Tag: ‘Tsukuba-University’

Pi calculated to a record 2.5 trillion decimals

18 Aug 2009

Pi --

Researchers in Japan have calculated pi to over 2.5 trillion decimal places, more than double the previous world record set in 2002.

Led by University of Tsukuba professor Daisuke Takahashi, the research team performed the calculation using a massive parallel processing (MPP) supercomputer called the T2K Tsukuba System, which consists of 640 high-performance computers clustered together to achieve processing speeds of 95 teraflops (95 trillion floating-point operations per second). The supercomputer calculated pi to 2,576,980,377,524 decimal places in 73 hours 36 minutes.

By comparison, it took the previous record holders about 600 hours to perform their calculation (over 8 times longer than it took the T2K Tsukuba System). The previous record was set in 2002 when researchers from Hitachi and the University of Tokyo calculated pi to a little over 1.2 trillion decimal places.

The University of Tsukuba researchers, whose stated primary objective was to test the reliability and speed of their supercomputer, have submitted their results to the Guinness Book of World Records for official recognition.

[Sources: Asahi, Yomiuri]

Building glows blue with cosmic radiation

27 Sep 2006

M-INT Kobe -- M-INT Kobe, a commercial complex scheduled to open in Kobe on October 4, has been outfitted with an exterior lighting system that translates cosmic energy waves into pulsating blue light. The system is the first of its kind to be installed on a building in Japan.

Called "Super Nova," the lighting system consists of 2,880 blue LEDs arranged in two columns spanning the height of the 18-story building's west wall. The embedded lights are activated by sensors that detect cosmic rays. According to Takuro Osaka, the University of Tsukuba Graduate School professor who designed the system, the brightness of the blue lights fluctuates according to the intensity of the detected cosmic rays, giving the building an ever-changing magical glow.

Takuro Osaka has been exploring the use of cosmic radiation in art since 1995, and for years he has been discussing the possibility of collaborating with Japan's space agency (JAXA, formerly NASDA) on art projects in outer space. Check out Takuro Osaka's homepage for details about his previous spaced-out projects.

[Sources: Kobe Shimbun, Kobe Topics]

EMIEW upgraded to navigate crowds

12 Sep 2006

EMIEWAs long as robotic bellhops are one day destined to carry our luggage and show us to our hotel rooms, we might as well provide them with the agility to wiggle safely through crowds of people. That's the thinking of Hitachi's robotic engineers, who have been working with researchers from Tsukuba University to upgrade their EMIEW (Excellent Mobility and Interactive Existence as Workmate) robot's crowd navigation abilities.

To coexist with humans in the real world, robots need to be able to respond to a host of changes that constantly occur in the course of everyday life. This includes the ability to reach a destination without colliding into stationary or moving obstacles (such as fellow pedestrians) -- an ability that requires autonomous robots to "see" the people around them and measure their speed and direction.

When Hitachi originally developed EMIEW in 2005 as part of the Project for the Practical Application of Next-Generation Robots organized by NEDO (New Energy and Industrial Development Organization), the aim was to design a robot capable of coexisting with humans while providing support in real-world situations. These latest upgrades, which build upon Hitachi's original aim, include outfitting EMIEW with a reliable human motion detection system, which relies on lasers and distance sensors that constantly (40 times per second) measure the distance to the legs and feet of the surrounding people.

Hitachi also revamped the operation patterns of EMIEW's mobility control technology. The new technology enables EMIEW to interpret the data about the position and speed of the people nearby. From this data, the robot calculates an imaginary circle of a fixed radius around each person and selects a course based on those calculations.

In addition, Hitachi programmed EMIEW to search for new obstacles and correct its course every half second (roughly the average amount of time between a person's footsteps). This process enables EMIEW to respond when a nearby person changes speed or direction, or when a new person moves into the robot's path.

To check EMIEW's newfound ability to avoid obstacles, Hitachi put the robot to the test on an 8-meter long course along with 4 people walking at normal speeds of 4.3 kph (2.6 mph). The robot successfully completed the trial runs at a brisk 2.9 kph (1.8 mph). While these results suggest EMIEW may be ready for a job plying the hallways of a spacious luxury hotel, the day EMIEW totes your suitcases through Shibuya station appears to be a long way off.

Hitachi plans to unveil this new technology on September 14 at the 24th Annual Conference of the Robotics Society of Japan (RSJ) at Okayama University (Tsushima Campus). In addition, demonstrations of the upgraded EMIEW will be held beginning October 23, 2006 at the FISITA 2006 World Automotive Congress, an international automotive technology expo being held at Pacifico Yokohama.

[Source: Nikkei Net]