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AIC News Items

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AI and Special Ops Technology: EOD Tools - 2008-03-19
SRI International, an R&D organization based in Menlo Park, Calif., has been doing research and developing team-based systems in which large collections of robots work together on tasks. “One of these involves developing a framework for the coordination of one-hundred or more ground robots to search for suspicious objects and to do it in way that the collective behavior is greater than sum of its parts,” said Charlie Ortiz, program director in robotics in SRI’s artificial intelligence laboratory. Robotic actors in such a scenario require interoperability in the form of a common communications language, Ortiz emphasized. “Agents must be able to share information valuable to the mission if it is to succeed,” he said. Jointness, for Ortiz, is important when the separate services consider resource sharing. “If the services each have pools of robotic resources, they probably won’t be happy with them if they are working completely independently,” he said. “If they want to share resources, then you need to grapple with the notion of how they are to work together. If the Army needs 10 extra robots and the Marines can spare them, there should be some way to get help by borrowing.” But such a scenario is unlikely to succeed unless the two services have joint requirements and interoperable systems.
Karto SDK in now available for public beta - 2008-01-10
SRI International has released the robotic software development kit (SDK) in beta test. The Karto SDK is now available for download for Windows MSRS, Linux and Mac OS X.
SRI’s CALO Project Tackles AI - 2007-12-05
While it’s not the artificial intelligence made popular by science-fiction writers like Dick and Asimov, CALO looks to be genuinely helpful to its targeted end-users, government agencies and possibly business. The PAL project is aimed at military use, but future packages or derivatives of CALO could be very helpful to business professionals that are constantly on the move by helping them schedule meetings and prioritize information. Read more!
Software that Learns from Users - 2007-11-30
A massive AI project called CALO could revolutionize machine learning. Read what Technology Review (published by MIT) said about CALO.
Artificial Intelligence Center sponsors SRI’s World Wide Web Consortium membership - 2007-10-30
SRI’s Artificial Intelligence Center (AIC) has sponsored SRI’s membership since October 2004 in connection with SRI’s DAML research project. The DAML (DARPA Agent Markup Language) program involved a unique collaboration between DARPA and W3C to create the vision and initial technology for the Semantic Web. In that program, SRI’s project team made important contributions. Among others, SRI played a leading role in the development of two seminal technologies for Semantic Web Services: the Web Ontology Language for Services (OWL-S) and the Semantic Web Services Language (SWSL). Both technologies became W3C member submissions. These efforts were led by David Martin, Senior Computer Scientist in the AIC. If you are interested in participating in any W3C activities, or need further information about SRI’s W3C membership, feel free to contact David Martin, who serves as our primary representative at the W3C. To learn more about the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C), visit
Bootstrapped learning beats AI - 2007-09-04
SRI International recently has won the role of system integrator for a new approach to AI funded by the Defense Advanced Research Project Agency (Darpa). Called Bootstrapped Learning, the initial phase begins immediately, funded by a $10 million, 15-month plan to develop the cornerstone for the program: a learning system called Phased Learning through Analyzing, Teaching and Observation (Plato). If all phases of the development program are completed, up to $27 million will be invested in the program by Darpa over the next 3 1/4 years. (Visit Link for more info)
SRI to Lead Development of PLATO . . . - 2007-08-27
SRI International, an independent, nonprofit research and development organization, today announced that the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) has awarded an SRI-led, multi-organization team an initial $10 million, 15-month (Phase 1) contract to develop a learning system called Phased Learning through Analyzing, Teaching and Observation (PLATO). PLATO is a major component of DARPA’s newly formed program called Bootstrapped Learning. The total value of the effort, if all phases of the development program are completed, could be up to $27 million over 3.25 years. The SRI-led team will deliver a domain-independent electronic ‘student’ that can be taught and can learn in human-like ways. SRI will serve as the systems integrator, focused on integrating all development tools so that they function effectively and seamlessly within the PLATO system. “Our team will deliver a domain-independent electronic 'student' that can be taught and can learn in human-like ways,” said Tom Garvey, Ph.D., associate director of SRI's Artificial Intelligence Center. “SRI will serve as the systems integrator and will focus on integrating all development tools so that they function effectively and seamlessly within the PLATO system.” “Despite advances in programming environments, knowledge acquisition, and learning methodologies, we have limited methods for domain experts to convey their expertise to a machine,” said Ray Perrault, Ph.D., director of SRI’s Artificial Intelligence Center. “Our overarching challenge is to enable a computer to build models that assimilate and interpret a teacher’s guidance in the context of what it already knows. Achieving this goal entails creating solutions for learning from incomplete and inconsistent instruction, managing ambiguous interpretations, and learning from a variety of types of instruction.” The PLATO system will be designed to accept natural instruction, determine why it is being told this information, reason about the implication of the instruction in the context of what it already knows, and reflect upon it to further refine it when necessary. The highly modular PLATO system will be accessible to anyone interested in trying out new learning modules. Researchers and developers can choose to replace single components or the entire system. The Bootstrapped Learning Program will also release a set of diverse test environments, including Space Station Diagnosis, UAV flight control, Robocup soccer, and battlefield control. The system is expected to help launch a new field of research in “instructable systems” centered on techniques to allow computer systems to be directly extended, modified and adapted in the field by subject matter experts. In today’s rapidly changing environments, such systems should be cheaper and easier to maintain and adapt to new situations and requirements and — more importantly — faster to update and deploy. The SRI-led PLATO team brings together many widely recognized AI research leaders from universities and companies with expertise in machine learning and associated technologies necessary to realize DARPA’s goals. SRI will serve as lead systems integrator on the collaborative project. SRI’s partners in the project include Boeing, Stony Brook University, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, University of Maryland Baltimore County, University of Massachusetts, University of Southern California, University of Texas at Austin, University of Washington, and University of Wisconsin–Madison. PLATO and Bootstrapped Learning are important additions to a portfolio of large, SRI-led technology integration programs that includes: DARPA’s PAL program (Personalized Assistant that Learns), DARPA’s GALE program (Global Autonomous Language Exploitation), the AURA program (Automated User-centered Reasoning and Acquisition), and others. SRI draws on expertise in technologies, systems, and program management from across its organization to lead teams of companies and universities and solve the most challenging problems in information science and technology today. About SRI International Silicon Valley-based SRI International ( is one of the world’s leading independent research and technology development organizations. Founded as Stanford Research Institute in 1946, SRI has been meeting the strategic needs of clients for more than 60 years. The nonprofit research institute performs client-sponsored research and development for government agencies, commercial businesses, and private foundations. In addition to conducting contract R&D, SRI licenses its technologies, forms strategic partnerships, and creates spin-off companies.*A1186398000000*B1188350752000*DgroupByDate*J2*L1*N1000837*Z%22SRI%22&newsLang=en&beanID=202776713&viewID=news_view_popup
AIC releases its robotic mapping software: Karto - 2007-04-17
We are pleased to announce the availability of a Web-based mapping system based on AIC's SLAM technology.
"A Smarter Web" - CALO in the News - 2007-03-12
MIT Technology Review reported that SRI's CALO (Cognitive Assistant that Learns and Organizes) program is applying semantic techniques to filter and analyze new data for business applications.
Shakey selected for Robot Hall of Fame - 2004-07-12

SRI International's “Shakey The Robot” Selected as Robot Hall of Fame Inductee

Pioneering Robot to Join Select Group of Famous Robots from Science and Science Fiction

MENLO PARK, Calif. -- July 12, 2004 -- SRI International, an independent nonprofit research institute, today announced that Carnegie Mellon University has selected SRI's pioneering “Shakey” robot for induction into the Robot Hall of Fame™. Shakey and four other celebrated robots will be honored in a ceremony on October 11 at the Carnegie Science Center in Pittsburgh, Pa. Shakey was the first autonomous mobile robot capable of sensing its environment and then navigating its own course.

“SRI's Shakey was a true pioneer, showing that truly autonomous robotic behavior was feasible long before anyone else,” said James Morris, Ph.D., professor of Computer Science and dean of the West Coast Campus of Carnegie Mellon University.

“Shakey was the project that put the SRI Artificial Intelligence Center on the map,” said Ray Perrault, Ph.D., AI Center director. “It really was fundamental, not only to robotics but to AI in general.”

SRI International's Artificial Intelligence Center (AIC) developed Shakey over a six-year period beginning in 1966. The first mobile robot to visually interpret its environment, Shakey can locate items, navigate around them, and reason about its actions. Named for its erratic and jerky style of movement, Shakey stands six feet tall and is equipped with a TV camera, a triangulating range finder, bumpers, and a wireless video system. Today, the robot resides in the Computer History Museum in Mountain View, Calif.

“The mission of the Robot Hall of Fame is to credit the work of the early pioneers in robotics, such as SRI, and heighten public awareness of this science which has so many possibilities for helping people well into the future,” said Rodney Brooks, Ph.D., director of MIT's Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory. Dr. Brooks serves on the jury charged with selecting the robots inducted each year. “I'm so pleased to see Shakey's substantial legacy and influence on today's work in artificial intelligence and robotics recognized through this honor.”

This year's robots were selected by a jury with backgrounds in technology, science fiction and entertainment including Steve Wozniak, co-founder of Apple, Inc.; Sir Arthur C. Clarke, writer and futurist; and Ruzena Bajcsy, a roboticist at the University of California, Berkeley.

Four other robots join Shakey as Robot Hall of Fame 2004 inductees: ASIMO, developed by Honda Motor Co. Ltd., the world's most advanced humanoid robot; Astroboy, the Japanese animation of a robot with a soul; C3PO, a character from the “Star Wars” series; and Robby the Robot from MGM's “Forbidden Planet.” The Mars Pathfinder Sojourner Rover, Unimate, R2-D2, and HAL 9000 were inducted at the first annual induction ceremony in 2003.

The School of Computer Science at Carnegie Mellon University established the Robot Hall of Fame ( in 2003 to honor landmark achievements in robotics technology and the increasing contributions of robots to human endeavors. Two categories of robots are honored in the Robot Hall of Fame: Robots from Science -- which have served a useful function and demonstrated real skills in accomplishing the purpose for which they were created -- and Robots from Science Fiction. Shakey enters into the Hall of Fame this year in the Robots from Science category.

The SRI Shakey project was led by the late Charles Rosen. Other major contributors include Nils Nilsson, Alfred Brain, Bertram Raphael, Richard Duda, Peter Hart, Richard Fikes, Richard Waldinger, Thomas Garvey, Jay Tenenbaum, and Michael Wilber. To view the historical Shakey documentary, visit

Full news release at

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