AI News, MIT Finally Does Some Useful Research With Beer Delivering Robots
MIT Finally Does Some Useful Research With Beer Delivering Robots
This is because beer is the answer to the question that everyone always asks about researchers about their robots, which is: “That’scool, butwhat does it do?” If you can somehow answer that question with, “It brings me beer,” people immediately understand the value and importance of your research (and by extension robotics in general), no matter what it actually is.
The problem theMIT researchers aretrying to solve is how to get teams of robots working together intelligently in situations where one robot might not have a very good idea of what another robot is doing: in other words, situations where communications might be unreliable, which includes most situations outside of the nuclear-powered Wi-Fi that probably exists in your lab.
The key difference is the use of what is known as afinite state controller rather than a policy tree: while a policy tree can be thought of as a series of “if this thing happens, do this other thing” rules,a finite state controller is based on a high-levelmodel of the problem to be solved, and it focuses on results, rather than details of execution.
This makes it much easier for the robot to develop a plan based on different situations;in effect, theMacDec-POMDP planner can automatically generate controllers for the robots that maximize the utility and efficiency of a multi-robot team, even if each individual robot has a different amount of uncertainty that it’s dealing with.
Operations research, or operational research in British usage, is a discipline that deals with the application of advanced analytical methods to help make better decisions. Further, the term 'operational analysis' is used in the British (and some British Commonwealth) military as an intrinsic part of capability development, management and assurance.
Operational research (OR) encompasses a wide range of problem-solving techniques and methods applied in the pursuit of improved decision-making and efficiency, such as simulation, mathematical optimization, queueing theory and other stochastic-process models, Markov decision processes, econometric methods, data envelopment analysis, neural networks, expert systems, decision analysis, and the analytic hierarchy process. Nearly all of these techniques involve the construction of mathematical models that attempt to describe the system.
Since that time, operational research has expanded into a field widely used in industries ranging from petrochemicals to airlines, finance, logistics, and government, moving to a focus on the development of mathematical models that can be used to analyse and optimize complex systems, and has become an area of active academic and industrial research. Early work in operational research was carried out by individuals such as Charles Babbage.
His research into the cost of transportation and sorting of mail led to England's universal 'Penny Post' in 1840, and studies into the dynamical behaviour of railway vehicles in defence of the GWR's broad gauge. Percy Bridgman brought operational research to bear on problems in physics in the 1920s and would later attempt to extend these to the social sciences. Modern operational research originated at the Bawdsey Research Station in the UK in 1937 and was the result of an initiative of the station's superintendent, A.
Early in the war while working for the Royal Aircraft Establishment (RAE) he set up a team known as the 'Circus' which helped to reduce the number of anti-aircraft artillery rounds needed to shoot down an enemy aircraft from an average of over 20,000 at the start of the Battle of Britain to 4,000 in 1941. In 1941, Blackett moved from the RAE to the Navy, after first working with RAF Coastal Command, in 1941 and then early in 1942 to the Admiralty. Blackett's team at Coastal Command's Operational Research Section (CC-ORS) included two future Nobel prize winners and many other people who went on to be pre-eminent in their fields. They undertook a number of crucial analyses that aided the war effort.
The reason was that if a U-boat saw an aircraft only shortly before it arrived over the target then at 100 feet the charges would do no damage (because the U-boat wouldn't have had time to descend as far as 100 feet), and if it saw the aircraft a long way from the target it had time to alter course under water so the chances of it being within the 20-foot kill zone of the charges was small.
In 1967 Stafford Beer characterized the field of management science as 'the business use of operations research'. However, in modern times the term management science may also be used to refer to the separate fields of organizational studies or corporate strategy. Like operational research itself, management science (MS) is an interdisciplinary branch of applied mathematics devoted to optimal decision planning, with strong links with economics, business, engineering, and other sciences.
Management science is concerned with developing and applying models and concepts that may prove useful in helping to illuminate management issues and solve managerial problems, as well as designing and developing new and better models of organizational excellence. The application of these models within the corporate sector became known as management science. Some of the fields that have considerable overlap with Operations Research and Management Science include: Applications are abundant such as in airlines, manufacturing companies, service organizations, military branches, and government.
These include: The International Federation of Operational Research Societies (IFORS) is an umbrella organization for operational research societies worldwide, representing approximately 50 national societies including those in the US, UK, France, Germany, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Philippines, India, Japan and South Africa. The constituent members of IFORS form regional groups, such as that in Europe. Other important operational research organizations are Simulation Interoperability Standards Organization (SISO) and Interservice/Industry Training, Simulation and Education Conference (I/ITSEC) In 2004 the US-based organization INFORMS began an initiative to market the OR profession better, including a website entitled The Science of Better which provides an introduction to OR and examples of successful applications of OR to industrial problems.
- On Tuesday, January 22, 2019
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