时间:2019年06月17日 10:58:29

Science and technology科学技术Marine biology海洋生物Flea market跳蚤市场A newly discovered virus may be the most abundant organism on the planet一种新发现的病毒可能是地球上最丰富的物种。WHAT is the commonest living thing on Earth?地球上最常见的生物是什么?Until now, those in the know would probably have answered Pelagibacter ubique, the most successful member of a group of bacteria, called SAR11, that jointly constitute about a third of the single-celled organisms in the ocean.直到现在,那些很专业的人可能会说是遍在远洋杆菌—细菌群中最成功的细菌,称为大洋微小细菌,占了海洋单细胞有机体的三分之一。But this is not P. ubiques only claim to fame, for unlike almost every other known cellular creature, it and its relatives have seemed to be untroubled by viruses.但是,这不是它成名的原因,因为它和它的亲戚不像其它大部分已知的细胞生物,它们似乎是些不会给你造成麻烦的一族。As Jonathan Swift put it in a much-mised poem, So, naturalists observe, a flea/Hath smaller fleas that on him prey.就像乔纳森-斯威福特的一首诗表达的一样—虽然这里引用很不贴切,所以,物学家们观察,正在捕食的跳蚤/小跳蚤们。Parasites, in other words, are everywhere.换句话说,寄生虫无所不在。They are also, usually, more abundant than their hosts.通常,它们的数量也远远多于它们的寄主。An astute observer might therefore have suspected that the actual most-common species on Earth would be a flea that parasitised P. ubique, rather than the bacterium itself.精明的观察者可能因此会猜测,地球上真正最常见的特种是一种跳蚤—寄生的遍生远洋杆菌,而不是细菌本身。The absence of such fleas has puzzled virologists since 1990, when the SAR11 group was identified.自从1990年研究SAR11组群以来,病毒学家对没有发现这种跳蚤—即以所谓攻击细菌的噬菌体的形式存在—而感到很困惑。Some thought the advantage this absence conferred explained the groups abundance. But no.一些人认为没有发现这种组群的好处解释了它们之所以大量存在的原因。但是,事实不是这样的。As they report in this weeks Nature, Stephen Giovannoni of Oregon State University and his colleagues have discovered the elusive phages.正如本周自然杂志上刊登的一样,俄勒冈州立大学的斯蒂芬尼-乔凡诺尼和他的同事们发现了这种难以发现的噬菌体。Swifts wisdom, it seems, still holds good.看起来,斯威福特的智慧仍旧闪闪发光。Tracking down a particular virus in the ocean makes finding a needle in a haystack look a trivial task.与在海洋中跟踪一种特定的细菌相比,大海捞针简直是小菜一碟了。A litre of seawater has billions of viruses in it.一公升的海水中有数十亿的细菌。Modern genetic techniques can obtain DNA sequences from these viruses, but that cannot tie a particular virus to a particular host.现代基因技术可以猎取这些细菌的DAN序列,但是却不能把一种特定的细菌固定在一个特定的寄主身上。To do so, Dr Giovannoni borrowed a technique from homeopathy: he diluted some seawater to such an extent that, statistically speaking, he expected a 100-microlitre-sized ali to contain only one or two viruses.为了实现这个目标,乔凡诺尼士借用了顺势医疗论的一项技术:他把一些海水的浓度稀释到,从统计学角度上讲,即稀释后的100微升海水中只含有一种或两种病毒。The difference between his approach and a homeopaths was that what homeopathy dilutes almost to nothing are chemicals, and thus cannot breed. A virus can, given a suitable host.他的方法和顺势疗法的区别是,后者将药液稀释后几乎没有什么合成物了,因此也无法培育繁殖。而提供一个合适的寄主的话,病菌就可以继续繁殖。So he mixed each of several hundred alis into tubes of water containing P. ubique.因此,他把稀释后的海水分成几百份,再把每一份混合到含有遍在海洋杆菌的水里。Then he waited.然后他就等待着。After 60 hours, he looked to see what had happened.六十小时后,他看到了结果。In most cases the bacteria had thrived.在大部分试验品中,病菌都繁殖得很好。In a few, though, they had been killed by what looked like viral infection.但是,在少数的试验品中,病菌似乎由于某种病毒感染而消失了。It was these samples that he ran through the DNA-sequencing machine, in the knowledge that the only viral DNA present would be from whatever it was had killed the bacteria.这些少数试验品就是他用DNA测序仪检测,想知道仅有的病毒DNA,无论是不是它杀了病菌,为什么会出现的原因。His reward was to find not one, but four viruses that parasitise P. ubique.他最终发现了不只一种病菌,而是四种寄生的遍海洋杆菌。He then compared their DNA with databases of DNA found in seawater from around the world, to find out how abundant each is.后来,他把发现病菌的DNA与世界海洋的DNA数据库相对比,发现:The upshot was that a virus dubbed HTVC010P was the commonest.四种中的每一个的存在数量都非常多。It thus displaces its host as the likely winner of the most-common-living-thing prize.结果是,一种称为HTVC010P人病菌是最常见的。因此,它便取代了它的寄主,成为可能最常见的生物。That does depend, of course, on your definition of living thing.当然,这不是你们所定义的那种生物。Some biologists count viruses as organisms.一些生物学家认为病菌是微生物。Some do not.一些则不这么认为。The reason is that a virus relies for its growth and reproduction on the metabolic processes of the cell it infects.原因是,病菌依靠它所感染细胞的新陈代谢来生长和繁殖。This means viruses themselves are hard to parasitise, since they do no work on which another organism can free-ride.这就意味着病毒本身很难寄生,因为在其它可以免费寄生的微生物上它们无法正常生存。Which is why the next two lines of Swifts poem, And these have smaller fleas to bite em/And so proceed ad infinitum, are wrong—and why, because HTVC010P itself can have no parasites, it probably really is the commonest organism on the planet.这也解释了为什么斯威失特接下来的两句这些更小的跳蚤在咬它们,因此这些进程循环往复着是错误的,也是HTVC010P为什么是地球上最常见的微生物,因为它本身没有寄生虫。 /201312/269447

Science and technology科学技术Low-cost radar低成本雷达A programme worth watching值得一看的节目How air-traffic control can use television signals to plot aircraft空中交通管制局如何利用电视信号找出飞行器位置?A NOVEL radar will soon be helping to keep an eye on aircraft flying over London.很快,一种新式雷达将帮忙监视伦敦上空的飞机。Conventional radar uses a rotating antenna to sweep the sky, sending out radio pulses and detecting those which are reflected back from aircraft.传统雷达使用旋转天线扫视上空,不断发出射电脉冲并探测被飞行器反射回来的部分。The experimental system that will begin operation in June does not send out any signals of its own,而将于6月份启动的实验系统并不会自己发出任何信号,but instead relies on a network of receivers to pick up television programmes.而是依靠一个接受电视信号的接收器网络。It is hard to imagine British TV staples like Cash in the Attic, Downton Abbey and endless repeats of Top Gear being used to detect aircraft.很难想象像《家中藏宝》、《唐顿庄园》、《疯狂汽车秀》等这类英国的主打电视节目被用来侦查飞行器。But that, in effect, is what will be happening.但事实就将会如此。By measuring the slight differences between the original broadcast signal and the signals reflected from aircraft flying in the vicinity, it is possible to plot the position of aircraft on a screen, just as is done with conventional radar.通过测量原广播信号和附近飞行器反射信号间的细微差别,有可能在屏幕上标绘出飞行器的位置,这和传统雷达的工作原理一样。The difference is that a system that relies on signals aly in the air can be simpler, cheaper and use a lot less power.两者的区别是,利用空中已有信号的操作系统可以更简便、更便宜,还能省不少电。The London trial is being run by Thales UK, an engineering group, Roke Manor Research, an RD consultancy, and NATS, which manages Britains air-traffic control.伦敦实验系统的运行由工程组泰利斯英国公司、研发咨询公司曼乐研究公司和英国国家空运局负责,It is backed by the British governments Technology Strategy Board.并得到了英国政府技术战略委员会的持。The group call their system multi-static primary surveillance radar.工程组把自己的系统称为多基站主监视雷达,It is a form of passive radar, which goes back a long time.属于存在已久的被动雷达中的一种。Although it had been known since the late 19th century that radio waves can be reflected by objects, it was not until the years leading up to the second world war that a number of countries began secretly developing ways to detect aircraft.虽然19末世纪时人们就已经知道物体能够反射无线电波,但直到二战前几年才有一些国家开始秘密研究侦查飞机的方法。Many of the early tests relied on ordinary broadcasts to provide the signals.这些早期的测试当中有很多都靠普通的无线电波来提供信号。In an experiment in 1935 a Handley Page Heyford bomber flew between a receiving station and a B transmission tower to see how well it could be detected.在1935年的一场实验当中,一个名为亨得利·佩奇·海福德飞行员驾驶轰炸机从B发射塔和一个接收站之间飞过,从而找出飞机能在多大程度上被侦查出来。Well enough, it seems, because the Air Ministry immediately ordered a full demonstration system.看来当时的效果还不错,因为航空部马上下达命令要求进行全套演示。Blip, blip雷达界的新老交替In 1940 the US Navy coined the term radar to describe radio detection and ranging.1940年,美国海军创造出雷达一词,用以描述无线电探测和测距。Modern radar is highly sophisticated but it largely relies on emitting a signal.现代雷达极其复杂,但主要还是靠自己发出信号。By measuring the time taken for the reflected signal to return it is possible to work out the position of an aircraft.通过测量被反射信号返回雷达所需的时间,就有可能计算出飞行器的位置。A slight shift in the frequency, because of the Doppler effect, means its speed and direction can be measured too.由于多普勒效应,返回信号的频率有微小变化,这就意味着飞行器的速度和飞行方向也可以被测量出来。Passive radar can take similar measurements and is aly used in limited ways, mostly by the armed forces.被动雷达可以进行类似的测量,并且已经得到一些受限应用。Relying on background signals to detect objects has an advantage in stealth operations:在秘密行动中依靠背景信号来侦查物体有这样一个优势:no pulse is sent out to alert anyone to what you are doing, or attract an anti-radar missile.由于没有发出脉冲信号,没人会警觉你在什么,也不会引来反雷达导弹。The growth in radio and television broadcasts—especially with digital and high-definition TV—now provides an enormous amount of high-frequency radio waves which are ideally suitable for passive radar systems.现在无线电和电视广播的增长提供了海量的高频电波,这些非常适合用于被动雷达系统。Moreover, the availability of cheap and powerful computing makes it feasible to analyse the data required to build a system like MSPSR.此外,成本低廉和功能强大的计算机可以分析需要用于建立类似MSPSR系统的数据。Thales and its partners expect to be able to produce results as good as conventional radar.泰利斯工程组和合伙人们期待MSPSR的表现能和传统雷达一样好。The trials are designed to see how passive radar could support Britains air-traffic management.实验项目的目的在于找出被动雷达能够如何帮助管理英国的空中交通。It could help small airports that lack radar or fill gaps in areas where coverage is currently patchy.它有助于那些缺乏雷达的小型机场,或者弥补那些雷达覆盖不完整地区的缺陷,MSPSR might also reduce the interference caused in some places by wind turbines.MSPSR还能减少一些地方由涡轮机造成的干扰,And because it is a networked system it could be more reliable than the present set-up, which typically depends on using just one radar at each airport.它是一个呈网络覆盖的系统,比目前的系统更可靠。The aviation industry is cautious about adopting new technologies wholesale, so there is a long way to go before conventional radar is turned off in favour of passive systems.航空业在大规模采用新技术方面很是谨慎,因此传统雷达完全让位于被动雷达还尚有时日。But governments may be tempted to think about doing so, for reasons that go beyond passive radars lower operating costs.但政府或许会对此动心,原因不只是被动雷达的成本更加低廉:With growing demand for wireless devices, passive radar would allow the radio spectrum currently used by conventional radar to be freed up and auctioned off to mobile operators.随着无线设备的需求不断增加,被动雷达能够将目前用于传统雷达的无线电频谱解放出来,然后再拍卖给移动运营商。One difficulty is that passive radar relies on a third party for its signals.被动雷达的一个难题在于它要依靠第三方提供的信号。The continued availability of transmissions is considered to be part of Britains critical national infrastructure, says John Smith, the project leader for Thales.泰利斯工程组的项目带头人约翰?史密斯说,广播电视业被认为是英国关键的国家基础设施。Nevertheless, he adds, the study will look at how agreements can be made with broadcasters to ensure reliability and performance, and how to deal with routine maintenance when TV transmission towers are turned off.不过他补充道,研究将着眼于如何跟广播公司达成协议,以及如何在电视信号发射中断时进行例行维护。Air-traffic controllers and pilots would not take kindly to being confronted with the equivalent of a TV test card.空中交通管制员和飞行员可不会乐意接受电视测试卡的等价物。 /201309/257858

Post-office banking邮政Put your money where your mail is邮件在哪儿,钱就在哪儿Americas postal service ponders a foray into financial services美邮政业或将涉足金融业WITH a workforce of just over 491,000 in 2013, the ed States Postal Service is second only to Walmart among civilian employers in America. But it still employed more than 200,000 fewer people last year than it did just nine years earlier—when it handled nearly 500m more pieces of mail and had almost 2,000 more retail offices. The rise of e-mail has left Americas massive postal service with far less to do, and it has been scrambling to find ways to raise revenue.2013年,美国邮政务公司雇员超过491000人,成为仅次于沃尔玛的美国第二大雇主。九年前美邮需要处理近5亿封邮件,拥有2000多个办事处,和那时相比去年还是减少了超过20万雇员。电子邮件的崛起导致美国大量的邮政务没什么业务可做,他们开始寻求其他的收入增长点。Earlier this year its inspector-general released a white paper suggesting that post offices should begin offering financial services, such as cheque-cashing, small loans, bill payments, international money transfers and prepaid cards to which salaries or benefits could be transferred. The reasoning is simple: a lot of Americans have scant access to banks and a lot of post offices have too little to do.今年初,美邮总监发布的白皮书显示邮政业要开始提供金融务,这些务包括票兑现,小额贷款,账单付,国际转账以及能够预的工资卡。这么做的原因很简单:许多美国人对的需求得不到满足而一堆邮局又无事可做。More than one-quarter of American households are unbanked or underbanked, meaning they either lack a current or savings account, or they have one but still use alternatives to banks such as cheque-cashers and payday lenders. That is an expensive habit: the average underbanked household has an annual income of only ,500 or so, yet spends around 9.5% of that on fees and interest charged by these banking substitutes.超过四分之一的美国家庭没有账户或者没有得到充足的金融务,这意味着他们没有这种倾向或者没有储蓄账户,也可能他们有账户,但选择如票承兑人或发薪日贷款人等替代方式。这是种代价很高的习惯:一般来说没有账户的家庭年均收入25500美元,而付给这种替代机构的费用和利息达到9.5%左右。High-street banks find it hard to make money serving poor customers, since they tend to have little money on deposit that the banks can lend out. Penalties such as overdraft fees are not always enough to compensate. Since 2008, 93% of bank-branch closings have come in areas where median household income is below the national average.大型为穷人提供务很难赚到钱,因为他们的存款太少,而要把这些钱贷出去。透费这种惩罚措施并不总是能够偿还成本。自2008年起,93%的行陷入这样的境地—家庭账户收入的中值低于国家平均水平。These are the distressed customers to whose rescue the USPS hopes to ride. Some 59% of its post offices are in places with either a single bank or none at all. In rural hamlets they are often one of very few commercial establishments; even in the postal services diminished state, there are still more than seven post offices for every Walmart in America. Post offices aly sell money orders and provide electronic remittances to nine Latin American countries; from 1911 to 1967 the USPS also held personal deposits. Providing small, brief loans at lower interest rates than payday lenders could save low-income consumers hundreds of millions or even billions of dollars in interest and fees. The post office would compete not with banks, but with their more expensive stand-ins.正式这些贫穷的顾客点燃了美邮的希望。美邮59%的邮政所周围只有一家或者没有。在美国乡下,他们常常是为数不多的商业机构之一;即使是在邮政务日益萧条的州,邮政所和沃尔玛的数量比也大于7:1。邮政所造就开始向9个拉丁美洲国家卖邮政汇票并提供电子汇款务;1911年到1967年之间,美邮还有个人存款业务。提供利率比发薪日贷款人低的小额短期贷款,能为低收入客户节省数亿甚至数十亿美元的利息和费用。邮政局不是和竞争,而是在和比收费高的替代机构竞争。Some, notably the head of the committee of the House of Representatives that oversees the USPS, are unconvinced. They see the postal services expansion into financial services as government overreach, and a delay of the necessary “right-sizing” of a massive agency that does far less than it used to. Jennifer Tescher, who heads a charity focused on the underbanked called the Centre for Financial Services Innovation, notes that the USPS “has zero capacity, understanding or capability in this arena”. “The only asset they bring to the table”, she believes, “is distribution.” Even that is of limited value outside rural areas: Ms Tescher notes that just because a spot lacks bank branches does not mean it has no cheque-cashers and corner shops selling prepaid cards—many with longer and more convenient opening hours than the post office.众议院委员会负责人指出美邮的做法明显不具信力。他们把邮政业扩张到金融领域的行为视作政府的手伸的太长,认为这是在拖延这个远远低于过去功效的大型机构合理精简的步伐。一个专注于那些无法得到充分金融务的人的慈善团体—金融务创新中心的负责人詹妮弗说美邮不了解这一领域,既没资格也没能力。她相信美邮唯一的优势是渠道,即使这在农村以外地区基本没有价值。Tescher女士提到这些区域缺少网点并不意味着没有票承兑人和贩卖预付卡的小店—和邮局相比,他们的营业时间更长、更方便。Although turning the USPS into a part-time financial institution may seem outlandish in America, roughly 1 billion people in 50 countries rely on their postal systems for financial services, according to the Universal Postal Union, the ed Nations agency that helps the post arrive on time. The business models vary widely. In some countries post offices act as a payment centre, allowing people to receive remittances, pay bills and top up or tap money stored on their mobile phones. Some operate full-service banks: Japan Post, for instance, is one of the worlds biggest. In other countries, such as Brazil, commercial banks form partnerships with post offices; in Malawi private banks can rent space from post offices.根据万国邮政联盟,尽管美邮成为兼职的金融机构在美国看起来很奇怪,但世界上50个国家的10亿人依靠邮政系统提供的金融务。这种商业模式差别很大。在一些国家,邮局充当付中心的角色,人们可以接收汇款、付账单利用移动电话存取款。有一些则成为提供全面务的:比如日本邮政就是世界上最大的之一。在像巴西一类国家,商业和邮政成为合作伙伴;在马拉维,私人能向邮局租借场地。A World Bank study found last year that postal banks are likelier than conventional ones to provide accounts to those outside the financial mainstream. The bigger the postal network, the greater the ability to reach such people. That may not convince those who would like to see the USPS shrink, but for those who want to preserve it, it could help to justify its scale.去年世界研究发现,相对于传统,邮政更有可能为主流金融区域之外的人提供务。邮政网络越大,接触到这些人的能力就越大。这也许不足以说那些希望美邮精简的人,但对于那些想要保持它的人来说,这能帮助他们明美邮规模的合理性。 /201404/291901

RoboCup机器人世界杯Humans 1, Machines 7人机对战1:7When will robots do to football what computers did to chess?当机器人踢足球能和电脑下象棋一样好的时候MESSI v the Machine was how some commentators touted the World Cup final, inspired by the disciplined way the German team dismantled Brazil in the semi-finals. But despite such caricatures of Teutonic precision, German players are only human. So as the latest edition of RoboCup, a competition for robot soccer players rather than flesh-and-blood ones, kicks off on July 19th in Jo?o Pessoa, Brazils easternmost city, a question that will be on many minds is: when will real machines conquer the sport?世界杯半决赛中,德国干掉了巴西。受这种一板一眼的踢法的刺激,一些人员戏称世界杯决赛为“梅西对战机器”。但是尽管我们这样讽刺条顿式精密,德国队员也仍是人类。而机器人世界杯则是机器足球运动员的赛事,无关有血有肉的人类。因此,今年7月19日,当机器人世界杯在巴西最东端的城市圣保罗开赛的时候,许多人开始考虑:真的机器,什么时候会统治足球运动?When the first RoboCup was held, in 1997, those who launched it set a target of 2050 for engineers to produce a humanoid robot team that would rival the champions of the older competition. Judged by the plodding clumsiness of some of the RoboCup players, that goal might seem far-fetched. But it is easy to underestimate how quickly robotics is improving. Self-driving cars and delivery drones, which seemed hopelessly futuristic just a decade ago, are now topics of serious business interest.1997年,第一届机器人世界杯举行的时候,创始者们设定的目标是2050年,工程师能开发出类人的机器队伍,媲美旧有比赛的冠军。通过一些机器人世界杯队员的沉重步伐来看, 这个目标还遥遥无期。但是人们往往会低估机器人发展的速度。无人驾驶汽车和无人运输机十年前看上去也是遥不可及的,如今已成为严肃的商业兴趣点。By comparison with the corporate investments of the likes of Google in electric cars, the teams competing in this years RoboCup—more than 150 of them—have shoestring budgets. But the tournament includes features that the organisers hope will accelerate innovation without the incentive of cash.对比谷歌因对电动汽车的偏好而进行的合作投资,今年机器人世界杯的150多队伍的预算不过是毛毛雨。但是比赛有这样一个特点,组织方希望在没有资本刺激的情况下加速创新。One is a clever combination of competition and co-operation. Leading up to the playoffs, teams prepare new strategies and fine-tune their hardware and software in secret. Immediately after the finals have been played, however, all must publish their methods, thus raising the bar for everyone the following year. Another feature is that there are limits to how far teams can push their hardware, to encourage them to develop smart routes to victory, rather than using mere brute force.这项赛事是对竞争和合作的良好结合。进入了季后赛,各队都会秘密准备新战术,调整软硬件。然而,决赛一旦结束,所有人都要公开他们的方法,由此给其他人在明年的比赛提供参照。另一项特质是对于队伍对硬件做的改进是有上限的,以鼓励他们开发智能方案赢得胜利,而不是仅仅通过粗鲁的物理性能。A further twist is that RoboCup is not one competition but many. These range from a little league of miniature cylinders on wheels, like the “Star Wars” character R2-D2, in which each entire team is controlled by one computer using input from overhead cameras, to a fully limbed humanoid league, akin to R2-D2s faithful companion, C-3PO (see picture above). In the humanoid league, which is further divided into three sizes of robot—kid, teen and adult—each android has its own independent on-board sensors and artificial-intelligence software.更深一步的是,机器人世界杯不是一项比赛,而是一系列比赛。其范围包括微型有轮缸式的小联赛,到完全类人化的队伍。前者类似“星球大战”中的R2D2,整个队伍由一台电脑控制,输入端为上空的摄像头。后者好比R2D2的忠实队友C3PO(见上图)。在类人队伍中,根据其不同的尺寸又分为小孩,青少年和成人,每个机器人都有其独立的自带传感器,以及拟人智能软件。Moreover, for those who cannot be bothered to get out the spanners and the soldering iron, there is a virtual league as well. Competition there can focus on improving the software needed for the rapid planning of the best move at each step of the game, without having to worry about the vagaries of the hardware. And there is also a junior league for school-aged geeks, some of whom will no doubt join the RoboCup major leagues when they go to college, their skills aly finely honed.更有甚者,对于那些不善于使用扳手和焊接工具的人,也有虚拟队伍。此处的比赛主要专注于能在比赛中快速规划出最佳行动的软件,而不在意硬件的搭配。还有校园极客的初级队伍,他们在进入大学后无疑会加入机器人世界杯,毕竟他们的技巧已经经过考验。To sense the state-of-the-art in robot football, you need to go behind the scenes. Last week, hidden in a windowless office, Joydeep Biswas of Carnegie Mellon University and his colleagues were making final adjustments to their team, which competes in the little league. While robots in the humanoid league are still lumbering and prone to error, the speed and accuracy of those in the little league are stunning. Their electromechanical kickers can fire the leagues orange golf balls at eight metres per second. In fact, they could easily shoot harder if it were not for hardware-control regulations that set a maximum speed.为了体验机器人足球的先进性,你要走近荧幕背后。上周,躲在一件无窗办公室中,卡内基·梅隆大学的Joydeep Biswas和他的伙伴对队伍进行最后的调整。他们将在小联赛中出现。尽管类人组机器人依然胡拼乱造而且容易出故障,其在小联赛中的速度和精确性都有大幅提高。他们的电力学球员能够以每秒八米的速度将比赛用橙色高尔夫球踢出去。实际上,如果不是硬件控制限制了最大速度的话,他们能够踢得更狠。The state of play踢球的状态Mr Biswas, a graduate student, works for Manuela Veloso. She helped found RoboCup and her group has won the most finals titles in the little league. In Dr Veloso and her colleagues decided to share with their competitors the vision software that had let their team win a streak of RoboCups. This helped establish the now-mandatory open-source approach that has rapidly raised the quality of the competition.研究生Biswas先生为Manuela Veloso工作。她帮助成立了机器人世界杯,而她的团队已经赢得了小联赛中的多数头衔。年Veloso士及她的团队决定同他们的竞争对手分享帮助他们赢得了一系列机器人世界杯的视觉软件。这引导建立了如今的强制开源规则,并快速提升了比赛的质量。“In the past couple of years,” Dr Veloso opines, “one of the big changes is that we are starting to analyse real football tactics and strategy, to devise our own.” A paper her group published earlier this year lays out how their CMDragons team observed and exploited the defence tactics of opponents, luring them away from positions where they could prevent goals. This approach, dubbed “coerce and attack”, has parallels in professional playbooks.Veloso士说,“在过去的几年,一项巨大的改变是我们开始分析实际足球技巧和策略,并衍生出我们自己的。”今年早些时候,她的团队发表的一篇文章,说明了他们这个CMDragons团队如何观测并利用选手的防守战略,引诱他们远离能阻止球的防守位置。这个方法被叫做“威逼后攻击”,已经出现在专业玩家手册中。Other research groups are getting equally sophisticated, and teams from Australia, China, Iran and Thailand, among other countries, are regularly placed high in several leagues of the competition—in contrast to their national reputations on real pitches. In the early years of RoboCup, there were huge differences in quality between the teams. No longer. The best of the little league routinely finish their ten-minute-long games with the low scores characteristic of well-matched human teams. Indeed, Dr Velosos squad came in second last year, after a penalty shoot-out following a 2-2 game.其他的研究团队也变得同样的厉害。在所有国家中,来自澳大利亚,中国,伊朗和泰国的队伍,同该国在实际比赛中的名声相比,处在比赛的领头羊地位。在机器人世界杯早些时候,各队在质量上大有不同。这一幕已成为历史。小联赛的佼佼者一般在10分钟的比赛中以小比分结束,同人类队伍间的比赛相仿。实际上,去年一场2-2的比赛结束后,Veloso的小队在点球大战中憾负中国队,屈居第二。Nor need only the players be robots. In a step that many of FIFAs critics may admire, Dr Veloso and her team are developing automated referees. That will not stop some teams from exploiting decidedly human traits, such as fouling by forcefully bumping into another robot. But it may result in more effective enforcement of things like the maximum kick-speed rule.而且不仅仅运动员是机器人。许多世界杯批评人士可能会羡慕的是,Veloso士及其团队正在开发自动裁判。这不会阻止一些队伍触犯人类比赛中的规则,比如有力地碰撞另一个机器人。但其可能导致更有效的强化诸如最大踢球速度限制这样的规定。What fascinates Dr Veloso most about RoboCup is the execution, during the game, of moves that had not been deliberately inserted into the algorithms controlling the robots. She is ebullient about an unexpected three-way pass and chip, worthy of a minor Messi and his Argentine teammates. Such unanticipated plays are examples of emergent behaviour, a hallmark of artificial intelligence at its highest level, and something she reckons RoboCup teams in all leagues will produce a lot more of with each passing year.机器世界杯最吸引Veloso士的的地方在于,比赛期间,对运动的执行不是事先设定在控制机器人的算法中。她乐于见到三角传球过人,就像参照梅西和他的阿根廷队友。这种意外的踢法是紧急处理中的例子,标志着人工智能的最高水平。她认为,每年机器世界杯各项比赛的队伍会产生越来越多的闪光点。So is 2050 an unrealistic deadline for robots to beat the best humans at football? Half a century is roughly the time that separates ENIAC, Americas first electronic computer, from Deep Blue, the IBM machine that beat chess grandmaster Garry Kasparov in 1997. Judged in that light, RoboCups goal does not seem absurd. Indeed, the question may be whether, come 2050, there are still any human football players around who have not been prosthetically enhanced in some way, making them cyborgs. RoboCup v RoboCop, anyone?2050年是不是虚拟的截止日期,那时候机器人会在足球方面打败人类?从美国第一台电子计算机ENIAC到1997年IBM生产出打败世界象棋大师Garry Kasparov的深蓝,大概过去了一个世纪。由此判断,机器人世界杯看上去并不荒唐。事实上,问题可能是到了2050年的时候,还有没有足球运动员在某方面没有进行强化,变成半机械人?机器人世界杯,还是半机器人世界杯? /201407/314860

文章编辑: 康报