Thursday, February 28, 2008

Meet Jon Arbuckle

Apparently an unfunny comic strip can be made hilarious with some minor modifications. Above we see Garfield minus Garfield. The comic strips below are referred to as Realfield. Making a strip out of random Garfield panels can also lead to some amusing results.

Friday, February 22, 2008


The universe is chaotic. Within the chaos there are patterns. These patterns are due to emergent properties of relatively simple rules underlying the unimaginably complex interactions of matter. Patterns can be found almost anywhere in nature, from the organization of stars and galaxies to the symmetry of ice crystals in a snowflake. This phenomenon is not unique to nature; incredibly complex patterns can be observed by applying very simple rules such as in the Mandelbrot set or in cellular automata. These emergent properties are also responsible for the origin of life on Earth and the evolution which guides it.

M74 Spiral Galaxy

Life is a striking example of the organization of matter. When suitable chemical and physical conditions arose in early Earth, organic compounds eventually organized themselves into a form allowing self-replication. Natural selection takes advantage of patterns in an organism's environment to gradually optimize its suitability for a particular environment. This process has lead to the huge variety and complexity of life forms seen today. The process of evolution has also created patterns within its creations, such as the fractals seen in Romanesco broccoli. Intelligent biological systems have evolved to actively recognize and exploit the patterns in their environment in order to gain an evolutionary advantage. Learning from the success of biological cognition may help in the pursuit of creating truly intelligent machines.

Aloe Polyphylla

A crucial step in designing an intelligent machine is understanding the fundamental ways in which patterns are organized in nature. The ability to accurately predict and complete patterns allows a system to act intelligently in its environment. In order to make predictions about patterns a machine needs to be capable of learning from past experiences and recognizing both spatial and temporal patterns. Almost all current neural network techniques are only capable of detecting spatial patterns and cannot detect patterns through time. The fact that the human brain is capable of intelligence provides proof that intelligence is possible given limited computational resources, giving hope that computational intelligence may be achieved in the near future.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008


This morning I woke up in an extremely unpleasant way. While I was still blissfully asleep I heard some scratching sounds coming from somewhere close to my head. I groggily opened my eyes to see a squirrel staring down at me from the windowsill directly above my bed. In horror I made some loud noises and quick movements with my arms in the squirrel's direction. This successfully got the squirrel to flee out of the window.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Reading Week

Reading week has been amazing so far. Today I went on a bike ride to Stanley Park. I went around the seawall and then rode back to UBC. I was having so much fun that I decided to do some biking around Pacific Spirit Regional Park as well. I regret not bringing my camera since there was some beautiful scenery. I have also been watching lots of anime, reading, working on some programming projects, and playing tons of video games. I accepted an internship position from Microsoft, so I am really looking forward to working there over the summer.

Unfortunately our team didn't make the qualifiers for the RoboCup competition in China. We are going to be working on trying to qualify for a regional competition instead. The AI is progressing well. I made a simulator so we can continue working on the AI without needing physical robots. We have finished most of the lower level behaviors so I am going to start making some different playing strategies. Different strategies can be assigned to competing teams, so simulating matches will show which strategies are superior.

Saturday, February 16, 2008

Video Games

After a pretty bad week (which included four midterms) I am looking forward to reading week. Originally I was planning on going on a road trip to the Rockies with some friends but unfortunately I don't think those plans are going to work out. With the free time I will finally get a chance to enjoy some video games I have been waiting to play:

-The Longest Journey (PC)
-Grim Fandango (PC)
-BioShock (PC)
-Final Fantasy XII (PS2)

I just finished installing Windows XP to replace my Vista partition. After struggling to get The Longest Journey working in Vista, I eventually gave up and decided to reformat the partition. It just doesn't make sense for me to be using Vista when the only reason I have a Windows partition in the first place is to take advantage of its compatibility.

Here is a list I compiled of some of my favorite games:

-Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time (N64) and Legend of Zelda: Majora's Mask (N64)
-Beneath a Steel Sky (PC)
-Day of the Tentacle (PC), Full Throttle (PC), and The Dig (PC)
-Monkey Island series (PC)
-Myst series (PC)

-Baldur's Gate II: Shadows of Amn (PC)
-Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic (PC)
-Final Fantasy VI (SNES), VII (PSX), VIII (PSX), IX (PSX), and X (PS2).
-Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion (PC)
-Chrono Trigger (SNES) and Chrono Cross (PSX)
-Guild Wars (PC)

-The Orange Box (PC)
-Quake (PC) and Quake III Arena (PC)
-Crysis (PC)
-Deus Ex (PC)
-Unreal Tournament series (PC)

-God of War (PS2) and God of War II (PS2)
-Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time (PS2)
-Shadow of the Colossus (PS2)
-Super Mario 64 (N64)
-Another World (PC)

-Advance Wars (GBA)
-Total Annihilation (PC)
-Rise of Nations (PC)
-Sacrifice (PC)
-Black & White (PC)

And for the sake of completeness, here is a list of all the consoles my family has owned:
-Atari 2600 (1977)
-Nintendo Entertainment System (1983)
-Sega Mega Drive (1988)
-Game Boy (1989)
-Game Gear (1990)
-Sega Mega-CD (1991)
-Virtual Boy (1995)
-Nintendo 64 (1996)
-PlayStation 2 (2000)
-Game Boy Advanced (2001)
-PlayStation Portable (2004)