Friday, May 18, 2012


I got a phone call from the ESU campus police at 1:00 AM last night.  They said "science hall had 2 inches of water in it."  If so I figured that the planetarium was completely under water again!  I've also had small "floods" (more like leaks) in the past when some cooling line or other broke on one of my plasma experiments.  Usually I'm on site when such an event occurs. This morning I went in early with a pair of old shoes and extra socks.  Turns out that someone was doing plumbing in several of our students labs late yesterday.  Somehow they caused a sink in my plasma lab to overflow sending some water into my office as well.  Fans have dried up a lot of the water but I will have to throw out more than a dozen books that were on the floor.  I'll replace some of those.  I also had 3 old conference posters that are wet and will be discarded. I am not sure about the condition of the older "tower" computer under my desk.  It was old but still in service. (I tend to do different things on different machines.)  The surge protectors and computer cords under my desk seem to be OK.  I'm writing this on my desktop. A couple of piles of books had been knocked over, perhaps in the cleanup work.  This caused a few more books to be wet.  Time will be the biggest loss.

Monday, May 14, 2012

More Asa H. 2.0

There are many versions (>100) of Asa H .  The following is a "light" version in C++ that was developed with the help of Patrick Devlin at Rutgers University.

Friday, May 11, 2012

A more practical sort of interstellar travel?

Various radio messages have been beamed toward nearby stellar systems.  I contributed to one a couple years ago.  (My contribution was a warning to anyone who got the message.  I warned of humankind's rather imperfect value system.)  But perhaps we should send the complete digital description of the human genome.  Or perhaps those of various humans.  Along with this would be an attempt to explain what the message is.  One might hope the recipients could then construct human beings at their end from atoms available there.  Perhaps spaceships aren't needed. And perhaps a larger fraction of the space budget should be spent on seti. As a hedge against global catastrophe we should begin to send such signals now.

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Roomba again

My roombas like to go under my bed and try to eat the electric blanket and lamp cords.  This sometimes traps the roomba.  It would be quite hard to make a cord detector and avoidance system. Asa H wouldn't help here. Once again, roomba works well but only in a clean, simple environment. This is a common and fundamental issue with current AI.

Friday, May 4, 2012

Asa H 2.0's ancestral descent

Asa (autonomous software agent) is my AI project which began in about 1994-95. Asa F 1.0 was built from artificial neural networks (in an architecture like that of Richard Sutton's thesis, 1984) and early results were published in Trans. Kansas Acad. of Sci., vol. 100, num. 3-4, pg 85, 1997.  Results from a version built from case-based reasoners, Asa F 2.0, were presented in Trans. Kansas Acad. of Sci., vol. 102, num. 3-4, pg 117, 1999 and Trans. Kansas Acad. of Sci., vol. 107, num. 1-2, pg. 32, 2004.  A hierarchical version, Asa H 1.0, was described in Trans. Kansas Acad. of Sci., vol. 109, num. 3-4, pg. 159, 2006.  The current Asa H 2.0 versions (see my 2011 book "Twelve Papers") employ revised representations (see my 22 Nov. 2010 blog) and have made use of parallel compution. An open source  "lite" version of Asa H 2.0, with a fair amount of documentation, is presented in my 10 Feb. 2011 blog. Many experiments with these Asa packages have been reported in my various publications since 1995.

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Plasma/fusion energy research

A colleague asked me why I was no longer doing plasma/fusion research.  I could have answered that there was some original plasma/fusion work published in my book "Twelve Papers" just last year, in October 2011.  But the plasma/fusion work presented in that book was some of the oldest work in a volume that took many years to write. So my answer instead was that in the united states support for plasma physics and magnetic fusion energy has declined substantially since the early 1980s.  (It's true inertial confinement spending went up but some of that must be considered military research, not plasma/fusion energy.)