Research Picks Extra – August 2016

A new public key
In the world of computer encryption on which the security and privacy of almost all our online transactions so delicately depend, there is always room for improvement to protect users and servers from hackers and crackers. The RSA algorithm developed by Ron Rivest, Adi Shamir and Leonard Adleman in 1978 has been a mainstay of strong public key encryption. However, researchers in India have developed a new algorithm that requires the same level of computational power to function but is demonstrably more effective and much faster under particular conditions needed for certain e-commerce applications in simulations. However, in a real-world environment key generation is only marginally different and the team is now working on optimisation.

Vincent, P.M.D.R. and Sathiyamoorthy, E. (2016) ‘A novel and efficient public key encryption algorithm’, Int. J. Information and Communication Technology, Vol. 9, No. 2, pp.199–211.

Sound watermarking
Computer scientists in Morocco have developed a way to add hidden information to a digital sound file, a watermark, that could be used to protect copyright or provide meta data to users without distorting the sound being played. The approach uses the code division multiple access technique. Tests show that the multi-watermarking system works well against two statistical analytical models under-determined independent subspace analysis (UISA) and Gaussian mixture models (GMM). The data is well hidden, it is essentially inaudible, causing no distortion and is robust in duplication. The team suggests that their approach allows four times as much information to be embedded as is possible with other watermarking techniques.

Khalil, M. and Adib, A. (2016) ‘Multiple audio watermarking system based on CDMA’, Int. J. Information and Communication Technology, Vol. 9, No. 2, pp.160–176.

Supporting vaccination
A review of the history of vaccination beginning in 1800 would suggest that we are now in the third phase of this critically important part of disease prevention and healthcare, according to researchers in The Netherlands. Since the 1990s, the vaccine sector has undergone many profound changes as developments in biotechnology have led to major innovations to drive the sector forward. “After the shift from local to national vaccine fields, and then to an internationally coordinated field, the recent changes can be characterised as a shift to a more encompassing, diversified global field,” the team reports. “Globalisation is neither a ‘natural’ and inevitable process, nor is it a dynamics which merely follows straightforward business logic of profit making and capital accumulation. Instead, the global restructuration of firms and industries is better seen as a field dynamics which is the result of the interaction of a variety of different actors and organisations,” they add.

Quak, S., Heilbron, J. and Meijer, J. (2016) ‘The development of the vaccine industry, 1800–present: a historical-sociological field approach’, Int. J. Business and Globalisation, Vol. 17, No. 2, pp.224–242.

Expert detection
How do you find experts in your online social network, your cybercommunity? Researchers in Taiwan think they have the definitive answer; they have developed an “ExpertRank” system that is akin to Google’s well-known “PageRank” website evaluation system but works with people rather than pages. Tests show it works better than other expert-detection algorithms, the team reports. The team says their systems could be important in evaluating different users of a given network so that more weight can be given to the output and opinions of those deemed to be experts rather than the less-knowledgeable members of the network. “Our research has highlighted a new direction for expert identification research and proposed some practical applications for the cyber knowledge community [in knowledge management], the team says.

Chen, D-N. and Hsieh, P-C. (2016) ‘The expert identification in the cyber knowledge community’, Int. J. Computational Science and Engineering, Vol. 13, No. 2, pp.175–182.

Author: David Bradley

Award-winning, freelance science writer based in Cambridge, England.