news from the lab 2011

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Innovation - Computer Science - 16.09.2011
The apple doesn’t fall far from the tree - or does it?
The apple doesn’t fall far from the tree - or does it?
Research has shown that contrary to what was thought from previous studies, spin-outs don't systematically set up shop near their parent companies. To stay or to leave, what's the best strategy? “I was really surprised, when doing this research, to find that 50% of spin-outs don't necessarily establish themselves near the parent company,? observes Christopher Tucci from EPFL.

Computer Science - Microtechnics - 26.05.2011
When robots learn from our mistakes
When robots learn from our mistakes
Robots typically acquire new capacities by imitation. Now, EPFL scientists are doing the inverse - developing machines that can learn more rapidly and outperform humans by starting from failed or inaccurate demonstrations. A robot, unblinking, impassive, observes. Its instructor wants it to learn how to put a balloon in a basket 20 meters away.

Life Sciences - Computer Science - 04.05.2011
Robots learn sharing
Robots learn sharing
An evolutionary robotics experiment supports Hamilton's rule of altruism and improves swarm robotics collaboration as a result. Using simple robots to simulate genetic evolution over hundreds of generations, researchers shed light on one of the most enduring puzzles in biology: Why do most social animals, including humans, go out of their way to help each other?

Computer Science - Innovation - 28.02.2011
Supercomputers with the size of sugar cubes
Supercomputers with the size of sugar cubes
Energy consumption poses a critical challenge in the development of next-generation supercomputers and IT systems.