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Matt Walter
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For anyone who would like to know more about Laci Babai's talk yesterday on the graph isomorphism problem, it was livetweeted by Gabriel Gaster, who has done us unfortunates who don't live in Chicago a great service. Although obviously he couldn't tweet an entire proof, one can extract a surprisingly large amount of information (and better still, in a very short time) from his tweets about what the proof is like. In particular, it seems that the broad structure of the proof is a divide-and-conquer algorithm that deals with most graphs, but reduces the problem to looking at some particularly troublesome examples called Johnson graphs. But the latter can be understood sufficiently precisely that they can be dealt with algebraically (using the classification of finite simple groups). Also, while Babai's algorithm is a stunning theoretical advance, it won't be challenging the algorithms that are used in practice. Here the situation is similar to that with primality testing, where despite the existence of a polynomial-time deterministic algorithm, a randomized algorithm is more practical to use if you actually want to test whether a number is prime. 

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Great Scott!! A DeLorean on campus for #BackToTheFuture  Day

Photo: Emer Garland/MIT

#BTTFDay   #BTTF2015   #onlyatMIT   #MIT   #DeLorean  
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I recently wrote a short (layman) opinion piece on a topic close to my heart of how all the incredible advances in computer vision can transition into robotics. It's clear from recent RSS, ICRA and IROS conferences that there is still deep skepticism (much of which is understandable) amongst many roboticists regarding any role deep learning may play, but I think it's a topic that needs to discussed. +Sue Keay

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We started the Northeast Robotics Colloquium (NERC) in 2012 to bring together academic and industrial roboticists in what has become one of the most vibrant robotics communities in the US, if not the world. The first three NERCs were a lot of fun and a huge success. The organizers have put a lot of work into the fourth NERC, which will be held at WPI, with a great lineup of speakers, family-friendly events, and travel to/from Boston. I'm sure that it will not disappoint. If you are in the Northeastern US (or Canada), I encourage you to attend NERC next month!

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I was on NPR today on "On Point w/ Tom Ashbrook" talking about Mcity and driverless cars.  Link to the podcast is below.  My segment started at around 21:06....  it was kind of surreal to be a guest on a show that I listen to all the time....  :-)

http://onpoint.wbur.org/2015/07/21/detroit-vs-silicon-valley-the-future-of-the-driverless-car

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George Verghese is, IMHO, one of the best instructors at MIT. He sent the following in an e-mail to his 6.011 students after the tragic loss of two freshman this month to apparent suicide. This comes after three other students and one professor have taken their own life since last March. MIT has an extensive counseling program, but something else clearly needs to be done.

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