Pace University Online Master of Science in Computer Science
Welcome to the June 14, 2021 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."

Apple’s flagship store on Fifth Ave in New York City. U.S.-Born Computer Professionals Earn Far More Than Other U.S. Workers
Stuart Anderson
June 10, 2021

A National Foundation for American Policy study by the University of North Florida's Madeline Zavodny found that U.S.-born information technology (IT) professionals and those who earned computer-related degrees in college make much more money than peers in other fields. Analysis of data from the Current Population Survey, American Community Survey, and National Survey of College Graduates yielded a substantial premium for IT professionals or computer and information systems-related majors that has climbed or held steady. Said Zavodny, "Workers who have a bachelor's in a computer-related field earn more than their counterparts with a degree in another STEM [science, technology, engineering, and math] field or in a non-STEM field."

Full Article

Snapshot of a discussion-based lecture at the University of California San Diego. How Do We Improve the Virtual Classroom?
UC San Diego News Center
June 10, 2021

Researchers in the University of California, San Diego Department of Computer Science and Engineering (CSE) and Carnegie Mellon University investigated virtual learning's shortcomings and proposed approaches for improving the experience. The researchers found that faculty members' chief complaint is that many students never activate their cameras; student surveys, meanwhile, found widespread learner resistance to turning cameras on. Students overwhelmingly favor chat functions, which increase the likelihood of participation, so the authors propose adding text-based chat to promote engagement and community. CSE’s Nadir Weibel anticipates in the future, “Some classes will be back in person. Some will be only online, and some will be hybrid, but I think online learning is probably here to stay.”

Full Article
Meet Grace, the Healthcare Robot COVID-19 Created
June 9, 2021

Hong Kong-based Hanson Robotics has developed a prototype robot to engage with seniors and those isolated by the COVID-19 pandemic. The Grace robot is dressed like a nurse, has a thermal camera in her chest to take temperatures and measure responsiveness, uses artificial intelligence (AI) to diagnose patients, and can speak English, Mandarin, and Cantonese. Hanson Robotics founder David Hanson said Grace resembles a healthcare professional and facilitates social interactions to ease the workload of front-line hospital staff inundated during the pandemic. He also said Grace, whose facial features resemble a Western-Asian fusion of anime characters, can mimic the action of more than 48 major facial muscles. A beta version of Grace is slated to be mass-produced by Awakening Health, a joint venture between Hanson Robotics and enterprise AI developer Singularity Studio, by August, according to the venture’s CEO, David Lake.

Full Article
3D-Printing Process Promises Highly Bespoke Prosthetics
The Engineer (U.K.)
June 11, 2021

A new three-dimensional (3D) printing method developed by researchers at the U.K.'s Nottingham University reportedly can improve the shape and resilience of implantable medical devices, resulting in reduced risk of bacterial infection. The team used an algorithm to design and fabricate 3D-printed objects composed of two polymer materials of differing stiffness, which optimize stiffness while preventing bacterial biofilm accrual. Researchers also applied the new 3D orbitSIMS high-resolution characterization approach to plot the chemistry of the print structures, and to test bonding throughout the component. Said Nottingham’s Yinfeng He, “Using a computer-aided, multi-material 3D-print technique, we demonstrate it is possible to combine complex functions within one customized healthcare device to enhance patient wellbeing.”

Full Article

Best Bees Company allows homeowners to host beekeepers' hives, in return for honey. Tech Firms Use Remote Monitoring to Help Honey Bees
BBC News
Bernd Debusmann Jr.
June 13, 2021

Technology companies are monitoring honey bee colonies remotely to investigate hive die-offs, in efforts to improve their survival. The U.S.-based beehive management firm Best Bees installs hives on commercial and residential properties while staff monitor and record their health using software, sharing this data with Harvard University and Massachusetts Institute of Technology scientists. Meanwhile, Ireland's ApisProtect produces wireless in-hive sensors that collect and transmit data to an online dashboard, where machine learning software converts the data into useful information on hive health to determine when intervention by beekeepers may be necessary. Israeli firm Beewise builds solar-powered hive farms, or Beehomes, that operate autonomously or via a mobile application, using cameras, sensors, and robotic arms to take action against pests or other threats.

Full Article
DNA-Based Circuits May Be the Future of Medicine, and This Software Program Will Get Us There Faster
IEEE Spectrum
Michelle Hampson
June 9, 2021

Enhanced software promises to improve the design of DNA-based circuits used to deliver drugs. Researchers at Brazil's Universidade Federal de Mato Grosso do Sul (UFMS) initially developed the DNAr software program, which can be used to model chemical reactions and engineer new biological circuits; an extension called DNAr-Logic lets scientists convert high-level descriptions of desired circuits into chemical reaction networks that can be generated in DNA strands. UFMS' Renan Marks said DNAr-Logic will enable researchers to design and simulate biological circuits "without previous knowledge in chemistry and without writing hundreds of reactions—and differential equations needed to simulate its dynamic behavior—by hand." Marks said tests showed DNAr-Logic can be used to design biological circuits capable of producing as many as 600 distinct reactions.

Full Article
Quantum Holds the Key to Secure Conference Calls
Heriot-Watt University (U.K.)
June 7, 2021

Scientists in the Quantum Communications Hub at the U.K.'s Heriot-Watt University, working with German colleagues, facilitated a quantum-secure four-way conversation, the result of deploying Quantum Key Distribution (QKD) in a network scenario for the first time. The team applied a process called Quantum Conference Key Agreement to surmount the constraints of traditional QKD systems to share keys between only two users. This enabled the first quantum conference call to share an image of a Cheshire cat between four parties, separated by up to 50 kilometers (31 miles) of optical fiber. Said Heriot-Watt’s Alessandro Fedrizzi, “Our work is the first example where this was achieved via 'spooky action' between multiple users at the same time, something that a future quantum Internet will be able to exploit.”

Full Article
TLS Attack Lets Attackers Launch Cross-Protocol Attacks Against Secure Sites
The Hacker News
Ravie Lakshmanan
June 9, 2021

A new transport layer security (TLS) attack allows hackers to reroute HTTPS traffic from a target's Web browser to a different TLS service endpoint on another Internet Protocol (IP) address, according to researchers at Germany's Ruhr University Bochum, Munster University of Applied Sciences, and Paderborn University. The researchers said the ALPACA (Application Layer Protocol Confusion—Analyzing and mitigating Cracks in TLS Authentication) exploit is basically a man-in-the-middle scheme in which the malefactor tricks a victim into accessing a malicious Website to invoke a cross-origin HTTPS request with a specially engineered file transfer protocol payload. The team proposed using Application Layer Protocol Negotiation and Server Name Indication extensions to TLS so servers are aware of the intended protocol to be employed over a secure connection and the hostname to which it tries to connect at the beginning of the handshake process.

Full Article

Observation of the Solar Dynamic Observatory (SDO). AI Spots Coronal Holes to Automate Space Weather Prediction
Skolkovo Institute of Science and Technology (Russia)
June 7, 2021

An international team of scientists brought automated space weather prediction a step closer to reality via a neural network that can identify coronal holes—gaps in the solar atmosphere left by particles that cause geomagnetic storms on Earth—in space-based observations. Robert Jarolim at Austria's University of Graz said CHRONNOS (Coronal Hole RecOgnition Neural Network Over multi-Spectral-data) applies artificial intelligence to spot coronal holes "based on their intensity, shape, and magnetic field properties, which are the same criteria as a human observer takes into account." The team trained the convolutional neural network on about 1,700 extreme ultraviolet wavelength images of the sun's corona recorded in 2010-2017, and compared its results to 261 manually identified coronal holes. CHRONNOS matched human performance in 98% of the cases, and outperformed humans in identifying coronal holes from magnetic field maps.

Full Article

A parcel is prepared for shipment at Amazon’s warehouse in Hemel Hempstead, U.K. Amazon Details Warehouse Robots, 'Ernie' and 'Bert'
Lauren Feiner
June 13, 2021

Retail giant Amazon is testing new robots designed to reduce worker stress and potential for injury. An Amazon blog post said the test involves four robots programmed to move items across warehouses, in close proximity to workers. Ernie helps remove items from a robotic shelf; Amazon said testing indicates it could improve worker safety. Bert is one of Amazon's first independently navigating Autonomous Mobile Robots (AMRs), which the company said can function safely even when moving among employees who also are in motion. Two more robots currently under development, Scooter and Kermit, are cart-transporting AMRs that Amazon said could move empty packages across warehouses, allowing workers to concentrate on less-strenuous tasks that involve critical thinking.

Full Article
Find Genetic Relatives Quickly, Accurately with USC ISI's iLASH Algorithm
USC Viterbi School of Engineering
Rene Van Steenbergen
June 11, 2021

The IBD by LocAlity-Sensitive Hashing (iLASH) algorithm can rapidly identify genetic links among large sets of people. Developed by researchers at the University of Southern California (USC), the University of Colorado, the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, iLASH is basically an Identity-By-Descent (IBD) estimation tool. USC's Ruhollah Shemirani said IBD involves learning where and to what degree two individuals in a genetic dataset share DNA from shared ancestry; iLASH performs this estimation as the first step in IBD Mapping, a process for identifying the genetic underpinnings of disease. The algorithm eliminates unrelated pairs of genetic samples via Locality Sensitive Hashing, analyzing in an hour a dataset that would take conventional processes over a week, according to Shemirani.

Full Article
Computer System Can Help Inform Future Therapies for Patients with Inherited Heart Disease
News-Medical Life Sciences
June 14, 2021

A computer system trained on clinical data can provide support for medical and surgical decisions on future treatment for patients with inherited heart disease. Scientists at the Wellcome Sanger Institute and University of Cambridge in the U.K., the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) in the U.S., and Sweden's Lund University engineered the model from genomic data combined with biological and chemical data, then validated it with global data from more than 980 patients with inherited heart muscle disease. The model can forecast how genetic variants may influence changes in troponins, or proteins involved in inherited cardiomyopathies. MIT's Rameen Shakur said, "This study is the next step in integrating precision cardiology into clinical care, and working more closely with clinical genetics colleagues and patients with their families, bridging the gap between research and day-to-day treatment decisions."

Full Article
ACM Digital Government: Research and Practice
ACM Author's Rights

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]