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3 Free Stanford Courses

August 28, 2011 Leave a comment

Intro to AIIn a bold experiment in distributed education, Stanford University is offering 3 free online courses:

Over 125,000 people already signed up for the 10-week AI course.

Stanford University is offering a free online course in Artificial Intelligence (AI) taught by Peter Norvig (Google’s Director of Research and author of the classic AI textbook) and Sebastian Thrun (Stanford professor and winner of the DARPA Grand Challenge).  The course is an experiment in an idea called “massive open online courses” where anyone with an Internet connection can take classes without paying tuition.  The online course will run in tandem with the physical class from October to December with online students watching the same lectures, completing the same assignments, and taking the same exams as their Stanford counterparts.  Online students will not receive credit or formal recognition from the university—but they will receive grades for their assignments and exams, and those who complete the course online will get certificates created by the professors.

More than 135,000 people have already signed up for registration notification.  The professors are recommending students buy the class textbook, which is co-written by Mr. Norvig, and dedicate at least 10 hours a week to the course, which Stanford considers an intermediate-level class that requires some mathematical and programming knowledge.  Online enrollment ends Sept 20th and a certificate is being provided upon successful completion of the course.

Here are related links:

 

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Categories: Uncategorized

May Meeting for Virtual IEEE (May 7th)

Here are some of the topics for the May Meeting of the Virtual IEEE in Second Life:

We have 3 primary topics for this month’s meeting:

  1. National Robotics Week (April 9-17, 2011): The IEEE Computer Society would like to thank all who helped make these virtual events such a great success this year.   We welcome discussion at this meeting on “Lessons Learned” from doing the presentations, competitions, robot hunt, social media marketing (Twitter, Facebook, and Flickr), use of online publishing apps (Google Calendar and WordPress), and other activities from our support of this Real Life event for National Robotics Week (http://www.nationalroboticsweek.org).  We ask that critiques focus on aspects to help us move forward for future events by helping get to the elements that worked best and what improvements could make future Virtual IEEE events of even greater value and reach.  One aspect we’re still trying to achieve is to bring more real life IEEE member to take part in events.  Here are some post:

    NRW items we’ll want to discuss at the meeting:Removing the robot exhibits?  Does anyone need to take pics or do more publicity or should we have these removed from the sims now?  If no more documentation is needed, we can ask people to remove their exhibits from the sandboxes on IEEE and IEEE 2 sims.   Maybe we could pick a date (ni a week or so) to have the owners remove them by or they would be returned to the creators’ inventories by the sim owner.Plato Pizzicato comments on this year’s NRW: In regards to things to consider for any event next year, “We could use more planning time and have more people helping out with events — for example, it would be good to have an event moderator for each scheduled event who is not participating or judging, but can handle issues such as technical problems, annnouncements, etc.   Overall though, everything went very well this year.  I can provide more detials at a later time.”

    Stats on Virtual IEEE National Robotics Week 2011: We increased traffic a good bit.  We used XD Fusion’s virtual assitants to track visitors with notifications by email and created a WordPress site: https://virtualieee.wordpress.com  Here are the quick stats from National Robotics Week:
    * 246 clicks on the green gear hints counter for the Robot Hunt
    * Over the last 7 days, the daily average of visitors to the AILC was: 67 avatars
    * Average visitors per presentation: 20-30 avatars
    * For the whole week, we had 656 visitors to the AILC between 4/9-4/17 with daily breakouts shown below:
    o April 9th = 91
    o April 10th = 96
    o April 11th = 110
    o April 12th = 95
    o April 13th = 60
    o April 14th = 35
    o April 15th = 44
    o April 16th = 83
    o April 17th = 42 (but that was only up till 3:22 pm SLT)
    We did have a rather difficult time getting people for the buildoffs even with 100,000 Lindens in prizes.  Perhaps for our next event, we could by planning a bit more in advance be able to announce what the prizes are up front and do more marketing socially in the areas that would bring the best participants from Second Life and the real world IEEE members.

  2. Planning for cGames (July 27-30, 2011): We will start planning for this real world event that takes place this year in Kentucky (http://www.cgamesusa.com).  LOM Runner has stated us out on planning this event and will update us on the road ahead.  The main aim of the conference is to bring together researchers, games developers, sound, graphics, video, and animation developers, education and training industry, and students from around the world to exchange ideas on design methods, research and development, and programming techniques that are beneficial to the computer games industry and academia. For each event the theme has been chosen to reflect the major changes in the way in which digital games are developed and played.
  3. IEEE sims: Looking forward, we would like to start discussions about virtual world analytics for tracking user visitation and interaction on the IEEE sims.  As Events like cGames, National Robotics Week, and others bring more people to the IEEE Island Sims, we will want to look at how people interact with the sims and how well suited the builds are for that interaction to allow form to follow function to maximize usage.  One technology we are trying is the free Proximity Sensor 2.4 sensor from Maya Realities (http://www.mayarealities.com/).

Meeting Loction:  Artificial Intelligence Learning Center (AILC) on the IEEE 2 sim in Second Life
Meeting Time:
First Saturday of the Month: May 7, 2011 with socializing starting at 8 am (SLT/PDT) and meeting at 9 am (SLT/PDT)

Categories: IEEE, SecondLife, Uncategorized

Slideshares with Audio from National Robotics Week in Second Life

April 26, 2011 Leave a comment
Here are summary slideshows with audio from many of the presentations done in Second Life for National Robotics Week:
 

Penn State’s Educational Robotics Projects and Exhibits

Slideshow | Original Blog

Chinese Language and Cultural Training Bots

Slideshow | Original Blog

Exploring the Caverns of the Moon

Slideshow | Original Blog

Class in Artificial Intelligence Markup Language

Slideshow

Scalability and Environmentally Intelligent AI Agents

Original Blog

Categories: Uncategorized

Post Event Followup on National Robotics Week in Second Life

April 19, 2011 Leave a comment
  • Press Pack Compilation and Publications Distribution – April 17-30
  • IEEE Computer Society Debrief and Planning for NRW 2012
  • Next IEEE Regular Public Meeting – 8-9 AM SLT (Social hour) – 9-10 AM SLT (Meeting), Saturday, May 7
  • Would you like to help organize next year? Are you or your companies interested in sponsoring next year? If so please attend!
Categories: Uncategorized

IEEE National Robotics Week Competion Results

April 18, 2011 Leave a comment

National Robotics Week had 3 Competitions in Second Life:

Watch the slideshow of images on  Catch images on Flickr

Home Robot Design Challenge

1st Place: Entry 2 by Krahazik Zaytsev (30,000 lindens)
2nd Place: Entry 3 by johnny adjani (5,000 lindens)
3rd Place: Tie between Entry 1 by Starlight  Harbour and Entry 6 by Celestiall Nightfire (2,000 Lindens each)
Honorable Mention: Entry 4 by Swann Jie and Entry 5 by Jamesly Haroldsen (1,000 Lindens each)
(Total entries = 6)

Rover Buildoff

1st Place: Entry 4 by Quincy Dagger (30,000 Lindens)
2nd Place: Entry 1 by Isis Gaelyth (5,000 Lindens)
3rd Place: Entry 2 by Krahazik Zaytsev (2,000 Lindens)
Honorable Mention: Entry 3 by Jannah Reich, Entry 5 by Tanglecosm Steamweaver, Entry 6 by Blue Aboma, Entry 7 by Adluna Dagger (1,000 Lindens each)
(1,000 Lindens each)

Rover Challenge

1st Place: Tanglecosm Steamweaver – Time:  11:15 – 11:25 EST for 10 minutes (10,000 Lindens)
2nd Place: Arno Carnot- 10:48- 11 PM EST  for 12 minutes (4,500 Lindens)
3rd Place: Tomkin Euler- 9:41 -10:21 EST for 40 minutes (4,500 Lindens)

All the funds donated by our sponsors were given away in these competitions – and all IEEE organizers donated their time and were unpaid

Categories: Uncategorized

Sponsors of NRW in Second Life

April 17, 2011 Leave a comment

Thank Our Sponsors

If you enjoyed this week’s events, please take a moment to thank our sponsors!

Diamond Sponsors

  • Avvenimenti Iblei magazine – Asia Connell
  • Private Donation – Maccus McCullough
  • RM Ellingson Design & Development LLC – rogere Resident

Gold Sponsors

  • Archivopedia LLC – Archivist Llewellyn
  • Private Donation – Universa Vanalten

Silver Sponsors

  • Confederated Response Force – patrick Thorkveld
  • Sonalysts Studios – Joey Aboma
  • National Space Society – Ariel Miranda
  • Anya’s Enterprise – Anya Heberle

Bronze Sponsors

  • Yoske Analytics, Inc. – Mobius Overdrive & Ainsley Fizir
Categories: Uncategorized

Chinese Language and Cultural Training Bots

April 16, 2011 Leave a comment
Chinese Island Restaurant

Chinese Island Restaurant

Xilin Yifu talked about the Chinese Studies Program at Monash University that has taken existing concepts and integrated them into task-based language and culture lessons. They are working on PhD thesis on teaching language and culture in virtual worlds. The working title is “Getting Immersed in Chinese.”

The role of non-player characters (bots) in task-based language and culture learning

Automated non-player characters (NPCs) are common to many computer / video games and many digital learning environments, performing both a ‘scaffolding’ function and an interactive function.  Bots are also common in VWs like Second Life, both of the prim-bot kind and the avatar-bot kind and with varying levels of functionality.  Chatbots are likewise common in many 2D and 3D environments, and while providing some degree of interactivity, it is often limited, unfocussed and of a circular nature.

The Chinese Studies Program at Monash University has taken some of these existing concepts and integrated them into task-based language and culture lessons. A system of avatar-bot NPCs with a range of standard SL functions (give, rez objects, move) has been developed in combination with an AIML chatbot database tailored to the needs of the Chinese language and of the pedagogical goals of the lessons. One unique feature of this combination is actions/functions that are activated from within the AIML program itself, allowing for these actions or functions to occur as a natural part of the dialogues between learner and NPC. In addition, the NPCs are also able to interact with a number of other ‘tools’ developed within the Second Life environment especially for our lessons. Finally, a method for logging learner and NPC interaction has been developed for post-lesson review and data gathering.

These NPCs perform a number of key roles in terms of classroom management (especially with large numbers of learners inword at the same time), providing learners with focused ‘naturalistic’ linguistic and cultural interaction, providing them with opportunities for ‘meaningful’ communication, acting as gatekeepers for key stages of a particular task, providing learners with key artefacts required to complete the set task, and providing scaffolding technically and with lesson content.

The above features (technical and pedagogical), as well as the advantages and disadvantages of using such a system, will be discussed in detail during the presentation. Examples from actual lessons will be offered to illustrate how the NPC system is used in practice, with an exemplar machinima of one particular lesson to be shown.

Web: http://www.virtualhanyu.com

When: Saturday, April 16, 2011 @ 5pm (SLT/PDT)

Where: http://slurl.com/secondlife/Monash%20University%202/201/166/26

Xiaohong Fang helps SunTzu

Xiaohong Fang helps SunTzu

Bio

Scott Grant [Xilin Yifu] is a graduate of Monash University with Bachelor of Economics and a Master of Translation Studies degrees. He is currently working on his PhD thesis on teaching language and culture in virtual worlds. The working title is “Getting Immersed in Chinese”.

Prior to commencing his teaching and academic career at Monash University, Scott spent 7 years living, studying and working in China.

Kaylee (xilin.yifu)

Kaylee (xilin.yifu)

Scott has taught Chinese language and culture at tertiary level for more than ten years. He also taught translation (Chinese<>English) for a number of years at post-graduate level and is a professionally qualified translator. He has been developing and implement language and culture lessons and a Chinese-themed learning environment in Second Life for the last two and a half years.

Scott has developed a Chinese-themed virtual leaning environment in Second Life on Chinese Island at Monash University 2. In line with constructivist / social-constructivist education principles, this environment has been purpose designed for the learning of Chinese language and culture both synchronously and asynchronously. In language acquisition terms, the environment constitutes a ‘rich mediated interactive environment’ that together with the purpose-designed lessons, lesson content and pedagogy are integrated into the existing formal undergraduate curriculum. The virtual environment & associated lessons are also closely integrated with Moodle, both directly via Sloodle and in parallel. The ‘environment’ also includes a sophisticated non-player character system that has been purpose-designed and developed and used in a range of lessons to date. Both the general environment and the NPC system are under ongoing development and collaboration and suggestions warmly welcomed.

Categories: Uncategorized