Ever since the robot dog K-9 appeared in Doctor Who in the 1970s, geeks of a certain age have fantasized about having a metallic sidekick that does most things a real dog would do but doesn’t need to poop and can beat them at chess.
Why is machine vision a hard problem? As humans, we look at a dog and we see the dog. That’s all there is to it. Surely making machines that do the same isn’t that hard, right?
It actually turns out to be one of the toughest problems around, because that ‘simple’ seeing we do is in fact managed by our brains more than our eyes – and the brain is, well, the most complex object in the universe.
England’s Bletchley Park, famous for its World War II codebreaking success, is about to put on display some of the actual Nazi messages it decrypted. Bletchley’s National Museum of Computing houses a working replica of the five-tonne ‘Colussus’ decryption engine, of which 10 were in use at the peak of the wartime codebreaking effort. The ‘original and freshly discovered’ messages will be available for visitors to marvel at.
The first ever bug bounty program was launched in 1983. The prize for finding a bug in the software? A Volkswagen Beetle (a bug – geddit?). Such is the pressure on software firms to produce vulnerability-free code that they will offer cash rewards to white hat security researchers who can find and report flaws. Bug-hunting has become an industry, and anyone with the right smarts can try for a slice of the bug bounty pie.
Smart cities aim to provide their residents with improved public services and better quality of life by investing in digital technologies. They also emphasize community involvement in the running of the city. With the key stakeholders (citizens) participating more directly in matters of infrastructure, mobility, environment, sustainability and economy, their city functions better and serves their needs and desires more efficiently. Digital technology aids citizens by providing real-time monitoring of services and utilities, and the ability to respond to changing needs in real time.
Last year courseindex.com featured a story about a new centre for cyber security at Bletchley Park in the UK, a ‘Hogwarts for hackers’ designed to recruit the best young minds in I.T. in the fight against cyberterrorism and other computer-based threats to national security.