Opera browser to include drive-by download defenses in fraud protection tools

Version 9.5 of the Opera browser will include an anti malware tool that notifies users when they’re about to visit a known malware site or a site that has been hacked. The browser will use a list of blackballed sites provided by HauteSecure. Rather than storing an updated blacklist locally as Firefox’s anti-malware tool does, the upcoming version of Opera will query HauteSecure’s servers and retrieve the latest blacklist data for each page request. A company spokesman for Opera said the browser’s architecture allows it to use and integrate data from any source, including user-provided information from the security community. The company has yet to confirm a release date for the final version of the browser but the anti-malware tool is included in the beta version and available at the company’s Web site. (InfoWorld, 06/10/08)

US ISPs to block child pornography sites

In an agreement with the New York state attorney general, Andrew Cuomo, Verizon, Sprint, and Time Warner have agreed to block US access to child pornography sites and newsgroups. The agreement is the result of an eight-month investigation conducted by the New York state attorney general’s office in which undercover agents posing as Internet service subscribers complained to their providers about allowing access to child pornography. The attorney general’s office stepped in after the ISPs ignored the subscribers’ complaints. The three companies will also contribute money to fund that will underwrite the attorney general’s efforts to remove child pornography from the Internet. (The New York Times, 06/10/08)

Open Patent Alliance will jointly license WiMax patents

Executives from Cisco, Samsung, Sprint Nextel, Clearwire, Intel, and Alcatel-Lucent announced the formation of the Open Patent Alliance on Monday. The group’s goal is to gather patents and rights to WiMax, the IP-based wireless technology, and license them to manufacturers of consumer electronics, networking equipment, and computers. The alliance hopes to increase WiMax adoption by making the patents inexpensive. In a webcast introducing the new group, executives from the founding companies stressed the alliance’s open model and encouraged companies to join the group. (CNET, 06/09/08)

Supercomputer sets computing milestone

IBM’s supercomputer—nicknamed the Roadrunner—broke the petaflop barrier the company announced Monday. Petaflop speeds are equivalent to one thousand trillion calculations per second. Roadrunner is twice as fast as the IBM BlueGene/L, previously the world’s fastest computer. Roadrunner’s hybrid design uses conventional supercomputer processors as well as cell chips designed for Sony’s PlayStation 3 console. Researchers made modifications to the cell chips that allow the chips to carry out specialized calculations and handle more data. The conventional processors handle general computation tasks while the powerful cell chips work with large amounts of unstructured data. The computer will be installed at an undisclosed US government lab and used to monitor the US nuclear stockpile and for research in astronomy, genomics, and climate change. (BBC, 06/09/08)

HoloVizio 3D screen will allow true 3D models


Researchers with the European-based Coherent project have developed HoloVizio, a display that renders realistic 3D visualizations. Additionally, gesture recognition lets users alter the models by waving their hands in front of the screen. At its heart, the display is based on holographic techniques that present 3D images at natural human scale. The resulting images can be displayed simultaneously to an unlimited number of users across a network. The researchers used collaborative visualization and collaborative design review systems as the basis for the tool’s audio-visual elements.(Science Daily, 06/05/08)

Google plans new research facility at NASA Ames Research Center


Google will begin renting space at the NASA Ames Research Center to develop a technology and research facility. The lease term is for 40 years with options that could extend the term for up to 90 years. Google’s annual rent will begin at US$3.66 million per year. A NASA spokesman said that NASA will use the money it receives to make capital improvements to the research facility as well as general maintenance. Google plans to build employee housing and recreation facilities to support the technology center. Construction will begin in September 2013. (Computerworld, 06/08/08).

Scientists develop system that uses micropipes to cool microchips


Scientists from the IBM Zurich Research Lab and the Fraunhofer Institute are developing a microchip that cools itself using mircropipes, IBM announced Thursday. Microchips that use a 3D stack formation provide more information pathways and can reduce the distance information travels by as much as 1,000 times. However, this chip structure generates a huge amount of heat. The IBM and Fraunhofer team have created a cooling system that intersperses micropipes of water between each layer of the chip to offset the heat problem. Each micropipe is roughly as thin as a human hair (50 microns). (CNET, 06/05/08)

Google updates its deep Web search tool for businesses

Google on Tuesday upgraded and renamed its Custom Search Business Edition. The product is now called Google Site Search and features enchanced search and filtering capabilities. (Network World, 06/03/08)

NIST researchers find way to lower quantum cryptography costs

In a paper to be published in June, researchers at the US National Institute of Standards and Technology describe a technique to lower the costs of quantum cryptography. The researchers' technique reduces the number of photon detectors needed to polarize light, which is used to encode and decode information. (eNews, 06/03/08)

Europe in the race to build more high-performance computing centers

Developing high-performance computing centers is the key to boost science and industry across the European Union, researchers said Tuesday. (CIO, 06/03/08)

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