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April 5, 2006

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Welcome to the April 5, 2006 edition of ACM TechNews, providing timely information for IT professionals three times a week.

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Companies Step Up to Fund Basic Research
Inside Bay Area (CA) (04/03/06) Grady, Barbara

With government funding on the wane, more universities are partnering with companies to conduct high-risk, basic research. Corporate labs are too tied to profit concerns to pursue research in applications that might never turn into a commercially viable product, said Intel's Kurt Brown, co-director of Intel Research at the University of California, Berkeley, adding that academic partnerships enable companies to keep apprised of new research. At Stanford University, in its close proximity to Silicon Valley, the revolving door connecting industry with academia is as active as ever, with the majority of Stanford's computer science faculty at any given time reporting some involvement with a commercial venture. Meanwhile, Intel, Yahoo!, Google, Sun, and Microsoft have all partnered with Berkeley to form joint research ventures. Entrepreneurs and faculty agree that the decline in DARPA funding for computer science and engineering is the main impetus for closer ties between companies and universities. At Berkeley, ACM President David Patterson had to find corporate funding for 80 percent of the Reliable, Adaptive, and Distributed Systems laboratory when DARPA denied his grant. The remaining 20 percent of Patterson's funding is coming from government and the university, though that is the inverse of the ratio of the past, when only between 10 percent and 20 percent of funding would fall to industry. While DARPA funding has actually increased over the past several years, funding for basic research has declined, particularly in computer science, where funding for research at universities dropped from $207 million in 2002 to $123 million in 2004. When pursuing corporate funding, universities must be careful not to subordinate academic inquiry to commercial interests. Intel's willingness to make the research open and non-proprietary at its facility at Berkeley has been critical to its success, said Eric Brewer, the other co-director of Intel Research at Berkeley.
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Software Out There
New York Times (04/05/06) P. E1; Markoff, John

The proliferation of chunks of mix-and-match code available on the Web is offering developers unprecedented flexibility to create an unlimited variety of applications, in stark contrast to the traditional programming model of inflexible code designed to run on individual machines. The resulting decentralization has opened the door to smaller companies that are delivering innovative programs and services directly to PCs or cell phones with lighting speed. The genesis of modular software created from standard compatible components came from Europe in the 1960s, and the idea reached Silicon Valley by the 70s, though corporate proprietary interests have historically bound programmers to exclusively use their own products. The open-source movement has changed all that, however, with the computing industry steadily moving toward the ethos that information should be shared and free. While the open-source movement has sparked the most energetic startup frenzy in Silicon Valley since the dot-com bust, much of which is proceeding without venture capital funding, modular software is also forcing industry leaders to re-evaluate their positions in the changing climate. The advent of modular software is leveling traditional entry barriers, as many startups are powered simply by a home PC and a broadband connection. Early examples of virtual companies include Flickr and Del.icio.us, both of which were acquired by Yahoo! last year. Community development could also disrupt the economic motivation for outsourcing programming jobs to foreign countries. With many of its standard applications appearing on the Web for free, Microsoft is changing its own stance toward open source, and CTO Ray Ozzie recently touted the potential of RSS feeds, the free technology that competes with Microsoft's .Net.
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MIT Researchers Attack Wireless Shortcomings, Phishing
Network World (04/04/06) Brown, Bob

MIT faculty members are pitching their latest research to university partners in the business community at this week's MIT Information Technology Conference. Assistant professor Dina Katabi, of the school's electrical engineering and computer science department, presented her research in opportunistic coding, or COPE, to enhance the performance of wireless networks. Katabi says that with demand for wireless throughput increasing steadily, a major breakthrough is needed, one that would go well beyond the next 802.11 iteration. "We need a severalfold increase" in throughput, she said. To accomplish this, Katabi says that systems must take advantage of the shared nature of wireless networks, rather than forcing them into a point-to-point mode. In her system, routers would handle the mixing or coding of packets, and then relay them to senders and receivers that can determine whether the traffic is directed toward them. Katabi reports throughput increases of up to fourfold using this technique in a three-floor MIT building containing 34 nodes. Assistant professor Rob Miller described his research on anti-phishing techniques. Miller wants to give browsers the ability to understand their users' intentions, so they could confirm that a URL is the user's intended destination and legitimate. Miller outlined his vision for the Web wallet, a suite of network security features that presents the user with a list of suggested sites with similar URLs to visit, and a separate form to enter his personal information. Miller found in experiments that the wallet dramatically reduced the percentage of users who fell for phishing scams.
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The Lessons of the $100 Laptop
eWeek (04/04/06) Spooner, John G.

Speaking at the LinuxWorld convention, One Laptop Per Child Chairman Nicholas Negroponte said the company is poised to ship between 5 million and 10 million devices by the end of the year or the beginning of next. The computer, equipped with a seven-inch screen, a 500 MHz AMD processor, and a Linux operating system, but shed of its hand crank, will be primarily used as an educational tool, teaching children in developing countries to write computer programs and enabling them to connect to the Internet. In outlining the progress of the laptop, Negroponte was sharply critical of the computing industry's cycle of software updates that add features but not value, arguing that the industry needs to re-evaluate its approach to development. The laptop sheds the costs of a proprietary operating system, a large display, and sales and marketing support, while still being readable and capable of connecting to the Internet, as well as serving as a router for other machines. Energy consumption was a major concern in developing the laptop, and Negroponte boasted that the device will consume fewer than 2 watts of power. "That's very important because 35 percent of the world doesn't have electricity," he said, adding that companies will routinely boast of the efficiency of their products in the near future. "That is the currency of tomorrow." The laptops will also contain Wi-Fi mesh networking capabilities that work even when the machines are powered down, enabling multiple machines to use the same Internet connection. The hand crank will move to the device's power supply.
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A Case of Mind Over Matter
Boston Globe (04/02/06) Heuser, Stephen

After decades of promising results in the lab and millions of dollars in research funding, the field of brain-computer interaction still has yet to live up to its promise and bring a product to market. At the Upstate New York public health laboratory, neuroscientist Jonathan Wolpaw has been developing an electrode-studded mesh cap that can relay brain signals to external devices as instructions, offering greater independence for the severely disabled. Other systems in development surgically implant electrodes to glean instructions directly from a person's neural cells. Wolpaw's cap detects electrical waves outside the brain, similar to the type that electroencephalograms have read for decades, though it interprets them with sophisticated software that Wolpaw and his team developed. "We're not talking here about mind reading in the science fiction sense of the word," said Emanuel Donchin, a brain researcher who developed the spelling application used in Wolpaw's device. "You can't listen in on the conversations of the brain. You just make inferences about the state of the brain." Sophisticated computers and scientists' growing experience are bringing the technology closer to the market. Wolpaw expects to have his devices in use by four or five patients by June, and is investigating commercial avenues. The National Institutes of Health are stepping up funding for brain-computer interface research, and Wolpaw, who had been working largely under government grants, won an international prize from the Altran Foundation for Engineering after he and a colleague published a paper detailing how his device enabled a patient to move a cursor in two dimensions. With the prize came more than $1 million worth of help from engineers, who have worked with Wolpaw to improve and simplify the design of his cap and bring the cost down, though limited demand could still be an obstacle to commercialization.
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Boost for UK's Superfast Computer
BBC News (04/02/06) Fildes, Jonathan

The British government will invest 52 million pounds in the High-End Computing Terascale Resource (Hector) supercomputer, which will be built in 2007. In announcing the investment, Science Minister Lord Sainsbury said, "The computational limits of the existing facilities are now being reached." British scientists currently use the CSAR computer at the University of Manchester, which is scheduled to be decommissioned in June, and the HPCx, which a University of Edinburgh-led consortium will continue to operate until the end of 2008. Hector, which will be owned by the Research Councils of the United Kingdom, would run up to a speed of 100 teraflops and perform up to 100 trillion calculations every second, making it six times as powerful as the fastest supercomputer in the United Kingdom. However, Jennifer Houghton, project manager of Hector, downplays the upgrade in power because software still has to be designed to take advantage of the supercomputer. "The technical barrier is getting the code to scale up," says Houghton. Hector would pale in comparison to the world's fastest supercomputer, IBM's Blue Gene/L at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory in California, which can exceed a speed of 367 teraflops and perform 280.6 trillion calculations per second.
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Software Agents Link Isolated Islands of Water Data
IST Results (04/04/06)

Researchers in Europe have achieved most of their aims in developing tools for analyzing inland water data at a local, national, and Pan-European level, but current technology prevented them from reaching their overall vision. The Environmental Data Exchange Network for Inland Water (EDEN-IW) project sought to provide tools for accessing inland water data across European Union countries, regardless of the different databases, software, languages, data formats, and concepts of specific terms used by governments down to individual researchers. The EDEN-IW project, funded by IST, developed special software agents to "translate" a query so that all databases are accessed simultaneously, and used open standards. In addition to XML, EDEN-IW used OWL, the protocol for developing ontologies. "In the laboratory we got the software working across a variety of different platforms, using different software in different languages, so we have a working prototype," says Dr. Palle Haastrup, coordinator of the project and a researcher at the Joint Research Center's Institute for Environment and Sustainability. The project also sought to provide tools for analyzing data sets, inferring missing data, and modeling different scenarios, as well as to apply their work to other areas of environmental research. Although security and other issues prevent the tools from being released, the project has impacted the European Water Framework, which seeks to align data across the EU to create a common method for comparing information.
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Binghamton University and STOC Launch Groundbreaking Linux Collaboration
Binghamton University (03/30/06)

The Binghamton, N.Y., area could become a leader in open-source research as a result of the opening of the Linux Technology Center on the campus of Binghamton University. LTC is a collaboration between the university, the Southern Tier Opportunity Coalition, IBM, and Mainline Information Systems, that is dedicated to furthering basic and applied research in Linux-based and open-source applications. In addition to helping to improve Linux and open-source research and capabilities, LTC has the potential to create jobs and improve and stimulate the economy locally and around the state. IBM computer scientist Merwyn Jones will direct LTC, which will be used by faculty and students from the Thomas J. Watson School of Engineering and Applied Science, and the School of Management. "Building upon IBM's strong commitment to open computing and Binghamton University's strong research capabilities, the LTC will accelerate innovation in the information technology arena and put the University in a leading role," says Jones. IBM will provide equipment such as servers, storage products, software, personnel, and other services. Mainline will aid the effort by offering support for Linux applications, such as in digital video, as well as in targeting small- and medium-sized business. "The LTC will bring together a diverse team of people to learn, share ideas, tackle problems, pioneer new approaches, and deliver innovation that matters to the local community," says IBM's Kyle VanKleeck.
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US Takes Interest in DDoS Attacks
Computer Business Review (04/03/06) Murphy, Kevin

Recent distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) attacks targeting the Internet's domain name system (DNS) have attracted the attention of high-level officials in the U.S. government, who fear that a new technique enabling attack authors to direct far more traffic at their victims could suggest the work of a new breed of cyber criminal motivated by the desire to bring down the Internet altogether. The alarming series of DNS amplification attacks began in December and rose appreciably in February, using spoofed IP addresses and recursion to broaden the scope of attacks. Traditional DDoS attacks use botnets either recruited through spammed Trojans or worms or purchased on the black market, often sufficient to overwhelm smaller sites, but the amplification attacks use a much larger network to target large companies or critical elements of the DNS infrastructure, such as the .com registry. "We're seeing some very deliberate attacks against some high profile targets right now, to showcase the talent of the attacker, so they can get work for the Russian mafia or whoever it may be," said Internet Systems Consortium President Paul Vixie. The ease with which a home PC can spoof its IP address when sending out a packet enables these attacks, provided the author obtains control of a DNS record. The attacker then instructs the bots to issue requests for a particular piece of malware against open recursive name servers. About 50,000 recursive name servers were used in the recent attacks, estimates CTO of UltraDNS Rodney Joffe, who was recently called away from a presentation at an ICANN meeting to brief top U.S. officials. UltraDNS and VeriSign were both targeted in recent attacks. Experts are debating whether the attacks originate from hackers looking for recruitment or terrorists more concerned with the wholesale disruption of economies. Vixie and ICANN agree that the most effective prevention against such attacks would be for ISPs to routinely validate source IPs.
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Rational Inequality
Los Angeles Times (03/30/06) Wertheim, Margaret

Despite the appearance in the 1970s that equal participation among men and women in math and science was an inevitability, that hope has not materialized, and today women are still under-represented in the sciences, and in some areas, such as computer science, their involvement has actually declined. The NSF reports that women comprise one-quarter of the country's science and engineering workers, a percentage that has held steady over the last decade. Research suggests that despite an equal interest in science and math among boys and girls in fourth grade, by eighth grade, twice as many boys are still interested. The notion that women lack the innate ability of men to rationalize problems and think quantitatively runs deeply through modern society, but dates back to the 5th century BC Greek philosopher and mathematician Pythagoras. Voicing that sentiment last year, Harvard President Lawrence Summers set off a firestorm of national protest that ultimately contributed to his resignation. In the Pythagorean scheme, which reached its modern apex in the 16th and 17th centuries, the world is partitioned between the physical and the mental, the male and the female. Math falls clearly on the male side, as women are too devoted to their earthly bodies and lack the capacity for manipulating numbers. The historical view that women are unsuited to math was held unquestioningly by most Renaissance thinkers, which carried through to the founding of the first scientific societies. It was not until 1945 that the Royal Society admitted its first woman. The male-dominated climate carried through to the 20th century, leaving an indelible imprint on a culture that still regards men as more innately capable than women, arguing all the more forcefully for encouraging girls at a young age to participate in math and science. For information about ACM's Committee on Women in Computing, visit http://www.acm.org/women
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Technology Companies Bring Outsourcing Home
Chronicle of Higher Education (04/07/06) Vol. 52, No. 31, P. A43; Carnevale, Dan

To curb the trend of exporting technology jobs overseas, Rural Sourcing is partnering with five colleges to create office parks in three states that will tap the ready-made and inexpensive labor supply of college towns. Rural environments offer low costs and help keep jobs in the United States, while also providing students with practical work experience. While the low cost of living overseas has kept the price of labor down, many companies have found their offshoring initiatives stymied by communication barriers and time-zone differences. Frederick Niswaner, dean of the College of Business at East Carolina University, claims that partnering with Rural Sourcing is a win-win proposition, with the company benefiting from inexpensive student labor, while computer science students gain valuable work experience, often a scarce commodity in smaller towns. Despite the growth in rural computer work, Rice University computer science professor Moshe Vardi believes that many companies are still unconvinced that small towns can provide an adequate supply of workers. "You're not likely to go to a rural area and find a critical mass of skills in technology," Vardi said. "Where you find a concentration of talent, it tends to be more expensive." Vardi also notes that media reports heralding the exportation of technology jobs have sapped student interest in computer science, even though plenty of jobs remain in the United States. That fear will start becoming a reality as companies find a shortage of skilled workers, forcing them to look overseas to meet their staffing requirements. Rural computing centers could handle security-sensitive projects that cannot be sent overseas, notes Gartner analyst Helen A. Huntley. ACM's Job Migration Task Force recently released an exhaustive study of the "Globalization and Offshoring of Software. To review this report, visit http://www.acm.org/globalizationreport
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Your Secrets Are Safe with Quasar Encryption
New Scientist (03/29/06) Knight, Will

Japanese scientists have encrypted messages using quasars, which emit powerful radio waves and are believed to be produced by black holes. Ken Umeno and colleagues at the National Institute of Information and Communications Technology in Tokyo believe the intergalactic radio signals of quasars have the potential to serve as a cryptographic tool because their strength and frequency make them impossible to determine. "Quasar-based cryptography is based on a physical fact that such a space signal is random and has a very broad frequency spectrum," says Umeno. The researchers view quasar radio signals as a way to create genuine randomness when encrypting information at high speed, and make it easier for two communicating parties to securely share the source of randomness. Users of the method only need to know which quasar to target and when to start in order to encrypt and decrypt a message. A large radio antenna is not required, and the parties can be located in different hemispheres. International financial institutions, governments, and embassies would benefit from quasar encryption, says Umeno. However, some observers have concerns about the practicality of the method, which is untested, and may be vulnerable to an attacker who is able to mimic the radio signal.
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Machine-to-Machine Communications Still Mired in Hype
TechNewsWorld (04/01/06) Koprowski, Gene

Industry experts say there is still a lot of hype surrounding machine-to-machine (M2M) communications, which has been touted as a potential facilitator of e-commerce and Internet services for machines for several years now. A recent report by Strategy Analytics says cellular networks are the most likely M2M enabler since they have become more reliable, widespread, and secure than ever before. Strategy Analytics' Cliff Raskind predicts that by 2011 as many as 110 million machines will directly or indirectly use a cellular connection for M2M. Raskind says, "Despite the staggering theoretical potential of M2M across many verticals, cellular M2M will continue to demonstrate the best payback in utilities, retail, transport/logistics, property management, and health care in the short-to-medium term." One possible obstacle for M2M to overcome is the lack of broad inter-industry cooperation among manufacturers of sensors, RF modules, and the machines they will reside in. The lack of standards will cause hardware integration and development for M2M to be very costly, according to Strategy Analytics. Some examples of M2M are linking the electric meter to a home or condo, and generating bills automatically. Experts are still waiting to see if M2M can live up to its hype. In 2004, FocalPointGroup predicted M2M communications would generate $180 billion by 2008, but today the industry is worth around $40 billion.
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Building Better Applications: Beyond Secure Coding
Enterprise Systems (03/28/06) Schwartz, Mathew

In the face of mounting security breaches, regulatory requirements, and audits, more companies are working to educate their developers about secure coding, with the goal of creating software with as few vulnerabilities as possible. The premise is that improved training will lead to applications with secure data encryption, strong passwords, and complete input validation. Bad code accounts for as many as 80 percent of the security problems in existence today, wrote security consultant Bar Biszick-Lockwood in an IEEE report. As part of an IEEE group commissioned to study secure computing, however, Biszick-Lockwood found that most security problems emerge from constrained budgets, unreasonable deadlines, and a lack of support from executives, rather than inadequate training. Bad code is more often indicative of business problems than a flawed development team. The data breach notification emails that customers receive with alarming frequency speak more to a basic misunderstanding of the business value of security at a decision-maker level than to an error in a specific application. Executive education is the first place to start when trying to develop a culture of secure computing, says Herbert Thompson of Security Innovation. Since selling executives on the value of an education program can be tough, developers can use a calculus that identifies potential flaws at each stage of development, weighing the cost of fixing bad code before it is released compared with fixing it after the release. With senior management on board, development teams must then adjust their thinking to account for what constraints need to be built into the application from the outset, rather than simply focusing on the application's core functionality. Once a project is completed, companies must subject their code to rigorous security testing just as they test for functionality, attacking it as a hacker would.
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Bits to Atoms (and Atoms to Bits)
Computerworld (04/03/06) P. 34; Anthes, Gary

In a recent interview, Neil Gershenfeld, director of the Center for Bits and Atoms at MIT's Fab Lab, discussed his view that the world is on the brink of a third digital revolution. Two distinct phases define the past: communications and computing, asserts Gershenfeld, adding that the third revolution will come in the form of fabrication, where technology begins to imitate the molecular processes of living organisms. Gershenfeld argues that computer science as a term for the discipline is limiting, as it remains wedded to traditional forms of computing, while ignoring the superiority of natural forces as agents of calculation, such as quantum computing. Gershenfeld describes the Internet 0 project, which enables anyone to create a Web server based on all the original principles of the Internet for $1. "It will let you do IP to everything, at essentially the cost of an RFID tag. It's the first step in breaking computation out of the boxes you see today and integrating it with the physical world," Gershenfeld said. Another project at the center is fungible computation, or raw computing power as a material that can be sprayed, poured, or unrolled in the desired quantity and location. Self-organizing displays and servers could accept piecemeal upgrades of processing power that would greatly increase the flexibility of today's devices. At the Fab Lab, student projects have included a Web browser for parrots and an alarm clock that the user must wrestle with to convince it that he is awake. Though largely overlooked by commercial enterprises, the Fab Lab projects are no more at the bleeding edge than was the PC when companies running mainframes still considered it a toy, notes Gershenfeld. "Conventional companies don't recognize the extent to which these aren't just toys but fundamentally threaten their business models."
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Engineers Urged to Find Their Voice
EE Times (04/03/06)No. 1417, P. 36; Merritt, Rick

In an interview, Segway inventor Dean Kamen discussed the role of the engineer and his efforts to further education and improve the discipline's image. Kamen launched the FIRST (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology) Robotics Competition in 1989, which now matches as many as 70,000 students with working engineers each year at events in more than 33 cities. Kamen believes that engineers must take a more active role in policy and education, noting that by the nature of their job--keeping infrastructure running smoothly--they are often kept in the shadows. Because policy makers often lack the technical expertise to make informed decisions about issues such as energy use and renewable resources, and sometimes fail to see the long-term consequences of those decisions, Kamen says they should seek the advice of engineers. "The environment gets a lot of political heat when people make bold statements, but ultimately, if the facts are wrong the laws will be wrong," Kamen said. "Bad facts make bad laws." Turning to health care, Kamen said that much of the current crisis stems from inefficient technology, and that he welcomes the government's apparent shift in favor of increased spending for research and development. Kamen insists that the patent system is vital to preserving the integrity of intellectual property, and that the few "bad actors" who bend the rules should be sanctioned individually. He believes the government should support the patent office by ensuring that it has the resources to maintain a ready supply of trained examiners to speed the process and ensure that only quality patents are awarded, which would also curb the trend of patent litigation.
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2020 Computing: Champing at the Bits
Nature (03/23/06) Vol. 440, No. 7083, P. 398; Ball, Philip

Andrew Steane with the University of Oxford's quantum-computing group believes a practical quantum computer could be realized by 2020, though University of Michigan physicist Chris Monroe reports that advances in the field are proceeding at a slow pace. While quantum computers are likely to remain niche tools, their ability to simulate other quantum systems is expected to revolutionize research in such fields as materials science, chemistry, and perhaps molecular biology by facilitating super-fast calculations. Just one quantum computer can basically simulate an entire stable of classical computers by exploiting the superposition or dual-state nature of quantum bits (qubits), while a quantum processor can also compute with multiple qubits concurrently through the property known as entanglement. The disadvantage is the tendency for qubits' superposition to destabilize when they interact with the environment. Preventing this phenomenon, known as decoherence, is difficult, and a practical quantum computer must isolate qubits from the environment yet enable them to interact with each other to execute computations. There are various approaches to building quantum computers, including trapping ions or neutral atoms, using superconducting circuits as qubits, or optical-based methods such as encoding qubits into the quantum states of photons or using quantum dots as qubits. There are also software issues, such as a profound lack of algorithms that can scale up with quantum-level computational problems. A major obstacle to the generation of new algorithms is the difficulty of recognizing what problems stand to benefit the most from quantum-computing techniques.
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An Image of the Future: Graphical Passwords
Information Today (03/06) Vol. 23, No. 3, P. 39; Poulson, Deborah

Computer users frustrated with having to remember a multitude of alphanumeric passwords will welcome the development of graphical passwords, writes Deborah Poulson. First patented by physicist and entrepreneur Greg Blonder in 1996, graphical passwords work by displaying an image on a touch-screen or pen-based computer, and prompting the user to select the areas in the image, called click points, that form a password. To work, the image must be sufficiently complex, such as a city skyline, and users must be on the lookout for password thieves trying to shoulder surf, or steal a password by observing the click points, just as thieves observe keystrokes to steal conventional passwords. But researchers at the University of Rutgers are developing a graphical password that is invulnerable to shoulder surfing. In their tests, users chose 10 icons from a pre-selected list, which were then mixed up on the screen with 200 other icons. Rather than clicking on the icons themselves, the subjects clicked inside the geometric shape that would be formed by lines drawn to connect the icons. Correctly identifying 10 shapes validates the user. Shoulder surfing becomes impossible when a user never clicks on the actual icons, said Rutgers computer science professor Jean-Camille Birget. The problem with the icon-based password is that it takes too long, due to the multiple rounds of selecting icons. Though Birget believes icon-based passwords may only be used in environments where shoulder surfing is a serious problem, he said test subjects in his experiments did not notice the extra time required to select the icons.
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The Rise of the Smart Phone
IEEE Distributed Systems Online (03/06) Vol. 7, No. 3,Zheng, Pei; Ni, Lionel M.

Microsoft software engineer Pei Zheng and Hong Kong University of Science and Technology professor Lionel Ni envision advanced mobile wireless applications and services that facilitate anytime/anywhere communications and computing delivered over next-generation multifunctional and multiwireless cell phones, also known as smart phones. Smart phones are expected to boast such features as a backlit color LCD screen; a large memory; persistent storage; augmented wireless capability such as Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, and infrared; and a sophisticated operating system with such applications as games, calendar, scheduler, address book, media player, recorder, book reader, notation, and calculator functionalities. The hardware of a smart phone typically features a microprocessor, a mainboard, an antenna, ROM, RAM, a battery (usually NiMH, Li-ion, or Li-polymer), additional storage such as flash memory or a secure digital card, a keyboard or keypad, network interfaces, a thin-film transistor or LCD screen, and a hard disk in some models. Smart-phone software platforms such as Symbian OS, Windows Mobile and the .Net Compact Framework, Java and Binary Runtime Environment (BREW), Palm OS, and Embedded Linux are supplanting cell phone makers' proprietary systems. Zheng and Ni focus on three varieties of emerging services and applications for smart phones: Personalized location-based services such as navigation assistance, location-enhanced asset management, mobile social networking, and mobile local search, which are facilitated by positioning methods; m-commerce that must resolve technological, security, and stability issues in order to realize its full potential; and mobile enterprise applications such as customer relationship management, supply chain management, and enterprise resource planning, whereby a smart phone functions as an always-on end point to provide real data access and transaction support.
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