Master's in Electrical & Computer Engineering
Welcome to the March 6, 2023, 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."
Computers That Power Self-Driving Cars Could Drive Carbon Emissions
National Science Foundation
March 1, 2023

Researchers at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) found the computational needs of self-driving cars could drive a significant increase in global carbon emissions. The researchers developed a statistical model to analyze the potential energy consumption and related carbon emissions that would accompany widespread adoption of autonomous vehicles. The model revealed that 1 billion autonomous vehicles driving one hour daily with a computer consuming 840 watts would generate emissions on par with that of global datacenters, which the International Energy Agency said account for around 0.3% of global greenhouse gas emissions. Said MIT's Vivienne Sze, "The energy consumption of an autonomous vehicle is critical, not just for extending battery life, but for sustainability."

Full Article

This software can help you control your limbs in virtual reality by wiggling your fingers. Play VR Games on a Bus by Wiggling Your Fingers Like Arms
New Scientist
Matthew Sparkes
March 3, 2023

New virtual reality (VR) software developed by Wen-Jie Tseng and colleagues at France's Télécom Paris can help gameplayers move their virtual limbs safely by wiggling their fingers. The scientists programmed the FingerMapper software to prevent VR users' hands from colliding with objects and other people in public when using headsets. FingerMapper runs on Oculus Quest headsets, which track the wearer's limbs with cameras. The software allows the headset to map the movement of a user's index fingers to the corresponding virtual arm. Said Tseng, "The idea is that we see in the future, probably in 10 years, that people can wear these head-mounted displays everywhere."

Full Article

The researchers developed a simple model called a swarmalator, in which particles self-organize to synchronize in both time and space. 'Swarmalators' Better Envision Synchronized Microbots
Cornell Chronicle
Krishna Ramanujan
March 1, 2023

Cornell University scientists have expanded a model for synchronizing swarming oscillators (‘swarmalators’) to better coordinate microbot behavior, comprehend biological dynamics, and experiment. "We wanted a simple mathematical model that can lay the foundation for swarmalators in general, something that captures all of the complex emergent phenomena we see in natural and engineered swarms," explained Cornell's Kirstin Petersen. The researchers streamlined the model to track four interconnected mathematical constants to generate emergent behaviors. The model integrates swarming behaviors with temporal synchronization to generalize dynamics common to all systems. Petersen suggested these coupled mechanisms could be deployed "on swarms of tiny robots with very limited power, computational, and memory resources, which in spite of their individual simplicity can work together to produce the complex swarming behaviors we predict in our model."

Full Article
Building a Computer with a Single Atom
March 2, 2023

Researchers at Tulane University and the U.S. Army Research Laboratory have developed a non-linear single-atom computer that uses fully optical input-output processing, with calculations ascertained using output filters. Tulane's Gerard McCaul said, "Our research confirmed this approach works in principle, as well as confirming the fact that the system performed better when the input light was designed to induce a higher degree of non-linearity in the system. I would probably argue that what we are trying to emphasize with this work is that the minimal system capable of computing really does exist on the level of a single atom and that computation can be performed purely with optical processes."

Full Article

Experts are calling for cybersecurity standards to protect electric vehicle charging stations from hackers. EV Charging Infrastructure Offers Cyberattack Opportunity
Dark Reading
Robert Lemos
March 3, 2023

Scientists have uncovered multiple cyberattack vulnerabilities in electric vehicle (EV) charging infrastructure. Researchers at energy-network cybersecurity firm Saiflow found two bugs in the Open Charge Point Protocol that could be exploited in distributed denial-of-service attacks and to steal data, while the Idaho National Laboratory exposed flaws in Electric Vehicle Supply Equipment. "Most EV chargers can be considered an Internet of Things technology, but they are one of the first that has control over such a significant amount of electrical load," said Phil Tonkin at industrial cybersecurity provider Dragos. "The aggregated risk of so many devices, often connected to a small number of single systems, means that devices of this type need to be implemented with care." Experts at Sandia National Laboratories recommend the U.S. government enhance EV owner authentication and authorization, strengthen the charging infrastructure's cloud security, and make charging units tamper-proof.

Full Article

A close-up of the e-bandage's two electrodes. E-Bandages Lightly Zap, Heal Wounds
IEEE Spectrum
Charles Q. Choi
March 3, 2023

An international research team has developed wireless, flexible "electroceutical" bandages that promote healing via electrical stimulation. Electrodes on one side of the device produce an electric field, while the other side features a magnetic induction coil to power the system, near-field-communication to transmit data and remote-operate the device, and a light-emitting diode to signal activation. Sensors track healing by measuring wounds' electrical conductance. Tests on skin wounds in diabetic mice showed the e-bandage expedited healing by 30% when applying electricity for only 30 minutes a day. Northwestern University's Guillermo Ameer said the stimulation is painless, while the device's bioresorbable molybdenum electrode eliminates the need for retrieval.

Full Article
Scientists Use Satellites to Track Earth 'Greening'
NC State University News
Laura Oleniacz
March 2, 2023

North Carolina State University (NC State) researchers calculated worldwide changes in plant leaf growth or "greening" caused by global warming, using satellite imagery and field sensors. The researchers measured plant leaf biomass from satellite readings of infrared light between 2000 and 2014, while sensors on towers in the field quantified the exchange of carbon dioxide between plants and air to estimate the volume of carbon plants removed photosynthetically each year. The amount of leaves produced by plants in a year had a greater bearing on carbon uptake than changes in growing season length, which means "greening trends were more important pound for pound than an extension in the growing season for carbon uptake," according to NC State's Josh Gray.

Full Article

Ph.D. student Jacqueline Hannan demonstrates walking with an ankle exoskeleton. Responsive Ankle Exoskeleton Algorithm Handles Changes in Pace, Gait
University of Michigan News
Jessalyn Tamez
February 28, 2023

University of Michigan (U-M) researchers created a control algorithm to help ankle exoskeletons adjust to individual users and tasks, to reduce or remove requirements for manual recalibration. The algorithm quantifies how quickly muscle fibers expand and contract to determine the amount of chemical energy expended, then ascertains the optimal assistive action by comparing that measurement with a biological model. The researchers simulated, tested, and adapted the algorithm to better respond to speed and gait changes by using data from current ankle exoskeletons and muscle dynamics from previous research. Said U-M's Paul Pridham, "This has the potential to help just about anyone, from someone who walks a lot for their job, to individuals in the military that perform tasks for long periods of time, to people with muscular disorders that need some extra assistance, and the elderly who need help day-to-day."

Full Article

Stentrode recipient Rodney Gorham uses Synchron's brain-computer interface to talk with Washington Post journalist Daniel Gilbert via WhatsApp at his home in Melbourne, Australia. The Race to Beat Elon Musk to Put Chips in People's Brains
The Washington Post
Daniel Gilbert
March 3, 2023

Companies like Paradromics and Synchron are competing with Elon Musk's Neuralink to design a brain implant that can communicate with computers. Paradromics' implant aims to restore communication to people who have lost the ability to speak or type, while Musk aspires to enhance humans' brains with artificial intelligence using a robot-implanted computer chip. Synchron's vascular stent-like device monitors a patient's brain signals, decoding them to execute computer commands in conjunction with eye-tracking software. These companies are attempting to decipher and transmit the brain's instructions to the body via electronic devices. The commercialization of brain-computer interfaces involves proving their safety and reliability to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, as well as addressing ethical and security issues.

Full Article
*May Require Paid Registration
Large Language Models Are Biased. Can Logic Help Save Them?
MIT News
Rachel Gordon
March 3, 2023

Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) researchers applied logic to mitigate bias in large language models. The researchers taught a language model to anticipate the contextual and semantic relationship between two sentences using a dataset with labels for text snippets detailing if a second phrase "entails," "contradicts," or is neutral regarding the first phrase. The natural language inference dataset reduced the models' bias compared to other baselines, without additional data, data editing, or training algorithms. MIT's Hongyin Luo said the resulting logical language model is "fair, is 500 times smaller than the state-of-the-art models, can be deployed locally, and with no human-annotated training samples for downstream tasks.”

Full Article
Quantum Computers That Use 'Cat Qubits' May Make Fewer Errors
New Scientist
Karmela Padavic-Callaghan
March 5, 2023

Researchers in France found so-called "cat qubits” (quantum bits) could reduce errors by quantum computers and accelerate the cracking of common encryption algorithms. Named after Erwin Schrödinger's thought experiment, cat qubits combine two quantum states while describing two different ways in which light within a small hole in a superconducting circuit can shuttle back and forth. The researchers analyzed a quantum computer comprised of such circuits and estimated 126,133 cat qubits and nine hours of computation would be sufficient to break bitcoin encryption. Jérémie Guillaud at French quantum computing company Alice&Bob said this value is roughly 160 times smaller than the previous lowest estimate of 20 million necessary qubits, because cat qubits are programmed to generate few or no bit flip errors.

Full Article
Argonne Drops Data on the Question of Efficient Drone Use for E-Commerce Deliveries
Argonne National Laboratory
Anna Marie Tomczyk
March 1, 2023

A study by the U.S. Department of Energy's Argonne National Laboratory compared the energy use associated with drone delivery to that of diesel trucks and electric vehicles. The goal is to help industry leaders determine where drone delivery could be most energy efficient and save them money. The researchers modeled regional energy consumption and facility costs of direct delivery drones under different wind speeds. Their study of various scenarios in the Chicago metropolitan area showed that wind speeds needed to reach 10 mph before drones used more energy than electric vehicles, and 20 mph before they used more energy than diesel trucks. However, the researchers said a combination of financial, environmental, and energy factors should be taken into consideration. They concluded drone use could be most efficient when used in tandem with other vehicles.

Full Article
100% Online Master's Degree Programs for Information Professionals
ACM Queue Case Studies

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]