close this bookVolume 7: No. 19
View the documentUS news
View the documentIndustry news
View the documentElectronic commerce
View the documentCareer jobs (in our CCJ 7.10 digest this week)
View the documentAI news
View the documentInformation retrieval

Arati Prabhakar is resigning as Director of NIST to become CTO of Raychem, following her maternity leave. Robert Hebner will continue as NIST director until a replacement is found. [Robert L. Park, WHAT'S NEW, 14Mar97.]

NSF is honoring Carl Sagan posthumously with its Distinguished Public Service Award, citing his lifetime of achievement. [pr9718.txt, . grants, 11Mar97.]

If you're interested in an administrative career, NSF's Office of Inspector General is in need of an MS/PhD Staff Scientist for Oversight. $38K-$86K. NSF Div. of Human Resource Management, 4201 Wilson Boulevard, Room 315, Arlington, VA 22230; Attn: Announcement Number EX97-9. [Peggy Fischer , 703-306-2001. ciselist, 14Mar97.]

The FTC is requesting comments about junk email/privacy, by 15Apr97. . [Russ Smith , news.admin.announce, 18Mar97. David Joslin.]

Gary McGraw agrees [TCC 7.17] that software liability will soon be a driving force in software product improvement and development. "The grace period our industry has both enjoyed and abused is about to end. In other words, here come the lawyers." Already, there are law tracks at the major computer security and software engineering conferences. Techniques of software quality assurance are becoming increasingly important. See for an IEEE Computer paper that Gary recently co-authored: "Fault Injection: A Crystal Ball for Software Quality." [, 19Mar97.]

Apple will pare its 13K workforce by several thousand, and will discontinue Pippen and certain Performas and communications products. [WSJ, 14Mar97. EDUPAGE.]

(BTW: Run a full backup first if you upgrade to Apple's System 7.6. You may lose your hard disk files if the disk was formatted with version 7.12 or older of Apple HD SC Setup. or . [Bill Park , comp.sys.mac.announce, 17Mar97.])

As Japan switches from its own analog HDTV to a US-style digital standard -- for image size and recording/editing tools, although not for broadcast technology -- it's becoming clear that government plans will have much less influence on Japanese industry than in the past. Other government-sponsored fiascos include Fifth Generation computers, the Japanese real estate boom, and a weak domestic aerospace industry. Japanese businesses are starting to say "Forget it; we'd rather sit down with some guys in the US and see what they're up to." [Jeffrey Bartholet, Newsweek, 17Mar97, p. 38.]

HP has announced a new high-resolution, low-cost printer for photo images. Printing costs about $4/page. HP is also offering a new scanner and a [Konica] digital camera. Look for HP and Kodak to profit from increasing use of graphics on the Web. [Mark R. Anderson , SNS, 02Mar97.] (For more of Anderson's predictions, see back issues of SNS at .)

HP's new TopTools software (for its Vectra computers) allows network operators to switch on and access networked computers for maintenance and upgrading. Analysts see this as a countermeasure to the touted ease of maintenance of diskless Net PCs. [IBD, 10Mar97. EDUPAGE.]

IBM is introducing a new IntelliStation line of Pentium Pro/Windows NT workstations, at $3,700 to $10K. This competes with its own RISC-based RS/6000 computers and with Compaq, HP, Dell, and others. [WSJ, 17Mar97. EDUPAGE.]

IBM is paying $50M-$80M for controlling interest in NetObjects Inc., a provider of graphical software for developing website pages. NetObjects also has partnerships with Microsoft and Netscape, and intends to support all platforms. [WSJ, 10Mar97. EDUPAGE.]

Sun Microsystems CTO Eric Schmidt is moving to Novell, as chairman and CTO. Technical cooperation between the companies is expected. [Atlanta Journal-Constitution, 19Mar97. EDUPAGE.]

Digital Equipment Corp.'s Palo Alto research group is spinning out software tools to Tracepoint Technology Inc., a San Jose start-up. The C/C++ tools were designed for Unix, but will be adapted for Windows developers -- a much bigger market of 1M programmers. Competitors include Pure Atria Corp. (Sunnyvale) and NuMege Technologies Inc. (Nashua, NH). Digital is also selling some of its object-oriented "middleware" technology to BEA Systems Inc. [Jodi Mardesich, SJM, 19Feb97, 3C.]

IBVA brainwave hardware -- impressively demoed at Macworld Tokyo -- offers direct brainwave-to-MIDI output for "thinking" new music. About $1K in Japan. . [Chuck and Linda Shotton , TidBITS, 03Mar97.]

Amazon.com, with $17M in 1996, is now facing online competition from $2.4B Barnes & Noble. Amazon is countering with a 40% discount on 700 popular titles, even though Barnes & Noble will be limited to AOL until later this Spring. . [Atlanta Journal-Constitution, 18Mar97. EDUPAGE.]

In the past 18 months, Internet usage in the US and Canada has doubled -- going from 10% to 23% of all persons over the age of 16. [Washington Post, 13Mar97. EDUPAGE.]

A survey of 10K households found that home PCs are used for Internet surfing for 12% of the time they were in use, word processing about 16%, and "futzing" with the operating system or graphic displays for 20%. (They were also sitting idle for 54% of the time they were turned on.) [NPD group. WSJ, 28Feb97. EDUPAGE.]

Sony is creating an advertising-supported entertainment channel on the Web, at . Competitors will include AOL, NBC, and Microsoft. [USA Today, 10Mar97. EDUPAGE.]

TotalNews (Phoenix) offers selected links to other websites -- such as CNN, The Washington Post, and Dow Jones -- but wraps its own frame and banner ads around the retrieved text. A US District Court in NYC will rule on whether such framing is legal. [Broadcasting & Cable, 03Mar97. EDUPAGE.]

Digital Equipment Corp. will soon begin trials of its Millicent system of charging for movie reviews, horoscopes, encyclopedia articles, highway traffic reports, stock graphs, online searches and computations, etc. [WSJ, 11Mar97. EDUPAGE.]

"A Cybrarian's Guide to Cyber-Marketing" is a website about interactive marketing ("cyber-marketing"), online advertising, and electronic commerce. . [WEBster, 15Oct96.]

Aptronix, Inc. has released its first FIDE-designed intelligent software agent for Internet commerce. FIDE is the Fuzzy Inference Development Environment, with ties to Motorola and Intel. . [Bob Zhang , comp.ai, 12Mar97. David Joslin.]

("Do you think think your refrigerator really wants to see ads and pretty pictures when it queries the grocery store inventory database?" -- Mark R. Anderson , SNS, 24Feb97.)

Rutgers U. (Newark): two CogSci profs in HCI, cognitive modeling, IT, etc.

BBN Systems and Technologies (Cambridge, MA): BS/MS SE in speech recognition.

DC area: BS/MS/PhD applied R&D in AI, NLP, ML, IR, etc.

Siemens (Princeton, NJ): PhD in IS, NLP, and IR for multimedia systems.

Spree.com (Thornton, PA): MS SEs in AI, ML for electronic commerce.

Texas: MS/PhD researcher in agents, DB, and information analysis.

Berkeley, CA: Director of Engineering in AI, intelligent agents, KR, etc.

UWestern Ontario (London, ON): prof in HCI, intelligent IS, and multimedia.

UOttawa: MS/PhD RA in KB reverse engineering.

New Brunswick Community College (Miramichi): prof in knowledge engineering, NN, etc.

ULondon: lecturer in agents and multiagent systems.

UNewcastle (UK): RA in agents for adaptive control.

UAberdeen (Scotland): PhD fellow in AI, DB, and constraint logic for knowledge fusion.

UK/Europe: R&D in pattern recognition, visualization, IT for data warehousing.

UTubingen (Germany): computational linguists for speech translation.

EVIS Technologies GmbH. (Vienna): SEs in genetic algorithms and GP.

UNewcastle (Australia): sr/jr RA in logic, AI design for nonmonotonic reasoning.

Sandia National Laboratories' agent-based Aspen economic simulation is achieving exceptional success at modeling macroeconomic data. The simulation currently has 10K "households" and 1.5K "factories," which may someday be increased to over 100K agents. One surprise was that simulated firms learned to cooperate during an economic slump. "We didn't put that into the software." [BW, 17Mar97. EDUPAGE.]

Steven Woodcock is seeking AI roundtable topics for this year's Computer Game Developer's Conference, . The roundtable sessions will continue for three days. . [comp.ai.games, 09Mar97.]

Artificial Linguistic Internet Computer Entity (ALICE) combines a natural language interface with a telerobotic camera. ALICE is written in SETL, a language based on set theory and logic developed in 1969 by Jack Schwartz and recently reimplemented by David Bacon. You can test ALICE at . [, comp.ai.nat-lang, 27Jan97.]

AI activities in Australia are listed on the home page of the Australian Computer Society National Committee for Artificial Intelligence and Expert System (ACS-AIES), . [Dickson Lukose , comp.ai, 14Oct96. David Joslin.]

The CLIPS-LIST archive contains two years of CLIPS questions. (CLIPS is a free expert system shell from NASA.) Intelligent Software Professionals has implemented a boolean full-text search engine, at (knowledge base). [, comp.ai.shells, 07Jan97. David Joslin.]

J.C.R. Licklider's vision in "Libraries of the Future" (1965) is finally coming to pass, via computers powerful enough to index documents under keyword concepts that don't appear in the text. (This is called "vocabulary switching.") NCSA has achieved the largest such classification yet, of 10M science and engineering journal articles in 1K subject areas. Digital libraries of the future may have to deal with documents in 1B repositories. [Science, 17Jan97, p. 327. EDUPAGE.] (Licklider was ARPA's first director, and believed strongly that computers should adapt to human needs instead of the other way around.)

Alta Vista says that 5M web pages, out of 30M total, haven't changed since early last year. 424K haven't changed since 1995. [WSJ, 11Mar97. EDUPAGE.] (HotBot claims 54M pages indexed, but many of those are duplicate or obsolete pointers. Alta Vista may have the most complete collection of current links.)

The ACM SIG for Management of Data is seeking nominations by 12Apr97 for its annual SIGMOD Innovations Award and SIGMOD Contributions Award. Peter Scheuermann . [dbworld, 11Mar97.]

HealthGate now offers a natural-language interface to searching MEDLINE, -- no need to learn MEDLINE's complex indexing terminology. Searching of the MDX Family Health Library is free. . [Ed Sanborn , hg-announce, 30Jan97. Bill Park.]

Commercially available natural language database interfaces include Access ELF , Appeal , and English Wizard . [Ion Androutsopoulos , comp.ai.nat-lang, 09Jan97.]

The Computer Science Bibliography Collection at UKarlsruhe has more than 530K citations updated monthly from 790 bibliographies covering 17 topics. About 20K publications are available online, and there are 1,600 links to other bibliographic sites. The AI collection includes 13K journal articles, 9K conference papers, and 5K technical reports. . [LIIN Webmaster , comp.ai, 23May96. David Joslin.]

The GP bibliography, with 622 BibTex entries on genetic programming, has moved to , and is also available through the Computer Science Bibliography Collection mirrors. Try the search interface at . [Bill Langdon , genetic-programming, 18Feb97. Bill Park.]

The AMU-NET Artificial Intelligence Repository from Adam Mickiewicz U. (Poland) is , or . [Piotr Teczynski , pl.comp.www, 16Jan97.]

In TCC 7.05, I advocated the study of quotations, epigrams, proverbs, idioms, and figures of speech as indexes into the basic analogies of our abstract thought. Roy Turner has reminded me that Chris Owen did PhD work at Yale on folk proverbs, under Roger Schank. I've also heard that Schank's Inst. for the Learning Sciences (ILS) used such metaphors to index film clips and corporate war stories. [, 21Jan97.]

-- Ken