close this bookVolume 6: No. 37
View the documentFunding news
View the documentApplications news
View the documentInformation retrieval
View the documentLibrary science
View the documentCareer jobs (in our CCJ digest this week)
View the documentSafe computing
View the documentNow or never

NSF CISE/IRIS, NSA Office of Research and SIGINT Technology, CIA Office of R&D (ORD), and DARPA Information Technology Office (ITO) have announced a "STIMULATE" fundamental research initiative in speech, text, image, video, gesture, facial expression, handwriting, discourse and dialog phenomena, and other advanced technology for multimodal human communication. This includes degraded or noisy signals, such as from OCR or cellular telephones. "Further advances in understanding human communication may require taking advantage of the modality at the same time, or may require the development of new approaches to understanding a single modality." Multidisciplinary proposals are sought. NSF will conduct the merit review, followed by joint-agency panel evaluation. 9/1/96 deadline. NSF 96-85, from or . Gary W. Strong , (703) 306-1928. [IRLIST Digest, 5/20/96.] (NSF suggests visiting to look for work in progress by potential collaborators. Conference proceedings and online preprints (or queries to discussion groups) are other ways of locating partners. Multi-institutional proposals definitely have an advantage at NSF, as long as they aren't just "umbrella" proposals for independent work.)

A $1K Information Science Abstracts (ISA) Research Grant is awarded each year by Documentation Abstracts, Inc. (DAI) for library or information science graduate degree holders working in the primary or secondary literature of information science. Apply by 8/30/96. Signe E. Larson , 503/368-6990. [Judy Watson , IRLIST Digest, 5/13/96.]

CONACyT-List is an open discussion of the Mexican Council for Science and Technology. . [, net-hap, 5/10/96.]

Cyberware and the US Air Force have developed a body scanner for fitting military clothing and equipment. It can measure a person's size and shape in 15 seconds. [WSJ, 4/25/96, A1. NewtNews.]

Menswear designer Jhane Barnes uses a CAD program called Canvas for garment design and tailoring. She also uses MandelMovie and FractaSketch to create symmetrical and fractal pattern designs, then WeaveMaker to control a loom than can make a small fabric sample in about an hour. [Wired, 6/96. , net-hap, 5/11/96.]

There are at least four competing technologies for rapid physical prototyping, also known as "3D printing": photo-hardening of liquid polymer, sintering of sprayed metal powder, spraying melted wax or plastic, and lamination of laser-cut plastic or paper sheets. The San Diego Supercomputer Center uses the latter, forming any fist-sized prototype in under 24 hours. The prototype is similar to wood, and can be sanded, sawed, bolted, nailed, varnished or painted. They're currently working on software that can detect likely flaws (holes) in submitted designs prior to fabrication. [Chronicle of HE, 4/12/96, A25. NewtNews, 4/30/96. Bill Park.]

John Koza is offering a PostScript paper on four problems in cellular automata, molecular biology, and circuit design for which genetic programming has performed at least as well as humans. He says that genetic techniques often give you domain-independent automatic programming in which What You Want Is What You Get (WYWIWYG, pronounced "wow-eee-wig"). (Research Publications /Recent Papers). [, connectionists, 5/25/96.]

Jordan Pollack and his students have used simple hill-climbing in a 4K-parameter feed-forward network to develop a competitive backgammon evolution function. An initial champion of all zero weights was played against a slightly mutated challenger. Results show co-evolution to be a powerful machine learning method. A demo and an ALIFE 5 paper can be found on . [. Sharon Block , 5/6/96.]

IBM's Deep Blue chess computer searches about 20B moves in three minutes -- enough to check "every possible move and countermove 12 sequences ahead and selected lines of attack as much as 30 moves beyond that," but not enough to beat Kasparov. Chess masters "are doing some mysterious computation we can't figure out." [Scientific American, 5/96, p. 16. EDUPAGE.]

If you have a game engine you'd like to license for Internet use, contact Joshua Shaub , (415) 547-1410. [Mario Palumbo <>, colloq, 5/16/96. Bill Park.]

HotBot is a new parallel-processor search engine from HotWired and Inktomi. They claim to have indexed every publicly accessible word on the web, from about 50M pages. Plus email lists and Usenet newsgroups. The public beta is . [Bruno Giussani , CARR-L, 5/20/96.] (It works; I just used it to find tips on removing acrylic paint stains.)

CyberHound is a new Internet directory service from Gale Research, promising focused searches on selected "relevant sites" in 75 topic areas. "Less is more." Free until at least 8/1/96. . [Sara Burak , net-hap, 5/22/96.]

Where-Is-It offers links to selected search engines and databases, including news and stock quotes. . [net-hap, 4/4/96.]

Infoseek Personal is a free news-tracking service that "delivers a well-organized news page created just for you." . [Jennifer Wu , net-hap, 5/22/96.]

Apple will soon be offering a free CGI search engine for Mac-based web servers, called "Apple e.g." It uses the Cyberdog/System_8 V-Twin search engine to do keyword and similarity full-text searches with output sorted by relevance. A developer's kit for OEM applications will soon be available on , but won't include the full V-Twin engine. [Geoff Duncan , TidBITS, 5/20/96.]

Starting in 6/95, the SIFT filtering service from Stanford's Digital Library project will move to InReference, Inc. -- a start-up at the NASA Ames Technology Commercialization Center that will combine database technology from Oracle, search engines from Verity, servers from Sun, high-speed Internet access from Pacific Bell, and high-speed RAID storage from Storage Computer. InReference will make the SIFT functionality available through its Reference.COM service, , free of charge. This will bring a vast improvement in service, as Reference.COM offers structured search (header fields, threads, list topic, etc.) of 1K mailing lists and over 13K newsgroups (with 6-month archive!). Queries can be submitted (soon) at or by email. Costs for the service will be borne by the strategic partners and by advertising. . [Tak Yan and Hector Garcia-Molina , 5/16/96.]

Hsinchun Chen and Bruce Schatz on the Illinois Digital Library Initiative project have begun large-scale tests of document retrieval using clusters of co-occurring terms to disambiguate word senses. Two- or three-word [canonicalized] noun phrases within sentences are collected to form a graph of terms representing "all the concepts in a given subject domain." This "conceptual space" approach can expand a requested term to others that are likely to co-occur with it. Another possibility is "vocabulary switching," where terms in one subject area are mapped to similar terms in another, allowing queries in a familiar vocabulary to turn up related papers in a different field. Experiments with 3M journal abstracts and 1K subject areas are being done on supercomputers at NCSA. Results may improve as even larger collections are studied. . [Alan Beck, WEBster, 4/30/96.]

Cognito offers full-text searches of electronic encyclopedias and over 600 magazines, by subscription. . [Network News, 12/16/95.]

The UnCover database of 17K periodicals and over 8M articles can now be reached at UnCoverWeb, . [, PACS-L, 4/25/96. net-hap.]

Need a publisher address or bibliographic info for a journal or newsletter? Readmore, Inc. has placed their catalog of serial titles on the net, at . [Marilyn Geller , PACS-L, 4/25/96. net-hap.]

The Catalog of Electronic Journals has over 1800 listings. . [Network News, 12/16/95.]

ss-thesauri is for discussion of thesauri and classification in the social sciences, esp. in networked information services. Send a "join ss-thesauri your name" message to . [, new-lists, 4/15/96.]

Computing in the Humanities Working Papers are refereed publications on computer-assisted research. . [, newjour, 4/17/96.]

I don't know if it's been updated in a couple of years, but you might look for "Online Information Hunting" by Nahum Goldmann, one of our Canadian Computists. He says it's "the first book for the end-user" about researching info over the net. . [Suggested by Bill Park, 5/28/96.] (Writing a book is a great way to establish your credentials as a consultant. I wish I could find the time...)

JPL (Pasadena): BS/MS/PhD researchers in AI, ML, pattern recognition, and image understanding for space applications.

Science and Technology Corp. (Pasadena): BS/MS AI software engineer for planning and scheduling systems.

Intelligent Automation, Inc. (Rockville, MD): BS/MS control or signal processing engineer for robotics.

Motorola (Chicago): computational linguist for text-to-speech synthesis.

UHawaii/EE: 2-3 postdocs in AI for generating training scenarios.

ERIM (Ann Arbor, MI): BS/MS/PhD research engineers and scientists in statistical signal/image processing and sensor fusion.

Austin (TX) company: MS/PhD AI database/agent/KQML developer.

Intelligent Investments, Inc. (Greensboro, NC): US BS/MS/PhD applied researcher/PI in KBS, adaptive systems, autonomous agents, distributed processing, or image understanding.

Dalhousie U. (Nova Scotia): chair in Marketing Informatics.

UBirmingham/CS (UK): chair in applied CS or AI.

UAlberta/Psychology: asst. professor in cognitive neuroscience.

UCambridge (UK): postdoc RA computational linguist for parsing and lexical knowledge extraction.

UHertfordshire (UK): lecturers in psychology, including perception, human factors, social psychology, and cognitive neuropsychology or computational modeling.

UDundee (Scotland): chair in applied computing, e.g. health informatics or speech and signal processing for HCI.

Massey U. (New Zealand): 2-year postdoctoral fellowship in NN-based image processing.

Chungbuk National U. (Korea): professor of AI.

UNAM (Mexico): two postdocs in [statistical or linguistic] gene sequence analysis and computational biology.

I'm not sure if this is only in the UK, but... If you got a CD ROM with the 5/24/96 issue of MacUser, watch out for an MBDF A virus in the QuickTime VR demo movie called "Blah Blah Blah, It's QTVR" (in the AMXDigital QTVR Folder). If you activate it, your system will appear to hang for a time. Don't "force quit" or reboot to interrupt the virus, as you may lose your system folder. [Michael Wehner and Richard P. Grant ,, 5/25/96.] (The free Disinfectant 3.6 program can deal with this virus. One source is . Or use a search engine.)

If you're shutting down your computer in a sudden thunderstorm, do a "Save As" instead of just "Save." Then unplug your power strip and modem phone line. The Save As lets you recover if lightning hits during the save. [Dale Saukerson , Mac*Chat, 6/20/95.] (Also a good idea if you notice file/system corruption of any kind. My Mac once crashed after I noticed that the clock was showing the wrong time.)

For "Five Steps When Your Hard Drive Fails," see . [Digital Dispatch, 1/18/96. Bill Park.]

A demo of the Microsoft FrontPage 1.1 design tool for websites is available free through the end of 5/96. . [Network News, 5/25/96.]

If you're running Mac System 7.5 in the US, you can get a free CD ROM upgrade to 7.5.3 by calling (800) 293-6617 x984 or (408) 987-7000 before the end of 5/96. Tony Lindsey says it's a solid implementation, "something Apple did right." If you don't have a PowerMac, though, there's no pressing reason to upgrade from System 7.1. [, Mac*Chat, 5/10/96.] (This is the same as System 7.5 Update 2.0, which I believe you can download over the net.)

You can find special deals and free trials on the net by using any of the major search engines. Last night I found a limited-time trial offer of Graphics Tools! for the Mac, via a "free jpeg viewer" search on Infoseek. The standard price is more like $99. (The company did ask for my name and address so they could mail me add-on offers.)

-- Ken