Short Story: The Prototype

Heuristic programming

A branch of artificial intelligence, which uses heuristics — common-sense rules drawn from experience — to solve problems. This is in contrast to algorithmic programming, which is based on mathematically provable procedures. Heuristic programming is characterized by programs that are self-learning; they get better with experience. Heuristic programs do not always reach the very best result but usually produce a good result. Many expert systems use heuristic programming.

A definition from Webopedia

The corridors of National Academy of Robotics (NAR) were slowly getting empty. The night was setting in. Everyone was strolling towards the car parking along with their co-associates. Students were excited as they were returning back to their hostels. It was an exciting day as the national conference on Heuristics just ended in a happy valedictory ceremony.

Students and research scholars from various universities and research centres were a part of this conference. Hundreds of real working models of robots were displayed and the functionalities were show cased. The conference hall was gleaming with flash lights, exemplary technology and scientists.

“Am I the only one working today in the lab?” thought myself. It was so much tiring today. I’m the Junior Heuristic Engineer working in the robot programming wing RPW-954A of the NAR. Everyone was busy with the conference. I had to work today as well. I haven’t taken a break in the last three hours.

Heuristic programming was little tiring for me. I was staring at the monitor breaking my head into the small piece of code that was supposed to be programmed into the brain chip of the nHR305 robot.

This code was pretty complex as I had to deal with Hex values. I was stuck in one of the conditional operation.

Life was pretty hectic, I was getting drained out. I needed proper rest. But I wanted to complete this module by today so that I can start with fabrication of ICs into the boards. I’m still in simulation phase.

“You, still here?  Its almost 12.00 mid night,” asked one the phase engineer who just came in.

“Yes, Malcolm, I’m working on something. It will take some time, you carry on” I replied.

I started working on the code again.

●●●

Natasha was very much happy. She was the young Indian technical heuristic developer to have made the world’s first working prototype of the Heuristic Robot. She was all in cloud nine. More than she was happy, she was hungry too.

“So what shall we order?” enquired Roshan who was seriously browsing through the menu in his iPad 2.

“Anything dear” replied Natasha.

“I expect such answers after our marriage too” he winked.

“Marriage!!!!…….I’ve not given a thought about that anytime recently. I’ve to tell my parents about our relationship first”

Roshan placed the order online and received the message

YOUR ORDER IS SUCCESSFULLY PLACED. IT WILL BE DELIVERED IN 20 MINUTES. THANK YOU FOR USING OUR ONLINE MENU ORDER APP.

“So Roshan, how is your project going on?”

“Well, nothing much currently handling 5 robotic enhancement projects. Pretty busy with understanding the requirements and taking care of the programming individually”

“Hmmm….awesome!” she replied.

“It’s been two years we have been like this, working here; I never knew this will happen. Remember how we got acquainted with each other?” asked Roshan.

“Yes, I do,” smiled Natasha, “You were trying badly to impress me with your mini robot which you designed when you were a trainee.”

“Okay okay now don’t embarrass me with that,” he interrupted.

“The mini robot came to me, offered the rose and displayed a message “Battery Love” instead of “Battery Low”

“Errr…yeah I forgot to put it on charge the day before. The battery had drained badly, the day I proposed through the robot” smiled Roshan deliberately to veil the fun she was having out of his embarrassment.

“And there was a bug in the display module too!” winked Natasha.

“Okay madam, let’s change the topic now. Sometimes, small blunders ending in good things make us happy and of course my small blunder made wonders in my life and that’s how I got this wonderful lady in my life”

“Ahem, trying to be romantic, aren’t you,” Natasha blushed.

“If you can understand that, I’m all blessed”

“Do you love me so much?” shooted Natasha.

“Yes your highness. I love you so much”

“How much?”

“1 divided by zero times,” winked Roshan.

“What? Error?? Your love is an error?” frowned Natasha playfully knowing that’s a divide by zero error.

“Not an error dumbo, its infinity!!!” patted Roshan on Natasha’s forehead.

“Sir your order,” came the waiter.

●●●

It was 3.00 am. I’m still in the lab.

My work was just 75% complete. Still have many things to do.

BEEP BEEP

It was my mobile phone’s message alert.

Done with thngs? Wer r u?

It was a message from Natasha. Natasha is a cute girl. She is 23. Sincere and geeky. I don’t know how it all happened. I just remember when she greeted me with her smile and said “Welcome to National Academy of Robotics” on my first day here.

Initially it was little difficult for me to understand her words though she was soft spoken. But it was her beauty that made me go blank and speechless. I slowly started getting along with her well. She used to spend time with me in the lab few months ago. But now she has stopped spending time with me. May be, it is because; I can do all my work alone and do not need any assistance from her.

I don’t blame her either. It’s my job here to do my work and earn respect through my performance.

The only thing I hate is her SMS. She never uses correct English. All short forms!

Things are fine. Almost done! Few set up issues I’m having it here. I’ll take care of it – I replied.

Gud thn, take care n lve soon. Tomo I’ll meet you in d eveng – She replied.

I’m almost drained. Tomorrow I’ve to meet her show my robotic assignment that I’ll be completing in another few hours

●●●

“I’m full and can’t have any more. I’m done with this milkshake” declared Natasha.

“I’m too full….then what plans for tonight?”

“Tonight? Did you see the time its 10.30 pm dear. What plans do you want me to have after this? Just planning to hit the bed” said Natasha in a hurry.

“I’m planning to get back to the Academy. I’ve to complete few other modules today. I’ll drop you and then leave” said Roshan.

“Alright then, let us leave”

YOUR PAYMENT FOR THE ORDER HAS BEEN MADE. THANKS FOR VISITING PHOTON DINING INN. THANK YOU & VISIT AGAIN

Both of them left the place as he received the payment message in his iPad.

Roshan and Natasha walked towards the parking bay and got into the car and the car swept the road swiftly.

●●●

It was 6.30 am when I finally completed burning all the data into the chip and soldered the ICs into the board of the main module. The testing went fine. The body of the robot wasn’t complete yet but the functionalities were verified. Real time testing will be done tomorrow.

My eyes have started drooping. I was little hungry too. Tiredness has crept in. I really need to charge up. The robot was lying in the test bed motionless, as I have switched off the SMPS connected to it. I walked towards the battery pane and as I had walked two steps; I was all dizzy and fell down on the floor.

When I came to my senses, it was 6.45 am. Fifteen minutes have passed & I’ve been unconscious on the floor. I’ve no mood to stay in the lab, I badly wanted some sunlight.

I came out of the lab and could see the first rays of sunlight of the day. It was all warm and sunny. I was happy to be out of this lab now. I slowly gathered strength and walked towards the academy gate. I was still very weak out of all this heavy work. I sat down on the platform nearby and slowly auto ejected the mini solar panels that were residing inside my chest and shoulder closets. My metal body was getting warm sensation out of the sun light and I could feel my internal battery slowly getting charged up with the solar panels that were now sucking all the infra red rays and were converting it to equivalent electrical charges.

I lay there closing my eyes as I was slowly getting my battery charged up. I felt relieved.

●●●

The car was speeding in the highway.

“By the way Natasha, how is your heuristic robot that you designed? What are your plans with that?” asked Roshan.

“Well, you don’t know what plans I have. I’m developing more of super heuristic robots”

“What? More of super heuristic robots? But how? It took almost two years to come up with a prototype of a single fully functional heuristic robot. Are you going to spend the rest of your life time with making more of such robots?” Roshan was confused.

“No dear, I’m not going to spend the rest of my life”

“Then what? What are you going to do with that robot?”

“Hmmm…it’s there in the robot programming wing RPW-954A of the NAR making more of such super heuristic robots with the help of heuristic instincts that I’ve coded and fed into it. Planning to unveil them in the International Heuristics Conference that is coming up in few months” winked Natasha.

“Wooow Natty, you are super awesomely genius!!!!” exclaimed Roshan and pecked on her cheek.

THE END

Image Courtesy: Internet

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