Welcome to UNU Campus Computing Centre (C3)

This space contributes to the sharing culture of the Internet.  Please use our Contact Form to submit a suggestion for the C3 web site, a correction to a specific page or a question to the team.

 

Virtual Internship Program at United Nations University - Campus Computing Centre

This program aims to engage who are interested in getting acquainted with and taking an active part in the day-to day-operations of an ICT department of a global university, from networking to disaster recovery to planning to end-user issues.  Interns in the UNU Campus Computing Centre (C3) will work remotely to further their skills development in a range of ICT areas under guidance and supervision.   More details | Apply online

 

Job openings in C3

The Campus Computing Centre is looking for a passionate and talented Software Engineer to work in our office in Tokyo or Kuala Lumpur. The ideal candidate will be a highly skilled professional who is passionate about programming and loves to build quality user-friendly software systems of high value by leveraging libraries and web services. In addition, the ideal candidate is versatile and keen to take on challenges with the desire to explore and extend his/her skills with emerging technologies; is able to produce results under constraints of time, budget and available expertise; and possesses strong interpersonal and teamwork skills to succeed in a multicultural, international environment.  

Apply now 

 

Bringing experimental brain computing to the masses

January 19, 2014 (posted by Ng Chong) -  Although some products already exist, brain computer interfaces are still in their early stages of development.  Until now research and experimental development has been mainly confined in well equipped laboratories in universities and technology companies.  Brain-computer interface - Watch videoLarge-scale manufacture of a low-cost electroencephalography (EEG)-reading headset device, launched by the team behind the OpenBCI project, could help make exploratory brain computing more accessible to everyone soon.  The fully programmable device is supported by a growing library of open source components for signal processing and data analysis; the headgear is based on an open design, which can be customized on a per-user basis.

 

Computer noise is key to decryption 

December 27, 2013 (posted by Ng Chong) -   Due to changes in power usage when performing different operations, your computer generates a varying high-pitched tone, which when properly detected and decoded can be correlated with the compute activity.  Noticing that RSA decryption operations induce different sound patterns, University of Tel Aviv researchers have shown that it is possible to recover 4096-bit secret keys on a computer running GnuPG's implementation of RSA, within an hour,  with the aid of a simple microphone placed next to the computer.

 

Breaking the image size barrier in Wikipedia

November 23, 2013 (posted by Ng Chong) -  Processing high volume of large images consumes a lot of resources.  For many years Wikipedia had responded to the problem of large image files with a ban.  With the advent of VipsScaler, a Wikipedia Mediawiki extension based on the fast, free VIPS image processing system, more and larger images can be hosted on Wikipedia.  Whereas conventional image processing loads an entire image into a computer's memory, VIPS reduces compute resources by chopping the image into tiles, then passing them for processing through a system's processor cores before reassembling them.  Read more

 

Wearable mobile phone charger made in Kenya

October 12, 2013  (posted by Ng Chong) -  Imagine you could harness the kinetic energy produced with each step you take to power your mobile devices.  This is not only a great carbon footprint reducing idea but also bears the seed of increasing the use of ICT in many places in Africa where reliable electricity access is difficult.  This might sound far-fetched, butGreen Energy an ultra-thin chip of crystals developed by Anthony Mutua, a graduate of Mombasa Polytechnic University College has turned this idea into reality.  The chip when fitted to the sole of a shoe can generate enough wattage to charge a phone with footsteps. With mass production on the horizon, the footwear could heat the stores in Kenya in the near future.  Related link: Rice University's PediPower Shoes

 

YouTube for MOOCs

September 15, 2013 (posted by Ng Chong) - Partnering with Google, edX is launching a collaborative initiative to create MOOC.org, a MOOC (massively open online course) platform on which everyone can join, create or host online courses. Courseware quality in major MOOCs gets the seal of approval from elite institutions.  In contrast, a MOOC platform for the rest of the world is comparable to the broadcast yourself concept behind YouTube. No details are available at this point on how content will be screened, shared, managed and protected or whether course providers will be able to charge.

 

A TV that allows for 3D viewing and 2D viewing of the same program at the same time

July 21, 2013 (posted by Ng Chong) - If you are not sitting in your couch to enjoy your 3D TV programs, 3D glasseschances are that you are not wearing your stereo glasses.  You might want to watch TV while working, but without wearing the glasses you will see onscreen objects blurry and fuzzy. This is because the TV is presenting a separate image to each eye to produce the 3D effect.  Researchers at the University of California, Santa Cruz have developed a 3D+2D TV, which as the name suggests, allows for viewers watching with stereo glasses to see the 3D effect whereas viewers without the glasses see a normal 2D image.  With BBC and ESPN announcing plans to pull the plug on 3D broadcasts, the future of 3D TV is uncertain.  Could this new breakthrough help keep 3D TV alive?

 

The future of mobile telephones - where will it be in the next decade or so?

May 12, 2013 (posted by Ng Chong) - Researchers at the Technische Universität Darmstadt make predictions on what the future may hold for mobile telephones and identify the pre-requisite technologies that need to be researched and developed.  Augmented reality and stretchable/shrinkable displays are at the heart of their vision.  Progressive content zooming would allow users to see more detail or less depending on the viewed area of the resizable display.

 

Japan's firewall bypass tool available for free for everyone

March 17, 2013 (posted by Ng Chong) -  Governments that impose unwarranted Internet censorship and online surveillance on their citizens pose serious threats to Internet freedom.  VPN is one of the frequently used tools to circumvent government firewalls while making your IP address harder to trace.  VPN Gate, an academic project at Tsukuba University, Japan aims to provide free community-based VPN service to the masses. Read more

Daiyuu Nobori's VPN Gate Project

 

Information sharing beyond borders

As part of UNU Campus Computing Centre's commitment to mainstreaming ICT in UNU core activities, Stop Poaching Warning SignNg Chong contributes to UNU-IAS's Policy Brief entitled “Bytes Beyond Borders: Strengthening Transboundary Information Sharing on Wildlife Crime through the Wildlife Enforcement Monitoring System (WEMS) Initiative”.  Read more

 

Peer-to-peer hotspots

February 4, 2013 (posted by Ng Chong) -  In an ever increasingly mobile world users have come to expect Internet WiFiaccess wherever they go.  Unfortunately, ubiquitous Internet access is far from being a reality.  For example, you can be in a dead zone or the signal from your mobile operator is too weak to have a useful connection. Developed by MIT,  Air Mobs, a peer-to-peer carrier independent app could help increase Internet availability for mobile users.   Peer-to-peer networking is widely used as a technique for distributing large files over the Internet. Instead of data sharing, Air Mobs is designed to allow smartphone users to share their Internet links.  Read more

 

Good grammar is bad for password

January 20, 2013 (posted by Ng Chong) -  Passwords protect your computer resources and your Accessprivacy, yet unless strong passwords are required and enforced, users tend to pick simple passwords.  With computing power becoming cheaper and faster, there is even greater urgency to choose secure passwords.   To make a password more resilient to guessing often means injecting as much randomness and nonsensical information as possible into the composition of the password, e.g. ",$dF3k49au", but this also renders the password less memorable.   Read more

 

Countering cyber attacks with deception

January 7, 2013 (posted by Ng Chong) - A honeypot is a decoy system set up to snare hackerHoneys into your system like honey to bees, to gather information about their techniques and capabilities. Honeypots are not new. Its first documented incarnation in a high-profile case was chronicled in the book "The Cuckoo's Egg: Tracking a Spy Through the Maze of Computer Espionage" more than 2 decades ago.  Read more

 

Death of the pixel in sight?

December 16, 2012 (posted by Ng Chong) - When you zoom in far enough on an image on youPixelr computer screen, you see the little colored 2D cells known as pixels.  They are the building blocks of digital media.   The fine detail that you want to record must be sampled at the appropriate resolution.  This means that pixel bitmaps can't be enlarged without loss of resolution. The smaller the pixel size and shorter the distance from one pixel to the next, the better the quality.  Read more

 

Nanoscale elements that mimick brain parallelism

November 24, 2012 (posted by Ng Chong) - Despite all we 've learned about the human brain, this amazing and complex organ, home to billions of neuron cells remains mostly a mystery.  If the brain could file a patent for every single wonder it can do inside its vast microcosm, the number of patents to be issued to the brain would be brainoverwhelming.  A remarkable ability of the brain is that it can both store and process information at the same time. Read more

 

Cassette tapes - from relic to revolutionary

November 4, 2012 (posted by Ng Chong) - Introduced in the 1960s, cassette tapes were once a very popular way to store our favorite songs and melodies.  Researchers at Fuji Film in Japan and IBM in Cassette tapeSwitzerland are working to bring back the charm of cassette tapes in a revolutionary way.  Big data projects demand big storage.  Their lab cartridge prototypes measuring just 10 cm x 10 cm x 2 cm  are capable of storing 35 terabytes of data.  Tapes are over 200 times more energy efficient than disk drive arrays of similar capacity, according to a 2010 study.  A major drawback is that tapes are slower to access than disk drives, but speedup techniques such as those employed in the Linear Tape File System are expected to bring tapes on par with disk drives.

 

New server cooling technology

September 29, 2012 (posted by Ng Chong) - According to a study published in the New York Times, energy-hungry data centers worldwide consume a rough equivalent of the output of 30 nuclear power plants. These huge data centers with rows and rows of servers can waste as much as 90 percent of the electricity intake from the power grid when running at full capacity for 24 hours a day. Read more

 

Google's open source learning technology

September 15, 2012 (posted by Ng Chong) - Google makes Course Builder, the technology behind its recently launched Massive Open Online Course, Power Searching with Google, available for everyone.  Google's Course-BuilderIt is an experimental framework that lets anyone with minimal experience in HTML and JavaScript create their own web courses, from online registration to course lessons and scheduled activities to assessment. Read more

 

Making sense of the world by pointing

August 18, 2012 (posted by Ng Chong) -  Pointing is a natural human gesture for indicating focus.  This is the backbone of the wearable intuitive interface design of MIT's EyeRing, a finger-worn device that allows people to learn more information about an object they are pointing at through an aural feedback.  The ring is equipped with a camera that is wirelessly paired with a smartphone via Bluetooth for processing the captured images. Read more

 

Bioinformatics in the Web App era

July 30, 2012 (posted by Ng Chong) - The open, collaborative computational ecosystems that surround smartphone apps are gaining traction in the life sciences community. One recent academic effort in this direction can be traced to a team at the University of Alabama at Birmingham. The researchers have developed ImageJS, a free app system that enables pathologists to drag a digitized pathology slide into a Web app and assess the specimen for malignancy based on image analysis. The app ecosystem allows researchers to reproduce results easily in a web browser and includes algorithms for feature segmentation, analysis, and filtering, which support the development of new modules. ImageJS permits the code to be migrated to the browser and pushes the computation to where the data is, which eliminates the risks of exposure that violates patient privacy. This is a stark contrast to the traditional, non-pervasive image bioinformatics architecture model, which relies on computation being done on a server and results being rendered on a client.

 

World's thinnest transparent display

July 14, 2012 (posted by Ng Chong) - Traditional screens are opaque and lack the ability to capture the transparency and reflectance qualities of displayed objects.  Researchers have developed a technology to project 2D or 3D images on a screen made out of sturdy soap film, which have the potential to provide better visual realism in images than traditional screens.  The screen uses ultrasonic sound waves to control the film's transparency and reflectance, which in turn modify the texture of a projected image.

 

P2PNextShare - keeping pace with the world's insatiable demand for video bandwidth

June 24, 2012 (posted by Ng Chong) - Video is growing at an explosive rate.  Cisco estimates that by 2016 every second, 1.2 million minutes of video content will cross the Internet, accounting for 54% of the world's combined traffic. Much of today's video streaming is based on point-to-point transmission, or unicasting, where servers send data directly to each client.  Read more

 

Security flaws revealed in cell networks

June 3, 2012 (posted by Ng Chong) - Your cell phone carrier's security designed to filter traffic could be used to help hackers break into your Facebook and Twitter accounts, according to a study from the University of Michigan.  To take advantage of this vulnerability, an untrusted app must be installed on the victim's smartphone.  The researchers posted a video on YouTube that demonstrates how an attacker could hijack a Facebook connection by riding on the carrier's firewall middleboxes.  Read the full article.

 

Password-less authentication

May 20, 2012 (posted by Ng Chong) -  Will passwords ever go away?  Passwords are the most common form of protection used against unauthorized access.  Password authentication comes in different flavors and also varying logindegrees of strength (e.g., 2-factor authentication, one-time password), but they all cause inconvenience to the users.  A new research trend looks into new ways to authenticate a user without requiring a password by capturing and analyzing behavorial characteristics of how the user interacts with the computer.  A system developed at QUT's School of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science takes advantage of the fact that people have unique typing styles or keystroke dynamics, which are governed by motor control rather than conscious thought.  Unlike passwords, the method also can be used to check the identity of the user continuously throughout the session.

 

Collective Intelligence

April 29, 2012 (posted by Ng Chong) -  The Internet continues to foster and enable the emergence of new ideas, behaviors and solutions just as big and surprising as itself.  A recent conference organized by MIT brought researchers from various disciplines to examine the theory and practice of one of the best collaborative behaviors thinkingthat the Internet has to offer, collective intelligence.   Google, Wikipedia and Re-captcha are well-known examples of intelligent behavior based on wisdom of crowds.  Harnessing this vast potential can improve our ability to solve problems and increase productivity in companies.  For example, in Threadless, the company produces T-shirts based on design ideas gathered from the Internet community who also vote for their favorite designs.  The papers presented in the conference are online.

 

HTTP 2.0: A new foundation for a faster Internet

April 9, 2012 (posted by Ng Chong) -  Designed by Tim-Berners Lee 20 years ago, HTTP 1.0/1.1 affects everything that is connected to the Internet.  It serves as a response-request protocol in the application layer and governs the way your browser, app interacts with a Web site.  Despite its success, the messaging framing and syntax inSpeedier Web the legacy standard leads to subutilization of the network (transport layer).  Recently, engineers gathered in Paris to review viable options  for overhauling HTTP.  Among the submissions for HTTP 2.0, Google's SPDY and Microsoft's HTTP Speed+Mobility captured the most attention.  Read more

 

Could ghost particles change the future of wireless communications?

March 18, 2012 (posted by Ng Chong) - Today, most wireless networks use radio waves to send data, but radio waves are vulnerable to electromagnetic interference and can be blocked by many types of mCommunicating with neutrinosaterials (e.g., thick stone walls). Neutrinos, subatomic particles that travel nearly at the speed of light, on the other hand, are nearly massless, electrically neutral and can go through almost any types and amounts of material without being disturbed. Physicists call these odd particles, ghost particles because they are hard to generate and even harder to detect. Image credit: University of Rochester.  Read more

 

Online privacy and security at risk

March 4, 2012 (posted by Ng Chong) - It is hardly surprising that many people don't trust their online data are secure and safe.  It was not long ago that a loophole was revealed in iPhone's IOS that an app could steal photos fingerprint if it was allowed to use location data [1].  Trust-eroding bugs keep on surfacing and this time the threat is coming from Google's Android.  New York Times reports that a similar flaw is present in Android - as long as an app has the right to send data over the Internet, your private photos can be secretly uploaded to a server without your consent [2].  Perhaps it is even more disturbing to know that that we shouldn't trust the padlocked icon we see in our browser under certain conditions.  Recently researchers from University of Bristol were able to recover the cryptographic key used to encrypt data by exploting a bug in the SSL protocol, 0.9.8g when a particular set of options were used [3]. Related link.

 

Virtual Internships

February 19, 2012 (posted by Ng Chong) -  Communication and collaboration tools are making steady inroads into the realm of internship, where training and supervision activities are increasingly becoming more flexible and less location dependent.  This trend, known as virtual internship, helps student interns across the globe gain professional Scholastic-achievementexperience in a variety of career fields, without ever setting foot in an office or on campus.  Columbia University's Virtual Internship Program is perhaps the most notable example of this internship transformation.  Read more

Related link - virtual internship opportunities at United Nations University - Campus Computing Centre.

 

One out of every four tweets not worth reading, according to new findings

February 5, 2011 (posted by Ng Chong) - Of the estimated over 200 million tweets posted worldwide every day, how many tweets are really worth reading? To help answer this question, computer scientists at Carnegie Mellon University, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and the Georgia Institute of Technology analyzed ratings of 43,738 tweets collected from Twittervisitors to the Who Gives a Tweet site over a period of 19 days in late 2010 and early 2011. The researchers found that the readers liked a little over a third of the tweets from the accounts of 21,014 Twitter users they followed. 25% of the remaining tweets were simply useless and another 39% generated no strong opinion.  Read the full article.

 

Greening by speeding up compression

January 22, 2012 (posted by Ng Chong) - A team of researchers at MIT claimed to haveFourier Transform found a way to improve on a classic numerical method known as Fast Fourier Transform (FFT), which has important applications in signal processing and other fields.  FFT represents a complex signal as a sum of weighted frequency components. Read more (Image: Christine Daniloff).

 

Math tricks could bring high-quality 3-D cameras to the masses

January 7, 2012 (posted by Ng Chong) - A time-of-flight depth-sensing system acquires depth information by firing a series of light pulses at a scene and measuring the time it takes the light to return from objects.  There are two widely used methods to find the time of flight.  One uses raster scanning to gauge depth one pixDepth Mapel at a time. The process is slow and requires hardware to redirect the beam of light.   Another uses a 2-D array of ranging sensors to register the light bounced from objects at different distances when the entire scene is illuminated with a light pulse.  The cost and spatial quality are proportional to the number of pixels and the resolution of the sensors.
Read more (Image: flickr/Dominic)