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Welcome to the May 24, 2024 edition of ACM TechNews, providing timely information for computer professionals three times a week.

Please note: In observance of Memorial Day, TechNews will not be published on Monday, May 27. Publication will resume Wednesday, May 29.
ACM has named University of Southern California and Google DeepMind's Maja Mataric as the 2024-2025 ACM Athena Lecturer, an award that recognizes women researchers for their fundamental contributions to computer science. Mataric is being honored for her work in socially assistive robotics, multi-robot coordination, and human-robot interaction, as well as her role as a mentor. ACM President Yannis Ioannidis said, "As a mentor and as a champion of women in her field, Mataric stands in a league of her own."
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ACM News Release (May 22, 2024)
At a global AI summit on May 21, 16 companies committed to prioritizing AI safety. The companies, which included Meta, Microsoft, OpenAI, Amazon, Samsung Electronics, and firms in China, South Korea, and the UAE, pledged to publish safety frameworks for measuring AI risks, avoid models when risks cannot be mitigated sufficiently, and ensure governance and transparency.
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Reuters; Joyce Lee (May 21, 2024)

Global Chips Investments South Korea has announced a 26-trillion-won ($19-billion) incentive package to bolster its chip industry. This marks the country's largest support for the chip industry so far and comes as the government is developing plans to build a mega-cluster of chip plants outside Seoul.
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Bloomberg; Soo-Hyang Choi; Yoolim Lee; Shinghye Kang (May 22, 2024); et al.

A wildfire simulation Through NASA's Wildfire Digital Twin project, researchers led by University of Maryland computer scientist Milton Halem will generate ensemble models with an enhanced spatial resolution to enable more accurate and detailed predictions about wildfire spread and smoke movement. The new models will have a spatial resolution of 10 to 30 meters per pixel, compared to 10 kilometers per pixel for current models.
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Tech Times; Jace Dela Cruz (May 22, 2024)

A screenshot of pcTattletale’s member portal Security researcher Eric Daigle found a consumer-grade spyware app running on the check-in systems of at least three Wyndham hotels in the U.S. The pcTattletale app takes screenshots of guest details and customer information, and a security flaw in the spyware allows anyone to download the screenshots directly from the app's servers.
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Tech Crunch; Zack Whittaker (May 22, 2024)
A tensor network approach developed by Los Alamos National Laboratory researchers leverages data science and machine learning to solve real-world neutron transport equations. The researchers used their mixed tensor-train (TT) plus quantized tensor-train (QTT) method to solve the time-independent Boltzmann neutron transport equations in Cartesian geometry on a standard desktop computer. The TT/QTT method set a record for compressing the storage of terabyte-sized neutron flow to megabytes on the yottabyte scale and outperformed the lab's PARallel time-dependent discrete ordinate code in addressing neutron transport problems.
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HPCwire (May 22, 2024)

A robot arm at Boston University's lab Boston University researchers have demonstrated the ability of a 3D-printing robot to leverage AI to create advanced materials. The MAMA BEAR (Mechanics of Additively Manufactured Architectures Bayesian Experimental Autonomous Researcher) robot was programmed in 2021 to create a shape with the highest possible mechanical energy absorption efficiency, and it has produced more than 25,000 3D-printed structures while running nonstop since then.
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Interesting Engineering; Jijo Malayil (May 21, 2024)
Researchers at the U.K.'s University of Oxford and France's Sorbonne University demonstrated blind quantum computing using trapped ions. The quantum cloud system's "server" was made from a strontium ion (the network qubit) and a calcium ion (the memory qubit). The server does not know the electronic state of the network qubit but can still process its information via a laser-based process that entangles the network and memory qubits. The system also uses one-time-pad encryption to encode information, concealing the data and operations from the server.
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Physics; Michael Schirber (May 21, 2024)
Colorado Gov. Jared Polis (pictured) signed legislation intended to prevent discrimination by AI systems in hiring, housing, and medical decisions. Companies using AI systems to make such decisions must assess the systems for potential bias on an annual basis. They also must establish an oversight program, inform the state attorney general if discrimination is found, and notify customers AI was used in the decision-making process and provide an option for appeal.
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Associated Press; Jesse Bedayn (May 23, 2024)

Discretization, computational power, and memory Researchers at the Netherlands' Leiden University and research institute AMOLF showed that smart rubber structures can be used to perform computational tasks. They built a rubber computer that serves as a two-bit binary counter, featuring pre-curved rubber beams as mechanical bits; counting is achieved by stretching the metamaterial.
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AMOLF (Netherlands) (May 21, 2024)

Robotic palm Massachusetts Institute of Technology researchers developed a robotic hand with an embedded palm sensor to enable safer interactions with objects. Inspired by the human hand, GelPalm features a gel-based flexible sensor in the palm and ROMEO (RObotic Modular Endoskeleton Optical) fingers with similar sensing technology, allowing for greater dexterity and more stable grasping.
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MIT News; Rachel Gordon (May 20, 2024)

The ‘owl vision’ VR system A system developed by researchers at France's Montpellier Laboratory of Computer Science, Robotics, and Microelectronics uses a VR headset, a camera, and specialist software to give users 360-degree vision. The researchers affixed a 360-degree camera to an HTC Vive Pro Eye headset, which measures head rotation and displays a portion of the camera's panoramic video feed. The software doubles the field of view available to a user when they turn their head.
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New Scientist; Matthew Sparkes (May 20, 2024)

Dragon Sector worked in shifts across Europe to crack the case Poland's SPS turned to hackers to address the failure of the Dolnoslaskie Rail trains it had been hired to refurbish. A trio of "white-hat" hackers from the Dragon Sector group determined software code in around a dozen of the trains' computers could cause shutdowns. They traced the code to Newag, an SPS rival that lost the contract to refurbish the trains, which denied the allegations. The Dragon Sector hackers ultimately devised programmatic workarounds to the code.
[ » Read full article *May Require Paid Registration ]
The Wall Street Journal; Jack Gillum; Karolina Jeznach (May 19, 2024)
Computing Research Association (CRA) Practitioner to Professor (P2P) Survey
 
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