US bill requires 911 network operators to allow VoIP providers access


The US Senate unanimously passed the New and Emerging Technologies 911 Improvement Act on Monday. The act requires operators of 911 networks to let voice over IP providers connect to their networks at the same rates and conditions as mobile phone companies. In addition, the bill offers 911 networks liability protection when handling VoIP calls and requires the US government to establish a plan for developing next-generation 911 capabilities. (CIO, 06/17/08)

Nvidia introduces new high-performance GPU

Nvidia announced its new graphics processing unit, the Tesla 10P, as the successor to its Tesla 8 GPU for high-performance computing. The Tesla 10P boasts one teraflop of computational power and 4 GBs of RAM, double that of the Tesla 8 GPU. The added power gives companies additional options, Nvidia says. Instead of adding dual- or quad-core processors to servers or workstations, companies can add the new GPU, which offers 10 times the computational power while using the same amount of energy, according to Nvidia. Coding algorithms for Tesla GPUs requires developers to use Nvidia’s compute unified device architecture. Nvidia is offering the GPU in two form factors: the Tesla S1070, which fits in standard 19-inch servers, and the Tesla C1060, which is a card that fits into workstations’ PCI Express slots. (Information Week, 06/16/08)

Phoenix processor uses less power than current chips on the market

Researchers at the University of Michigan will present the Phoenix processor, a microchip that uses roughly 30,000 times less power in sleep mode and 10 times less power in active mode than current chips, at the upcoming IEEE Symposium on VLSI Circuits in Honolulu, Hawaii. The chip’s intended use includes sensor-based devices such as implants or surveillance equipment, but could also be extended to environmental monitoring for air or water networks. The chip’s size is one square millimeter, equal to the size of many chips already on the market. The innovation, however, is that the chip’s low power consumption has allowed the researchers to reduce the battery size. The whole system, including the battery, is projected to be roughly 1,000 times smaller than current sensing systems. (Science Daily, 06/16/08)

Microsoft launches new OS for personal navigation devices

On Monday, Microsoft released Windows Embedded NavReady 2009, its first OS for personal navigation devices (PNDs). The OS includes Bluetooth support, which will let PND manufacturers build devices that can connect to online services such as Microsoft’s Live Search and map service, mobile phones, and computers using Windows. In a statement, Kevin Dallas, general manager of Microsoft’s embedded business for Windows, said the early release will let manufacturers adopt the Embedded NavReady OS for upcoming devices in time for the upcoming holiday season. (Information Week, 06/16/08)

New compression technique leaves VoIP open to eavesdropping

A research team from Johns Hopkins University has developed software that can eavesdrop on encrypted voice-over-IP streams that use a new compression by measuring the packet size of words and phrases. The compression technique—called variable bitrate compression—varies the size of data packet. Longer and more  complex sounds have higher sampling rates while shorter and simpler sounds have lower sampling rates. The new technique cuts down on the bandwidth needed but maintains sound quality. However, the researchers created software that can partially decode VoIP conversations using software that searches for certain words and phrases and compares them to sample conversations in a database. When the software finds a match, it alerts the eavesdropper. The software yielded a 50 percent accuracy rate on short phrases; the percentage rose to 90 percent on longer and more complex words. (New Scientist, 06/12/08)

“N-variant” integrated circuits provides security through diversity

Computer engineers at Rice University unveiled a new way to design integrated circuits that contain multiple variants at the Design Automation Conference in Anaheim, California on Wednesday. These n-variant circuits have the ability to switch between variants based on external or self-adaptive triggers. Attacks against the chips would have to be successful against all variants the chip contains. In addition, the n-variant method could be used for digital rights management. Content producers could create media files that would only play on one variant or switch to another variants after the user accesses it  a certain number of times. (Science Daily, 06/11/08)

Intel extends C/C++ language for multicore computing

At its annual open house at the Computer History Museum, Intel displayed Ct, a new programming language for developing multicore software applications. Intel’s Ct compiler automatically partitions the code to run on different cores according to the data type and the operation performed on the data. Because Ct is an extension of the C/C++ language, programmers should pick up the new language quickly said Mohan Rajagopalan, a senior researcher at Intel. Ct’s runtime environment adjusts to the platform so applications developed in Ct will scale to the number of cores available. (TechWeb, 06/12/08)

Google expands access to search terms

Users of Google Trends now have access to the most popular search terms that fill Google’s databases, the company announced on Wednesday. The company has expanded the service to now let users search across terms and export the data to spreadsheets. The service requires a Google account. Data in Google Trends goes back to 2004. (Reuters, 06/11/08)

New algorithm speeds up the time needed to solve complex computer science problems

Computer scientists from the University of Michigan have developed a new algorithm that finds symmetries faster and speed up common search tasks. To illustrate its speed, the researchers applied the algorithm to finding the symmetries in an Internet connectivity graph of routers throughout the world. The algorithm returned results in less than half a second, capturing 10 the power of 83, 687 different symmetries. Using different methods, the process timed out in 30 minutes or took days to complete the problem. (Science Daily, 06/11/08)

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)

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