AI-MAS 2010

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Two weeks ago I preferred the sleeping wagon of CFR instead of the driver seat of my car so I could travel to Bucharest where the AI-MAS Winter Olympics event took place and where Ropardo was one of the invitees. The reason I’m writing this so late is because just yesterday I came back from my vacation that started right after. Perfect excuse right ?:) Anyway, about the event now.

This was organized by the Automatics and Computers Faculty of Bucharest and was dedicated to Artificial Intelligence activities, research, products and many other. It had three main parts:

  • Workshop on Real Life AI Applications – a workshop dedicated to AI subjects where the invitees talked about their affairs in this domain, making predictions for the future or simply presenting possible solutions to different problems
  • AI-MAS Village – a trade fair where invitees presented their products and students from different faculties presented their study programs
  • Crafting Quest

I’m not going to bother you with all the information that you can find o their official web site, instead I’m going to write an overall impression of the whole event.

When I got there, around 9 o’clock the main hall was full of people that were either waiting for the conference to start or were there just for the expositions. Beside stands of BitDefender, Kaspersky, IBM, Thales who were pretty much trying to promote their products or recruit students, where were a few stands from students of UPB (“Politehnica” University of Bucharest) who had some interesting stuff. They had some small robotic cars that know how to follow a road. The road was a black line on a white background floor and using sensors they could do it. The idea was to see what car completes the a circuit faster. Pretty interesting. Also the whole time there has a small robotic car that moved around the village’s floor and avoided our feet.

In the workshop the most interesting speeches were of Cătălin Coşoi – BitDefender, Costin G. Raiu – Kaspersky Lab and Andrei Alexandrescu – Facebook.

The first two talked about using AI approaches in Anti-virus and Anti-Spam systems in order to automatically detect new virus signatures and spam messages from valid messages. By the way, I found out that natural intelligence will be completely emulated on machines around year 2040. (Or at least that is what Ray Kurzweil says in his work “The Singularity Is Near”).

Andrei Alexandrescu talked about how things work at Facebook. It’s amazing if you think that the second most visited website in the world (Facebook with +400 milion users, after Google of course) is maintained only by 320 engineers.
“Learn math !” that what he also said, because math seems to appear in the first plan of Artificial Intelligence research. As data becomes more and more abundant and information needs to be retrieved fast it looks like we’re going to need math and especially statistics to do this fast. I don’t know if it’s so true but there is something inside that tells me to believe him.

I also had a short talk there where I presented them the research activities that take place at Ropardo. Of course all they were interested in was the Artificial Intelligence – Intelligent Agents field.

The Crafting Quest contest was won by the Dummies team. This “team” was actually only one student which wrote the whole algorithm for the game creatures in a week. At least that’s what he said. My opinion is that he really deserved it. The second place went to Master of Puppets team, which was my favorite by the way, and the third by Waterfox. Sibiu teams were unfortunately eliminated from the first round.

The overall impression is that AI starts to re-gain importance in IT and IT research as computing power becomes widely avaliable and is enough now to implement very complex algorithms.

Before 7 o’clock in the evening I left the place and had time to reflect about everything I saw there in the sleeping wagon of CFR on my way back home :)

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