Sunday, February 25, 2007

Computers and Go

It's long been said that while computers may routinely trounce human chess players in hte future this wouldn't be true of Go. While the rules are much simpler, the strategic options are vastly greater. Until now, perhaps:


Computers can beat some of the world's top chess players, but the most powerful machines have failed at the popular Asian board game "Go" in which human intuition has so far proven key.

Two Hungarian scientists have now come up with an algorithm that helps computers pick the right move in Go, played by millions around the world, in which players must capture spaces by placing black and white marbles on a board in turn.

"On a nine by nine board we are not far from reaching the level of a professional Go player," said Levente Kocsis at the Hungarian Academy of Sciences' computing lab SZTAKI.

They still can't work on the larger, 19x19 board used by advanced players but they're certain they can get there.

Monday, February 05, 2007

Teen Exposure to Pornography

In what might be this year's finest entry into the "No Shit, Sherlock" competition, research has found that teenage exposure to pornography is common:

About four in every 10 U.S. youngsters age 10 to 17 report they've seen pornography while on the Internet, two-thirds of them saying it was uninvited, according to a study published on Monday.

Many of the encounters with online pornography, both sought-out and accidental, were related to use of file-sharing programs to download images, the report from the University of New Hampshire in Durham said.

"Although there is evidence that most youth are not particularly upset when they encounter unwanted pornography on the Internet (it) could have a greater impact on some youth than voluntary encounters with pornography," the study said.

"Some youth may be psychologically and developmentally unprepared for unwanted exposure, and online images may be more graphic and extreme than pornography available from other sources," it added.

The report, published in the February issue of Pediatrics, the journal of the American Academy of Pediatrics, was based on a telephone survey made of a representative sample of 1,500 U.S. youngsters from March to June, 2005

I love that word "uninvited". What is hte Web for if it isn't to teach the young how it's done?


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