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November 8, 2006

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Welcome to the November 8, 2006 edition of ACM TechNews, providing timely information for IT professionals three times a week.

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Watchdog Groups Report E-Voting Problems
IDG News Service (11/07/06) Gross, Grant

Election watchdog groups across the U.S. received reports of e-voting problems during the November 7 election. Over 1,4000 calls had been received by Common Cause by 4 p.m. EST, including hundreds of reports of vote flipping that were caught on the machine's summary screen. Verified Voting, another watchdog group, called for a national investigation into vote-flipping after the 2004 election, but this request was denied. David Dill, founder of Verified Voting and a computer science professor at Stanford, said, "Not surprisingly, we are expecting the same problems...I think it's a national disgrace." However, Common Cause received fewer e-voting complaints than after the 2004 election, although Dill claims that many complaints are yet to surface. Denver voters had to wait in hour-long lines at the polls as a result of a plan to let people vote wherever they wanted. A single, overloaded database held all of the voter rolls: "It's the classic situation where too many cars are jammed onto one highway," said Pete Naismith of Common Cause Colorado. Other problems reported, according to Common Cause, the Election Protection 365 Web, and ACM, include: 43 of Cuyahoga County, Ohio's 573 polling places opened late or couldn't get some voting machines to work. A judge ordered 16 polling places to stay open an extra 90 minutes; in one Indiana county, machines failed to turn on, and in a second county machine activation counts were not programmed correctly; and other problems were reported in Pennsylvania, Utah, and Florida. To learn more about ACM's e-voting activities, visit http://www.acm.org/usacm
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Computer Science 'Still a Good Career,' Leader of Job Migration Task Force Says
Stanford Report (11/06/06) Lee, Brian D.

An ACM-commissioned study on software job migration was the recent focus of the Stanford Computer Forum. In presenting the results of the study to academics and members of the forum, Rice University professor Moshe Vardi said competition should be more of a concern to students and the information technology industry than the availability of jobs in the United States. He said data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics shows IT jobs are being created as fast or faster than they are being shipped overseas, adding that the report predicts that industries such as construction, health care, and retail trade will increasingly demand computer skills in the years to come. "There are more IT jobs now than there were six years ago at the height of the IT boom," said Vardi. The ACM-commissioned report considers offshoring to be a symptom of globalization, and Vardi said the IT industry will have to accept this period of change. A good way for the country to respond to this change is to invest more in research and development so it can remain a leader in innovation, and continue to welcome students from overseas with open arms. He also said students pursuing IT careers can better position themselves by gaining business, communication, and interpersonal skills. Moshe Vardi was co-chair of ACM's Job Migration Task Force. To view the complete report, "Globalization and the Offshoring of Software," visit http://www.acm.org/globalizationreport
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Where Are All the Women in IT?
Financial Times Digital Business (11/08/06) P. 4; Thomas, Kim

The proportion of female IT professionals has been decreasing for years. A report by Intellect, a U.K. IT trade association, shows that women account for 16 percent of IT professionals in the U.K., down from 27 percent in 1997. About 61 percent of these women have low-paid, low-skill jobs, while only 8 percent of CIOs in the U.K. are female, according to recruitment firm Harvey Nash. In the U.S., women account for 27 percent of IT professionals, while that figure drops to less than 20 percent in Norway and Germany. Emerging economies such as Malaysia and India have many more women in IT: 50 percent and 33 percent, respectively. The U.K. Department of Trade commissioned a 2005 report titled "Women in the IT Industry: Towards a Business Case for Diversity" that claims that women commonly leave after the birth of a child and when they are between the ages of 40 and 50 years old, and therefore expensive to replace. Carrie Hartnell, program manager at Intellect says, "This is no longer about a gender divide, this is about how economies remain competitive." The common idea that girls see computer science as a "geeky" field is still quite valid, but a British Computer Society study on 14- to 16-year-old girls showed that they lose interest in the field because they see it as secretary work. Schools must take the blame for this misconception, and change their curriculum to introduce creative use of computers. There is a belief among women in IT that the field moves to fast for them to catch up with after having a child. Some companies have begun targeting female graduates, or establishing buddy systems, where a woman about to go on maternity leave pairs up with a woman who has just returned from maternity leave so the work of the woman leaving can be carried on. Women say their strength in the industry is their superior ability to communicate. To learn more about ACM's Comittee on Women and Computing, visit http://women.acm.org
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York Prof's Software Offers New Ways to Customize Your Computer
York University (11/07/06)

Wolfgang Stuerzlinger, an associate professor in the Department of Computer Science and Engineering at York University, has responded to computer users' desire to have more control over the desktop by developing new software that would allow them to customize existing programs to their specific needs. "They don't want to be provided with more menus or options created by software developers who can't predict their needs and aren't interface designers in the first place," Stuerzlinger says. "Imagine being able to virtually cut up and reassemble elements of your interface to create a new look and feel that's best for you," he says of his program, which he calls "user interface facades." Described as a sophisticated copy, cut, and paste tool, the application would allow computer users to reconfigure toolbars, enhance options such as drop-down boxes and scrollbars, which would be easier to use and add as functions. Stuerzlinger is the author of the paper "User Interface Facades: Towards Fully Adaptable User Interfaces," which was presented at ACM's Symposium on User Interface Software and Technology earlier in the month. He believes computer users are the best interface designers, adding that the extensive level of customization could lead to more personalized and portable computing. People could one day move their standard desktop applications to PDAs, cell phones, and other mobile devices, Stuerzlinger says.
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'Vote Flipping' Emerges as Continuing Problem in E-Voting
Computerworld (11/08/06) Weiss, Todd R.

The problem of "vote-flipping," originally reported during the 2004 election, emerged once again during Tuesday's general elections, as watchdog groups received many calls from voters reporting that their votes did not appear on the electronic voting machine's summary screen as they had been entered. David Dill, computer science professor at Stanford called for investigation into these claims. "People have been way to quick to diagnose the problem," he said. Some have blamed the problem on calibration, but others have ideas of their own. "It could be a calibration problem with the touchscreens, but I'm no sure that anyone really knows yet because no one's looked at it," added Dill. "My answer as a computer scientist is that I want facts...and all I've heard for two years is speculation." Dill believes that the summary screen shows that conspiracy is not likely. One suggestion he made was that voters may accidentally touch the screen inadvertently and not realize they have selected a candidate, but he feels that a panel of experts must be convened to get to the bottom of whatever the problem may be. "There needs to be a serious independent investigation of this problem...across the country," he said. Precinct-scan optical scan ballots, which are filled out by the voter and read by a machine, are the method preferred by Dill, since they give a voter written confirmation, providing a paper trail. ACM's many e-voting activities are summarized at http://www.acm.org/usacm
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Y2K-Like Fears Create Shuttle Scheduling Crunch
New Scientist (11/06/06) Young, Kelly

NASA has already moved the launch of the space shuttle Discovery from December 14 to December 7, and is now considering moving it up one more day to get the shuttle back by New Year's Eve and avoid the same type of problem threatened by software adjusting to the year 2000. The shuttle computer's 30-year old software does not recognize when the calendar shifts at the end of a year: January 1, 2007 would be read as the 366th day of 2006; a problem known as "year-end rollover" by NASA. The reinitialization required to reset the computers would cause a period without navigation updates or vehicle control. A decision to execute the flight over the year end is prohibited by NASA's current procedural policy, which may be reformed in the future. In 1999, amidst the Y2K scare, the shuttle was able to land on December 27, although one spacewalk had to be cancelled. A simulation of a shuttle mission operating on January 1 has already been conducted, and it "went flawlessly," according to Joan Higginbotham, a Discovery crew member. The Discovery mission will take crew members to the International Space Station (ISS), where they will reconfigure power and cooling systems. The ISS, first built in 1998, is designed to stay in space year after year and does not have the roll-over problem. The launch will most likely take place at night, which is not seen as a danger because cameras on the shuttle will be able to spot chunks of ice or foam coming off the external tank, which have caused problems in the past. Night missions will be necessary to complete the ISS by the Discovery's 2010 retirement date.
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Few Tech Changes Expected if Democrats Take Control of Congress
IDG News Service (11/06/06) Gross, Grant

Net neutrality and government surveillance programs are likely to be top technology issues affected if the Democrats gain control of Congress following Tuesday's elections. Should they have success on Tuesday, the Democrats are expected to push for legislation enforcing Net neutrality, data security, and privacy. However, Ed Kutler, a lobbyist for the It's Our Net Coalition, which supports Net Neutrality, says, "People tend to overthink what happens if Congress changes. We're pretty confident leaders on both sides of the aisle understand there's not enough support to have a telecom bill without a strong Net neutrality provision." Mike McCurry, co chairman of the Hands Off the Internet coalition, an opponent of Net neutrality, is not convinced majority Democrats would vote in favor of Net neutrality, because many new legislators would be from traditionally Republican areas. McCurry says that many of the Democrats likely to win are "pro business, moderate" Democrats. "When you say to a Democrat, 'Do you want to be the party responsible for bringing substantial regulation to the Internet?' a lot of them stop and think," he said. Nevertheless, many in the industry believe the current Congress has not focused enough on tech issues, and expect Democrats to show a renewed interest in such areas as identity theft and data breaches. A spokesperson for Vermont Senator Patrick Leahy says Democrats will work for greater oversight of the Bush administration's warrantless wiretapping program and other government surveillance programs.
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43rd Design Automation Conference Award-Winning Papers Now Available Online
Business Wire (11/07/06)

On-demand audio recordings of the best papers from the 43rd Design Automation Conference (DAC) can now be accessed at the DAC Web site, www.dac.com. The audio recordings of the award-winning papers have been synchronized with slide presentations. At the DAC Web site, visitors will find the front-end design winner, "SAT Sweeping with Local Observability Don't-Cares," a paper on the use of SAT for the removal of redundancies when simplifying circuit descriptions for Boolean reasoning, by Dr. Qi Zhu and several other researchers at the University of California, Berkeley, and Candace Berkeley Labs. Also available is the back-end design winner, "Power Grid Physics and Implications for CAD," a paper by Eli Chiprout of Intel and Sanjay Pant of the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, that discusses power grid design issues. Electronic design researchers and industry professionals have until Monday, Nov. 20, 2006, at 5 p.m. MST, to submit regular papers for the 44th DAC, which is scheduled for June 4-8, 2007, at the San Diego, Calif., Convention Center. ACM's Special Interest Group on Design Automation (ACM/SIGDA) is a sponsor of the conference.
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Students Bring Tech Support to Third World Countries
The Tartan (11/06/06) Tetlow, James

Several programs at Carnegie Mellon University have taken on the challenge of "empowering students and children around the world" using technology, in the words of the original program's founder, Berardine Dias, a robotics professor at CMU. Dias developed TechBridgeWorld because she "love[s] those 'ah-ha' moments when [children's] eyes light up." Students interested in spreading technology to developing countries were encouraged to join TechBridgeWorld, which led to a class titled Technology for Developing Communities that subsequently joined with several other classes and an independent study program for graduate students. Technical Consulting in the Global Community is an elective class that sends undergraduates to developing communities for 10 weeks where they work as technology consultant with government departments and nonprofits in a wide variety of fields and disciplines. A program called V-Unit, an independent study program for graduate students, aims to cultivate an idea of what computer science and technology can accomplish in under-funded communities. Students are set up with a local organization to which they contribute their computer skills. Ayokor Mills-Tettey, a graduate student in robotics, used an automated reading tutor created by CMU to help children in Ghana learn to read English. "The children were great," he says. "They felt really special because they go the chance to leave school and use a computer."
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Swarm-Bots Could Boldly Go Where No Man Has Gone Before
IST Results (11/08/06)

IST researchers have developed a type of mini-robot, inspired by the ant, that can work together to accomplish rather impressive tasks. Marco Dorigo of the Universite Libre de Bruxelles, who coordinated the "Swarm-bot" project says, "We produced 35 complete s-bots [the individual bots that make up one swarm-bot], and completed many experiments with them." The robots, which are 12 cm in diameter and equipped with a panoramic camera, sensors that detect infrared, light, temperature, and humidity, motors that control grippers, and Wi-Fi and USB connections, were able to retrieve an object to a "nest" by creating a chain of "eight robots spaced thirty centimeters apart and visible to one another" explained Dorigo. "The other robots followed the chain to find and retrieve the object, all in just 10 minutes." While still far from practical application, the s-bot project has attracted NASA's interest in using the technology to build structures on other planets. "Our project taught us the importance of tight coordination between developing the hardware and control development," said Dorigo. "Today they exhibit simple or reactive behavior. We would like to do things such as adaptive task allocation, for example using 10 robots out of 100 to solve a problem, rather than all of them together." He also envisions using muscle-like material rather than rigid metal and plastic, as well as improved memory that would give the robots the power to evaluate a situation and figure out a solution.
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Virtual Worms Crawl Through 3-D Medical Images to Aid Analysis
Vancouver Sun (BC, Canada) (11/06/06) P. A1; Leung, Wency

Medical researchers at Vancouver General Hospital are testing new technology designed to help give them a better understanding of blood vessels, air passages, and spinal cords that have been captured in three-dimensional images using computer-aided tomography (CAT) scans and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). Simon Fraser University computer scientists have developed "3D crawlers" that are able to navigate medical images on a computer screen, and give clinicians a detailed look into a patient's body that is not invasive. The artificial life application, which acts as a virtual worm, is able to "feel" tissue in the body, explore blood vessels, and allow medical researchers to see what it sees, on a computer screen. "These virtual crawlers, they are put inside these 3D worlds and you can imagine they are sensing the world around them," says Ghassan Hamarneh, an assistant professor at the university. The 3D crawler can even split in two when a vessel branches, allowing medical researchers to analyze both branches. The technology is currently being used to analyze spinal cords as part of multiple sclerosis research, and the results have been encouraging. In addition to research purposes, Hamarneh believes the 3D crawler could also serve as a diagnostic application.
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Inside the Hacker's Profiling Project
NewsForge (11/03/06) Biancuzzi, Frederico

The Hacker Profiling Project (HPP) has set out to combine criminology and ICT security science in an effort to use information left by hackers on compromised Web sites to gain an understanding of specific hackers so future attacks can be prevented. Alerting potential victims to the type of threat they face will allow system administrators to take proper defense measures, explains Stefania Ducci, criminologist for United Nations Interregional Crime and Justice Research Institute. By both circulating a questionnaire among members of the hacker underground known not to be professionals, and setting up honeynets that will register and collect information regarding attacks and movements of hackers trying to penetrate their systems, HPP expects to gain a greater understanding of different types of hackers. The questionnaire is divided into personal data, relationships (to other hackers, colleagues, authorities, etc.), and technical and criminological data. Many of those expected to answer the questionnaire practice hacking in their spare time, and many are considered "ethical hackers" that will often alert sysadmins to vulnerabilities on violated systems, although this information is often shared with others in the hacker community as well. HPP wants to be able to construct a profile of attackers including "technical skills, probable geographic location, an analysis of his modus operandi, and a lot of other, small and big, traced left on the crime scene," says Ducci. She envisions the project yielding a complete, open "methodology for hacker profiling, released under GNU/FDL."
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Can The Sims Make Programming Cool Again?
BusinessWeek (11/07/06) Jana, Reena

To combat the 50 percent drop in computer science majors in the U.S. between 2000 and 2005, fun software is being developed to expose students to computer programming. One such game, Alice, a creation of Carnegie Mellon University researchers, has been provided with EA's software for "The Sims," which could be compared to Disney giving away Mickey Mouse or Coke giving away its formula. Alice, while not the first program of its kind, "changes the mechanics of how people write programs," in order to show children that programming can be fun, says Caitlin Kelleher, a post-doctoral researcher in Computer Science & Human Computer Interaction at CMU. "The idea is to familiarize kids with what programming is and to introduce them to the key idea of choosing parameters." Critics disagree saying the program is simply a video game. Predecessors to Alice have given children problems to solve using simple programming language, but Alice's creators feel that it stands alone as "edutainment," incorporating a familiar gaming platform that its creators hope will spur the growth of interest in programming. The game lets children select avatars and use drop down menus containing plain-English code to control them. A recent study conducted at St. Joseph's and Ithaca Colleges, using students judged to be at risk of dropping out of the computer programming major, showed that those who used Alice and then took the traditional programming course did far better (averaging a B instead of a C), and retained the major at a far higher rate (88 percent compared to 47 percent) than those students who took only the programming course.
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Taking Robots to the Next Level -- by a Whisker
Chicago Tribune (11/04/06) P. C1; Manier, Jeremy

By developing robotic whiskers that function like those of a rat, researchers are not only advancing a robot's ability to understand its surroundings, but they are learning a great deal about evolutionary biology. Robotic whiskers that can detect the shape of an object are being developed for NASA rovers, such as those used on Mars, which often lose their vision in dust storms. A wide ranging effort by scientists to emulate animal abilities hopes to solve many current robotics and engineering problems; Chris Assad, a robotics researcher with NASA, explains: "we could emulate the traits that helped [animals] succeed [evolutionarily]." By building robotic whiskers, mechanical and biomedical engineers gain valuable perspective regarding nature's whisker systems, which have been found to link to similar sites in the brain as human fingertips. "Our lab really walks the line between engineering and neuroscience," says Mitra Hartmann, a lead researchers in Northwester University project that is developing rat-like robotic whiskers. Hartmann imagines creating a "whisker paintbrush. You could sweep it over an object and figure out its shape without a 3D laser scanner. That's a far-off application." Simon Bovet, a researcher who has worked on robotic whiskers at the University of Zurich's AI lab, points out that whiskers offer unique insight into figuring out how the brain is able to transform huge amounts of muddled incoming information into clear, recognizable perception: "Considering how the world could be perceived through whiskers forces us to think and look at things differently."
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Keeping the Pain Out of Work: Ergonomics Offers Solutions to Everyday Problems
Technician Online (NC) (11/07/06) Mohan, Sibin

Ergonomics strives to ease the interaction between humans and the numerous devices they make use of on a daily basis; computers for example. "People should have a positive experience when using a computer," says Thomas Horton, a doctorate student in computer science. "One of many factors that led to the huge success of Apple's iPod is the ease of use of its interface." The occupational and safety hazard administration (OSHA) published an "ergonomics program" in 1999 that lists possible causes of muscoskeletal disorders occurring in the workplace as: intensive typing on keyboards, improper design of desks, and the fact that users rest their forearms and wrists on the edge of the desk, which reduces blood flow and movement. Employers spend more than $15 billion to $20 billion every year on compensation for conditions resulting from these conditions. Horton takes a different perspective than that of physical injury: "Computers are used by hospitals, airlines, military to make decisions that affect the lives of people every day," he says. "If a display isn't clear, or if a system isn't clear, or if a system doesn't have protections against user error, the consequence can be tragic." Don Norman, author of "The Psychology of Everyday Things," says that computers don't make mistakes, only their human designers or users do, which is why ergonomics and human-computer interoperability is such a concern: technology cannot recognize its full potential without taking into account psychology of the user. N.C. State psychology professor Dr. Christopher Mayhorn, a human-computer interoperability (HCI) researcher, says his work focuses on how device design can be improved, training issues, the functions devices should perform, and why errors happen. Horn says HCI touches both the hardware and software side of computer science, as well as artificial intelligence and computer graphics.
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Is There a Shortage of Analog Engineers?
Electronic Design (10/20/06) Vol. 54, No. 23, P. 59; Tuite, Don

An Electronic Design survey of 2,354 readers found agreement among 69 percent that their companies are not having any difficulty finding qualified analog engineers, but Don Tuite notes that of the respondents who believe there is an engineer shortage, 639 discussed how their companies are dealing with the shortage. Of that number, 78 reported that their firms aggressively court university grads or offer continuing education reimbursement; 70 reported outsourcing or employing consultants; 11 remarked that they were seeking engineers abroad; nine said they pursued retirees for their consulting needs; 58 said they were training existing staff internally; 17 mentioned hiring analog engineer headhunters; three cited a reliance on vendor or distributor FAEs; 46 said their companies had perceived a shortage but were taking no action; and just one respondent said his firm actively attempts to lure analog engineers from its rivals. Tuite concludes from his observations that "a lot of companies would like to poach engineers from their competitors, but [most]...engineers tend to stay put--especially when employers are willing to match competitors' salary or status inducements." He believes there is no shortage of analog-circuit designers, but there is a pronounced scarcity of graduate-level analog chip designers. Addressing this shortage entails attracting undergrads before they start taking upper-divisional courses, encouraging them to follow a program that will expand their university education by several more years than a typical four-year program, and persuading EE department chairs and department senates to offer such options. Tuite consulted with three experts--Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute professor Kenneth Connor and Analog Devices' Sam Fuller and Dave Robertson--who stressed the need for expediently getting undergrads committed to analog engineering. Further questions Tuite raises include whether the analog EE shortage is regional or global; what skill set constitutes an EE; where and how can that skill set be obtained; the worth of an analog EE; and whether there truly is an analog engineer shortage.
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Under Construction
InformationWeek (11/06/06)No. 1113, P. 44; Claburn, Thomas; Babcock, Charles; Ricadela, Aaron

The infrastructure of the next-generation Web 2.0 must have six core elements: Scale, content management, security, development methods, user experience, and community. Web 2.0 companies begin with scalable IT resources, and challenges in this domain include organizing a system of IT components enabled for independent growth, and realizing that resource requirements vary for different media-serving functions. Commercial content management systems' lack of support for Web 2.0's interactivity architecture means that firms will have to devise their own management strategies; Jesse James Garrett of Adaptive Path attributes the incompatibility of existing content management infrastructures and Web 2.0 companies to the fact that "[the companies'] definition of content management was completely outside what the vendors were considering when they created their software," and accommodating user-generated material is central to this problem. Security must be considered by Web 2.0 developers at the outset, and technologies that require users to enter responses into forms or data fields constitute a major hazard, since so few Web sites bother to carefully confirm the input. Another challenge of Web 2.0 is delivering a happy and amazing user experience that offers what users desire while also providing them things they did not realize they wanted, with an emphasis on rapidity, detail, and fun. Lightweight development tools can help significantly improve the adaptability of Web 2.0 sites to rapidly shifting interests, while the challenge of cultivating Web 2.0 communities lies in the notion that successful community sites can operate against the assumption that members are a harmonious bunch with no hesitations about sharing their content, contrary to the site's business objectives. "The real question is, how can users add value to what you do?" notes O'Reilly Media CEO Tim O'Reilly.
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Mining for Quality
DM Review (11/06) Vol. 26, No. 11, P. 46; Farmer, Donald

Microsoft's Donald Farmer defines data quality as "a measure of its fitness for purpose" that can have a wide degree of variance in accordance with the purpose at hand. He cites the work of Richard Wang and Y. Wand to identify quality dimensions in their Communications of the ACM paper, "Anchoring Data Quality Dimensions in Ontological Foundations," as the most successful attempt to define the problem space in the absence of an absolute data quality standard. Such dimensions include accuracy (freedom from error), consistency (continuity of format), timeliness, and completeness, but Farmer argues that dimensions alone are not sufficient; also needed are "premises on which to base our judgments of how good or bad data is when measured along those dimensions." Farmer lists the premises of authority, practice, patterns, and single object rules as examples, to be used in combination with the dimensions. He anticipates the growing importance of patterns as a data quality premise particularly as the forms of data accommodated by enterprise decision support systems expand in diversity; Farmer adds that patterns can also be employed with more traditional forms of data, since even well-understood data can feature rules that cannot easily be captured in a transparent or comprehensive manner. As a practical method for applying patterns, the author offers data mining, noting that the model generated by a data mining application is essentially a learned experiential pattern that uses existing data as its foundation. Farmer writes that mining for data quality can facilitate the dimensions of accuracy, consistency, and completeness.
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Sex, Lies, and Video Games
Atlantic Monthly (11/06) Vol. 298, No. 4, P. 76; Rauch, Jonathan

Computer games are coming out that could potentially revolutionize the game-play experience by integrating graphics, action, and emotional power into "interactive drama," according to Brookings Institution guest scholar Jonathan Rauch. A shared interest in artificial intelligence led University of California, Santa Cruz, professor Michael Mateas and game programmer Andrew Stern to join forces to develop a game in which the player drives the narrative along by conversing with complex virtual adult characters via keyboard input. The game, "Facade," differs from other immersive games in that the setting is confined to one indoor environment, and takes about 20 minutes to play. Mateas and Stern wrote "Facade" in the ABL programming language, and then built an artificially intelligent drama manager that studies characters and players' actions in order to determine what preauthored plot points and prerecorded dialogue choices to select in order to raise and then release dramatic tension. The next element they built was a natural-language engine that analyzes the player's typewritten input to find emotional and dramatic cues that the in-game characters can respond to. The game is set up so that the player becomes a participant in an episode of marital discord between a virtual couple. The hope is that interactive drama will help the game sector move up from a relatively marginal industry whose appeal is currently limited by the dominance of action games whose great graphics are often countered by weak, formulaic plots and shallow characters. "There is a huge untapped market for experiences that are not about action adventures, quests, killing monsters, and solving puzzles," notes Mateas.
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