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Artificial intelligence labs aren't what they used to be.
And if this web page had existed then, its purpose would have been to impress you with a long list of the special computers available in our lab.
Times have changed. Today, our fastest workstations are Intel Core i5 Processors running Windows 7. We use Roaming User Profiles so that each user can sit down at any PC in our labs, log in, and access his or her own personalized desktop and file space. The current setup comprises 3 main servers, 4 computation servers and dozens of workstations. Two of the main servers run Windows Server 2008 R2 and the rest have Windows 2003 on them.
We also have a wide variety of robots, neuro headsets for research on brain to computer interaction as well as a microcontroller lab with a universal device programmer, breadboarding facilities, and test instrument, including a Hewlett-Packard (Agilent) 18-channel oscilloscope.
For student laptops, there is a campus-wide wireless network available. We also have a wireless access point for robots and other occasional uses.
Our most-used software platforms are SWI Prolog, MATLAB and Microsoft Visual Studio 2010. We also use GNU Common Lisp, Neuroshell, Java, Perl, Python, and other languages and compilers. We have chosen Windows 7 because it helps us do our work efficiently, it is easy to administer, and employers expect our graduates to have Windows experience.
What's more, Windows has some features that make them especially suitable for AI work. These include built-in speech components and a Lisp-machine-like object-oriented operating system API in the Microsoft .NET Framework. We also encourage our students to learn about other computer architectures and operating systems; suitable courses are offered in our Department of Computer Science.
What lab work is like...
AI research isn't just sitting around and programming or building gadgets. As with any other kind of science, you have to find out what is already known about a research question before trying to innovate; and then, once you make a discovery, you have to communicate it. Our students often submit papers to conferences and scholarly journals, and every incoming student is expected to be a good writer.
One of our most important facilities is therefore the Science Library. Located in the same building as the Institute for Artificial Intelligence, the library has millions of books and bound periodicals and also provides online access to many indexes and journals.
Last updated: 03/01/2011