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Welcome to the September 28, 2022, edition of ACM TechNews, providing timely information for IT professionals three times a week.

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Breaking the Glass Ceiling in Science by Looking at Citations
USC Viterbi School of Engineering
Julia Cohen
September 26, 2022


The University of Southern California (USC)'s Kristina Lerman and colleagues analyzed gender disparities in science as part of a study that used artificial intelligence to examine citations and other aspects of academic papers to predict their reproducibility. USC's Jay Pujara said the researchers compiled and converted a large citation graph into a knowledge graph, and studied the shapes or structures that emerged. They reviewed 766 U.S. National Academy of Sciences (NAS) members that included 120 women and built citation networks encapsulating the structure of peer recognition for each NAS member, revealing significant differences between genders. Said Lerman, "For a woman to be recognized, she has to be well-embedded and have a strong support network."

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The Intel logo is seen at a temporary office during the World Economic Forum 2022 (WEF) in the Alpine resort of Davos, Switzerland. Intel Expands Developer Cloud to Enable Customers to Try Out New Chips
Reuters
Jane Lanhee Lee
September 27, 2022


Intel said it intends to expand its Developer Cloud so customers can try out new chips before their market debut, and to hopefully boost their use by application developers. "What we've done in the past is tend to do the software that just enables the low-level silicon to shine, but it's kind of invisible," explained Intel's Nick McKeown. He said the company is attempting to make the developer cloud easier to use, while also trying to lure next-generation app developers. Intel's Ria Cheruvu said the developer cloud is helping to address pain points young developers face in understanding and experimenting with the processors.

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The tail of a blue whale flicks above the water in the Gulf of Corcovado, Chile, as technology that identifies whale species using sound is being deployed in the Pacific Ocean. Technology Could Help Whales Threatened by Noise Pollution
CNN
Nell Lewis
September 26, 2022


Researchers at Spain's Laboratory of Applied Bioacoustics have developed Listen to the Deep Ocean Environment (LIDO) software to prevent whale deaths caused by underwater noise pollution interfering with their echolocation. LIDO monitors submarine acoustic sources in real time and identifies them using artificial intelligence. Next month, the researchers will drop a LIDO-equipped buoy into the Gulf of Corcovado off the Chilean coast, where whale and ship activity are high. The software will be able to detect whales within at least a 10-kilometer (6.2-mile) radius and alert Chile's navy, which will advise nearby vessels to change course or reduce speed to avoid the aquatic mammals. A network of LIDO buoys is planned for deployment, which Sonia Español-Jiménez with Chile's MERI Foundation said aims to ensure safe passage for migrating whales and other marine species.

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The battery-free, wireless underwater camera could have many applications, including climate modeling. Engineers Build Battery-Free, Wireless Underwater Camera
MIT News
Adam Zewe
September 26, 2022


Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) engineers developed a battery-free, wireless underwater camera which they describe as approximately 100,000 times more energy-efficient than other undersea cameras. The camera powers its imaging and communications components by converting mechanical energy from sound waves into electricity, and also uses sound waves to send data to a receiver that reconstructs images. Exterior piezoelectric transducers harvest energy from sound waves to produce electrical energy. Red, green, and blue light-emitting diodes enhance the camera's low-power imaging sensors to produce color photos, while data is transmitted to the receiver through underwater backscattering. MIT's Fadel Adib said, "This technology could help us build more accurate climate models and better understand how climate change impacts the underwater world."

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Hackers Use PowerPoint Files for 'Mouseover' Malware Delivery
BleepingComputer
Bill Toulas
September 26, 2022


Threat intelligence company Cluster25 suspects a Russia-affiliated hack group has begun using a new code execution technique that exploits mouse movement in Microsoft PowerPoint presentations to trigger malware. Attackers lure victims with a PowerPoint file allegedly associated with the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD); in the file are slides with English and French instructions for using the Interpretation option in Zoom videoconferencing applications; hovering the mouse over a hyperlink when opening the lure document in presentation mode activates the malicious PowerShell script. Cluster25 said hackers have used the exploit to deliver Graphite malware as recently as Sept. 9. Graphite is designed to allow attackers to load other malware into system memory.

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A new silicon device can help control terahertz communications on chips. Strange Topological Physics Could Help Enable 6G Tech
IEEE Spectrum
Charles Q. Choi
September 26, 2022


An international group of researchers suggest unusual topological physics may help control terahertz radiation on processors for 6G wireless communications applications. Such apps require on-chip communication technologies delivering data rates that exceed 100 gigabits per second (Gb/s), which existing terahertz on-chip devices cannot facilitate. Ranjan Singh and colleagues at Singapore's Nanyang Technological University and the A*Star Institute of Microelectronics, as well as the Laboratoire de Physique des Lasers, Atomes, et Molécules of France’s Université de Lille, fabricated a silicon chip perforated with rows of triangular holes arrayed in clusters, with larger triangles pointing up or down; topologically shielded light flowed along the interface between the different sets of holes. The on-chip topological waveguide's single-channel broadband-communication link could support data rates up to 160 Gb/s.

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'Papermill Alarm' Software Flags Potentially Fake Papers
Nature
Holly Else
September 23, 2022


Adam Day at U.K.-based data services company Clear Skies developed a software tool that highlights potentially bogus scientific papers. The Papermill Alarm uses a deep learning algorithm to analyze documents' titles and abstracts for language similar to that contained in the titles and abstracts of fake articles. The tool color-flags papers red for high similarity to false content, orange for some similarity, and green for no similarity. Day said he processed all titles listed in the PubMed citation database, and the Papermill Alarm flagged 1% of currently listed papers as having text similar to that of articles produced by paper mills, companies, or individuals that fabricate scientific manuscripts to order.

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Deep learning improves stream discharge-based estimates of subsurface permeability, allowing scientists to create more accurate watershed models. Deep Learning Uses Stream Discharge to Estimate Watershed Subsurface Permeability
U.S. Department of Energy
September 26, 2022


Deep learning can calculate a watershed's subsurface permeability from stream discharge data more accurately than conventional methods. Scientists from the U.S. Department of Energy's Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, Oak Ridge National Laboratory, and Los Alamos National Laboratory taught deep neural networks (DNNs) to estimate subsurface permeability from stream discharge hydrographs. The researchers trained the DNNs to map relationships between soil and geologic layer permeabilities and simulated stream discharge acquired via an integrated surface-subsurface hydrologic watershed model; this returned more accurate permeability than inverse modeling. The networks then estimated the permeability of an actual watershed using observed stream discharge from the study site, accurately predicting stream flows. The enhanced parameter estimation promises to reduce uncertainty in predictive watershed models.

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Tool Uncovers Cancer-Driving Structural Variations
Weill Cornell Medicine Newsroom
September 26, 2022


Weill Cornell Medicine researchers created the CSVDriver software to identify cancer-generating structural variants (SVs) from tumor samples via DNA sequence analysis. The software maps and analyzes SV locations in tumor DNA datasets; the researchers applied CSVDriver to a dataset of 2,382 genomes from 32 different cancer types, analyzing the cancer genomes from different organ systems independently. The outcomes verified the likely cancer-producing roles of 47 genes, and suggested 26 other genes as likely cancer drivers. "The general idea here was to model the distribution of background mutations that we would expect for a given cancer type, and then identify, as candidate driver locations, regions where mutations occur more often than expected in a large fraction of patients," said Weill Cornell Medicine's Alexander Martinez-Fundichely.

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Bio-Inspired Device Slashes Power Consumption
CORDIS
September 26, 2022


A multi-institutional team of researchers in Europe developed a bio-inspired localization system combining piezoelectric micro-machined ultrasound transducer sensors with a neuromorphic computational map based on resistive random-access memory (RRAM). The barn owl's neuroanatomy inspired the researchers, who assembled the system from RRAM-based coincidence detectors, delay-line circuits, and a full-custom ultrasound sensor. The team used the experimental measurements to calibrate system-level simulations that were used to gauge the object localization model's angular resolution and energy efficiency. Researchers found the system can reduce power consumption by five orders of magnitude compared with conventional microcontroller-based counterparts. The French Alternative Energies and Atomic Energy Commission's Elisa Vianello said the device "paves the way toward more complex systems that perform even more sophisticated tasks to solve real–world problems by combining information extracted from different sensors."

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Setchain Application Multiplies Blockchain Transactions Per Block
IMDEA Software Institute News (Spain)
September 26, 2022


Researchers at Spain's IMDEA project, Switzerland's Tezos Foundation, and French Tezos Protocol developer Nomadic Labs have unveiled Setchain, an application that allows a greater number of blockchain transactions per block. The IMDEA Networks Institute's Antonio Fernández Anta said adding millions of transactions is possible when conceptual visualizations of the boundary between blocks are required no more than once per second. "Setchain allows to store transactions permanently and reliably, introducing order between transactions when it is indispensable," explained Anta. Setchain can order blocks within the chain without requiring the ordering of transactions within the blocks, reducing costs for blockchain users.

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