Welcome to the April 22, 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."

View from the inside of a car High-Tech Collision Warnings, No Matter How Smart Your Car Is
The New York Times
Christopher Jensen
April 16, 2019

New research suggests older vehicles can be equipped with high-tech systems to make them safer. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety's Ian Reagan said such technology could be especially valuable for teenage drivers because mile after mile, the system would remind the driver of safe driving practices. According to Reagan's study, which was performed on 22 vehicles owned by Institute employees, 62% of drivers who drove vehicles equipped with an "advanced driver assistance technology system" from Mobileye changed their driving habits. The Mobileye 630 system, designed for older cars, uses a windshield-mounted camera and dashboard display, and issues audio and visual warnings, but does not automatically hit the brakes in emergency situations. Tests with the system's alert function deactivated and later activated found the number of negligence warnings fell between 30% and 70%.

Full Article
*May Require Paid Registration

People’s silhouettes and the Google logo in the air Google Quietly Disbanded Another AI Review Board Following Disagreements
The Wall Street Journal
Parmy Olson
April 14, 2019

Google is disbanding its Independent Review Panel in the U.K., which aimed to review Google's artificial intelligence (AI) work in healthcare, over disagreements about the panel's effectiveness. Google is grappling with how best to set guidelines for its work in AI, highlighting the challenges Silicon Valley companies face in setting up self-governance systems as governments around the world debate issues ranging from privacy and consent to the growing influence of social media and screen addiction among children. The move to disband the Independent Review Panel comes amid disagreements between panel members and DeepMind, Google's U.K.-based AI research unit, which centered on the review panel's ability to access information about research and products, the binding power of their recommendations, and the degree of independence DeepMind could maintain from Google. The review panel plans to publish a final "lessons learned" report, which will make recommendations about how to set up such boards better in the future.

Full Article
Girls Who Code Helps Draft 'Landmark' Legislation Aimed at Closing Gender Gap
EdSurge (CA)
Emily Tate
April 18, 2019

Since announcing policy recommendations to close the gender gap in K-12 computer science (CS) education, the nonprofit Girls Who Code has been collaborating with states to promote legislation to measure this gap in U.S. classrooms. Last week, Washington Gov. Jay Inslee signed into law a bill written with the goal of eliminating the gap in CS fields. Under the bill, the state's K-12 schools must track and publicly report each year how many CS classes they offer, as well as the number and percentage of enrollees, broken down by gender, race/ethnicity, English learner status, eligibility for free-and-reduced lunch, special education status, and grade level. Girls comprise less than 25% of K-12 CS students in Washington state. The new bill requires more comprehensive and transparent data, enabling education leaders to better gauge the extent of the gender gap, and what must be done to close it in K-12 classrooms.

Full Article
Army Researchers Identify New Way to Improve Cybersecurity
U.S. Army Research Laboratory
April 17, 2019

Scientists at the U.S. Army Research Laboratory (ARL) and Towson University may have identified a new technique for strengthening network cybersecurity. The researchers followed the hypothesis that malicious network activity would exhibit maliciousness early in the transmission process, devising a tool that stopped transmitting traffic after a given number of messages had been sent. The resulting compressed network traffic was analyzed and compared to analysis performed on the original network traffic, which validated the theory. ARL's Sidney Smith said, "This strategy should be effective in reducing the amount of network traffic sent from the sensor to central analyst system. Ultimately, this strategy could be used to increase the reliability and security of Army networks."

Full Article

A robot feeding a man Home Robot Control for People With Disabilities
IEEE Spectrum
Evan Ackerman
April 17, 2019

Georgia Institute of Technology (Georgia Tech) researchers have developed an augmented reality (AR) interface to help disabled individuals control complex assistive robots using a single-button mouse. A paralyzed man incapable of speech uses the interface to operate a two-armed PR2 mobile manipulator via an eye-tracking mouse. The Georgia Tech researchers said, "Our approach is to provide an [AR] interface running in a standard Web browser with only low-level robot autonomy," which uses "state-of-the-art visualization to present the robot's sensor information and options for controlling the robot in a way that people with profound motor deficits have found easy to use." The robot can only manage low-level tasks, like tactile-sensor-driven grasping, and moving an arm to execute end-effector poses. The interface offered consistent performance across a range of situations, so the operator could use the robot in different ways.

Full Article
Top Programming Languages IoT Developers Should Learn
Alison DeNisco Rayome
April 17, 2019

A survey by the non-profit Eclipse Foundation found that an inundation of Internet-of-Things (IoT) devices and services has accelerated IoT development, although issues of security, connectivity, and data collection and analytics persist. Two-thirds of 1,717 developers surveyed for the report said their organizations are developing and implementing IoT solutions, or will do so in the next 18 months. Respondents listed Windows and FreeRTOS as the top operating systems (OS) in use, while Linux was the most popular Edge/Gateway operating OS, followed by Windows. More than a third of IoT developers cited Linux Debian and its derivatives, Raspbian and Ubuntu/Ubuntu Core, as the dominant Linux distributions. The top programming languages IoT developers reported using were C, C++, Java, and JavaScript for constrained devices, and the most popular languages for gateways and edge nodes were Java, Python, C++, and C; Java, JavaScript, Python, and PHP were the most-cited languages in the IoT cloud category.

Full Article

Analyzing real estate visually. Transparent Architecture
ETH Zurich
Astrid Tomzcak
April 17, 2019

Researchers at ETH Zurich in Switzerland's Archilyse spinoff have devised software that enables simulations and fine-grained analyses of real estate that can be made accessible to developers, architects, and real estate firms. On the platform, a building's plan is established in relation to a geographical space, and converted into a virtual model within a model of its environment. This allows the Archilyse team to calculate, for example, how much water or how many mountain peaks can be seen from each square centimeter, as well as communicating spatial perceptions of the room. Integrating data sources faster was enabled via machine learning and artificial intelligence advancements. Archilyse founder Matthias Standfest said the company’s customer segment, which includes pension insurance companies, land managers, real estate portals and developers, and companies with their own property management units, “is mostly in the multi-billion segment.”

Full Article
Universities Leverage High-Performance Computing for Multiple Returns on Investment
EdTech Magazine
Calvin Hennick
April 17, 2019

High-performance computing (HPC) resources are becoming a competitive differentiator for academic institutions vying for top researchers. As computing power becomes more commoditized, humanities and social sciences faculty are becoming HPC users, joining colleagues from more traditionally research-intensive fields. The University of Illinois at Chicago (UIC), the University of Virginia (UVA), and North Carolina State University (NCSU) each have taken a different approach to provisioning HPC resources, although the technology plays a significant role in attracting talented faculty and supporting their work at all three institutions. UIC committed to its first endowed chair of physics and chemistry that it will build out an HPC cluster to support her research in molecular dynamics. UVA's Department of Computer Science has chosen to build out larger pools of standardized resources, while NCSU has partnered with Lenovo to provide access to the newest HPC technologies for research that relies on artificial intelligence and deep learning.

Full Article

A 3D-print machine VA Looks to 3D-Printing to Improve Veteran Care
Jack Corrigan
April 17, 2019

A medical team at the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) is pioneering new ways to use three-dimensional (3D) printing to plan surgeries, to build prostheses for amputees, and (eventually) to construct bones and organs from scratch. The VA has organized a nationwide network of physicians, surgeons, and scientists to serve as an internal nexus where VA personnel can exchange information, expertise, and equipment as they test their own 3D printing concepts. Such work is starting to yield beneficial innovations, like at Washington state's Puget Sound Medical Center, where 3D printing is being used to rehearse operations and to help veterans better understand their treatment options.

Full Article
Researchers Develop Blockchain Protocol to Prevent Counterfeit Pharmaceutical Sales
R&D Magazine
April 17, 2019

Portland State University (PSU) researchers hope to block counterfeit drugs from reaching the market by using a new blockchain protocol that employs "a truly decentralized dynamic consensus protocol." The strategy utilizes blockchain to record transactions in a more secure way to help curtail fake pharmaceuticals, via product checking and decentralization. Blockchain retains transactional records for every step, creating an information chain only users with a specific key can add to or modify. The PSU protocol lets sellers monitor and verify products without depending on vulnerable centralized systems; the protocol is paired with digital product tags, which include the product's serial number, expiration date, and name. Said PSU's Nirupama Bulusu, "This protocol could potentially disrupt and disable illicit supply networks."

Full Article
Software Tool Could Provide Answers to Some of Life's Most Intriguing Questions
University of Waterloo News
April 17, 2019

Researchers at the University of Waterloo in Canada have developed a software tool that combines machine learning with digital signal processing (ML-DSP) to make it possible to definitively answer challenging questions. ML-DSP is an alignment-free software tool that works by transforming a DNA sequence into a digital signal, then uses digital signal processing methods to process and distinguish these signals from each other. The researchers performed a quantitative comparison with other state-of-the-art classification software tools on two small benchmark datasets and one large 4,322 vertebrate mitochondrial genome dataset. The results showed that ML-DSP outperformed alignment-based software in terms of processing time, while being comparable in terms of classification accuracy. The researchers also conducted preliminary experiments indicating the potential of ML-DSP to be used for other datasets, by classifying 4,271 complete dengue virus genomes into subtypes with 100% accuracy, and 4,710 bacterial genomes into divisions with 95.5% accuracy.

Full Article
Value Sensitive Design - Shaping Technology with Moral Imagination
ACM WiSec 2019 Conference

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]