money being tight and paranoia about malware and viruses at an all-time high, the time is right to help consumers switch to the myriad of quality open source applications available. If you would like to check for an SFD team in your area and consider attending, be it to help out or simply learn more about free software for yourself, there's an interactive map to help you find your way."
Chrome

Chrome To Get 'Do Not Track' 111

Posted by Soulskill
from the saddling-up-in-the-tracking-arms-race dept.
puddingebola tips news that support for the 'do-not-track' privacy setting will soon be coming to Google Chrome. The feature was implemented for Chromium v23.0.1266.0 in a recent revision. Google has said DNT will make it into the public release of Chrome by the end of year. This will bring Chrome up to speed with Firefox, which has had it for a while, and IE 10, which will have it turned on by default. As for why Google is the last of the three do implement it, the LA Times points out a post earlier this year from Google's Susan Wojcicki: 'There’s been a lot of debate over the last few years about personalization on the web. We believe that tailoring your web experience — for example by showing you more relevant, interest-based ads, or making it easy to recommend stuff you like to friends — is a good thing.'"
Nintendo

Can Nintendo Court the Casuals Again? 132

Posted by Soulskill
from the i-think-they'll-manage dept.
An anonymous reader sends this quote from Eurogamer: "Do you remember the last time? When the Wii launched at the tail end of 2006, it was to an air of excited curiosity that went well beyond the borders of core gamers, with Nintendo conjuring what ran close to a full-blown phenomenon. ... Nintendo's masterstroke, of course, has been resurrecting the ultimate hardcore poster girl with the announcement that Bayonetta 2 is heading exclusively to the Wii U. There's something slightly incongruous about an over-sexed, incredibly violent action game rubbing shoulders with Mario and co., but then again that's exactly what makes the proposition so very exciting. ... There's still one very important section of the market that may prove a little tougher to persuade. Right now it's harder to see the broader appeal of the Wii U, and it's not simply a case of fearing that it'll fail to replicate the success of its predecessor — there's every chance that it could endure the same rocky start that plagued Nintendo's 3DS."
IBM

Detailed Images Show Intra-Molecular Bonds 53

Posted by Soulskill
from the pretty-pictures dept.
Techmeology writes "A team from IBM in Zurich has published images of molecules that are detailed enough to show the lengths of atomic bonds. 'The IBM team's innovation to create the first single molecule picture, of a molecule called pentacene, was to use the tip to pick up a single, small molecule made up of a carbon and an oxygen atom. This carbon monoxide molecule effectively acts as a record needle, probing with unprecedented accuracy the very surfaces of atoms. It is difficult to overstate what precision measurements these are. The experiments must be isolated from any kind of vibration coming from within the laboratory or even its surroundings. They are carried out at a scale so small that room temperature induces wigglings of the AFM's constituent molecules that would blur the images, so the apparatus is kept at a cool -268C.' This allows an analysis of imperfections in the molecular structure (abstract). The team plans to use the method to examine molecules of graphene."
The Courts

Zynga Sues EA For 'Anti-competitive' Practices 116

Posted by Soulskill
from the fight-fight-fight dept.
An anonymous reader writes "In early August, Electronic Arts sued Zynga for allegedly copying EA's Sims Social game. Zynga has now launched a counterattack, suing EA for 'anticompetitive and unlawful business practices, including legal threats and demands for no-hire agreements.' The company also accuses EA of copying a Zynga game called YoVille. Zynga has also demanded a jury trial to settle EA's claims."
X

X11 Window System Turns 25 Years Old 285

Posted by Soulskill
from the old-enough-to-rent-a-car dept.
An anonymous reader writes "The widely used X11 Window System has turned 25 years old today. Version 11 of the X Window System is likely to remain in use for many years to come for backwards compatibility with the many legacy applications, BSD/Solaris systems, and Enterprise Linux distributions. Meanwhile, Wayland is still working to unseat the X Server for the common Linux desktop."
Medicine

Ultrasound Waves For Transdermal Drug Delivery 32

Posted by Soulskill
from the still-waiting-on-my-hypospray dept.
An anonymous reader writes with news of research from MIT, where engineers have found a better way to use ultrasound waves to boost the permeability of skin for the delivery of drugs. "Ultrasound — sound waves with frequencies greater than the upper limit of human hearing — can increase skin permeability by lightly wearing away the top layer of the skin, an effect that is transient and pain-free. ... When ultrasound waves travel through a fluid, they create tiny bubbles that move chaotically. Once the bubbles reach a certain size, they become unstable and implode. Surrounding fluid rushes into the empty space, generating high-speed 'microjets' of fluid that create microscopic abrasions on the skin. In this case, the fluid could be water or a liquid containing the drug to be delivered. In recent years, researchers working to enhance transdermal drug delivery have focused on low-frequency ultrasound, because the high-frequency waves don’t have enough energy to make the bubbles pop. However, those systems usually produce abrasions in scattered, random spots across the treated area. In the new study (abstract), the MIT team found that combining high and low frequencies offers better results. The high-frequency ultrasound waves generate additional bubbles, which are popped by the low-frequency waves."
Android

Google Pressured Acer/Alibaba Because of Android Compatibility Issues 255

Posted by Soulskill
from the reality-not-compatible-with-expectations dept.
An anonymous reader writes "On Thursday we discussed news that Google pressured Acer and Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba to cancel the launch of a phone running the Aliyun OS. Google has now addressed the issue, speaking out on the importance of compatibility for Android devices. Andy Rubin, who runs Android development at Google, said Aliyun was a non-compatible version of Android, which weakens the ecosystem. He pointed out that the Open Handset Alliance provides all the tools necessary to make it compatible. An Alibaba exec fired back, saying, 'Aliyun OS is not part of the Android ecosystem so of course Aliyun OS is not and does not have to be compatible with Android. It is ironic that a company that talks freely about openness is espousing a closed ecosystem.'"
Cellphones

Apple Wins Again — ITC Rules They Didn't Violate Samsung Patents 149

Posted by Soulskill
from the mercy-rule-goes-into-effect-soon dept.
An anonymous reader writes "A preliminary ruling from the International Trade Commission found that Apple did not violate four of Samsung's patents in the design of the iPhone. 'The patents in the complaint are related to 3G wireless technology, the format of data packets for high-speed transmission, and integrating functions like web surfing with mobile phone functions.' The complaint was filed by Samsung in 2011, and a final confirmation is due next January. Apple has similar claims against Samsung awaiting ITC judgment; the preliminary ruling is expected in mid-October."
Privacy

Report Hints At Privacy Problem of Drones That Can Recognize Faces 107

Posted by timothy
from the well-this-water's-just-a-bit-warm dept.
New submitter inotrollyou writes "Drones are getting more sophisticated, and will soon carry 'soft' biometrics and facial recognition software. In other news, sales of hats, tinfoil, and laser pointers go up 150%. Obviously there are major privacy concerns and not everyone is down for this." It's not just drones, either: In my old neighborhood in Philadelphia the Orwellian police cameras were everywhere, and they're being touted as a solution for crime in my Texas neighborhood, too. The report itself is more predictive than proscriptive; under U.S. law, as the Register points out, you can expect less legal as well as practical privacy protection the further you are on the continuum between home and public space.

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