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November 1, 2006

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Welcome to the November 1, 2006 edition of ACM TechNews, providing timely information for IT professionals three times a week.

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Computing, 2016: What Won't Be Possible
New York Times (10/31/06) P. D3; Lohr, Steve

Now that computers have proved their worth in science, business, and culture, what's next? An October symposium titled "2016," held in Washington by the Computer Science and Telecommunications Board, a part of the National Academies, took aim at this question. Two themes emerged from the discussions: the continuing penetration of computing into the sciences; and that computing will expand even more into the realm of social sciences, with policy issues becoming major topics of debate as technology allows for greater pervasiveness. Richard M. Karp, a professor at the University of California, Berkeley, said that computing, the systematic study of algorithms, allows us to describe biological processes: "In other words, nature is computing." As electronic social networks grow, so do our abilities to track and study them, on an increasingly large scale. "We're witnessing a revolution in measurement," says Jon Kleinberg, professor at Cornell, who points out that sociologists have been studying social networks, which are pre-technological creations, for decades. Simply by observing postings on MySpace or Facebook, recommendations on Amazon, or the diffusion of news, opinions, and rumors, a bounty of information can be attained and used to study intricate social questions of interest not only to sociologists, but to marketers, politicians, and countless other fields. "This is the introduction of computing and algorithmic processes into the social sciences in a big way, and we're just at the beginning," says Kleinberg. Technology will allow people to record their entire lives and either keep it for themselves or make it available to the entire world. While technology will create the potential for pervasive surveillance, "it will be up to society to determine how we use it," says Rick Rashid, a computer scientist and head of Microsoft's research labs. "Society will determine that, not scientists."
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Does E-Voting Need Paper Trails
CNet (10/31/06) Broache, Amy

Despite the mistrust that many have for a completely electronic voting system, as the November general elections near, many officials are explaining why no action was taken to implement a paper trail. While 27 states have mandated paper records, not all of them have the system in place. "The officials have spent gazillions of dollars to buy what they have now," said Eugene Spafford, computer science director of the Center for Education and Research Information Assurance and Security at Purdue University. "Any additions will need to come out of local budgets, so they are looking for ways to avoid incurring that expense. They can't return or throw out the existing machines without huge expense, and modification won't be cheap, either." New York had passed a law requiring electronic voting machines to produce paper trials by September 1, 2007, but did not want to spend a great deal on systems only to have them become quickly outdated. They are currently using lever-operated voting machines, and testing electronic systems. Ohio has equipped all of its electronic voting machines with paper trails. A study conducted by the Election Science Institute found that nearly 10 percent of the paper print-outs made by Ohio's machines were "compromised in some way," and would have been uncountable should a recount have been necessary, said director Steven Hertzberg. He blames the mess the country finds itself in on a failure to conduct proper testing, as would have been done in any commercial industry, and suggests that governments hand out grants in order to inspire innovation in competing companies. Still, many states claim that a paper printout is against principles because voter information and who they voted for could be matched up. An alternative system, which complies with federal obligations, involves a ballot that is filled in by voters then read by an optical scanner that totals votes. Eugene Spafford is chair of ACM's U.S. Public Policy Committee. To learn more about USACM's many e-voting activities, visit http://www.acm.org/usacm
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How to Build Software? Henry Ford, Meet eBay
Christian Science Monitor (11/01/06) P. 1; Arnoldy, Ben

"Code Jam 2006," hosted by Google and put on by TopCoder, exhibited how software development competition can be harnessed to create the best software for customers. A group of 99 of the world's best programmers, all male, a third Russia, devoid of Indians, and containing seven Americans, was presented with the task of individually solving three problems in 75 minutes. This new sort of assembly line for code writing is called a "very intriguing and attractive model," by Thomas Malone, director of the Center for Collective Intelligence at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Malone sees the approach as a logical extension of the progression in computing power. "Things that are done today inside big companies will, in the future, be done by temporary combinations of very small companies, in many cases, independent contractors," he says. TopCoder receives a project from a client, divides it into several components, and opens the creation and development work to a series of online competitions, and "prize money," usually a few thousand dollars, is given to the programmer with the best finished product. TopCoder then combines the individual components into the system the client had requested. "Our competition model drives up quality in a way that no one can duplicate. No one else I know can get four or five [versions] made of the same thing and take the best," says Brendan Wright of TopCoder. Programmers benefit from being able to hand-pick projects to work on and customers benefit from lower prices. Critics of the competition-based system claim that it is unable to handle concerns arising in the middle of production, or handle projects that change over time.
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Global Competition Spark Spending Spree
Financial Times (10/30/06) P. 4; Cookson, Clive

The international R&D Scoreboard has just released a report showing a 7 percent increase in R&D spending by the world's top 1,250 companies. Norman Price, an industrialist at the UK Department of Trade and Industry, which publishes the annual report, says that "in many sectors profits are growing strongly and companies can afford to spend more on R&D." Technology hardware and equipment shows the highest total R&D spending, over $80 billion, but has experienced a 0.6 percent decrease since the 2001/2002 report. Electronics & IT tops both U.S. and Japanese investment in R&D, and is second to engineering & chemicals in Germany, third to engineering & chemicals and pharmaceuticals in France, and the lowest of all reported sectors in the UK. Asia experienced the greatest growth of all; the 44 Taiwanese companies that made the top 1,250 increased R&D investment by 30.5 percent last year, with the bulk of investment focused on electronics and computer companies; the 17 South Korean companies increased R&D investment by 11.9 percent, with most of the nation's R&D investment being accounted for by Samsung, Hyundai, and LG. Samsung's R&D spending grew $5.44 billion in the past four years, from $1.88 billion, forcing competitors to increase R&D investment as well. The two most important trends in corporate R&D, according to Prof. George Haour, professor of technology and innovation management at IMD business school in Geneva, are "open innovation" and the move to Asia. Open innovation refers to the end of the traditional R&D structure in which scientists work on secret projects in isolation, and the beginning of businesses working with each other, in order to commercialize their own innovations and find other inventions to exploit. Many western companies were found to have set up R&D centers in Asia, particularly China and India. "They want to take advantage of all the talented people in Asia and the dynamic markets there," says Haour. However, there is still a relative lack of indigenous investment in R&D in these two nations.
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E-Mail Voting Comes With Risks
Washington Post (10/31/06) P. A19; Nakashima, Ellen

Thousands of U.S. soldiers around the world will be given the chance to vote in the November 7 general elections using fax, email, snail mail, or a combination of methods. Computer security experts have warned that the program, the Pentagon's Federal Voting Assistance Program (FVAP), is open to the dangers associated with unencrypted email, which include interception, hacking, and identity theft. "Email traffic can flow through equipment owned and operated by various governments, companies, and individuals in many countries," says Joel Rothschild, a Navy Reserve captain who prepared a report on this topic for the Pentagon in August. "It is easily monitored, blocked, and subject to tampering." Rothschild noted in his report that encryption could be used to secure email transactions, but the Pentagon has no plans for such measures. "No bank would ask their customers to send Social Security numbers over unencrypted email," said Rothschild's co-author, David Wagner. He calls the combination of faxing and email "about as dangerous as you can get. It's got all of the problems with unencrypted email, plus your ballot is being routed through the Department of Defense. Will soldiers feel free to vote their conscience when they know that the DoD may be able to see how they voted? How do we know that the DoD or their contractors haven't modified soldiers' ballots in transit?" Scott Wiedmann, deputy director of the FVAP, claims that the federal facility is unable to alter email ballots, which are sent as "read-only" files. However, soldiers must sign away their right to a secret ballot when using this process. Email is currently an option for soldiers voting in eight states, and soldiers are encouraged to mail an original copy of their ballot, as a precautionary measure, if they vote via fax or email.
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The Trouble With Multi-Core Computers
Technology Review (11/01/06) Greene, Kate

MIT researchers are creating a computing framework that allows programmers to write software without having to deal with some tedious parallel-programming details, using transactional memory, which coordinates software operations and allows several transactions to share the same memory at the same time. With the coming of the age of personal supercomputers, average programmers will need to be able to program with multiple cores in mind. "That's a scary thing," says Krste Asanovic, professor of electrical engineering and computer science at MIT, "because most have never done that, and it's quite difficult to do." While "locks" are currently used to prevent programs running simultaneously from trying to access the same piece of memory, implementing these locks is complicated, says Jim Larus, research area manager at Microsoft. After a transaction is complete, the system (under construction) verifies that no changes have been made to memory that could hinder the results of the first outcome, if changes have been made, the transaction is repeated as necessary. Transactional memory can fail, says Asanovic: transactions may require more memory than the set amount available, causing the system to crash, but by adding a small backup memory onto the cache as well as adding software to recognize when the transactions are overflowing, explains Asanovic, transactional memory capacity can be increased, preventing failure. Researchers are working with a combination of hardware and software; "its not clear yet where the right line is," says Larus. Today's dual-core systems are not as affected by the lack of truly parallel programs as the quad-core systems, which will be released by AMD and Intel next year, would be. Transactional memory, according to Asanovic will not wipe away all troubles in multi-processor programming, but it will become an integral part of the future parallel-computing model.
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Feds Leapfrog RFID Privacy Study
Wired News (10/30/06) Singel, Ryan

A report warning the Department of Homeland Security about the security risks involved with the use of RFID chips is stuck on the draft stage even as RFIDs are currently being developed for use. The report points to a danger of vital information being "skimmed" off of the cards for malicious use, such as tracking of individuals or recreating chips for payment, security, and passports. Jim Harper who served on the committee that issued the report and recently published a book titled "Identity Crisis," claims that "there's such a strongly held consensus among industry and DHS that RFID is the way to go that getting people off of that and getting them to examine the technology is very hard to do." RFID chips are commonly used today in highway toll payment systems or in tracking inventory, but the State Department has announced new cards for visitors to Mexico, Canada, and the Bermudas, containing an RFID chip, readable from 20 feet away. New laws will accompany distribution of these "PASScards," which will be required for reentry to the U.S. in 2008. Additional use of RFID chips are planned for passports, identity cards for transportation workers and federal employees, and possibly for driver's licenses. A spokesman from DHS claims that the report is still being considered. The Center for Democracy and Technology called for deeper inquiry into identification technologies. CDT believes the focus should be on how secure the cards are, rather than preventing their development, since the reality is they are already being used. Whether or not the new cards will have encryption is being left up to the State Department.
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Cybersecurity Expert Says Nationwide Use of Computerized Voting Poses Risk
Purdue University News (10/31/06) Schenke, Jim

Purdue University cybersecurity expert Eugene Spafford has pointed out several basic flaws in the implementation of electronic voting machines by local government bodies meant to combat the election difficulties of 2000. "The problem with the 2000 elections that prompted the reforms was only with one type of paper-based ballot in a few jurisdictions. That's hardly a cause to hurriedly and somewhat recklessly replace all of the equipment nationwide," says Spafford, executive director of the Center for Education and Research in Information Assurance and Security (CERIAS). He says vendors may have exaggerated claims when telling election boards that the new direct-recording machines were tested exhaustively and were not susceptible to failure. "No mention was made of the limitations of the software testing or the obstacles to creating bug-free software," said Spafford. "Furthermore, there are some unexpected bugs or failures that cannot be resolved because there are no actual ballots to recount." Some software has been found to not count votes over a certain number, or reset to zero after a power failure. As far as the machines being easier to use for handicapped voters, Spafford points out that blind voters will not be provided with Braille, as utilized by the paper ballots, and voters with palsy will experience trouble with the interface. He is perplexed by the fact that so many jurisdictions saw electronic voting machines as necessary when banks, race tracks, lottery systems, and other businesses count millions of paper documents every day. CERIAS and Purdue's computer science department will host former ACM President Barbara Simons, an Internet voting expert, on November 2. In 2005, Simons was the first woman to receive the Distinguished Engineer Alumni Award from the University of California, Berkeley. To view USACM's report "Statewide Databases of Registered Voters" visit http://www.acm.org/usacm/VRD
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CMU, Intel See Fantasy as Future
Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (11/01/06) Templeton, David

The Intel Research Pittsburgh program, a joint effort between Intel and Carnegie Mellon University researchers, is in the early stages of developing technology that would allow computers to physically recreate humans. Billions of speck-sized robots, known as "catoms," short for Claytronic atoms, that move by hydrostatic electricity would be able to form whatever shape for which they are programmed. However, finalization of this technology is still decades away and more funding will be required, according to those involved. Pearl-sized catom prototypes have been developed, and the hope is to have them move independently and follow simple algorithms dictating shapes, textures, and colors, to move identically to the humans they are replicating. Seth Goldstein, a CMU computer scientist and a co-creator of Claytronics, says that more immediate goals are make faxing in 3D a reality, computer aided design tools, and an antennae that is able to grow or shrink depending on the signal it is receiving. The Intel Research Pittsburgh laboratory includes about 20 CMU researchers, and is one of four such labs that Intel created at computer-powerhouse universities over the past year, including University of Washington in Seattle, the University of California, Berkeley, and England's University of Cambridge. Other projects being developed by the lab include Intel's Diamond, which reduces mammograms to numbers and compares them with known images to help doctors diagnose malignancy, and a tool that searches for specific motions in Internet videos.
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Team Strives to Optimize Vital Wireless Networks
Stanford Report (11/01/06) Orenstein, David

A DARPA funded project will conduct research addressing new ideas and fundamentals of wireless network design and performance as they pertain to field communications between soldiers and first responders. "Mobile ad hoc networks have been the basis of military communications for decades but most of the work hasn't been based on anything fundamental," says Stanford electrical engineering associate professor Andrea Goldsmith, the lead principal investigator on the project. "We really don't know the performance limits or the optimal methods to communicate over wireless networks." The ad hoc networks presently used are easy to establish, but not well optimized and have an unknown capacity, resulting in emergency communications that are often lost in a queue of less important communications, among other problems. The research grant "really energized the [wireless network] community," Goldsmith says. The most basic concern of the team is the capacity limit of wireless networks, and the "design insights and guidance that come with knowing fundamental limits and the techniques that achieve these limits," Goldsmith says. Another key area of inquiry is developing a technique for prolonging the life of networks with battery powered nodes that cannot be recharged, such as those deployed in remote locations. Security will also need to be considered. Innovations resulting from this study could include ways of routing information around a network and to making transmitters cooperatively allocate resources such as bandwidth. The resulting technology could be applied to "smart" highways that could guide automated cars, and more efficient buildings with intelligent security, or systems to help the elderly and disabled. Researchers from Stanford, MIT, University of Illinois, Cal Tech, and the University of Texas-Austin will collaborate on the project.
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World Discusses Internet Future
BBC News (10/30/06) Waters, Darren

Security, diversity, openness, and access will be the key agendas for the Internet Governance Forum (IGF), being held in Athens from October 30 to November 3. "The forum will give voice to the citizens of the global net and help identify emerging issues which need to be tackled in the formal processes," says Nitin Desai, chair of the organizing body for IGF. Over 1,500 delegates will attend the meeting, including representatives of governments, companies, organizations, and individuals who have the option of participating in discussions via blogs or actually coming to Athens, a distinct change from the past. Desai warns that a "potential culture clash" is the most severe challenge to the forum's success. The debate over internationalized domain names (IDNs), for countries who do not use the Latin alphabet, overshadowed the World Summit on the Information Society in Tunis, which the IGF was borne out of. ICANN is overseeing the move toward IDNs, and has recently begun testing them with its engineers. The body has taken a "huge step forward," according to IDN program director Tina Dam. Beyond this one concern, IGF is important because it will tackle "issues around spam, cybersecurity, openness, what are the blocks to freedom of speech?--they all speak to all Internet users directly," says Emily Taylor, legal director of Nominet, the U.K. body in charge of the .uk domain name. She points out that everyone has experienced viruses, but not everyone might be aware of international differences in approaches to freedom of speech, beyond the simple examples of government censorship. "I know, from speaking to ordinary users, that these issues are much more on their minds that discussions about who manages the Internet and exactly what is the role of the U.S. government," says Desai.
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Australian Women Dive Into IT
Sydney Morning Herald (Australia) (10/31/06) Moses, Asher

Google hopes the $24,000 in scholarships the company recently awarded to females in Australia pursuing computing-related studies at the university level will encourage more local women to follow suit. The Google 2006 Australia Anita Borg Scholarship program, which awarded two students with $5,000 scholarships and 14 others with $1,000 scholarships, marks the first time the initiative has been offered in Australia. The program has been available in the United States for the past three years. "By supporting the next generation of great technical minds, we pay tribute to Anita and her vision of women in the computer sciences," says Lars Rasmussen, head of engineering at Google Australia. The company's headquarters in Sydney recently hosted the women for a networking function. Although more women in Australia are now IT professionals, according to a new report by Talent2, the firm's Ian James suggests the negative perception of IT being for techies and geeks has led many women to pursue careers in other industries. Nonetheless, James says opportunities abound in IT, and they are not limited to programming and software development. For information on ACM's Committee on Women in Computing, visit http://women.acm.org
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'Big Brother' Call-Router May Stop Interruptions
New Scientist (10/26/06) Simonite, Tom

Researchers in Germany have developed the prototype of an intelligent call-routing system that is able to determine whether an employee is too busy to answer the telephone. The intelligent switchboard makes use of video cameras positioned around the office to provide footage of what the employee is doing, as well as computer-vision software that can determine whether the employee is sitting at their desk, talking to a colleague, or participating in a meeting. The software also monitors computer use. When the "Connector" system decides that a phone call has come at a bad time for the employee, it relays a message to the caller that the individual is unavailable to talk. The system, developed by researchers at Karlsruhe University, can also suggest that the caller talk to a colleague instead, while notifying the co-worker of the reason for the transfer. The technology is designed to address the problems employees face when calls come at an inappropriate time or the connection is missed. Europe and U.S. organizations involved in the Computers in the Human Interaction Loop (CHIL) project are developing other technologies for the Connector system, including facial-recognition software and a program that is able to analyze conversations.
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Research: IT Generation Gap Overblown
eWeek (10/30/06) Rothberg, Deborah

Forrester Research analyst Phil Murphy says it is irresponsible for bloggers and pundits to encourage the rift between older and younger IT workers, adding that the old guard is unlikely to retire en masse as workers reach 65 years of age. Murphy's new report, "CIOs: Avoid War Between IT's Twentysomethings and More Mature Workers," is his response to the view that Baby Boomers are on the verge of retiring, few young people are interested in tech careers, and skilled workers are harder to find. He believes older workers can no longer afford to retire at 65, which means many will stay around for a few more years, and that their departure from the industry will more likely resemble a trickle. Murphy says CIOs should look at their IT workforce as having complementary skills, and focus on the "middle third" of workers who will continue to work or try to learn new skills. He adds that many of the old dogs probably have not had the opportunity to learn any new tricks, as organizations are often more "worried that they won't be around long enough to pay back their investment." Older workers have a lot to teach younger colleagues, with regard to their business knowledge and relationship with key users, and can serve as mentors, says Murphy. He also believes legacy technology can be modernized and that COBOL is not on its deathbed.
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Is It Worth Arguing?
University of Southampton (ECS) (10/23/06) Karunatillake, Nishan C.; Jennings, Nicholas R.

Conflicts in a multi-agent society can be effectively resolved by argumentation-based negotiation (ABN), although the University of Southampton's Nishan Karunatillake and Nicholas Jennings caution in Proceedings of First International Workshop on Argumentation in Multi-Agent Systems that a considerable amount of time and computational resources must be devoted to the generation, selection, and assessment of arguments. There are other ways to address conflicts besides argumentation, such as evading conflicts altogether by finding an alternative technique to achieve the same plan, and changing the original plan, also known as re-planning. The authors advise that it would be advantageous for agents to recognize such situations and evaluate the pluses and minuses of argumentation prior to implementing it as a means for resolving conflicts, and they present a empirical study to assess a simple ABN system's performance in a specific task allocation scenario. Karunatillake and Jennings model a multi-agent community and deploy a set of ABN, re-planning, and conflict evasion methods as a conflict resolution toolkit. The experiment's results demonstrate that ABN can effectively address conflicts in cases where resources are restricted, while evasion and re-planning techniques are less costly and more effective than ABN in scenarios where resources are more plentiful. The authors also demonstrate that combining evasion and ABN in a hybrid approach yields superior performance, and they detail a simple multi-agent context in which conflicts naturally result from the interaction of agents with differing motivations. Of the various strategies Karunatillake and Jennings explore, the one with the most favorable overall performance is usually an approach that uses evasion first and then argumentation as a last resort.
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Test Challenges Could Trump Future Chip Designs, Expert Warns
EE Times (10/31/06) Maniwa, Tets

Portland State University electrical and computer engineering professor Robert Daasch raised questions about the potential impact of variations in silicon process generations and devices on future chip designs, during a recent discussion at the International Test Conference. Daasch, head of IC Design and Test Laboratory at the university, also noted that chip testing will also be affected, and that design will have to account for variability and integrate test into the design. "New combinations of materials, coupled with atomic-level granularity, will make the next generations of semiconductors much more susceptible to device variations," he explained. "The number and types of failure modes will increase to the point where we will see failures with no easily discernable physical cause." As defects increase, fault models will also rise, and impact test costs. Although more statistical testing could emerge, such a development could shorten the number and length of tests. What is more, statistical testing could lead to adaptive formats that would allow for more dynamic testing and eventually different tests for each die. Future designs will have to take materials and test design into consideration at the same time.
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Mapping Information Flow in Sensorimotor Networks
PLoS Computational Biology (10/06) Vol. 2, No. 10, P. 1301; Lungarella, Max; Sporns, Olaf

Max Lungarella of the University of Tokyo and Olaf Sporns of Indiana University demonstrate sensorimotor interaction and body morphology's inducement of statistical regularities and information structure in sensory inputs and within the neural control architecture. The information content of inputs does not therefore exist separately from output, leading to the authors' suggestion that neural coding must be considered in the "embeddedness" of the organism within its ecological niche. The researchers show how the stream of data between sensors, neural units, and effectors is influenced by interaction with the environment. Analysis of sensor and motor data gathered from simulated and actual robots illustrates the presence of information structure and information flow instigated by dynamically coupled sensorimotor activity, including how sensory inputs affect motor outputs. Lungarella and Sporns determine there to be a spatially and temporally specific nature to information structure and information flow in sensorimotor networks; they also find that these factors can be shaped by changes in body morphology as well as by learning. The results of Lungarella and Sporns' study point to a basic connection between physical embeddedness and information, which emphasizes the effects of embodied interactions on neural information processing. Insight into the role that various system components play in behavior generation is also revealed, marking a first step toward the creation of a qualitative framework that ties neural and behavioral processes together; this framework could offer a key design principle to guide the building of more efficient artificial cognitive systems, Lungarella and Sporns conclude.
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Innovative Research in the Labs Part IV -- Carnegie Mellon University
Speech Technology (10/06) Vol. 11, No. 5, P. 40; Jamison, Nancy

Researchers at Carnegie Mellon University have recently announced the development of the simultaneous translation of talks and lectures and recognition of mouthed, but unspoken, speech, through detection of movement of the facial muscles. While continuing previous projects such as the CMU Sphinx speech recognition system, which is widely available in open source form, the CMU Speech project is taking on a multitude of other tasks. Robust speech recognition technology that can discern language in difficult acoustic environments is in the works. Researchers are presently focusing on multisensor processing and signal processing that is motivated by the form and function of the human system. Further research includes spoken dialog management architectures for solving complex problems; such as a bus schedule information provider and a multimodal system for F18 maintenance workers. Educational projects include FLUENCY, which helps with foreign language pronunciation, and Project LISTEN, which improves literacy in children. In addition, the department of electrical and computer engineering is working on a silicon VSLI chip that implements Sphinx decoding algorithms.
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Cross-Platform Development: Software That Lasts
Computer (10/06) Vol. 39, No. 10, P. 26; Bishop, Judith; Horspool, Nigel

Designing easy-to-port or multi-platform software is not a well-known issue in the field of software engineering, but linking components and toolkits via XML and reflection offers a potential solution, according to the University of Pretoria's Judith Bishop and the University of Victoria's Nigel Horspool. The differences between functional, nonfunctional, and platform changes must be understood in order to facilitate change management and software adaptation, and platform changes involving the software's migration to new or additional languages, operating systems, hardware, or devices constitute the authors' area of concentration. "In our approach, the idea is to anticipate and build for platform changes from the beginning" by using certain software development innovations (cross-platform toolkits, application programming interfaces, virtual machines, reflection, and XML), Bishop and Horspool explain. The API supplies the interface to low-level functionality; cross-platform toolkits are critical to the development of a graphical user interface (GUI) and improve the chances of a successful transition to a new platform; a program can monitor and perhaps modify its own structure through reflection, which allows the programmer to defer deployment decisions to runtime and provides a new type of program abstraction; virtual machines (VMs) implement both a computer- and OS-independent machine architecture; and XML is an outstanding format for data exchange by virtue of its platform independence and the availability of standard tools on all platforms for manipulating XML files. Bishop and Horspool write that a high level of platform and language independence for a GUI library was achieved via middleware constructed using reflection and controlled with XML-based specifications. The authors conclude that "Reflection is a software mechanism that transcends change. Coupling it with XML and toolkits gives a brighter future for software developers."
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