Welcome to the November 2, 2018 edition of ACM TechNews, providing timely information for IT professionals three times a week.

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UC Berkeley data analytics students UC Berkeley's Fastest-Growing Class Is Data Science 101
The Wall Street Journal
Douglas Belkin
November 1, 2018

The University of California, Berkeley (UC Berkeley)'s introduction to data science course is the fastest-growing class on campus, with its emphasis on computer science and statistics to extract meaning from ever-expanding datasets. UC Berkeley announced plans to establish a new Division of Data Science and Information, with the goal of making all students proficient in the discipline. Driving such developments is the compilation of massive datasets by a new generation of Internet-connected tools, and the need to harness modeling skills from statistics and coding skills from computer science to make sense and predictions from these vast troves. UC Berkeley aims to train not only data scientists, but also students from other fields. Said UC Berkeley’s David Culler, “Some degree of data analytics is simply part of what it means to be educated today.”

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earthquake simulation University of Tokyo Team Performs Most Complex Earthquake Simulation to Date
November 1, 2018

A research team from the University of Tokyo in Japan has been named a finalist for the ACM Gordon Bell Prize for a record-setting earthquake wave simulation created in collaboration with the Oak Ridge National Laboratory and the Swiss National Supercomputing Center. The team accelerated the model using artificial intelligence (AI) and transprecision computing, and for the first time accounted for ground tremors paired with underground and above-ground urban structures at super-high resolution. Transprecision calculations reduce data transfer rates and expedite computing by storing, transferring, and computing only a fraction of the digits that standard double precision calculations utilize. The team performed its largest simulation on the IBM AC922 Summit, the world's most powerful supercomputer, using 24,576 of its graphical processing units to enable a 25.3-fold acceleration compared to methods that employed neither AI nor transprecision computing.

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Adve's Research Recognized with Kennedy Award
University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
David Mercer
October 31, 2018

ACM and the IEEE Computer Society (IEEE-CS) have named the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign's Sarita Adve the recipient of the 2018 ACM-IEEE CS Ken Kennedy Award for her research contributions and leadership in the development of memory consistency models for C++ and Java. Adve co-developed the memory models for the C++ and Java programming languages, based on her earlier work on data-race-free (DRF) models. She also was recognized for service to numerous computer science organizations, including the ACM Special Interest Group on Computer Architecture (SIGSARCH). Said Adve, “To be a good researcher is not sufficient in my mind, we need to give back.”

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various Australian flags Australia Uses Tech to Preserve Its Languages
U.S. News & World Report
Sintia Radu
October 30, 2018

Academics in Australia are using technology to keep indigenous languages alive, with the University of Queensland and the ARC Center of Excellence for the Dynamics of Language employing a device to teach children in indigenous communities the languages of their ancestors. The Indigenous Language Opie is a two-foot-tall wooden figure bearing two digital tablets; one has eyes that follow a child's movements, and the other has memory games using recorded stories in indigenous tongues, with pronunciation guides. Said Queensland's Janet Wiles, "These are the sorts of things that the language teachers (in communities) would be doing anyway, and the idea was to try to look at these three different levels of language learning and to see where a robot could actually be useful." The Opie is part of a larger mission to preserve not just indigenous language in Australia, but also cultural identity.

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HPE computer for ISS mission NASA Astronauts Will Get to Use This Extraterrestrial Supercomputer
Fast Company
Sean Captain
November 1, 2018

The U.S. National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) is using a standard Hewlett-Packard Enterprise (HPE) Apollo 4000-series business computer to conduct real science experiments on the International Space Station (ISS). The Apollo 4000, technically a supercomputer because it can perform one trillion floating-point operations per second (a teraflop), is used for the initial processing of data from the stations cameras and other sensors, before selecting, compressing, and beaming down to Earth only relevant information, NASA said. NASA finished testing the computer earlier this year to determine whether it was affected by exposure to cosmic rays, magnetic fields, and other factors in space, so in the three to four months before it is retuned to Earth, the space agency has authorized its use for science experiments. Said Mark Fernandez, lead developer for HPE’s Spaceborne Computer program, “We’ve got 32 [computing] cores onboard. We could run [at least] 32 virtual machines and address the computational needs of 32 experiments.”

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Google Offers Money to Universities to Use AI to Scale Up Research
The Washington Post
Susan Svrluga
October 29, 2018

Google has launched an initiative offering $25 million to universities and nonprofits whose research ideas can be expanded via artificial intelligence (AI) to solve global problems. The Google AI Impact Challenge includes an offer of assistance and coaching from Google experts, with a focus on projects with potential social and environmental ramifications. Professors, students, and nonprofit operators can submit proposals, even if they lack expertise in the technology and the concepts are in early development stages. One such project Google has aided aims to combat child sex trafficking, using algorithms that help law enforcement sift through massive amounts of digital information to spot patterns of possible trafficking from online advertising. Says Google's Jacquelline Fuller, "We have heard from universities who have ideas about how AI can be applied. Sometimes, what they’re lacking is the resources."

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Six Business Schools Sign Deal for Hologram Lecture
Financial Times
Jonathan Moules
November 1, 2018

Six leading business schools will host lectures given by holograms thanks to the Future of Management Education Alliance, led by Imperial College Business School in the U.K. The college has founded Insendi, an educational technology startup, to help digitize current degree programs at other alliance members. The hologram system was purchased from Canada's Arht Media, a company that wants to establish a global network of universities able to host holographic presentations. Said Imperial College Business School dean Francisco Veloso, “Demand is rapidly growing, from business school applicants and employers alike, for programs which provide the greater flexibility and access that today’s modern technologies can afford.”

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MIT Scientists Develop Unsupervised Multilingual Translation System
October 31, 2018

In a step toward one of the major goals of machine translation, fully unsupervised word alignment, researchers at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) have developed an unsupervised language translation model that could lead to faster, more efficient computer-based translations of multiple languages. The new model leverages a metric in statistics that measures distances between points in one computational space, then matches them to similarly distanced points in another space. Applying that technique to "word embeddings" of two languages (words of similar meanings clustered closer together) quickly aligns the words, or vectors, in both embeddings that are most closely correlated by relative distances (they are likely to be direct translations). During testing, the model performed as accurately as state-of-the-art monolingual models, but much more quickly and using only a fraction of the computing power.

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Neuroimaging data sets contain vast amounts of information. Web Service Makes Big Data Available to Neuroscientists
Jeffrey M. Perkel
October 30, 2018

Johns Hopkins University researchers have developed a free, cloud-based collection of Web services that supports large-scale neuroimaging data. NeuroData relies on the spatial database bossDB, which allows researchers to retrieve images of any section of the brain at any resolution, and in several standard formats. Users can then explore this data using the Neuroglancer tool. As users navigate the images, the URL changes to reflect their specific view, allowing them to share visualizations with colleagues. NeuroData is composed of more than 100 public and private neuroimaging datasets, and includes tools for machine learning, image analysis, and three-dimensional volume rendering.

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A Super-Fast 'Quantum Internet' for Everyone Is One Step Closer to Reality
Daily Mail (United Kingdom)
Joe Pinkstone
October 31, 2018

Researchers at the University of Sussex in the U.K. have managed to dramatically reduce the effects of "environmental noise" affecting trapped ion quantum computers, a breakthrough in the pursuit of a quantum Internet. The Sussex team worked with colleagues from Imperial College London, using quantum physics and microwave technology similar to that used in mobile phones to help insulate the new computers from environmental interference. Said Sussex’ Winfried Hensinger, “With this advance we have made another practical step towards constructing quantum computers that can host millions of qubits.”

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The Relay robot by Savioke Inc. is being used in about 80 hotels worldwide. Travel Industry Brings Innovative Technology Along for the Ride
The Globe and Mail
Marjo Johne
October 27, 2018

Facing tight competition for traveler dollars and more demanding, better-informed consumers, travel and tourism firms are deploying next-generation technologies such as robots, data analytics, artificial intelligence (AI), and augmented reality to improve the traveler experience. AI is used to power robot hotel concierges, and the Phocuswright travel research company's Michael Coletta cites AI use for customer profiling, accelerating and reducing security via better identification, and customized services. Meanwhile, Marriott International is using innovations such as mobile keys that lock and unlock rooms with guests' smartphones, and smart mirrors with touchscreens so guests can book dinner reservations and control lighting and TVs in their suites. An AI-driven Internet of Things platform deployed by the Carnival cruise line uses digital medallions to provide keyless access to staterooms, enable smart-device ordering, and help guests navigate the ship based on personal needs and preferences.

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Border guards talking in an airport. An AI Lie Detector Will Interrogate Travelers at Some EU Borders
New Scientist
Douglas Heaven
October 31, 2018

An artificial intelligence (AI)-based lie detector system will be used on international travelers after they have passed through border control, during a six-month pilot program at four border crossings in Hungary, Latvia, and Greece. The Web-based tool is designed to make crossing into the European Union quicker and safer, while identifying likely lawbreakers when entering a country. During the interview stage of iBorderCtrl, the system asks questions via a virtual border guard on a laptop or mobile device; as the traveler provides answers, the device's camera films the user's face. AI software then analyzes the video and examines 38 micro-gestures to identify patterns that could indicate lying, such as slight eyelid movements. In a test of the system on 30 people (half were told to lie, the other half to tell the truth), the software was able to identify liars with around 76% accuracy. One of the system’s developers, Keeley Crockett of Manchester Metropolitan University, U.K., said, “We’re quite confident of bringing it up to the 85% level.”

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Declarative Logic Programming: Theory, Systems, and Applications
ACM Distinguished Speakers Program

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