Welcome to the February 25, 2019 edition of ACM TechNews, providing timely information for IT professionals three times a week.

ACM TechNews mobile apps are available for Android phones and tablets (click here) and for iPhones (click here) and iPads (click here).

To view "Headlines At A Glance," hit the link labeled "Click here to view this online" found at the top of the page in the html version. The online version now has a button at the top labeled "Show Headlines."

Picture of Seattle Glassdoor Data Shows Gen Z Workers Attracted to High-Paying Tech Jobs and Seattle's Top Companies
Kurt Schlosser
February 20, 2019

According to the Glassdoor job review website, 19% of Generation Z job seekers are pursuing software engineering positions, which pay a median wage of $98,500. The second-most popular job is software developer, with 2% of applicants measured over three and a half months. The bulk of applicants are targeting the technology sector for those jobs, and IBM, Google, Amazon, Microsoft, and Deloitte are the top five companies appealing to Gen Z, with Amazon the most enticing firm to millennials. Seattle, WA, is one of the top cities for Gen Z job seekers, where 2% of applications are concentrated. Apple, Google, and Microsoft were rated the three leading companies by Gen Z workers, who cited "work environment" as the most attractive workplace benefit. Working "long hours" and "low pay" were downsides that received the lowest ratings from millennials.

Full Article

Mark Zuckerberg You Give Apps Sensitive Personal Information. Then They Tell Facebook
The Wall Street Journal
Sam Schechner; Mark Secada; Yoree Koh
February 22, 2019; et al.

Testing by The Wall Street Journal demonstrated Facebook collects sensitive data from at least 11 popular smartphone apps seconds after users enter it, even if the user has no Facebook account to log in, or if the user is not a Facebook member. The apps frequently send data without any significant or specific disclosure. Facebook said some of the data sharing revealed by testing appeared to breach its business terms, and it is instructing apps flagged by the Journal to stop transmitting information users might deem sensitive. The core issue surrounds Facebook's "App Events" analytics tool, enabling app developers to view statistics about their users' activities, and target those users with personalized ads. According to privacy experts, these practices may violate certain statutes, including a new European privacy law. Said Frederik J. Zuiderveen Borgesius at Radboud University in the Netherlands, "Companies basically always need consent—likely both the app developer and Facebook."

Full Article
*May Require Paid Registration
FDA Issues Brain-Computer Interface Draft Guidance
U.S. Food and Drug Administration
February 22, 2019

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has issued a new draft guidance to encourage development of a new generation of implantable brain-computer interface (BCI) devices, to help patients suffering from paralysis or missing limbs regain mobility. FDA commissioner Scott Gottlieb said the draft guidance's release was prompted by a recent public workshop, which defined BCI devices as "neuroprostheses that interface with the central or peripheral nervous system to restore lost motor or sensory capabilities." The FDA said the guidance suggests non-clinical device testing can be used to demonstrate mitigation of potential risks prior to clinical tests. Said Gottlieb, "Proper design of clinical trials is essential to provide reasonable assurance of safety and effectiveness to support a regulatory submission to the FDA."

Full Article

Driving simulators and virtual reality demos at an auto show The Auto Show of the Future is Already Here
The New York Times
Robert C. Yeager
February 21, 2019

Top auto shows are increasingly incorporating technology, along with hands-on experiences like driving simulators and virtual reality demos. According to Detroit Auto Dealers Association executive director Rod Alberts, conventional car shows are changing due to declines in the number of automakers, as well as year-round model debuts driven by social media and shorter build times. Automotive Trade Association Executives president Jennifer Colman said this has forced auto shows to evolve and offer "interactive apps, ride-and-drives, and other experiences that meet consumers' needs." Showcased at the annual auto show in Detroit was a demo of an autonomous car located in Shanghai, China, controlled remotely from the Detroit event via an "automated valet" system by Chinese startup ZongMu Technology. Also on display at the event were intersection accident prevention solutions from a company named Derq, which connect "smart city" cameras and sensors to predictive algorithms that can set off audio and visual alarms in standard and autonomous vehicles.

Full Article
*May Require Paid Registration
Government and IT Industry-Funded AI Graduate Education Program to be Rolled Out Across U.K.
Brian McKenna
February 21, 2019

The British government has launched a state and IT industry-funded graduate education program in artificial intelligence (AI), comprising master's degrees, doctorates, and Alan Turing Institute fellowships. An October 2017 report by University of Southampton professor (and former ACM president) Dame Wendy Hall and Jerome Pesenti of BenevolentTech found that the country risked squandering a historic lead in AI unless government, industry, and academia work together to give it cohesive support. Hall said the new initiatives will provide a way for students to develop their AI skills and talent, while industry, universities, and others who aspire to be part of putting the U.K. at the forefront of the AI and data revolution should get involved with the effort. The government is supporting the program with £110 million in funding.

Full Article
ExxonMobil to Use Microsoft Azure, Dynamics 365 to Wring More Oil, Profit Out of Permian Basin
Larry Dignan
February 22, 2019

ExxonMobil is partnering with Microsoft to boost profit margins on its oil production from the 1.6-million-acre Permian Basin in Texas and New Mexico. The company said it plans to apply various Microsoft tools such as cloud computing, machine learning, and the Internet of things (IoT) to the site's oil extraction operations. For example, ExxonMobil's XTO unit will utilize Microsoft Azure to collect real-time data from oil field assets over hundreds of miles; the data will then be used to optimize drilling, wells, and personnel, in addition to maintenance. The company is using a series of Microsoft platforms, including the Azure Data Lake and apps in the field, to optimize wells and enhance performance.

Full Article

A prototype of computer-on-a-chip Stanford-Led Engineering Team Unveils Prototype for Computer-on-a-Chip
Stanford News
Tom Abate
February 19, 2019

A Stanford University-led engineering team has developed a prototype computer-on-a-chip, whose data processing and memory circuits consume less than a tenth as much electricity as any comparable electronic device. In collaboration with researchers at the CEA-LETI institute in France, the Stanford team used resistive random access memory (RRAM) as a key element of the new chip. RRAM features storage density that can embed more data within less space than other forms of memory, while its energy efficiency does not strain limited power supplies; it also can retain data during chip hibernation. Engineers also can build RRAM directly atop a processing circuit to integrate data storage and computation within a single chip, and the CEA-LETI cohort grafted the RRAM onto a silicon processor. The Stanford team boosted RRAM storage capacity, and developed an algorithm to lengthen endurance, so the prototype should be capable of operating for a decade.

Full Article
Google Researchers Say Software Alone Can’t Mitigate Spectre Chip Flaws
Silicon Republic
Ellen Tannam
February 19, 2019

It will be difficult to avoid Spectre bugs in the future unless central processing units (CPUs) are dramatically overhauled, according to a team of Google researchers. In addition, they said processors that perform speculative execution always will remain vulnerable to side-channel attacks, despite mitigations that may be discovered in the future. The researchers found that in order to truly remedy all existing and future Spectre bugs, hardware manufacturers will need to develop new CPU microarchitecture designs. The team offered several potential solutions, including disabling speculative execution entirely, precision timer mitigation, and branchless matching. The researchers also noted these mitigations are not without their own issues, such as performance penalties. "It is now a painful irony that today, defense requires even more complexity with software mitigations, most of which we know to be incomplete," the researchers concluded.

Full Article
UC Santa Cruz Launches First Graduate Program in Serious Games
University of California, Santa Cruz
Tim Stephens; James McGirk
February 19, 2019

The University of California, Santa Cruz (UC Santa Cruz) Baskin School of Engineering is launching the first professional master's degree program in serious games offered in the U.S. Serious games are designed to accomplish a purpose other than pure entertainment, aiming to impact measurable social goals. The serious games program, which will begin accepting students this fall, builds on existing expertise at UC Santa Cruz in assistive technologies, games and playable media, digital art and new media, psychology, and other related disciplines. The new program will train students over five academic quarters in six key areas: game design, game technology, eliciting and integrating subject matter knowledge, designing and conducting efficacy measures, effective teamwork, and career planning.

Full Article

A humanlike doll falling in front of a driving vehicle New Technology Shows Promise Reducing Skyrocketing Pedestrian Fatalities
Paul A. Eisenstein
February 24, 2019

A study by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) highlights the role new automobile safety systems have in preventing many pedestrian collisions and reducing the severity of others. Over the past decade, the number of pedestrian fatalities in the U.S. has nearly doubled, to around 6,000 annually. The IIHS tested 11 small SUVs equipped with Automatic Emergency Braking systems that can detect and respond to pedestrians who have entered a vehicle's path; only one failed to earn some level of endorsement. Said IIS manager David Aylor, "We want to encourage manufacturers to include pedestrian detection capabilities as they equip more of their vehicles with automatic emergency braking systems." Other technologies being considered to help reduce pedestrian fatalities in the U.S. include Adaptive Driving Beams, which eliminates the glare of headlights to oncoming traffic by masking some of the light.

Full Article
ACM Barcelona Summer School
ACM Insurance

Association for Computing Machinery

2 Penn Plaza, Suite 701
New York, NY 10121-0701

ACM Media Sales

If you are interested in advertising in ACM TechNews or other ACM publications, please contact ACM Media Sales or (212) 626-0686, or visit ACM Media for more information.

To submit feedback about ACM TechNews, contact: [email protected]