Welcome to the August 27, 2021 edition of ACM TechNews, providing timely information for IT professionals three times a week.

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A newborn baby in an incubator. Baby Detector Software in Digital Camera Rivals ECG
University of South Australia
August 25, 2021

University of South Australia (UniSA) scientists have developed computer vision-based baby detector software that automatically detects a baby's face in a hospital bed and remotely monitors its health from a digital camera. UniSA's Javaan Chahl said tubes and other equipment can hinder computers from recognizing infants, and the system was trained on videos of babies in the neonatal intensive care unit to reliably identify their skin tone and face. High-resolution cameras recorded the infants while advanced signal processing techniques extracted vital physiological data. UniSA's Kim Gibson said using neural networks to detect babies' faces is a critical achievement for non-contact monitoring.

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A cross-sectional view of cultured Wagyu beef. Scientists Reveal World's First 3D-Printed Wagyu Beef
Interesting Engineering
Derya Ozdemir
August 25, 2021

Scientists at Japan's Osaka University have unveiled what they are calling the first-ever three-dimensionally-printed Wagyu beef, created using stem cells extracted from cattle. A key challenge was replicating the beef's marbled composition. The researchers isolated bovine satellite cells and adipose-derived stem cells from Wagyu cows, then incubated and differentiated them into the cells needed to generate individual fibers for muscle, fat, and blood vessels, and stacked them to resemble Wagyu's marbling. The researchers sliced the stacks perpendicularly into laboratory-cultured beef slices, enabling a high level of customization within the meat structure. The researchers said the printed meat "looks more like the real thing," adding that the process may be used to generate other complex structures.

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Apple CEO Tim Cook and IBM CEO Arvind Krishna at the White House cybersecurity summit. Tech Companies Pledge Billions in Cybersecurity Investments
Associated Press
Eric Tucker
August 26, 2021

The White House announced that following a private meeting between President Joe Biden and top technology executives, some leading tech companies have committed to billions of dollars in investments to boost cybersecurity defenses and train skilled workers. Google plans to invest $10 billion over the next five years to secure the software supply chain and expand zero-trust programs, while Microsoft pledged $20 billion in investment over the next five years in addition to plans to make $150 million in technical services available to local governments for upgrading their cybersecurity. IBM will train 150,000 people in cybersecurity over three years, and Apple plans develop a program to enhance the technology supply chain.

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A Wing delivery drone in flight. Wing Approaches 100,000 Drone Deliveries 2 Years After Launch
Tech Crunch
Brian Heater
August 25, 2021

Two years after its pilot launched in Logan, Australia, Alphabet's drone delivery company Wing is nearing its 100,000th customer delivery. Wing's Jonathan Bass said the service will be expanded in Australia, Finland, and the U.S. over the next six months. However, Bass noted, "The capabilities of the technology are probably ahead of the regulatory permissions right now." Wing's drones have a range of six miles and can carry up to three pounds. They travel at about 100-150 feet in the air, sink to about 23 feet at their destination, and lower packages to the ground with a tether.

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A map of the Earth glowing with white light to show connectivity. Who Can Bend Light for Cheaper Internet?
MIT Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory
Rachel Gordon
August 23, 2021

Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) researchers have developed a system that can maintain network connections when optical fibers break by reconfiguring optical transmissions from damaged fibers to healthy ones. The ARROW system plans for potential fiber cuts in advance using an online algorithm that accounts for real-time Internet traffic demands. Simulations revealed that ARROW could carry up to 2.4 times more traffic without deploying new fibers, and while maintaining high network reliability. MIT's Zhizhen Zhong said, "With ARROW, some failures can be eliminated or partially restored, and this changes the way we think about network management and traffic engineering, opening up opportunities for rethinking traffic engineering systems, risk assessment systems, and emerging applications too." The researchers are working with Facebook to deploy ARROW in real-world wide-area networks.

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An illustration of a brain elevated and networked and surrounded by a crowd. Surprisingly Popular Voting Algorithm to Recover Ranked Choices
Penn State News
Jessica Hallman
August 25, 2021

Researchers at Pennsylvania State University (Penn State), Columbia University, and Canada's University of Toronto have developed an algorithm that can retrieve ranked choices by combining people's own opinions or votes with their predictions of others' responses. The technique expands on the ‘surprisingly popular method,’ a process for soliciting the wisdom of a crowd, by exploiting the knowledge of a small number of experts in a larger group to find the correct answer. Penn State's Hadi Hosseini said, "Our technique shows that we can predict a ground-truth ranking with high accuracy without the need for massive data collection." The method outperforms conventional voting strategies, like simple majority rule, that do not ask respondents to predict others' responses.

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An outdoor surveillance camera. Federal Agencies to Expand Use of Facial Recognition
The Hill
Chris Mills Rodrigo
August 26, 2021

A U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) survey of 24 federal agencies found at least 10 intend to use facial recognition technology more widely in the coming years. Most respondents use the technology to allow employees to unlock agency smartphones or enter buildings; six agencies said they use it to generate leads or identify victims in criminal probes. The departments of Agriculture, Commerce, Defense, Homeland Security, and others told the GAO they will expand their facial recognition capabilities by 2023. The technology faces growing scrutiny amid research that has found it biased against women and people of color. Some privacy advocates have aired concerns that the technology constitutes an overreach of state and law enforcement surveillance authority.

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Stanford Graduate Student Combines Quilting, Coding to Create App to Help Quilters
The Stanford Daily
Alice Feng
August 24, 2021

Stanford University graduate student Mackenzie Leake developed a software application that determines possible quilting patterns for any inputted design, using math and computer science. She said foundation paper piecing quilting involves using a printed-paper pattern to guide the sewing of two pieces of fabric together, with fabric added in the pattern-dictated order; she hoped to translate that quilting knowledge "into a more general problem where you could do something computational with it." Leake collaborated with researchers from other institutions to accomplish this using hypergraphs, generalizations of graphs in which an edge can join any number of vertices. The team used acyclic hypergraphs for non-circular dependency to design software that first determines if an input design can be rendered into an acyclic hypergraph, then outputs all possible quilting patterns.

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Waymo Opens Robotaxi Service in San Francisco for Ride Hailing
The Wall Street Journal
Tripp Mickle
August 24, 2021

Autonomous-vehicle technology developer Waymo has launched a driver-supported robotaxi service in San Francisco, in a test accessible to residents who download the Waymo One ride-hailing application. Participants can summon a Jaguar I-Pace vehicle equipped with driverless technology, with a Waymo driver ready to take over if the car’s computer malfunctions or cannot adjust to unanticipated situations. Waymo took a similar approach to introducing the technology in Chandler, AZ, in 2017, when it began testing a service offering rides in autonomous minivans; last year, it opened the service to consumers and removed back-up drivers from the vans.

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The striking power of a 1.5-gram shrimp-scale robot. Robot Mimics Powerful Punch of Mantis Shrimp
Harvard University John A. Paulson School of Engineering and Applied Sciences
Leah Burrows
August 25, 2021

An international team of roboticists, engineers, and biologists has built a robot that emulates the movements of the mantis shrimp by modeling its punching dynamics. The researchers examined the linkage mechanics of the shrimp's arm, then constructed a robot demonstrating the same mechanics, from which they developed a mathematical model of the punch movement. Duke University's Sheila Patek said, "The process of building a physical model and developing the mathematical model led us to revisit our understanding of mantis shrimp strike mechanics and, more broadly, to discover how organisms and synthetic systems can use geometry to control extreme energy flow during ultra-fast, repeated-use, movements."

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Virtual transformation and re-staining of one tissue biopsy stain into three different images using deep neural networks. AI Restained Images of Tissue Biopsy Expedite Diagnoses
UCLA Samueli School of Engineering
August 24, 2021

University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) researchers have developed a process for virtually restaining biopsied tissue images to speed up diagnoses. Using artificial intelligence, the researchers created a computational technique that takes images of tissue previously stained with hematoxylin and eosin (H&E) and generates new images with added special stains. The process is completed in less than one minute per tissue sample, compared to several hours or days using traditional techniques. The researchers found virtually restained images improved diagnoses compared with H&E-stained images alone. UCLA's Aydogan Ozcan said, "The enhanced speed and accuracy are particularly important when diagnosing medical conditions such as organ transplant rejection cases, where a fast and accurate diagnosis enables rapid treatment, which may lead to greatly improved clinical outcomes."

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