From: Ben Goertzel (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Date: Mon May 02 2005 - 10:50:42 MDT
The purpose of this email is to announce the first public release of
AGI-SIM, an open-source 3D simulated world intended specifically to provide
a "teaching playground" for AI software programs.
The conceptual motivation for AGI-SIM is the notion of "experiential
interactive learning" -- the idea that the easiest, though not necessarily
the only, way to create an intelligent software system is to make a
proto-intelligent software system and place it in a body (real or simulated)
and then interact with it. In principle -- if the proto-intelligent system
is properly designed -- this allows perception, action, socialization,
language and cognition to be learned all in a bundle, as occurs with human
babies and children.
While there are clear advantages to working with physical robots, at this
stage we feel there are more benefits and fewer costs to working with a
simulated environment and simulated embodied agents interacting therein.
For one thing, physical robotics is costly and time-consuming, and doesn't
lend itself well to a globally-distributed, low-cost team. (Furthermore,
even when one does work with physical robots, one often finds that having a
simulation of one's robot and its environment is a good thing.)
This AGI-SIM release, numbered 0.9, is far from perfect or complete, and we
haven't yet made a demo intended for showing to the "general public."
However, the project is now in a state where we feel it's worthwhile to
recruit other developers into the project. Ergo, this email!
There is a to-do list, and we believe that roughly 2-3 further (intensive)
man-months of effort will be required to bring AGI-SIM to the point where it
a) be used routinely for teaching AI's
b) be used to make "wizzy-looking" demos of what AI's can do
Of course, the todo list goes on longer than that, and there is a virtually
unlimited list of improvements that can be made.
AGI-SIM is based on the CrystalSpace simulation engine --- it's a particular
customization of CrystalSpace for AI teaching/training purposes.
General information about AGI-SIM can be viewed here:
The SourceForge page is here:
and the documentation (which includes a to-do section) is here:
At the moment, this is a Linux-based project, although a port to Windows
would not be impractical in future, since CrystalSpace has a Windows
Currently, most of the work to be done is only for fairly skilled Linux/C++
programmers, but we could also use someone to help with a less technical
task: creating nifty-looking wireframe models to serve as objects in the
AGI-SIM world. CrystalSpace appears to use some not-that-common file
formats for wireframe models, but, they are simple, and it seems that
conversion out of other similar formats wouldn't be a big problem.
If you're interested in helping out with AGI-SIM, please contact me (Ben
Goertzel, email@example.com) or the lead AGI-SIM developer/designer, Ari
Heljakka (heljakka at iki.fi). If you happen to be in New Zealand you
should probably contact Joel Pitt instead, who lives there and was the
initial developer on AGI-SIM, and is still an active participant (extropy at
users.sourceforge.net). Ari was working close to full time on AGI-SIM for
the last few months; he is now shifting his priorities to helping with
Novamente AI design and implementation, but will still keep his hand in with
Finally, a note on fundraising. AGIRI and Novamente LLC currently have
essentially zero funding for our general-intelligence work! (Yes, we have
plans for remedying this situation, but these will take a while to execute,
and they involve among other things making wizzy demos of Novamente learning
using AGI-SIM.) Novamente LLC has some small ongoing commercial projects,
but they are small enough that no excess $$ for research or AGI-oriented
development comes from them at the moment. Ari's (quite ascetic) salary
for the first half of 2005 is being covered by a small investment in
Novamente LLC made toward the start of this year.
So, if you want to support AGIRI, Novamente LLC or AGI-SIM, donations or
investments would be very much appreciated. We are not yet set up for
PayPal, but if you're interested in donating to AGIRI or investing in
Novamente LLC, please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org
I want to stress that, although our main motivation for making AGI-SIM is
Novamente, it is open-source and nothing about it is particularly
Novamente-specific. We would like very much if participants in other AI/AGI
projects would contribute to AGI-SIM and utilize it for their own research.
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