One of Canada's largest system engineering projects has moved forward another step. According to the Ottawa Citizen, pilots and technicians will begin training on the Cyclone helicopter in August.
Researchers at University of Illinois at Chicago have IQ-tested M.I.T.'s ConceptNet 4 and found it's as smart as a 4-year-old. It did well on vocabulary and recognition of similarities, but did poorly on the comprehension tests. Essentially, it had difficulty with the 'why' questions.
Although ConceptNet 4 isn't ready to run an air traffic control system, artificial intelligences will play increasingly key roles in future systems engineering solutions. Simple feedback or algorithms won't be enough to control and manage our most complicated systems. Systems engineers need to follow the development of this technology and be ready to integrate it when it is ready.
In this TED Talk, Rodney Brooks explores how we will need robots to address coming demographic changes. As the number of working-age adults decline and retirees increase we're going to need robots to help us, but for this to work we need robots that can be programmed by anyone, not just highly skilled specialists. It's a challenge that all system engineers face when creating complex systems for public use.
[Image from: http://www.ted.com/talks/rodney_brooks_why_we_will_rely_on_robots.html]
SpaceX is developing a vertical takeoff and landing prototype named Grasshopper. The intent is use these as booster rockets that returns to the launch pad after separation rather than burning up in the atmosphere, or falling into the ocean. The latest video shows the unmanned rocket lifting off, going up about 325m then returning to the launch pad. And if that wasn't cool enough, all the footage was taken by a remotely controlled hex-copter. [Image from SpaceX video]
There was good news yesterday as the Harper government announced a five year, $531-million contract extension to repair and upgrade Canada's submarine fleet. The contract was won by Babcock Canada Inc. and much of the work will be done at the department of national defence's Fleet Maintenance Facility in Esquimalt. (Photograph by: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:HMCS_Victoria_SSK-876_near_Bangor.jpg)
In any complex system high availability and fault recovery is important. NETFLIX is pursuing a novel approach call the Simian Army which intentionally stresses a live system to increase resiliency. ACMQueue has an interesting article on it.