Rescue robot RUDA to be seen in the Czech Republic Pavilion at EXPO 2020

The world's fair EXPO 2020 Dubai, which opens on 1 October after a year of delays, will, among others, present a robot from the Faculty of Information Technology. RUDA, a robot for rescuing people in debris and under avalanches, constructed by researchers of the STRaDe@FIT group, will be a part of rotating exhibitions CZ Robot and CZ-EX Machina. The 120-kilogramme robot is now heading to Dubai and will be seen in the Czech Republic Pavilion from 23 October.

World Expo is a prestigious international exhibition designed to showcase industry and culture of individual countries, which has been held since the second half of the 19th century. The Czech exhibition will include a permanent part, which will be integrated into the garden and the pavilion throughout Expo 2020, and a rotating part, which will change every two weeks and will be focused on different individual topics, such as Czech robots. The exhibitions are thematically focused especially on science, research, innovative technologies and modern design.

PHOTO: Technical Museum in Brno


FIT researchers succeeded in a historical document analysis competition

FIT researchers won in three tasks within the competition on historical document classification. They received the award at the ICDAR 2021 international conference held in Lausanne, Switzerland, last week. The Graph@FIT group researchers and doctoral students achieved the best results in analysing manuscripts, letters or documents provided to the organisers by various institutions. Using their neural network trained based on available data, they managed to recognise a font group, location and date - this enabled the FIT researchers receive awards for winning in all three classification tasks at the International Conference on Document Analysis and Recognition.


Another year of a FIT programme supporting student tech start-ups begins

The new semester brings another year of Star(t)up@FIT, a FIT programme supporting student tech start-ups. It is meant for all students who have the ambition to set up a technological company, have an idea they would like to turn into a business or just wish to be involved in new projects beyond the scope of their studies. The first meeting takes place in the FIT Creative Showroom & Open Space premises on Thursday 23 September at 5:00 p.m. More information is available on the website.


Sixty years ago, BUT entered the era of computers. A conference will commemorate this anniversary

Sixty years ago, the first computer was installed at the Brno University of Technology and a separate Laboratory of Computing Machines began to function fully. However, the beginnings of computer science at BUT were complex, so the first LGP-30 computer and the new laboratory found their home at the Faculty of Mechanical Engineering.

The Laboratory of Computing Machines was established by a decision of the Rector at the Department of Mathematics of the Faculty of Mechanical Engineering in 1959, another source states the establishment of the laboratory as an independent department at the Faculty in 1961. But it is certain since when the workplace could be proud of its own computer, which was the first at BUT: in 1961, the ministry decided to purchase and install the LGP-30 computer.

"It was a fairly small and unique computer at the time. And also very progressive. Many computers were rather experimental at the time, so they suffered from, so to speak, childhood diseases. On the contrary, LGP-30 was a commercially produced computer, which was not used for experiments, but for calculations," remembers Branislav Lacko, who worked on the computer as a student and still works at BUT at the Institute of Automation and Computer Science, FME.

LGP-30 computer operation (photo: FIT BUT archives)

The LGP-30 computer was also unique for its time in that, as an American technology, it even got behind the Iron Curtain. It had been produced in the USA since 1956 and was available for purchase for $ 47,000, which would be almost half a million dollars in terms of prices in 2020. "At that time, large mainframe computers, mostly of Soviet production, were already installed in Czechoslovakia, but the university could not afford them. In addition, it was the beginning of the 1960s, the Prague Spring was slowly approaching, and a loosening began. Probably that's why it was possible to bring this computer here," Lacko thinks. He himself planned the calculations for his diploma thesis, but the computational possibilities of the LGP-30 computer proved to be insufficient, so he finally completed the diploma on other, later installed machines.

In 1962, the LGP-30 computer was already in full operation, installed in a building in today's Údolní Street, the then Obránců míru. "The computer was firmly connected to an electric typewriter, which punched eight-foot punched tape, so it was used to enter data and instructions, i.e. to operate the computer. Other separate electric typewriters were in the so-called punch. Because not everyone could operate them, instructions were written on special forms and later the punch workers punched them into the punched tape," recalls Lacko.

Laboratory of Computer Machines (photo: publication "75 years of the Faculty of Mechanical Engineering, BUT")

The laboratory of computing machines served as a computer centre not only for BUT, but also for other institutions or manufacturing companies. At the time, this workplace was the largest from all universities in Czechoslovakia in terms of facilities. In addition to providing computing time for research, it also began educating the first computer professionals. "From the beginning, computers were also used for teaching. However, at that time the subjects were not entirely common, but rather exceptionally offered. Usually, students showed up with a simple program punched in the tape to perform some calculation. At that time, there was no idea what to teach and whom," adds Lacko.

The first LGP-30 computer was soon overshadowed by more powerful mainframe computers: in January 1966, the Soviet MINSK 22 was installed at BUT, half a year later the Swedish DATASAAB D21 was added, and finally, in September 1972 the Czechoslovak TESLA 200 computer came. In 1975, the laboratory had about 80 employees and computers were used for three shifts, often also on weekends. The LGP-30 computer later moved to the Department of Automatic Computers, which was founded in 1964 at the Faculty of Electrical Engineering, and where today's FIT has its roots. On the contrary, the CIS organizational unit was established in 1992 from the Laboratory of Computing Machines, which is still committed to the legacy of the Laboratory of Computing Machines.

The Technical Museum in Brno is preparing a professional conference on the topic on 22 September, details can be found here.

[img] Laboratory of Computer Machines (photo: publication "75 years of the Faculty of Mechanical Engineering, BUT")


The world's leaders in speech processing are heading to Brno

Siri, Alexa, Google - we talk to them all today. But who breathed life into them? Speech recognition has gradually spread from IT labs to smart homes and has become a common part of everyday life. Getting information from audio recordings is becoming increasingly important. For the first time in its history, the Czech Republic will host the international conference Interspeech, which will take place in Brno from August 30 to September 3, 2021. Hundreds of world experts will arrive in the Moravian metropolis. More than 1400 will join the event online. Specialists will present news from the field, such as how to start using machine learning with a minimum of training data, or whether coronavirus infection can be recognized from the cough. For more information, see the press release

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