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Welcome to the March 22, 2023, edition of ACM TechNews, providing timely information for IT professionals three times a week.

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Bob Metcalfe, an inventor of the Ethernet, holding an original piece of Ethernet cable removed from the Palo Alto Research Center. Turing Award Won by Co-Inventor of Ethernet Technology
The New York Times
Cade Metz
March 22, 2023

ACM has named Bob Metcalf to receive this year's Turing Award for co-inventing Ethernet technology. After joining Xerox’s Palo Alto Research Center (PARC) to help develop a personal computer, Metcalf was asked to build technology for linking desktop machines throughout an office and transmitting information between them. He designed Ethernet with Stanford University doctoral student David Boggs as a technology that could operate with and without wires. Ethernet became an industry standard for computer networking, as well as the platform for Wi-Fi. The Computer History Museum's Marc Weber said, "Almost everything you do online goes through Ethernet at some stage. You use it all the time."

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Gigapixel 3D Microscope Captures Life in Jaw-Dropping Detail
March 20, 2023

Duke University researchers have developed a high-speed gigapixel microscope that offers three-dimensional views of macroscopic experiments in microscopic detail by piecing together videos from multiple cameras. The Multi Camera Array Microscope features 54 high-speed, high-resolution lenses. The researchers also developed algorithms to handle the large video datasets, with more than a terabyte of data created in just a few minutes of recording. Duke's Kevin C. Zhou said, "Our algorithms marry physics with machine learning to fuse the video streams from all the cameras and recover 3D behavioral information across space and time." The open source code is available on GitHub. A startup company founded by Duke's Roarke Horstmeyer and Mark Harfouche, Ramona Optics, will commercialize the technology.

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A) The final printed food product (V7). B) A cross-sectional cut of the final slice showing internal ingredients. C) A 3D rendering of the final food product. D) A cross-sectional view of the cake. Scientists Make a Seven-Ingredient 3D-Printed Cheesecake
CBS News
Caitlin O'Kane
March 21, 2023

Columbia University scientists three-dimensionally (3D)-printed a slice of seven-ingredient peanut butter-banana cheesecake with a cherry drizzle. The researchers converted the ingredients into a paste, then fed them into the 3D printer for layered deposition into the shape of the cake slice. They found the print's structure was similar to that of a house, with "floors, walls, and ceilings being the foundation (graham cracker) and inner pools (Nutella and peanut butter) holding softer ingredients within (banana and jelly)." The researchers suggested 3D printing food could enable cooks to better customize meals and prevent the spread of food-borne illnesses by reducing human contact.

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Configurable Robots Can Be Mixed, Matched for Tasks in Space
Interesting Engineering
Loukia Papadopoulos
March 14, 2023

Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) researchers engineered the Walking Oligomeric Robotic Mobility System (WORMS) to revolutionize space robotics. MIT's Brooke Bensche said, "Our idea was that, with just a few parts, combined in different ways, you could mix and match and get all these different robots." MIT's Michael Brown said the system's appendages were inspired by the humble worm because each can make "similar movements as an arm, or a leg, or a backbone, or a tail." Each configurable articulated robot carries its motors, sensors, computer, and battery; they can be assembled individually to perform small tasks or together for more complex functions.

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A composite photo showing how a tricopter drone with LiDAR and a metal detector can fly around an obstacle close to the ground. Metal-Detecting Drone Could Find Landmines Autonomously
IEEE Spectrum
Evan Ackerman
March 21, 2023

Scientists at ETH Zurich's Autonomous Systems Lab in Switzerland are developing a metal detector integrated with a drone to detect landmines remotely. The project's biggest challenge is ensuring the detector hovers at the correct position relative to the ground so as not to reduce its effectiveness. The tricopter drone built by ETH Zurich spinoff Voliro has five degrees of freedom and uses spinning thruster nacelles that move independently of the body. The researchers combined a global positioning system with light detection and ranging (LiDAR)-derived inertial measurements to estimate the drone’s absolute position and state, then to autonomously plot and undertake a "boustrophedon coverage path" across areas of interest. The system performed well in tests with metallic targets, even in places with obstacles, overhead occlusion, and substantial slope.

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Ella Kim (pink helmet) helps deploy a HARP instrument package, as Scripps Oceanography researchers use machine learning to listen for specific fish sounds. 'Denoising' a Noisy Ocean
UC San Diego Today
Robert Monroe
March 15, 2023

Researchers at the University of California, San Diego's Scripps Institution of Oceanography, the National Marine Sanctuary Foundation, and the Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute have developed a method for screening out marine noises to identify fish mating sounds. Scripps' Ella Kim and colleagues used SoundScape Learning (SSL) to differentiate fish sounds from other ocean noises collected by high-frequency acoustic recording packages. Scripps' Kaitlin Frasier said while scientists often train machines to target specific marine sounds, "Ella's method aims to teach computers to look at the bigger picture, finding and learning to recognize sound events, like taking in the forests instead of the trees." SSL processed 5.3 years of audio collected off the California coast in days, while an expert acoustician would take a month to do the same.

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Cleveland Clinic, IBM Launch First Quantum Computer Dedicated to Healthcare, Biomedical Research
Paul Smith-Goodson
March 21, 2023

The IBM-Cleveland Clinic Discovery Accelerator center has unveiled the first quantum computer for advancing biomedical research and discovery. A 127-quantum bit IBM Quantum System was installed on the Cleveland Clinic campus as part of the project's goal of enhancing research through the intersection of high-performance technologies. The Discovery Accelerator's team of immunology, cancer, and infectious disease specialists will use quantum computing and other innovations to produce and analyze large datasets to improve research in genomics, population health, clinical uses, and drug discovery. Projects underway include the design of quantum computing pipelines to screen and optimize drugs targeting specific proteins, a quantum-augmented prediction model for cardiovascular risk following non-cardiac surgery, and an artificial intelligence-powered search of genome sequencing in drug-target databases for existing medications that could help patients with Alzheimer's Disease or other ailments.

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Detecting Manipulations in Microchips
Ruhr-Universität Bochum (Germany)
Julia Weiler
March 20, 2023

A team that included researchers from Germany's Ruhr University Bochum and the Max Planck Institute for Security and Privacy developed a method of identifying hardware Trojans that uses algorithms to detect differences between construction plans for chips and electron microscope images of real chips. In tests of chips in various sizes, the researchers found some designs had been changed retroactively to cause minimal deviations between the construction plans and the actual chips. Modifications were detected on 90-, 65-, and 40-nanometer chips, but three subtle changes were missed in the smallest (28-nanometer) chips. Said Ruhr's Steffen Becker, "Machine learning could probably improve the detection algorithm to such an extent that it would also detect the changes on the smallest chips that we missed."

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Wave of Stealthy China Cyberattacks Hits U.S., Private Networks, Google Says
The Wall Street Journal
Robert McMillan; Dustin Volz
March 16, 2023

Researchers in Google's Mandiant division found that state-sponsored hackers in China were using techniques that have allowed them to evade common cybersecurity tools and spy on government and business networks for years without being detected. The researchers said hackers are compromising devices on the edge of the network and targeting software from VMware Inc. or Citrix Systems Inc., among others, which often run on computers without antivirus or endpoint detection software. Mandiant's Charles Carmakal said the attacks, which generally exploit previously undetected flaws, likely are more widespread than previously known. Carmakal noted this cyberattack method "is a lot harder for us to investigate, and it is certainly exponentially harder for victims to discover these intrusions on their own. Even with our hunting techniques, it's hard for them to find it."

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Record-Speed Optical Switching Opens Door for Ultrafast Light-Based Electronics, Computers
University of Arizona News
Logan Burtch-Buus
March 20, 2023

An international research team led by University of Arizona (UArizona) physicists facilitated attosecond-speed optical switching to achieve previously unreachable data transfer rates surpassing a petahertz. The researchers exploited fused silica's ability to instantaneously change its reflectivity, using ultrafast lasers to register changes in a light's on/off signal occurring at the scale of billionths of a second. This process demonstrated the potential of transmitting data as 1s and 0s represented by turning a light on and off at a transfer speed 1 million times faster than the fastest semiconductor transistors. Explained UArizona's Mohammed Hassan, "This promises to increase the limiting speed of data processing and information encoding and open a new realm of information technology."

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Ikea has tasked 100 drones (shown in photo) are tasked with stock inventory responsibilities in its European warehouses during store off-hours, to ease human workers' warehouse woes and injuries. Ikea Says 100 Drones Now Buzz Around Its Warehouses
Popular Science
Andrew Paul
March 20, 2023

Ikea said it has deployed 100 drones in its warehouses in 16 locations across Europe to stock inventory after hours. The drones, from indoor drone fleet developer Verity, also take videos and images and perform three-dimensional depth scans of items on pallets, with the data downloaded for managers to view. This means human employees no longer must confirm each pallet manually. Tolga Öncu of Ingka, the legal entity that oversees most Ikea locations, said, "Introducing drones and other advanced tools — such as, for example, robots for picking up goods — is a genuine win-win for everybody. It improves our co-workers' well-being, lowers operational costs, and allows us to become more affordable and convenient for our customers."

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Sowing, Pruning, Harvesting Robot for Synecoculture Farming
Waseda University (Japan)
March 20, 2023

Researchers at Japan's Waseda University, in conjunction with Sony Computer Science Laboratories and the Sustainergy Company, have developed a robot to help with Synecoculture, a new high-density farming method in which mixed plant species are grown together. The four-wheeled SynRobo can navigate slopes and uneven terrain, and is equipped with a robotic arm to help adjust its position, and a camera, as well as anchors, pruning scissors, and other farming tools. The researchers developed a human-controlled maneuvering system to assist the robot, improving its ability to avoid obstacles by 50% and lowering its operating time by 45%. SynRobo can sow, prune, and harvest in dense vegetation with only minimal contact to plants. Said Waseda's Takuya Otani, "This robot will contribute to improving the yield per unit area and increase farming efficiency."

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Some examples of the latest version the “City Scanner” mobile pollution detector, called Flatburn, as well as a researcher attaching a prototype of the device to a car. Low-Cost Device Can Measure Air Pollution Anywhere
MIT News
Peter Dizikes
March 16, 2023

Scientists at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), the University of Colorado at Denver, and Tufts University have developed an open source version of the Flatburn mobile pollution detector. The researchers tested Flatburn devices in New York City and the Boston area against current pollution detection systems in measuring concentrations of fine particulate matter over a roughly 10-meter (32.8-foot) area. Although the new devices calculated somewhat lower levels than the existing systems, their results can be reliable with sufficient correlation, the researchers said. The low-cost detectors can be three-dimensionally printed or made from ordered parts. Said MIT's Carlo Ratti, "The goal is for community groups or individual citizens anywhere to be able to measure local air pollution, identify its sources, and, ideally, create feedback loops with officials and stakeholders to create cleaner conditions."

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Distributed Ledger Technologies: Research and Practice
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