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Welcome to the March 27, 2023, edition of ACM TechNews, providing timely information for IT professionals three times a week.

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Gordon Moore co-founded semiconductor giant Intel and trailblazed the microprocessor industry that developed computers and smartphones as we know them today. Gordon Moore, Who Co-Founded Intel, Dies at 94
The Washington Post
Kathleen Day
March 24, 2023

Intel co-founder and Silicon Valley pioneer Gordon E. Moore has died at 94. His 1965 prediction that computing capacity would expand exponentially as costs fall—known as Moore's Law—became the standard scientists pursued successfully for 50 years. Michael S. Malone, author of The Intel Trinity, said the computing industry "designed and targeted its goals based on [Moore's Law], turning the law into a self-fulfilling prophecy." As co-founder of Fairchild Semiconductor, Moore helped develop a chemical printing process for fabricating computer chips in batches, and for integrated circuit (IC) fabrication by depositing many transistors and their wires on a single piece of silicon. As Intel's CEO, Moore helped lead the company's transition from producing logic chips to memory chips.

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Faster Slo-Mo?
UC San Diego Today
Tiffany Fox
March 24, 2023

Computer scientists at the University of California, San Diego (UCSD) and Meta AI have developed a new video frame interpolation method that achieves smoother slow-motion video progression. The researchers designed the Flow-Agnostic Video Representations for Fast Frame Interpolation (FLAVR) framework to eliminate glitches caused by occlusions when adjacent frames slide apart. FLAVR employs three-dimensional space-time convolutions, which can resolve non-linear movement in video and prevent temporal-spatial interruptions. Explained UCSD's Tarun Kalluri, "We do away with most of hand-designed, computation heavy modules like flow-warping and use a complete end-to-end trainable and deployable architecture for this purpose—as a result, we achieve huge improvements in running time, output quality, as well as ease of deploying on hardware."

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Sean Shen, Xintao Yan, and Haowei Sun prepare to take one of the autonomous vehicles for a test run at Mcity on the North Campus of the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor. Simulated Terrible Drivers Cut Time/Cost of AV Testing by Factor of 1,000
University of Michigan News
Jim Lynch
March 22, 2023

University of Michigan (U-M) researchers have developed an artificial intelligence (AI) system that simulates rare safety-critical events to test autonomous vehicles (AVs). The system could lower the required testing miles of such vehicles by 99.99%. U-M's Henry Liu explained, "The AV test vehicles we're using are real, but we've created a mixed reality testing environment. The background vehicles are virtual, which allows us to train them to create challenging scenarios that only happen rarely on the road." Shuo Feng of China's Tsinghua University said dense reinforcement learning "opens the door for accelerated training of safety-critical autonomous systems by leveraging AI-based testing agents, which may create a symbiotic relationship between testing and training, accelerating both fields."

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TIM Provides Alternative to Text-Based Passwords
University of Surrey (U.K.)
March 23, 2023

The Transparent Image Moving (TIM) authentication system for mobile phones developed by researchers at the U.K.'s University of Surrey, New Zealand's University of Auckland, and South Korea's Mokpo National University could enhance the security of mobile devices. TIM's authentication process requires users to pick and move predefined images to a designated position. The researchers found 85% of TIM users thought the system could help block password guessing and shoulder surfing attacks, while 71% believe it offers greater usability than other commercially available image-based solutions. Said Surrey's Rizwan Asghar, “We believe imaged-based and interactive authentication processes like TIM are a step in the right direction."

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The container ship, Yara Birkeland, soon will be sailing crew-free. Crewless Container Ships Appear on the Horizon
BBC News
Adrienne Murray
March 24, 2023

The Norwegian container ship Yara Birkeland eventually will become a crewless vessel that navigates via radar and cameras, feeding sensor data to artificial intelligence that will detect and identify obstacles in the water. Its captain will remotely monitor the ship at a land-based facility more than 80 kilometers (50 miles) off, ready to intervene if necessary. Norway-based Kongsberg is providing technology for the Yara Birkeland and two other autonomous barges in the Oslo Fjord. The University of South-Eastern Norway's Marius Tannum said unmanned vessels should be backed up by human monitors, with crews remaining on board for a transitional period. Tannum expects autonomous shipping's momentum to overtake that of autonomous vehicles, because crewless vessels "with a fixed route and a remote operation center [ROC] will be operating with less risk than unmanned autonomous trucks driving in regular traffic."

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Researchers Propel Metal 3D-Printing Toward Widespread Application
March 20, 2023

A team including researchers at the U.S. National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) used two particle accelerator facilities to observe the virtually instantaneous process of solidification during metal three-dimensional (3D) printing. This could serve as the basis for a method of controlling the crystals that form when rapidly melting and cooling metal alloys during the 3D-printing process and that determine the properties of the printed part. Said NIST's Fan Zhang, "Basically, if we can control the microstructure during the initial steps of the printing process, then we can obtain the desired crystals and, ultimately, determine the performance of additively manufactured parts."

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Researchers introduce the first system for creating what they call Polagons, machine-made polarized light mosaics crafted from cellophane with user-defined color-changing behaviors. Design Tool Democratizes Art of Color-Changing Mosaics
MIT News
Rachel Gordon
March 23, 2023

A multi-institutional team of researchers led by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology's Ticha Melody Sethapakdi developed a computational tool to print color-changing polarized light mosaics on cellophane. These so-called Polagons are fabricated from regenerated cellulose via laser cutting and welding, with minimal user assembly required. Users upload tailored mosaic designs to the system, which computes the feasible color palette based on cellophane supply. Users can create mosaics that "morph" between images by uploading multiple designs, after which the tool optimizes the ingredients for each design; users can then export and segment fabrication files in a laser cutter. Sethapakdi said, "In creating this system, I was mostly interested in democratizing this art form and helping preserve something that might only be accessible to skilled individuals."

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Protecting AI Models from 'Data Poisoning'
IEEE Spectrum
Payal Dhar
March 24, 2023

Computer scientists from ETH Zurich in Switzerland, Google, chipmaker Nvidia, and machine learning (ML) integrity platform Robust Intelligence demonstrated two data poisoning exploits that do not appear to have been attempted so far. The split-view poisoning attack leverages the fact that data observed when curated could diverge from data seen during artificial intelligence (AI) model training. By controlling a significant portion of a large image dataset, attackers can infiltrate AI training data with malicious content. The front-running attack involves modifying data like Wikipedia articles so they are snapshotted as a direct download, with the compromised data fed into AI models. The demonstrations targeted 10 popular datasets.

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Qubits Put New Spin on Magnetism, Boosting Applications of Quantum Computers
Los Alamos National Laboratory
March 17, 2023

Researchers at Los Alamos National Laboratory (LANL) used qubits and a quantum annealer to pattern magnetic states. The researchers coupled 201 qubits on the D-Wave quantum annealing computer to reproduce the shape of a Penrose quasicrystal. Said LANL's Alejandro Lopez-Bezanilla, "I observed that applying specific external magnetic fields on the structure made some qubits exhibit both up and down orientations with the same probability, which leads the P3 quasicrystal to adopt a rich variety of magnetic shapes." This means it is possible to encode more than one bit of information in a single object. Lopez-Bezanilla explained the approach "lets matter talk to you because instead of running computer codes, we go straight to the quantum platform and set all the physical interactions at will."

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Like Flipping the Switch
University of Tokyo Institute of Industrial Science (Japan)
March 23, 2023

A programmable gate driver for solid-state electronic transistor switches engineered by researchers at the University of Tokyo (UTokyo)'s Institute of Industrial Science in Japan can reduce switching loss under fluctuating operating conditions. Single-chip integration and real-time control are supported by an active digital gate driver integrated circuit (IC) with a fully integrated automatic timing control function. Said UTokyo's Dibo Zhang, "Our IC includes the world's first 6-bit programmable gate with closed-loop active gate drivers." When testing the device's performance under various temperatures, the researchers found it upheld lower cost while perpetuating precise control. The IC's continued stability enabled a single programmable device to replace assorted products optimized for different scenarios.

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Bitcoin ATMs like this one allow people to exchange bitcoin for other currencies, and vice versa. Hackers Drain Bitcoin ATMs of $1.5 Million by Exploiting 0-Day Bug
Ars Technica
Dan Goodin
March 21, 2023

General Bytes reported that over $1.5 million in bitcoin was drained from hot wallets (Internet-accessible wallets) via its bitcoin ATMs (BATMs) by hackers that exploited a previously unknown zero-day vulnerability. This flaw allowed the hackers to use the master server interface, which permits customers to upload videos from the BATM terminal to the crypto application server (CAS), to upload and execute a malicious Java application. Although the vulnerability was patched 15 hours after it was discovered, the stolen bitcoin could not be recovered. In response to the incident, General Bytes said it would no longer manage CASes for customers.

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Hyundai’s automatic charging robot charging a Hyundai Ioniq 6. Hyundai Reveals Autonomous Charging Robot for Electric Vehicles
Interesting Engineering
Can Emir
March 23, 2023

Hyundai Motor Group’s Hyundai IONIQ 6 is a one-armed autonomous charging robot (ACR) for electric vehicles (EVs). The robot is equipped with a camera that allows it to identify the precise location and angle to unlock the charging port once the EV is parked. The ACR can insert the charger into the charging port, remove it when charging is completed, and close the charging port cover. Hyundai's Dong Jin Hyun said, "The ACR will help to make EV-charging easier and more convenient, especially in dark environments. It will also improve accessibility, particularly for people with mobility barriers, as charging cables become thicker and heavier to enable high-speed charging."

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