Online Master's in Electrical & Computer Engineering
Welcome to the November 15, 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."
AI Robot Uses Meteorite from Mars to Help Make Oxygen from Water
Financial Times
Michael Peel
November 13, 2023

A robot equipped with artificial intelligence (AI) used meteorite extracts from Mars to make a catalyst to produce oxygen from water. A multidisciplinary team at the University of Science and Technology of China tasked the robot with making materials capable of producing oxygen from water sources that previous research had identified on Mars. The team gave the system five different meteorite samples to use. The robot analyzed 243 experimental data sets and almost 30,000 theoretical simulations to pick and synthesize a viable six-metal catalyst from 3,764,376 possible formulas. The researchers conducted the experiment at Martian temperatures of -37 °C (-34.6°F). They also demonstrated they could run the operation remotely by setting up and controlling similar laboratories in three Chinese cities hundreds of kilometers apart.

Full Article
*May Require Paid Registration

Bioengineering senior Armando Ramil holds the biosensor Wireless Handheld Device Detects Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s Biomarkers
UC San Diego Today
Ioana Patringenaru
November 13, 2023

An international team of researchers developed a handheld, non-invasive device that can detect biomarkers for Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s diseases and transmit the results wirelessly to a laptop or smartphone. The researchers adapted a device they developed during the COVID pandemic to detect the spike of nucleoprotein proteins in the live SARS-CoV-2 virus. The device consists of a chip with a high sensitivity transistor connected to a battery, and a gate electrode to control current flow from the battery. Connected to the gate electrode is a DNA strand, which binds to amyloid beta and tau peptides, biomarkers for Alzheimer’s, or alpha synuclein proteins, a biomarker for Parkinson’s. Any such binding changes the amount of current flow between the source and drain electrodes, indicating the presence of the specific biomarkers.

Full Article

cryptographic keys protecting SSH connections stolen Cryptographic Keys Protecting SSH Connections Exposed
Ars Technica
Dan Goodin
November 13, 2023

Researchers at the University of California, San Diego (UCSD) demonstrated that a large portion of cryptographic keys used to protect data in computer-to-server SSH traffic is vulnerable, and were able to calculate the private portion of almost 200 unique SSH keys they observed in public Internet scans. The vulnerability occurs when there are errors during the signature generation that takes place when a client and server are establishing a connection. It affects only keys using the RSA cryptographic algorithm, which the researchers found in roughly a third of the SSH signatures they examined, translating to about 1 billion signatures, about one in a million of which exposed the private key of the host. Said UCSD's Keegan Ryan, “Our research reiterates the importance of defense in depth in cryptographic implementations and illustrates the need for protocol designs that are more robust against computational errors."

Full Article
Redefining Energy Efficiency in Data Processing
Ecole Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne (Switzerland)
November 14, 2023

The first in-memory processor based on a two-dimensional (2D) semiconductor material to comprise more than 1,000 transistors was created by researchers at Switzerland's École polytechnique fédérale de Lausanne (EPFL). The processor combines 1,024 elements onto a 1cm² chip, each comprised of a 2D molybdenum disulfide (MoS2)-based transistor, as well as a floating gate used to store a charge that controls the conductivity of each transistor. The choice of MoS2 played a key role in the development of the in-memory processor, because it is a semiconductor and forms a stable monolayer just three atoms thick that interacts weakly with its surroundings. The use of the material, said EPFL's Andras Kis, "lets us adopt industry standard tools to design integrated circuits on a computer and translate these designs into physical circuits, opening the door to mass production."

Full Article

 President Joe Biden speaks during an event about high speed internet infrastructure, White House Plans to Grow Radio Spectrum Access
Associated Press
November 13, 2023

The Biden administration on Monday announced plans to expand the availability of radio spectrum needed for wireless communications. “We all understand the spectrum is crowded, demand is growing fast,” said Arati Prabhakar, director of the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy. “This is a way to break through the limitations of today.” The initiative will help to coordinate and guide how spectrum is allocated by the U.S. Federal Communications Commission. The U.S. Department of Commerce's National Telecommunications Information Administration will perform a two-year study on how to possibly repurpose 2,786 megahertz of spectrum, which could be used for wireless broadband, drones, and satellites.

Full Article
Algorithm Enhances Precision of Pressure Sensors for Wild Bird Tracking
Chinese Academy of Sciences
November 10, 2023

An algorithm developed by Chinese Academy of Sciences researchers aims to improve pressure sensor accuracy and reliability amid fluctuating temperatures, with a focus on those used to track wild migratory birds. The algorithm, Dynamic Quantum Particle Swarm Optimization (DQPSO), enhances the performance of a Radial Basis Function neural network used for temperature compensation with a temperature-pressure fitting model that can document the rate of temperature change, gradient reference terms, and other parameters to enable pressure sensors to adapt to different environmental conditions.

Full Article
Universities Train Engineers for the Quantum Future
Sophia Chen
November 13, 2023

While specialists predict it will take at least a decade before quantum computers become commercially useful, colleges already are starting the process of educating future engineers in topics such as how their hardware components work and how to write relevant software. The effort parallels the way computer science has evolved, as many universities established and expanded their computer science undergraduate programs in the 1970s in anticipation of its exponential growth. In response to the expected need for a quantum-educated workforce, schools such as the University of New South Wales (UNSW) in Australia, Germany's Saarland University, and the Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University have rolled out both undergraduate and graduate-level quantum engineering programs. “I have to do a lot of explaining to my parents [about] what I study,” says UNSW student William Papantoniou. “At this point, nobody really knows what a quantum engineer is. But in 10 years’ time, they will."

Full Article

Twisted magnets make brain-inspired computing more adaptable Twisted Magnets Make Brain-Inspired Computing More Adaptable
UCL News (U.K.)
November 9, 2023

An international team led by researchers from the U.K.'s University College London and Imperial College London used twisted magnets as a computational medium to perform machine-learning tasks. Said the researchers, “This work brings us a step closer to realizing the full potential of physical reservoirs to create computers that not only require significantly less energy, but also adapt their computational properties to perform optimally across various tasks, just like our brains." The team analyzed the energy absorption of twisted magnets at different field strengths and temperatures, and found different magnetic phases of the magnets excelled at different types of computing tasks, such as forecasting and classification.

Full Article

The overhaul of the widely used cardiac-risk algorithm Race Cannot Be Used to Predict Heart Disease
The New York Times
Roni Caryn Rabin
November 15, 2023

The American Heart Association (AHA) is removing race as a factor in predicting heart disease from a widely used cardiac-risk algorithm, acknowledging that unlike sex or age, race identification in and of itself is not a biological risk factor. The revision is part of a broader trend toward removing race from a variety of clinical algorithms. “We should not be using race to inform whether someone gets a treatment or doesn’t get a treatment,” said Dr. Sadiya Khan at the Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine, who chaired the AHA's statement writing committee. An online calculator using the new PREVENT algorithm is still in development and has been improved in other ways as well. For example, it can be used by people as young as 30, unlike the earlier algorithm, which was only valid for those 40 and over.

Full Article
*May Require Free Registration
New Frontier in Online Security: Quantum-Safe Cryptography
Monash University (Australia)
November 14, 2023

A team led by researchers at Australia's Monash University, in collaboration with Australia’s national science agency CSIRO, created an algorithm that can help protect online transactions that use end-to-end encryption against attacks from quantum computers. The cryptography algorithm, called "LaV," has potential application across instant messaging services, data privacy, cryptocurrency, and blockchain systems. Said lead researcher Muhammed Esgin, “This new cryptographic tool can be applied to various mobile applications and online transactions that use end-to-end encryption and is the first practical algorithm that can be used to fortify existing systems against quantum computers.” The algorithm has been implemented into code by CSIRO’s Raymond Zhao and is available open source.

Full Article

AMD is in the process of deploying El Capitan AMD-Powered Frontier Remains Fastest Supercomputer in the World
Tom's Hardware
Paul Alcorn
November 13, 2023

The latest Top500 semi-annual list of the fastest supercomputers in the world is topped by the AMD-powered Frontier supercomputer, which retained its lead ranking with 1.194 Exaflop/s of performance. Argonne National Laboratory's Intel-powered Aurora supercomputer, with a half-scale performance of 585.34 Petaflop/s, replaced Japan's Fugaku on the list at No. 2. The latest list includes 20 new supercomputers based on Intel's Sapphire Rapids CPUs, but AMD's EPYC now powers 140 systems on the Top500 list, a 39% increase from last year. Meanwhile, Microsoft's new Eagle supercomputer, deployed in the Azure Cloud, has taken the number three spot on the list, pushing Japan's Fugaku into fourth place and becoming the first cloud system to break the top 10. The LUMI (Large Unified Modern Infrastructure) system in Kajaani, Finland, rounded out the top five.

Full Article

Andreas Kogler CPU Vulnerability Makes Virtual Machine Environments Vulnerable
TU Graz News (Austria)
Falko Schoklitsch
November 14, 2023

Researchers at Austria's Graz University of Technology (TU Graz) and Germany's CISPA Helmholtz Centre for Information Security have uncovered a vulnerability that allows data on virtual machines with AMD processors to be compromised. The vulnerability allows attackers to penetrate virtual work environments based on the trusted computing technologies AMD SEV-ES and AMD SEV-SNP by resetting data changes in the buffer memory, giving intruders unrestricted access to the system. This CacheWarp software-based attack method can be used to undo data modifications in this working environment and fool the system into believing it has an outdated status.

Full Article

New software may help this ambulance in Niterói, Brazil, find the fastest route Smart Emergency Responses to Severe Weather
IEEE Spectrum
Charles Q. Choi
November 10, 2023

Scientists at Brazil's Fluminense Federal University designed a system that calculates the fastest routes for emergency services to respond to calls while factoring in traffic disruptions that may result from climate-related disasters. The Ironstone system uses software from location technology company TomTom to estimate travel times between emergency teams and calls for assistance. It analyzes real-time traffic data to avoid streets with heavy traffic and historical data to estimate how much time is needed to respond to a call. Said Fluminense's Daniel de Oliveira, "We aspire to adapt our solution for other cities, such as Rio de Janeiro, addressing not only emergency responses to climate-related disasters, but also various routing challenges in urban areas. These could include police vehicle routing or fire department vehicle routing, for instance."

Full Article
The Handbook on Socially Interactive Agents, Volume 2
ACM Conferences

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]