Look Out, Beckham: Here Come the Robots

At the "World Cup" for robots, the talk is that one day the humans on the pitch are going to get a run for their money

4 min read

T-minus 10 minutes till kickoff, and everyone's set to go—the athletes are finishing their warm-up laps and the officials are huddling in pre-game conferences on the sidelines. Suddenly, the smell of burnt rubber and fried circuits fills the air. This can only mean one thing: A key player has just gone down.

At the 2006 RoboCup (http://www.robocup.org) in Bremen, Germany, these kinds of electronic mishaps were par for the course—along with kamikaze-swift attack passes to rival any Pelé feat. Billed as the tech equivalent of soccer's FIFA World Cup, the event, which took place from 14-18 June, showcased the cream of the artificial-intelligence crop. Thousands of competitor robots from 36 different countries competed in an array of divisions from ”small” to ”middle-sized” to ”four-legged.” The premise driving the RoboCup, now in its tenth year, is that robotic critical-thinking skills are best honed and demonstrated on pool table-sized playing fields.

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Why Functional Programming Should Be the Future of Software Development

It’s hard to learn, but your code will produce fewer nasty surprises

11 min read
A plate of spaghetti made from code
Shira Inbar

You’d expectthe longest and most costly phase in the lifecycle of a software product to be the initial development of the system, when all those great features are first imagined and then created. In fact, the hardest part comes later, during the maintenance phase. That’s when programmers pay the price for the shortcuts they took during development.

So why did they take shortcuts? Maybe they didn’t realize that they were cutting any corners. Only when their code was deployed and exercised by a lot of users did its hidden flaws come to light. And maybe the developers were rushed. Time-to-market pressures would almost guarantee that their software will contain more bugs than it would otherwise.

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