Communications of the ACM | Year: 2016
ACM's annual report for FY15 is presented. The ACM India Education Committee conducted a two-day workshop on computing curricula. The main objective of the workshop was to contrast the success seen by the Indian IT industry with the lack of similar progress in computing education in India, and to bring into focus what can be done to advance the future of computing and to meet the needs of employers. ACM and the Computer Science Teachers Association (CSTA) announced a new award in 2015, called the ACM/CSTA Cutler-Bell Prize in High School Computing recognizing talented high school students in computer science. Source
Agency: National Science Foundation | Branch: | Program: STTR | Phase: Phase I | Award Amount: 149.98K | Year: 2010
This Small Business Technology Transfer Phase I project seeks to develop biomimetic structures in engineering ceramics based on the damage-tolerant sea shell micro-architecture. Poor damage tolerance of engineering ceramics leads to catastrophic failure modes under stress, which restricts their structural utility. In extreme conditions, ceramics generally function only as a thermal or chemical barrier. Gains in damage tolerance have been made in select ceramics via transformation toughening, acicular grains, and engineered architectures such as Fibrous Monoliths (FMs). Significant further gains can be achieved by mimicking the micro-architecture of the Strombus Gigas (sea shell). The multiscale architecture of the sea shell will be replicated in a model engineering ceramic system comprised of silicon nitride and boron nitride by borrowing and significantly building on the techniques used in making FMs, including thermoplastic deformation and assembly. Modeling of crack propagation through these complex architectures will be performed to help guide the development of the process. The microstructural, mechanical, and thermal properties of the engineered ceramics will be characterized. This research will establish the viability of the proposed thermoplastic deformation/assembly techniques to engineer a third-order biomimetic ceramic material which is expected to have a work-of-fracture more than twice as large as a comparable FM. The broader impact/commercial potential of this project will be the development of highly damage-tolerant ceramics that will increase their utility in engineering applications and validate bio-inspired materials engineering. The biomimetic ceramics will improve on the damage tolerance of existing ceramic systems by a significant margin and therefore will be of great interest to many industries: manufacturing, military/aerospace, and medical. No comparable technology exists which combines the benefits of ceramics (low density, thermal stability, high hardness) without their disadvantages (poor damage tolerance). Ceramic- and metal-matrix composites offer better reliability than bulk ceramics, but are expensive and often fall short of design requirements. Ultra tough ceramics will produce better performance in medical implants, maintain American manufacturing leadership, and promote advanced vehicle technology. By creating materials which can meet both thermal and structural requirements, this technology will create more multi-functional ceramics. Additionally, this project will lead to a better understanding of crack propagation through damage-tolerant hierarchical structures. Finally, the project will involve undergraduate and graduate students at Villanova University, and key results of the research will be disseminated in multidisciplinary conferences and journals.
« Mobileye and Delphi to partner on SAE Level 4/5 automated driving solution for 2019 | Main | Albemarle signs definitive agreement to acquire lithium salts production assets in Asia » Speaking at the Hot Chips conference in Cupertino, California, NVIDIA revealed the architecture and underlying technology of its new Parker processor, which is suited for automotive applications such as self-driving cars and digital cockpits. Hot Chips, a symposium on high performance chips, is sponsored by the IEEE Technical Committee on Microprocessors and Microcomputers in cooperation with ACM SIGARCH. NVIDIA mentioned Parker at CES 2016 earlier this year, when it introduced the NVIDIA DRIVE PX 2 platform (earlier post). That platform uses two Parker processors and two Pascal architecture-based GPUs to power deep learning applications. More than 80 carmakers, tier 1 suppliers and university research centers around the world are now using the DRIVE PX 2 system to develop autonomous vehicles. This includes Volvo, which plans to road test DRIVE PX 2 systems in XC90 SUVs next year. Built around NVIDIA’s highest performing and most power-efficient Pascal GPU architecture and the next generation of NVIDIA’s Denver CPU architecture, Parker delivers up to 1.5 teraflops of performance for deep learning-based self-driving AI cockpit systems. Parker delivers 50 to 100 percent higher multi-core CPU performance than other mobile processors due to its CPU architecture consisting of two next-generation 64-bit Denver CPU cores (Denver 2.0) paired with four 64-bit ARM Cortex A57 CPUs. These all work together in a fully coherent heterogeneous multi-processor configuration. The Denver 2.0 CPU is a seven-way superscalar processor supporting the ARM v8 instruction set and implements an improved dynamic code optimization algorithm and additional low-power retention states for better energy efficiency. The two Denver cores and the Cortex A57 CPU complex are interconnected through a proprietary coherent interconnect fabric. A new 256-core Pascal GPU in Parker delivers the performance needed to run advanced deep learning inference algorithms for self-driving capabilities. And it offers the raw graphics performance and features to power multiple high-resolution displays, such as cockpit instrument displays and in-vehicle infotainment panels. Scalability. Working in concert with Pascal-based supercomputers in the cloud, Parker-based self-driving cars can be continually updated with newer algorithms and information to improve self-driving accuracy and safety. Parker includes hardware-enabled virtualization that supports up to eight virtual machines. Virtualization enables carmakers to use a single Parker-based DRIVE PX 2 system to concurrently host multiple systems, such as in-vehicle infotainment systems, digital instrument clusters and driver assistance systems. Parker is also a scalable architecture. Automakers can use a single unit for highly efficient systems. Or they can integrate it into more complex designs, such as NVIDIA DRIVE PX 2, which employs two Parker chips along with two discrete Pascal GPU cores. DRIVE PX 2 delivers an unprecedented 24 trillion deep learning operations per second to run the most complex deep learning-based inference algorithms. Such systems deliver the supercomputer level of performance that self-driving cars need to safely navigate through all kinds of driving environments. Parker specifications. To address the needs of the automotive market, Parker includes features such as a dual-CAN (controller area network) interface to connect to the numerous electronic control units in the modern car, and Gigabit Ethernet to transport audio and video streams. Compliance with ISO 26262 is achieved through a number of safety features implemented in hardware, such as a safety engine that includes a dedicated dual-lockstep processor for reliable fault detection and processing. Parker is architected to support both decode and encode of video streams up to 4K resolution at 60 frames per second. This will enable automakers to use higher resolution in-vehicle cameras for accurate object detection, and 4K display panels to enhance in-vehicle entertainment experiences.
A new Georgia Tech study finds that Instagram's decision to ban certain words commonly used by pro-eating disorder (pro-ED) communities has produced an unintended effect. The use of those terms decreased when they were censored in 2012. But users adapted by simply making up new, almost identical words, driving up participation and support within pro-ED groups by as much as 30 percent. The Georgia Tech researchers found that these communities are still very active and thriving despite Instagram's efforts to moderate discussion of the dangerous lifestyle. People in pro-ED communities share content, and provide advice and support for those who choose eating disorders, such as anorexia or bulimia, as acceptable and reasonable ways of living. They use specific hashtags to form very connected groups, often using anonymous names to keep their lifestyle choice a secret from the families and friends. Instagram banned some of the most common pro-ED tags four years ago. People can still post these censored terms, but the words no longer show up in search results. Banned examples include "thighgap," "thinspiration" and "secretsociety." Other pro-ED words received advisories. They can be searched, but notifications about graphic content were added, along with public service links for people looking for help. The Georgia Tech researchers looked at 2.5 million pro-ED posts from 2011 to 2014 to study how the community reacted to Instagram's content moderation. "People pretty much stopped using the banned terms, but they gamed the system to stay in touch," said Stevie Chancellor, a doctoral student who led the study. "'Thinspiration' was replaced by 'thynspiration' and 'thynspo.' 'Thighgap' became 'thightgap' and 'thygap.'" The 17 moderated terms morphed into hundreds of similar, new words. Each had an average of 40 variables. Some had more: the researchers found 107 variables of "thighgap." "Likes and comments on these new tags were 15 to 30 percent higher compared to the originals," said Munmun De Choudury, assistant professor in Georgia Tech's School of Interactive Computing. "Before the ban, a person searching for hashtags would only find their intended word. Now a search produces dozens of similar, non-censored pro-ED terms. That means more content to view and engage with." The team also found that the content on these so-called lexical variants discussed self-harm, isolation and thoughts of suicide more often than the larger community of sufferers of eating disorders. Instagram has also blacklisted words related to sex, racism and self-harm. What is more effective than banning tags? The Georgia Tech team suggests a few alternatives. "Allow them to be searchable. But once they're selected, the landing page could include links for help organizations," said Chancellor. "Maybe the search algorithms could be tweaked. Instead of similar terms being displayed, Instagram could introduce recovery-related terms in the search box." The study, "#thyghgapp: Instagram Content Moderation and Lexical Variation in Pro-Eating Disorder Communities," was presented at the ACM Conference on Computer-Supported Cooperative Work and Social Computing on March 1 in San Francisco. Explore further: User revolt causes Instagram to keep old rules
News Article | January 16, 2016
From the imperfect bulges of Earth's surface to the minute geographies of blood vessels, algorithms are only now beginning to truly understand spaces. Geometry is easy to oversimplify and generalize, especially when it comes to computation, but in our GPS-enabled world, simplifications have big consequences. This is the argument, anyway, put forth in this month's Communications of the ACM by University of Minnesota computer scientist Shashi Shekhar: Spatial computing is the future and it's time to make it an interdisciplinary research focus. "In the coming decade, spatial computing promises an array of transformative capabilities," Shekhar writes. "For example, where route finding today is based on shortest travel time or distance, companies are experimenting with eco-routing, finding routes that minimize fuel consumption and greenhouse-gas emissions. Smart routing that avoids left turns saves delivery company UPS more than three million gallons of fuel annually. Such savings can be multiplied many times over when eco-routing services are available for consumers, as well as fleet owners, including public transportation." Of course, it's not a new revelation that real-world geometry is warped and weird. What's new is a planet full of devices equipped to measure it properly, from location-aware Internet of Everything devices to billions of phones, tablets, and computers currently in use. Immediate research opportunities include augmented reality, spatial data mining (from traffic statistics to hurricane tracking), "geocollaborative systems," and indoor/underwater/underground GPS, e.g. "indoor localization." "What scalable algorithms can create navigable maps for indoor space from CAD drawings?," Shekhar wonders. "What about buildings where CAD drawings are not available? How can we perform reliable localization in indoor spaces where GPS signals might be attenuated or denied?" This is just the start and, naturally, there are a lot of outstanding problems. For example, the familiar question of "how do we serve societal needs (such as tracking infectious disease) while protecting individual geoprivacy?" Shekhar's manifesto goes much deeper than what's in the video above and it also happens to be open-access. For an opening into a new field of computer science research, it's worth a read.