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Richard Korf's group at UCLA has found "the first optimal solutions to random instances of Rubik's Cube," using an iterative-deepening-A* (IDA*) algorithm. The median optimal solution length is almost certainly 18 moves. The speed of their program increases linearly with the amount of memory available, since it uses a large "pattern database" to store the number of moves required for various subgoals. "Contrary to conventional wisdom, this analysis suggests that the effect of heuristic functions is to reduce the effective depth of search, rather than the effective branching factor." [Vilma Lorenzana-Walsh , la.seminars, 29Sep98.] (See for USC CS Dept. seminar notices.)

Tjen-Sien Lim has a decision-trees home page and discussion list at , covering methods for classification and regression. [, sci.stat.math, 01Sep98. David Joslin.]

The On-Line Guide to Prolog Programming, at , is a 1998 2nd edition of the Interactive Prolog Guide, . You can use the system to test small Prolog programs directly in your web browser. [Roman Bartak ,, 28Sep98. David Joslin.]

A SoftSeek search for tutorials turned up shareware resources for Ada 83, Ada 95, C, C++, Pascal, Basic, Visual Basic, Prolog, Unix, etc., as well as reference material on file formats and the like. Also AI/alife simulators such as "A.I. Wars - The Insect Mind," Advanced T-Robots, Robot Battle, and IntelliBots. . [Al Aab , alt.comp.editors.batch, 03Mar98.]

There is an extensive review of the "Neurobiology of the Tactile System in the Frog and Toad" at . Lots of illustrations about how the tactile system functions. [David Olmsted ,, 22Sep98.]

The logistics website at has information on intelligent, object-oriented process control and simulation, neural-network process modeling, dynamic scheduling, and G2-based logistics expert systems. Applications include mining, logistics, railways, ports and harbors, pipelines, steel and metallurgy, cement, lime, petrochemicals, textiles, food, breweries, and finance. [, comp.simulation, 11Mar98.]

-- Ken