UVM roboticist wins major national science award

first_imgUniversity of Vermont,For his work to understand how to build better robots, Joshua Bongard, a researcher at the University of Vermont, has received the highest award given by the US government to young scientists.UVM roboticist Josh Bongard will go to Washington D.C. to meet President Obama and receive the government’s highest award for young scientists. (Photo: Sally McCay)On September 26, President Barack Obama announced Bongard as one of 94 winners of the Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers; he will be honored at a White House ceremony in October.Bongard is only the second researcher in UVM history to receive the PECASE award, which provides $500,000 in research funds over several years.Inspired by evolutionBongard’s far-reaching work looks to nature for ideas. ‘The goal is to borrow ideas from neuroscience and evolution to help us build better and more intelligent robots,’ he says. So far, scientists have had little success in building resilient machines that can continually perform behaviors that are fairly simple but require ongoing adaptation to changing conditions ‘ like paving a road or cleaning up a toxic dump.But Bongard is on a mission to make them.‘The prevailing approach to create such machines is to copy physiological and neurological systems observed in animals, and build them into robots,’ Bongard notes. ‘This raises the issue however of what, from among the infinitude of existing biological structures, should be copied.’Instead of guessing, Bongard has innovated systems in which computer programs copy the dynamics of biological evolution and replay them in a virtual space with numerous generations of synthetic creatures ‘ something like a highly sophisticated video game.The resulting algorithm yields ideas for robots that have optimized their neurological structures ‘ and their behaviors and body plans ‘ over many generations of being tested by virtual evolution, instead of human guesswork.With these ideas in hand, Bongard and his students can then build actual robots in their workshop that are adaptable and capable of responding to novel challenges.‘My long-term goal is to give back to neuroscience and evolutionary biology, to give us a different tool to investigate: why does intelligence evolve?’ Bongard says. ‘Under what conditions will intelligence evolve? Could we ever consider a machine to be intelligent, or is intelligence something limited to biological organisms?’Presidential visionRecognizing this kind of innovative work, the PECASE awards ‘embody the high priority the Obama Administration places on producing outstanding scientists and engineers to advance the Nation’s goals, tackle grand challenges, and contribute to the American economy,’ the White House wrote in a press release.In 1996, the National Science and Technology Council was commissioned by President Clinton to create a program that would support and honor outstanding scientists and engineers early in their research careers ‘ from this council came the PECASE award.Each year, more than a dozen federal departments and agencies nominate scientists and engineers whose early accomplishments ‘show the greatest promise for assuring America’s preeminence in science and engineering and contributing to the awarding agencies’ missions,’ the White House press office wrote.‘It is inspiring to see the innovative work being done by these scientists and engineers as they ramp up their careers ‘ careers that I know will be not only personally rewarding but also invaluable to the Nation,’ President Obama said in the White House release. ‘That so many of them are also devoting time to mentoring and other forms of community service speaks volumes about their potential for leadership, not only as scientists but as model citizens.’An innovatorBongard, an assistant professor of computer science in UVM’s College of Engineering and Mathematical Sciences, was one of 21 nominees presented by the National Science Foundation for the most recent round of awards.Bongard’s research has received national and international attention, and has been featured in Wired magazine, the Boston Globe, The Voice of America, Popular Science, and many other outlets. He also received a fellowship from Microsoft Research in 2007 for research related to self-healing robots ‘ one of five given nationwide. He was named by MIT as one of the world’s top innovators under 35.Bongard will travel to Washington, D,C., Oct. 13-14, to receive the award and will attend three ceremonies cumulating with a recognition ceremony at the White House with President Obama.‘This award allows me to continue with my basic scientific research, but it also allows me to create tools that draw many people into my research beyond my graduate students,’ Josh Bongard says. ‘Through this award, we’re developing a web interface that will allow people to perform evolutionary robotics experiments without having a background in evolution or robotics.” UVM. 9.27.2011last_img read more

Eagles Football Club remains flawless

first_imgEAGLES Football Club of Stewartville continued to put away their opposing counterparts as rivalry in the GFF/NAMILCO Thunderbolt Flour Power U-17 Intra Association League, West Demerara Football Association leg continued on the weekend.Led by the joint leading goal scorers in this second round of the two-round league, Eagles sailed to a comfortable 6-1 triumph over Hurry-ATE FC at the Uitvlugt Community Centre Ground, bettering their first round result which was 3-1.Telbert Baptiste, now with five goals, blasted a hat-trick in Saturday’s win; he was on target in the 25th, 36th and 55th minute. Troy Skeete, whose tally in this round is also five goals to date, scored in the 45th minute. The other goals were scored by Kareem Harris (20th) and Francis Persaud (42nd).Hurry-ATE, which had taken the lead in the 12th minute when Joshua Jack found the back of the nets, couldn’t find the target again for the remainder of the match.Uitvlugt Warriors were gifted their first win of the round, thanks to the no-show of Wales United.The lone match on Sunday at the Goed Fortuin Ground produced a stalemate between Pouderoyen and Den Amstel which battled to a 2-2 draw. The result brought Den Amstel’s first point of the round. Pouderoyen had jumped into the lead in the 7th minute when Ezekiel Guppy scored but Jamal Robinson netted the first of his double for Den Amstel in the 26th minute to level things up.Robinson found the back of the nets once again in the 52nd minute to hand Den Amstel the lead but that advantage was cancelled out in the 75th minute when Jarrel Phoenix converted for Pouderoyen to ensure an equal share of the spoils.The Uitvlugt Community Centre Ground will host a triple header on Saturday from 10:00hrs when the home team, Uitvlugt Warriors, match skills with Pouderoyen, followed two hours later by a clash between Eagles and Wales United. The final match brings together Den Amstel and Hurry-ATE from 14:00hrs.last_img read more

Monday February 17th Local Sports

first_imgESTHERVILLE — — NIACC’s Christian Minto was named the most outstanding wrestler at Sunday’s National Junior College Athletic Association’s Central District Tournament at Estherville as the Trojans will send nine wrestlers to the national tournament. The top-ranked Minto beat Iowa Central’s second-ranked Ashton Eyler 9-6 to claim the 165 pound title. Tony Mendoza was NIACC’s other title winner, picking up a 3-2 win over top-ranked Cardionte Wilson of Ellsworth at 149 pounds. Also for the Trojans, Brock Luthens finished second at 133; Holton Truax finished third at 197; and finishing fourth were Hunter Luke at 141, Kendall Sandifer at 157, Cody Klettheimer at 174, and Reldon Miller at 184. All of those wrestlers as well as Clarence Lee-Green at 125 will wrestle in the national tournament in Council Bluffs on March 6th and 7th. MASON CITY — 37 area wrestlers have qualified for this week’s state tournament in Des Moines after finishing first or second at district tournaments on Saturday:== For Mason City High, they qualified three from the 3A District at Fort Dodge. Jace Rhodes and Cullan Schriever won the 113 and 126 pound titles while Colby Schriever finished second at 145.== Clear Lake had one qualifier from the 2A District at Algona as Sam Nelson finished second at 126. Osage qualified six wrestlers for state, while Forest City had five, Hampton-Dumont-CAL two and Garner-Hayfield-Ventura one from the Algona district.== Charles City qualified four wrestlers from the 2A meet in New Hampton.== At the 1A District in Denver, West Hancock had three champions and three runners-up in qualifying six to the state tournament. Lake Mills had 11 wrestlers at the district tournament but wound up only qualifying three wrestlers to state. Central Springs and North Butler-Clarksville each had two, while Northwood-Kensett and West Fork each had one. MONDAY NIGHT:AM-1300 KGLO, kgloam.com — Mason City High boys vs. Charles City — 7:30 Northwood-Kensett (1)220 — Gideon Rollene DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — Anthony Murphy posted career highs scoring 20 points and grabbing 13 rebounds and Drake beat Evansville 85-80. Evansville led 40-34 at halftime before Drake started the second half with a 13-0 run and never trailed again. Sam Cunliffe’s 3-pointer with a minute to go brought the Purple Aces within 72-76 but the Bulldogs made all eight of their foul shots in the last 46 seconds. Cunliffe led Evansville with 25 points. North Butler-Clarksville (2)170 — Kolben Miller285 — Chet Buss AMES, Iowa (AP) — Michael Jacobson scored a season-high 21 points, Solomon Young and Prentiss Nixon added 17 points apiece, and Iowa State dominated struggling Texas for an 81-52 victory. The Cyclones (11-14, 4-8 Big 12) never trailed and started the second half with a 9-0 run, building a commanding 46-26 lead. Courtney Ramey scored a season-high 21 points to lead Texas (14-11, 4-8), which fell behind by double digits with 9:01 left in the first half and trailed by as many as 30 points. — other girls tournament scores from Saturday== 1A Region 2AGWSR 56, North Iowa 19== 1A Region 3Janesville 53, Rockford 48== 3A Region 3Hampton-Dumont-CAL 62, Iowa Falls-Alden 34== 2A Region 2Lake Mills 50, Central Springs 35== 2A Region 3Belmond-Klemme 61, Eagle Grove 37== 2A Region 4West Fork 35, Sumner-Fredricksburg 34 Garner-Hayfield-Ventura (1)160 — Jared Shaw Osage (6)120 — Nick Fox 126 — Joe Sullivan132 — Averee Abben138 — Ryan Adams160 — Zach Williams 170 — Spencer Mooberry Clear Lake (1)126 — Sam Nelson MINNEAPOLIS — Luka Garza scored 24 points as the 21st-ranked Iowa Hawkeyes finished the game on an 11-0 run to win at Minnesota 58-55 on Sunday afternoon, as you heard on AM-1300 KGLO. Iowa coach Fran McCaffery.The Hawkeyes won despite being without starting guard C.J. Fredrick, who was sidelined with an ankle injury.The Hawkeyes appeared to be in trouble when the Gophers used an 8-0 run to take a 55-47 lead. Connor McCaffery finished with six points and seven assists.Iowa is now 9-6 in the Big Ten and 18-8 overall. Iowa hosts Ohio State on Thursday Hampton-Dumont-CAL (2)138 — Carl Barkema145 — David Cornejo == Class 2A (19)Charles City (4)182 — Caden Collins195 — Jack Sindlinger220 — Tino Tamayo285 — Chase Crookscenter_img == Class 3A  (3)Mason City (3)113 — Jace Rhodes126 — Cullan Schriever145 — Colby Schriever Lake Mills (3)138 — Dalton Thorson152 — Casey Hanson160 — Elijah Wagner West Fork (1)106 — Kale Petersen CLEAR LAKE — Clear Lake used a 17-2 run at the end of the first quarter to control Garner-Hayfield-Ventura and pick up a 57-46 win in a Class 3A girls regional quarterfinal round contest in Clear Lake on Saturday night, as you heard on AM-1490/96.7-FM KRIB and kribam.com. Sara Faber had 17 points while Chelsey Holck added 13 to lead the Lions, who are now 20-2 on the season and will host Forest City on Wednesday night in the Region 2 semifinal round. Forest City outscored Humboldt in the middle two quarters 28-15 in a 52-41 win. Wednesday night’s game starts at 7 o’clock in Clear Lake. CHICAGO (AP) — Keith Clemons tossed in 25 points, Cameron Krutwig scored 21 and Loyola Chicago clamped down in overtime to beat Northern Iowa 82-73. Clemens sank 8 of 12 shots from the floor, including 5 of 8 from 3-point range, for the Ramblers (18-9, 10-4 Missouri Valley Conference). Krutwig buried 10 of 19 shots and added 11 rebounds for his seventh double-double of the season. Green topped the Panthers (22-4, 11-3) with 19 points, but he made just 8 of 23 shots, including 3 of 11 from beyond the arc. == Class 1A (15)Central Springs (2)113 — Clayton McDonough120 — Bryce McDonough IOWA CITY — The 17th ranked Iowa Hawkeye women shot 55 percent and made 10 three pointers in a 97-71 win over Wisconsin. It was the Hawks’ 34 straight win at home. Iowa coach Lisa Bluder.Kathleen Doyle had 22 points. The Hawkeyes are 12-3 in the Big Ten and are off until next weekend.Mason City native Makenzie Meyer scored 13 points and handed out three assists. SIster Megan Meyer played the final two minutes and scored two points. Forest City (5)113 — Kellen Moore120 — Brock Moore152 — Kristian Gunderson182 — Reece Moore285 — Austin Kelso Here’s the list of area state qualifiers: — 1A and 2A boys basketball teams have first-round district games tonight:== 1A District 3Northwood-Kensett at Central Springs== 2A District 5 at Garner6:30 — Clarion-Goldfield-Dows vs. Eagle Grove8:00 — Belmond-Klemme vs. Garner-Hayfield-Ventura MASON CITY — The Newman girls used a 26-2 first quarter to beat Northwood-Kensett 60-19 in a Class 1A girls regional first-round game on Saturday night, as you heard on AM-1300 KGLO and kgloam.com. Hailey Worman and Kealan Curley both had 13 points to lead the Knights in the victory. Newman is now 13-9 and will travel to Bishop Garrigan on Tuesday night for a 1A regional quarterfinal that you’ll hear on KGLO starting at 7 o’clock. West Hancock (6)152 — Bryer Subject170 — Matthew Francis182 — Cole Kelly195 — Tate Hagen220 — Tanner Hagen285 – Chandler Redeniuslast_img read more

Inside Conditions…Numbers Game

first_imgWhy, why do these so-called NFL “experts” continue to preach to and praise themselves as the greatest sports minds since the days of ancient Athens? At least in the times of Socrates they kept their journalistic integrity intact by honestly keeping track of and considering most all of the numbers.  I was browsing the net on a particularly boring and uneventful night and lo and behold I staggered upon the preseason NFL power rankings posted on espn.com.  Whoa Nellie, don’t close the barn doors. We had better open them wide because the barn is on fire!  Please allow “Swami Brey” to instruct you how to apply the “Dr. Vinnie Boom Boom” Las Vegas numbers formula honestly, without hype or smoke evaluation of the NFL teams and their preseason and regular season “positions.”  Oh, by the way, Dr. “Boom Boom” was the physician that would cure you of a particular ailment but his antidote would more than likely kill you thereby eliminating the need for any additional medication.According to the power rankins, the Steelers were ranked #1 on defense and #21 on offense.Twenty-one and one equals twenty-two, divided by two, equals eleven. Pittsburgh is projected to occupy the spot at #16, which is five spots lower than where “Swami” figures they should be.There is no way in Hades that the Steelers should have been ranked lower than #11 as far as the 2013 preseason rankings are concerned.  The team that held the #15 spot at the time that the rankings were published was the St. Louis Rams.  Although the Rams show great promise with their young QB Sam Bradford and as well as a few of their additional 2013 draft picks, they are still far too young to be considered a serious threat to make a run at a NFL championship.   The recent loss of wide receiver Mike Wallace to free agency and the season, maybe career ending shoulder injury to Plaxico Burress leaves a few huge question marks in regards to the passing offense of the Black and Gold.I am ready, more than “Freddy” for the season to get underway and to see, really see what “Dem Dere Stillers” are going to do for the 2103 campaign.   Against the Giants last night in the pre-season opner, the Steelers won the toss and began the game moving the ball pretty well. But again, instead of using a screen pass or a quick out to get close to the first down, an illegal man downfield penalty caused Pittsburgh to have to re-punt at which point the punt was blocked giving the New York Giants first and goal.  But ya, know what boys’and girls’? The much maligned Steelers defense held NY to a field goal. So much for worrying about the “Big Nasty D” at least for the first series of the season anyway.  “Big” Ben Roethlisberger called two timeouts with 5:05 still remaining in the first quarter. You would expect that sort of indecision or non recognition of defensive coverage’s to be expected from some of the rookie or second year quarterbacks in the NFL not a time tested QB such as Roethlisberger.  Eli Manning thentossed a 57 yard TD to wide receiver Victor Cruz. I am still a bit unclear as to who was responsible for the initial coverage but it appears that Steelers cornerback William Gay may have been the culprit to allow Mr. Cruz to “cruise to freedom.”  But enough of the “play-by-play jargon.”What I saw from the Steelers offense and defense was encouraging. Are the Steelers as talented on offense and defense as they were in 2013? Well that is a loaded question because they may be better on defense and offense. The Pittsburgh squad is at least more youthful and speedier on both sides of the ball. Will their inexperience hurt them or help them?The crystal ball of “Swami Brey” remains a bit cloudy on that issue because; “only time can give you experience and getting experience takes time.”  Man that was deep, wasn’t it?Anyway, the heir apparent of departed James Harrison’s outside “backer” spot had better be a bit more “sportsman-like in light of the two unsportsmanlike conduct penalties called on him in the first half of the game. Elaborate on Worilds, aggression cannot evolve into plays stupid plays after the whistle. Rookie Linebacker Jarvis Jones (Courier Photo/Julio Torres) LaRod Stephens-Howling’s dad Rod Howling with Aubrey Bruce at Steelers Training Camp.last_img read more