Collaborating Authors


How Much Does GM's Electric GMC Hummer EV Truck Cost Vs Tesla's Cybertruck?

International Business Times

General Motors (GM) has finally taken the wraps off its 2022 GMC Hummer EV as it looks to take on Tesla's (TSLA) Cybertruck. While the two trucks will rival each other in the electric truck market, they have distinct differences that may sway consumers one way or the other. GM is selling the first edition of the GMC Hummer EV for $112,595 in contrast to Tesla's Cybertruck, which has a price range of $39,900 to $69,900, depending on the motor configuration. The Cybertruck's self-driving system is another $8,000 more while GM's includes Super Cruise – a driver assist feature – on the Hummer EV. GM said it will begin production of the GMC Hummer EV in late 2021 at its Detroit-Hamtramck Assembly Center in Michigan.

Neural Network Filters Weak and Strong External Stimuli to Help Brain Make "Yes or No" Decisions


A University of Michigan-led research team has uncovered a neural network that enables Drosophila melanogaster fruit flies to convert external stimuli of varying intensities into a "yes or no" decision about when to act. The research, described in Current Biology, helps to decode the biological mechanism that the fruit fly nervous system uses to convert a gradient of sensory information into a binary behavioral response. The findings offer up new insights that may be relevant to how such decisions work in other species, and could possibly even be applied to help artificial intelligence machines learn to categorize information. Senior study author Bing Ye, PhD, a faculty member at the University of Michigan Life Science Institute (LSI), believes the mechanism uncovered could have far-reaching applications. "There is a dominant idea in our field that these decisions are made by the accumulation of evidence, which takes time," Ye said.

Open-Source Leg: The Quest to Create a DIY Bionic Limb


If you wanted to cover a large distance and had the world's best sprinters at your disposal, would you have them run against each other or work together in a relay? That, in essence, is the problem Elliott Rouse, a biomedical engineer and director of the Neurobionics Lab at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, has been grappling with for the best several years. Rouse, an engineer, is one of many working to develop a control system for bionic legs, artificial limbs that use various signals from the wearer to act and move like biological limbs. "Probably the biggest challenge to creating a robotic leg is the controller that's involved, telling them what to do," Rouse told Digital Trends. "Every time the wearer takes a step, a step needs to be initiated. And when they switch, the leg needs to know their activity has changed and move to accommodate that different activity. If it makes a mistake, the person could get very, very injured -- perhaps falling down some stairs, for example. There are talented people around the world studying these control challenges. They invest years of their time and hundreds of thousands of dollars building a robotic leg. It's the way things have been since this field began."

Study couples do not grow to look alike but finds people choose those with similar facial features

Daily Mail - Science & tech

It is a phenomenon that has fascinated scientists for decades – couples tend to look alike over time. The idea first surfaced in 1987, when researchers from the University of Michigan studied proposed that years of shared emotions resulted in closer resembles due to similar wrinkles and expressions. Now, a team from Stanford University is taking another look at the theory and found that people do not grow to look like their significant other, but choose them because of their similar facial features. The findings suggest that people search for a mate with the same features just as they do when it comes to finding a mate with the same values and personality traits. A team from Stanford University is taking another look at the theory and found that people do not grow to look like their significant other, but choose them because of their similar facial features.

With to-do list checked off, U.S. physicists ask, 'What's next?


As U.S. particle physicists contemplate their future, they find themselves victims of their own surprising success. Seven years ago, the often fractious community hammered out its current research road map and rallied around it. Thanks to that unity—and generous budgets—the Department of Energy (DOE), the field's main U.S. sponsor, has already started on almost every project on the list. So this week, as U.S. particle physicists start to drum up new ideas for the next decade in a yearlong Snowmass process—named for the Colorado ski resort where such planning exercises once took place—they have no single big project to push for (or against). And in some subfields, the next steps seem far less obvious than they were 10 years ago. “We have to be much more open minded about what particle physics and fundamental physics are,” says Young-Kee Kim of the University of Chicago, chair of the American Physical Society's division of particles and fields, which is sponsoring the planning exercise. Ten years ago, the U.S. particle physics community was in disarray. The high-energy frontier had passed to CERN, the European particle physics laboratory near Geneva, where in 2012 the world's biggest atom smasher, the Large Hadron Collider (LHC), blasted out the long-sought Higgs boson, the last piece in particle physicists' standard model. Some physicists wanted the United States to build a huge experiment to fire elusive particles called neutrinos long distances through Earth to study how they “oscillate”—morph from one of their three types to another—as they zip along. Others wanted the country to help push for the next big collider. Those tensions came to a head during the last Snowmass effort in 2013, and the subsequent deliberations of the Particle Physics Project Prioritization Panel (P5), which wrote the road map. U.S. researchers agreed to build the neutrino experiment, but make it bigger and better by inviting international partners. They also decided to continue to participate fully in the LHC, and to pursue a variety of smaller projects at home (see table, below). The next collider would have to wait. Most important, DOE officials warned, the squabbling and backstabbing had to stop. In fact, physicists recall, the 2013 process had an informal motto: “Bickering scientists get nothing.” ![Figure][1] CREDIT: PARTICLE PHYSICS PROJECT PRIORITIZATION PANEL REPORT (2014) Physicists have just started to build the current plan's centerpiece. The Long-Baseline Neutrino Facility (LBNF) at Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory (Fermilab) in Illinois will shoot the particles through 1300 kilometers of rock to the Deep Underground Neutrino Experiment (DUNE) in South Dakota, a detector filled with 40,000 tons of frigid liquid argon. LBNF/DUNE, which should come online in 2026, aims to be the definitive study of neutrino oscillations and whether they differ between neutrinos and antineutrinos, which could help explain how the universe generated more matter than antimatter. “The angst in the neutrino community is a lot lower than it was last time,” says Kate Scholberg, a neutrino physicist at Duke University. “The DUNE program will be going on at least into the 2030s.” However, researchers are already thinking of upgrades to the $2.6 billion experiment, she notes. In other areas, the future looks less certain. The last time around, for example, scientists had a pretty clear path forward in their search for particles of dark matter—the so-far-unidentified stuff that appears to pervade the galaxies and bind them with its gravity. Researchers had built small underground detectors that searched for the signal of weakly interacting massive particles (WIMPs), the leading dark matter candidate, bumping into atomic nuclei. The obvious plan was to expand the detectors to the ton scale. Now, two multi-ton WIMP detectors are under construction. But so far WIMPs haven't shown up, and scaling up that technology further “is probably not going to work very well anymore,” says Marcelle Soares-Santos, a physicist at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor. “So we need to think a little bit more out of the box.” Researchers are now contemplating a hunt for other types of dark matter particles, using new detectors that exploit quantum mechanical effects to achieve exquisite levels of sensitivity. A perennial question for the field is what the next great particle collider will be. The obvious need is for one that fires electrons into positrons to crank out copious Higgs bosons and study their properties in detail, says Meenakshi Narain, a physicist at Brown University. But possible designs vary. Physicists in Japan are discussing such a Higgs factory in the form of a 30-kilometer-long linear electron-positron collider. Meanwhile, CERN has begun a study of an 80- to 100-kilometer circular collider. China has plans for a similar circular collider. However, Vladimir Shiltsev, an accelerator physicist at Fermilab, says those aren't the only potential options. “The real picture is much murkier.” Snowmass organizers have received at least 16 different proposals for colliders, including one that would smash together muons—heavier, unstable cousins of electrons—and another that would use photons. Snowmass participants should consider all options, Shiltsev says. Joe Lykken, Fermilab's deputy director for research, suggests physicists could even push for DOE to support a massive experiment that has nothing to do with particles: a next-generation detector of gravitational waves, spacetime ripples set off when massive objects such as black holes collide. Their discovery in 2015 by the Laser Interferometer Gravitational-Wave Observatory (LIGO) opened a new window on the universe. LIGO consists of two L-shaped optical instruments with arms 4 kilometers long in Louisiana and Washington; it was built by the National Science Foundation. The next generation of ground-based detectors could be 10 times as big, and might better fit DOE, which specializes in scientific megaprojects, Lykken says. “It starts to sound like the kind of thing that the DOE would be interested in and maybe required for,” he says. During the coming year, Snowmass participants will air the more than 2000 ideas researchers have already proffered in two-page summaries. Then, a new P5 will formulate a new plan. Whatever ideas scientists come up with, to execute their new plan they'll have to maintain the harmony that in recent years has made their planning process an exemplar to other fields. “Being unified is the new norm for us,” quips Jim Siegrist, DOE's associate director for high energy physics. “So we have to continue to keep a lid on divisiveness and that'll be a challenge.” [1]: pending:yes

Museum Exhibits Aim to Educate About AV


Oct. 6, 2020--Partners for Automated Vehicle Education (PAVE) held a Sept. 23 webinar on promoting autonomous vehicle technology. The guest speakers, Lucinda Yuen with Ford Motor Company, and Rebecca Posner with the Center for Connected Autonomous Vehicles (CCAV) in the United Kingdom, spoke about AV museum exhibits that they'd helped create. Both exhibits aim to get people comfortable with the idea of AV technology and to inform the public about the power, versatility, and potential of the tech. The exhibits are at the Michigan Science Center in Detroit, and the Science Museum in London. Both are interactive exhibits that allow people to engage with and learn from the technology in a personal way.

Collaborative Language Grounding Toward Situated Human-Robot Dialogue

AI Magazine

To enable situated human-robot dialogue, techniques to support grounded language communication are essential. One particular challenge is to ground human language to robot internal representation of the physical world. Although copresent in a shared environment, humans and robots have mismatched capabilities in reasoning, perception, and action. Their representations of the shared environment and joint tasks are significantly misaligned. Humans and robots will need to make extra effort to bridge the gap and strive for a common ground of the shared world.



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Fran Allen

Communications of the ACM

Frances E. Allen, an American computer scientist, ACM Fellow, and the first female recipient of the ACM A.M. Turing Award (2006), passed away on Aug. 4, 2020--her 88th birthday--from complications of Alzheimer's disease. Allen was raised on a dairy farm in Peru, NY, without running water or electricity. She received a BS degree in mathematics from the New York State College for Teachers (now the State University of New York at Albany). Inspired by a beloved math teacher, and by the example of her mother, who had also been a grade-school teacher, Allen started teaching high school math. She needed a master's degree to be certified, so she enrolled in a mathematics master's program at the University of Michigan.

Michigan driver arrested after pulling 'Dukes of Hazzard' stunt over Detroit bridge

FOX News

Fox News Flash top headlines are here. Check out what's clicking on A Michigan man was arrested Wednesday night after apparently jumping a Detroit drawbridge in "Dukes of Hazzard" fashion, according to multiple reports. The Allen Park driver, 26, was behind the wheel of a Dodge sedan when he accelerated and attempted to cross the Fort Street bascule bridge around 7 p.m. on Wednesday -- as it was rising. "I looked, I said, 'No he ain't,'" drawbridge operator Andre Locke told Detroit's WDIV-TV.