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Cognitive Radio and Game Theory

As our radios get smarter, they’ll be competing for overcrowded airwaves. Game theory can make them cooperate

10 min read
Cognitive Radio and Game Theory
Illustration: James Provost

Steve Jobs was unveiling the iPhone 4 at Apple’s worldwide developers conference in San Francisco last June when disaster seemed to strike. Jobs found he couldn’t connect to the conference center’s Wi-Fi network. Fortunately, his technical team rapidly pinpointed the problem. “We figured out why my demo crashed,” Jobs announced to the audience. “Because there are 570 Wi-Fi base stations operating in this room. We can’t deal with that.”

Jobs then exhorted the crowd to free up the airwaves so that he could continue. “All you bloggers need to turn off your base stations. Turn off your Wi-Fi. Every notebook, I’d like them down on the floor.” Most complied, but some refused to sever their wireless links, causing a sluggishness in connectivity that continued to dog Jobs during his presentation.

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The World’s Largest Camera Is Nearly Complete

The future heart of the Vera C. Rubin Observatory will soon make its way to Chile

3 min read
A large black cylinder with a glass lens in front rests on a sturdy white structure in a bright room.

The LSST camera, eventually bound for the Vera C. Rubin Observatory in Chile, sits on its stand in a Bay Area clean room.

Jacqueline Ramseyer Orrell/SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory

The world’s largest camera sits within a nondescript industrial building in the hills above San Francisco Bay.

If all goes well, this camera will one day fit into the heart of the future Vera C. Rubin Observatory in Chile. For the last seven years, engineers have been crafting the camera in a clean room at the SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory in Menlo Park, Calif. In May 2023, if all goes according to plan, the camera will finally fly to its destination, itself currently under construction in the desert highlands of northern Chile.

Building a camera as complex as this requires a good deal of patience, testing, and careful engineering. The road to that flight has been long, and there’s still some way to go before the end is in sight.

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Lab Revisits the Task of Putting Common Sense in AI

New nonprofit Basis hopes to model human reasoning to inform science and public policy

5 min read
ai hand and human hand touching pointer fingers
iStock

The field of artificial intelligence has embraced deep learning—in which algorithms find patterns in big data sets—after moving on from earlier systems that more explicitly modeled human reasoning. But deep learning has its flaws: AI models often show a lack of common sense, for example. A new nonprofit, Basis, hopes to build software tools that advance the earlier method of modeling human reasoning, and then apply that method toward pressing problems in scientific discovery and public policy.

To date, Basis has received a government grant and a donation of a few million dollars. Advisors include Rui Costa, a neuroscientist who heads the Allen Institute in Seattle, and Anthony Philippakis, the chief data officer of the Broad Institute in Cambridge, Mass. In July, over tacos at the International Conference on Machine Intelligence, I spoke with Zenna Tavares, a Basis cofounder, and Sam Witty, a Basis research scientist, about human intelligence, problems with academia, and trash collection. The following transcript has been edited for brevity and clarity.

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Government’s Role in Further Developing 5G Technologies and Future Networks

Learn about the impact of federally funded research on national security and the overall economy

1 min read
Anritsu

Similar to 5G, many key technology developments have been supported by government funding and institutions for years. Federally Funded Research and Development Centers (FFRDC) and University Affiliated Research Centers (UARC) have been foundational elements of this government support.

This webinar will examine the impact this research has had on national security and the overall economy. It will also discuss how these institutions have made use of testing to attain these security and economic goals. Finally, it will look at how these resources can continue to be leveraged in the further development of 5G technologies and beyond for future networks.

Register now for this webinar!

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