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Using Humans as a Computer Model

October 16, 2001
Automated switching allowed AT&T/Bell Labs to keep up with the demand for telephones

The computer industry’s “next grand challenge” is the ever-increasing complexity of computing in the Internet era, with its global networks and proliferation of digital devices, says Paul M. Horn, a senior vice president who oversees the research labs at I.B.M., in a paper, “Autonomic computing.”

“Autonomic computing” is a biological metaphor suggesting a systemic approach to attaining a higher level of automation in computing.… read more

Future chip choice–silicon or plastic?

October 15, 2001

Promising research efforts are under way to combine silicon and plastic, using organic polymers as material for the production of microelectronics, including transistors and displays.
Organic polymers are molecules that contain a long string of carbon atoms and make versatile plastics.

The research team headed by Bertram Batlogg of the Swiss Federal Institute for Technology from the ETH in Zurich, Switzerland, was recently honored with one of the most… read more

The End of Snail Mail?

October 14, 2001

Is the threat of a deadly disease enough to kill off postal deliveries? Expect a dip in mail volume similar to the one that hit the stock market –without the expectation that the bounce-back will eventually surpass the present status. The reason is simple: when compared to anthrax bacilli, computer viruses don’t seem so threatening.

Citizen to commercialize IBM’s wristwatch computer

October 12, 2001

IBM’s wristwatch PC, a first step in the development of wearable computers, will be available as a product from Citizen Watch Co.IBM’s Watchpad prototype weighs 43 grams and includes a 32-bit microprocessor running Linux version 2.4, backed by 8 Mbytes of DRAM and 16 Mbytes of flash. The Citizen product will include 320 x 240-dot monochrome VGA display, Bluetooth wireless connectivity, an IrDA wireless link, plus speaker, microphone and fingerprint-sensor… read more

Researchers Bring Voice Recognition to Palmtops

October 11, 2001

A new generation of voice recognition and speech engines embedded in handheld computers is coming out.
I.B.M. Research has reconfigured Palm organizers in an attempt to create a speech system small enough to reside on a hand-held computer.

Lernout & Hauspie plans to release software called PDSay that can be downloaded into any Compaq iPaq, models 3630 and later.

SpeechWorks has developed embedded speech systems for handheld computers… read more

New Ideas in the War on Bioterrorism

October 10, 2001

Ideas for better technology to detect, diagnose and treat biological agents are currently being pursued in the nation’s newest medical battle -— the war against bioterrorism.
There are dozens of pathogens that might conceivably be used in an attack, including some unnatural ones made by genetic engineering, and it would be impractical to develop vaccines for all of them. So the new battle will be fought with the tools of… read more

Wristwatch gives remote control of computer

October 10, 2001

A new high-tech watchstrap that gives its wearer remote control over a wearable computer has been demonstrated in Switzerland.The GestureWrist, developed by Jun Rekimoto of Sony’s Computer Science Laboratory in Tokyo, Japan, uses sensors embedded into a normal watch strap. These track a wearer’s arm movements and the opening and closing their hand, relaying this information to a computer kept somewhere on their person.

GestureWrist uses a tilt sensor… read more

Optical DSPs promise tera-ops performance

October 10, 2001

An optically based digital signal processing engine (ODSPE) that has the potential to take DSPs from the current giga-operations-per-second (Gops) limit to tera (trillion) operations per second (Tops) by 2005 has been demonstrated by Lenslet Labs of Israel.
The company has already demonstrated an 8-Tops, 20-watt device. Using conventional DSPs to get that performance would require 40 FPGAs, according to the company.

The technology uses high-speed optical processing –… read more

Search for bin Laden extends to Earth orbit

October 9, 2001

U.S. military spy satellites are searching aggressively for signs of Osama bin Laden and are providing military planners with near-real-time, high-resolution photographs and data about specific regions of Afghanistan, officials say.

Soldiers for the first time can view spy satellite ground photos in near-real time, using the Broadcast Request Imagery Technology Experiment, or BRITE.

The compact system can be carried into the field and operated with a laptop… read more

Intel unveils breakthrough in chip technology

October 9, 2001

Intel has developed a new “bumpless” chip packaging technology that it says will enable it to build microprocessors with more than a billion transistors, compared with the 42 million now available on its current high-end Pentium 4 chip.
“Bumpless” packaging serves to eliminate the use of solder “bumps” that connect tiny wires to a chip.

“The problem with the use of bumps is that as chips become ever more… read more

IBM’s carbon nanotube FET hints at post-silicon circuits

October 9, 2001

IBM Corp.’s manufacture of a top-gate carbon nanotube field effect transistor (CNTFET) is a key breakthrough in post-silicon circuit design, according to a leading IBM researcher speaking at this weeks’ Nanotube Symposium. Now the company will work to shrink the gap for top-gate CNTFETs to 2 nanometers, which will increase the transistor’s performance exponentially and possibly fulfill the promise of carbon nanotubes as a nanoscale replacement for silicon circuits.… read more

Machines with a human touch

October 8, 2001

Perhaps the next stockmarket buzz will be neuromorphics. Instead of using the ones and zeros of digital electronics to simulate the way the brain functions, neuromorphic engineering relies on nature’s biological short-cuts to make robots that are smaller, smarter and vastly more energy-efficient, as a group of electronics engineers, neuroscientists, roboticists and biologists demonstrated recently at a three-week workshop held in Telluride, Colorado.
One of the many projects demonstrating this… read more

A Cautionary Tale for a New Age of Surveillance

October 8, 2001

It’s being proposed as a solution for terrorism. But once thousands of cameras from hundreds of separate closed circuit TV systems are able to feed their digital images to a central monitoring station, and the images can be analyzed with face- and behavioral-recognition software to identify unusual patterns, then the possibilities of the Panopticon (see-all surveillance system) will suddenly become very real.
The creation of a surveillance society in Britain,… read more

Securing the Lines of a Wired Nation

October 5, 2001

U.S. retaliatory strikes for the tragic Sept. 11 events may result in cyberattacks against the American electronic infrastructure, according to the Institute for Security Technology Studies.
Richard A. Clarke, who will head cyberterrorism efforts for the Bush administration’s Homeland Security Council, said in a speech last December that the government had to make cybersecurity a priority or face a “digital Pearl Harbor.”

A determined coalition of hackers, he said,… read more

Public Computing on a Super Scale

October 5, 2001

The Terascale Computing System (TCS) at the Pittsburgh Supercomputing Center — installed on Monday — is the second most powerful computer in the world, after ASCI White at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory. It offers the greatest computational power available today for public scientific research.

The National Science Foundation, which ponied up the $45 million to buy the hardware and software and keep it running for… read more

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