ACM TechNews

Welcome to the May 17, 2024 edition of ACM TechNews, providing timely information for computer professionals three times a week.

Cutler-Bell Prize Student Recipients ACM and the Computer Science Teachers Association (CSTA) announced the winners of the Cutler-Bell Prize in High School Computing: Shobhit Agarwal of Reedy High School in Frisco, TX; Franziska Borneff of Hidden Valley High School in Cave Spring, VA; Daniel Mathew of Poolesville High School in Poolesville, MD, and Kosha Upadhyay of Bellevue High School in Bellevue, WA. Said ACM President Yannis Ioannidis, "This award encourages students not just to learn new knowledge and acquire skills, but to become inventors."
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ACM News Release (May 15, 2024)
The Break Through Tech AI program is designed to prepare lower-income Latina and Black young women majoring in computer science at public colleges for careers in AI. Developed by faculty at Cornell Tech with input from tech executives, the free program helps underrepresented students gain AI skills, foster relationships in the industry, and participate in research projects that will position them well in the job market.
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The New York Times; Natasha Singer (May 15, 2024)

Researchers tested how sound affects computer hard drives University of Florida researchers found that acoustic vibrations could destroy underwater datacenters. In tests involving a computer server rack in a metal enclosure placed underwater, a 5KHz audible tone was found to disrupt computer drive operations from more than 6 meters away. University of Florida's Sara Rampazzi explained, "If it is just a denial-of-service attack, that can take a few seconds, depending on the power of the acoustic signal. But the longer you emit the sound, the more you damage the computer storage device."
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New Scientist; Jeremy Hsu (May 14, 2024)

Schematic illustration and images of PHCE camera and integrated components A robotic eye developed by Hong Kong University of Science and Technology researchers has motion-tracking capabilities and a wide field of view. The insect-inspired compound eye is comprised of a 3D-printed pinhole honeycomb optical structure and a hemispherical, high-density perovskite nanowire detection array. The researchers integrated the compound eye into an aerial vehicle and used it to track a ground-based quadrupedal robot.
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Interesting Engineering; Jijo Malayil (May 16, 2024)

Raspberry Pi prepares for a $630 million IPO U.K. minicomputer manufacturer Raspberry Pi announced plans to file for a U.K. stock listing. The company said the initial public offering would enable it to hire more engineers, bring parts of its semiconductor process in-house, and expand its product line. Raspberry Pi CEO and founder Eben Upton said the company now has the "technology roadmap to play an increasingly significant role" in the computing industry.
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The Verge; Jess Weatherbed (May 15, 2024)
A flaw in the EasyRide function of the Swiss federal railways (SBB) app can be exploited to allow passengers to ride for free. EasyRide lets users swipe one way on their smartphone to start their journey and swipe the other way when they reach their destination. The app transmits location data to an SBB server during the trip to calculate the passenger's route and bill them for the fare. Researchers at Switzerland’s ETH Zurich were able to trick the app by manipulating the smartphone's location data.
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ETH Zurich (Switzerland); Fabio Bergamin (May 15, 2024)

Schools turn to artificial intelligence Several states have introduced legislation to create grant programs for schools to support the installation and use of AI surveillance systems able to detect individuals carrying guns. Pending legislation in Kansas has raised eyebrows because it requires the AI software to be patented and in use in at least 30 states, among other criteria, and only ZeroEyes, the same company that touted the criteria to lawmakers, meets all the mandated specifications. On Friday, Missouri became the latest state to pass legislation geared toward ZeroEyes.
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Associated Press; David A. Lieb; John Hanna (May 12, 2024)

Neurons in the SMG represent language processes A brain-computer interface (BCI) developed by California Institute of Technology researchers records signals from individual neurons to decode words "spoken" in the brain in real time. The BCI, which had been trained to recognize brain signals for six test words and two control words without meaning, was tested in two participants with spinal cord injuries, with accuracy rates of 79% for one patient and 23% for the other.
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Medical Xpress; Bob Yirka (May 14, 2024)
EU regulators on Thursday opened investigations into Meta for the potentially addictive effects of its Instagram and Facebook platforms on children. Meta’s products may “exploit the weaknesses and inexperience of minors” to create behavioral dependencies that threaten their mental well-being, according to a statement by the European Commission. The investigations are part of a growing effort by governments around the world to rein in social media platforms to protect minors.
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The New York Times; Adam Satariano (May 16, 2024)

Inside the U.S. government’s  plan to overhaul its online presence The U.S. government is updating more than 10,000 Web pages to make them easier to use. The most trafficked pages will be updated first, with a focus on visual design, content, and SEO improvements. As of last September, according to the White House, 45% of federal websites weren’t mobile-friendly, 60% had possible accessibility issues, and 80% didn’t use the U.S. Web Design System code, a design system meant to create a cohesive look and user-friendly experience.
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Fast Company; Hunter Schwarz (May 13, 2024)

1: A two-node quantum network of cavity-coupled solid-state emitters Harvard University researchers assembled a quantum network spanning 35 kilometers across Boston, MA. The network is comprised of two nodes separated by a loop of optical fiber, each featuring a type of diamond with an atom-sized hole. Meanwhile, researchers at the University of Science and Technology of China entangled three nodes that were about 10 kilometers apart. The researchers produced the entangled photons using supercooled clouds of rubidium atoms, achieving a storage time of 100 microseconds.
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New Scientist; Alex Wilkins (May 15, 2024)
A 3D-printing technique developed by researchers at the U.K.'s University of Nottingham could pave the way for personalized medicine by allowing multiple drugs to be combined in a single customized tablet. The medications would be released at a controlled rate, based on the tablet's design. The technique, Multi-Material InkJet 3D Printing (MM-IJ3DP), uses an ink formulation based on molecules that are sensitive to UV light and form a water-soluble structure when printed.
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University of Nottingham (U.K.) (May 14, 2024)
The Technology Innovation Institute, a government research center within Abu Dhabi's Advanced Technology Research Council, has released the Falcon 2 series of its open-source generative AI model. This includes Falcon 2 11B, a text-based model, and Falcon 2 11B VLM, a vision-to-language model able to generate a text description of an uploaded image.
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Reuters; Alexander Cornwell (May 13, 2024)
Computing Research Association (CRA) Practitioner to Professor (P2P) Survey
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