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Danger in the Internet Cafe? news and others

CS Career Projections
Computer Science Teachers Association (05/20/10)

The market for U.S.-based computing careers is expected to thrive, with the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) projecting that computing will be one of the fastest-growing U.S. job markets in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) for the foreseeable future.  Almost 75 percent of new U.S. science or engineering jobs will be in computing, while just 16 percent will be in traditional engineering positions.  The BLS predicts that 27 percent of the new STEM positions will be in software engineering, while new jobs in computer networking and systems analysis will greatly outnumber those in traditional engineering.  Despite the abundance of jobs, there is a major decline of undergraduate computer science (CS) degree enrollments, and this is leading to a shortage of graduates.  Fierce competition for CS graduates is also causing salaries for computing-related professionals to rise.  Statistics indicate that annual STEM job openings through 2018 will come close to 140,000, while the number of college graduates with a degree in computing will barely top 40,000.  In contrast, there is an oversupply of engineering, life sciences, mathematics, and physical sciences graduates.

Danger in the Internet Cafe?
University of Calgary (05/21/10)

University of Calgary (UC) computer science professors John Aycock and Mea Wang have identified a type of computer security threat, called Typhoid adware, that gains access to computers through wireless networks found in Internet cafes or other areas where users share non-encrypted wireless connections.  “We’re looking at a different variant of adware–Typhoid adware–which we haven’t seen out there yet, but we believe could be a threat soon,” Aycock says.  Typhoid adware comes from another person’s computer and convinces other laptops to communicate with it and not the legitimate access point.  Then the Typhoid adware automatically inserts advertisements in videos and Web pages on the other computers.  Aycock and Wang developed several defenses against Typhoid adware.  One solution protects the content of videos to ensure that what users see comes directly from the original source, and another solution offers a way to “tell” laptops they are in an Internet cafe to make them more suspicious of contact from other computers.

Teaching a Computer to Win Human Friends and Influence People
CITRIS Newsletter (05/10) Slack, Gordy

University of California, Santa Cruz professor Marilyn Walker is studying human expression in an effort to devise algorithms that will enable digitally animated personae to reproduce those methods in order to express themselves more richly and compellingly.  She and her colleagues are examining whether the combination of utterance, body language, and facial expression to those animations can augment or ameliorate an utterance’s impact.  Walker is experimenting with animated figures capable of expressing openness, conscientiousness, extroversion, agreeableness, and neuroticism in voice, body language, or facial expression.  In an online study, participants witness and grade characters that are expressing different combinations of these traits.  Walker plans to compile a core program that will let developers imbue their characters with “dynamic adaptation,” or the ability to adapt automatically to different personality types and utilize a broad spectrum of responses while engaged in a conversation.  The system will assess whom they are conversing with and assume the most appropriate conversational style to meet their goals or the goals of the humans they are talking to.


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