Online M.S. Degrees
Welcome to the May 11, 2020 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."
Using Technology-Assisted Review to Find Effective Treatments, Procedures to Mitigate COVID-19
University of Waterloo Cheriton School of Computer Science
May 7, 2020

Researchers at the University of Waterloo's Cheriton School of Computer Science in Canada have been collaborating with the knowledge synthesis team at St. Michael's Hospital in Toronto, using Continuous Active Learning (CAL) Technology-Assisted Review to automate literature searches in databases containing health-related studies for systematic reviews. Their goal is to quickly find effective treatments and procedures to mitigate COVID-19, and guide healthcare providers' decisions in fighting the pandemic. Waterloo's Maura R. Grossman said, "We use [a] trained algorithm to search multiple, massive medical and scientific databases, in different languages, in real time, as they are updated." The St. Michael's team receives the studies to be considered for inclusion in reviews.

Full Article
New Hardware Could Curb AI's Energy Appetite
Purdue University News
Kayla Wiles
May 7, 2020

Purdue University engineers have developed hardware that learns using artificial intelligence (AI) that currently runs on software platforms. They said sharing intelligence features between hardware and software would offset the massive power requirements for using AI in more advanced applications. The team is the first to demonstrate artificial "tree-like" memory in hardware at room temperature. The hardware is fashioned from a quantum material, to which the researchers added a proton and applied an electric pulse that caused the proton to move. Each new proton position generated a different resistance state, creating an information storage site or memory state—and multiple pulses created a branch comprised of memory states. Purdue's Shriram Ramanathan said, "This discovery opens up new frontiers for AI that have been largely ignored because implementing this kind of intelligence into electronic hardware didn't exist."

Full Article

Spot, the four-legged robot dog. Singapore Deploys Robot 'Dog' to Encourage Social Distancing
CNN Business
Michelle Toh; James Griffiths
May 8, 2020

Singapore's government announced last Friday that it would deploy a robot from Boston Dynamics at a local park as part of a pilot project to encourage social distancing. Authorities said Spot, the four-legged "dog" robot, will patrol the area and broadcast a pre-recorded message to remind visitors of the importance of social distancing. The robot will be outfitted with cameras to scan the environment and help officials estimate the number of park visitors. The government promised the cameras cannot track or recognize specific individuals, and no personal data will be compiled. Authorities said the Spot model "works well across different terrains and can navigate obstacles effectively, making it ideal for operation in public parks and gardens."

Full Article

MIT researchers have developed a kind of creativity test for generative models Visualizing the World Beyond the Frame
MIT News
Kim Martineau
May 6, 2020

A study by Massachusetts Institute of Technology researchers proposed a new test for measuring how far generative adversarial networks (GANs) can extrapolate data from a specific image, rendering new visualizations beyond the frame. The GANs "steer" a model into the subject of a photo, and ask it to draw new renderings like close ups, in different colors, or under bright light. These variations closely correspond to how creative the photographers were in framing scenes, and the underlying dataset reflects their biases; the steering technique is designed to add visibility to those biases. The researchers applied their method to GANs previously trained on 14 million ImageNet photos, then gauged how far the models went in transforming different classes of photos of animals, objects, and scenes. The degree of artistic risk-taking varied widely by the class of subject the GAN was attempting to manipulate, and the researchers learned that GANs still cannot represent images in physically meaningful ways.

Full Article
Four Years of Calculations Lead to Insights Into Muon Anomaly
Argonne National Laboratory
Christina Nunez
May 5, 2020

A multi-institutional team of researchers used Argonne National Laboratory's Mira supercomputer to attempt to demystify a discrepancy between established particle physics theory and lab measurements in gauging the behavior of a subatomic particle called the muon. The measurement concerns the muon's magnetic moment, which defines how the particle wobbles when interacting with an external magnetic field. The team employed Mira for four years to calculate the mathematical equations of quantum chromodynamics, which encode all possible strong muon interactions. Mira's massively parallel system produced the first-ever result for hadronic light-by-light scattering's contribution to the muon anomalous magnetic moment. The University of Connecticut's Thomas Blum said, "We are waiting to see whether the results ... point to new physics, or whether the current Standard Model is still the best theory we have to explain nature."

Full Article

The flag of Israel flying over a field of code. Israel to Launch 'Cyber Defense Shield' for Health Sector
The Jerusalem Post
Maya Margit
May 7, 2020

Israeli Health Ministry official Reuven Eliahu said Israel, in coordination with cybersecurity firm FireEye, has developed a "cyber defense shield" to provide real-time protection from attacks on that nation’s health sector. The tool will be freely available to all Israeli health organizations. Eliahu said the tool is being deployed in response to spiking state-sponsored attacks since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic. Said Eliahu, “Our workers are at home, and it’s their home [systems] that are less protected. We see more and more state-sponsored players who are working as spies…. Many are looking to get their hands on solutions to the virus.”

Full Article

Syu Kato poses for a photo in Hawaii Japanese Computer-Savvy Teen Designs App to Fight Pandemic
Associated Press
Yuri Kageyama
May 5, 2020

Syu Kato, 16, of Japan has designed an app that takes advantage of GPS so people can use their iPhones to keep track of their whereabouts and help with contract tracing during the coronavirus pandemic. The new app Asiato, meaning "footprint," works like a diary to track a phone's location within a distance of roughly 10 meters (33 feet), and can identify where the user has been in the past several weeks. Kato won the government-backed Mitou Foundation's "super creator" award in 2017 for his DrawCode, which simplifies HTML language for kids. Said Yu Ukai, who heads the foundation’s youth efforts, “There are a lot of ways young people like Syu can contribute to society during the pandemic as the crisis reveals many challenges that can be solved using technology."

Full Article
Novel Research Speeds Up Threat Detection, Prevention for Army Missions
U.S. Army Research Laboratory
May 4, 2020

Researchers at the U.S. Army Combat Capabilities Development Command (CCDC)'s Army Research Laboratory and the University of Southern California have developed a framework to accelerate processing of very large graphs and data, in order to expedite threat detection and prevention. The collaborators aimed to emulate information propagation between interconnected entities for large graphs without overtaxing memory systems through new computational models that harness the power of random-access memory and caches available on off-the-shelf servers. The models are contained in a framework that conceals the finer details, with an easy-to-use programming interface. This framework reduced the execution time of several algorithms by up to 80%. CCDC's Rajgopal Kannan said, "By carefully designing the software systems, the efficiency of underlying hardware can be significantly improved."

Full Article
Developers Say Google's Go Is 'Most Sought After' Programming Language of 2020
Liam Tung
May 7, 2020

Google's Go is one of the top programming languages that developers want to learn, cited by 32% of the more than 16,655 developers from 76 countries surveyed by HackerEarth. According to the Go project's 2019 survey, most developers are using the language for web development, followed by database development, network programming, systems programming, and DevOps. Among Go developers, the most widely used code editor is Microsoft's Visual Studio Code (VS Code). The survey indicated other top desired languages are Kotlin, JavaScript, Bash/Shell/PowerShell, Microsoft's JavaScript superset Typescript, Scala, and R. Meanwhile, RedMonk ranks Go as the 14th most popular language based on its analysis of GitHub and Stack Overflow.

Full Article
Catching Nuclear Smugglers: Fast Algorithm Could Enable Cost-Effective Detectors at Borders
The Michigan Engineer News Center
Kate McAlpine
April 28, 2020

Researchers at the University of Michigan (U-M), the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, Los Alamos National Laboratory, and the U.K.'s Heriot-Watt University and the University of Edinburgh collaboratively developed an algorithm that can identify weak signals from nuclear materials hidden in ordinary radiation sources. The algorithm could quickly differentiate between benign and illicit radiation signatures, enabling faster, less expensive detection of weapons-grade nuclear materials at borders. The team used data collected by nuclear engineering researchers to train machine learning algorithms to look for the signatures of materials that could be used to make a nuclear bomb. Said U-M researcher Alfred Hero, "This work is a powerful example of the benefit of close and sustained collaboration between computational data scientists and nuclear engineers, resulting in major improvement of nuclear radiation detection and identification."

Full Article
Researchers Build the World's Fastest 'Soft' Robot
The Daily Mail (U.K.)
Michael Thomsen
May 8, 2020

Engineers at North Carolina State University (NC State) have built the world's fastest soft robot, capable of moving 2.7 times its own body length per second. The 2.7-inch-long robot features four bent legs and a flexible silicone torso, and uses silicone bands to emulate a cheetah's gait. NC State's Jie Yin said the robot boasts a spring-powered “bistable spine” which can be rapidly switched between stable states by pumping air into channels that line the machine. The robot can move up steep inclines, and experiments demonstrated its capability to work in large groups and heft heavy loads with pincer-like arms.

Full Article

WeChat logo in front of the counter China's WeChat Monitors Foreign Users to Refine Censorship at Home
The Wall Street Journal
Eva Xiao
May 8, 2020

A study by the University of Toronto's Citizen Lab in Canada warned that China's multipurpose WeChat application is monitoring foreign users to strengthen government censorship. Although Chinese government censorship of foreign users is not as draconian as it is for Chinese users, images and documents sent through WeChat are still vetted for objectionable content, which the app adds to an internal blacklist to be censored for Chinese users in real time. By first applying content analysis to international users, WeChat can boost the efficiency of domestic censorship, although Citizen Lab said technical considerations rather than government directives could be the underlying reason. The Electronic Frontier Foundation's Eva Galperin thinks the study should give potential WeChat users pause. Said Galperin, "If I ... was running the security of a large corporation that was concerned about corporate spying from China, I might err on the side of caution."

Full Article
*May Require Paid Registration
Jewelry Designers Speak Up for People with Hearing Issues
Financial Times
Caroline Palmer
May 8, 2020

Patrizia Marti at Siena University in Italy is developing a line of smart jewelry to help hearing-impaired people perceive sound. Her Quietude series includes three necklaces fashioned from leather, felt, and recycled plastic, equipped with technology that translates sound into shape changes, light patterns, and vibrations. Marti hopes to put the necklaces into commercial production once she finds smaller, longer-lived batteries to power them. Quietude was seed-funded by the European Union-backed Wear consortium, whose goal is to design and market next-generation wearables that address ethical and environmental issues. Said Marti, “We have had interest in our necklaces from all over the world. Now we are thinking about price.”

Full Article
*May Require Paid Registration
The AAAI Squirrel AI Award for Artificial Intelligence
ACM Learning Center

Association for Computing Machinery

1601 Broadway, 10th Floor
New York, NY 10019-7434

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]