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Spectrum, IEEE

Issue 3 • Date March 2000

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Displaying Results 1 - 8 of 8
  • False alarm, nuclear danger

    Page(s): 31 - 39
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    The radar and satellite networks meant to warn Russia of the imminence of a missile attack are breaking down, heightening the risk of accidental nuclear war. The authors discuss the reasons for the this which include ageing satellites and the floundering Russian economy. The authors discuss a false alarm in 1995 and how it highlighted the deficiencies in Russia's early warning system. The state of the satellites involved in early warning systems, both Russian and American, are discussed. The offer of assistance by the US to Russia with respect to Russia's early warning systems is also discussed. View full abstract»

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  • How to lengthen the nuclear fuse

    Page(s): 40 - 43
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    Presidents Clinton and Yeltsin took a step toward de-alerting strategic nuclear forces in 1994, when they pledged to stop aiming strategic missiles at each other's country. But the pact was symbolic only. The missiles retained their wartime targets in computer memory, and the target coordinates could be reloaded into the missile guidance computers within seconds. If either President ordered a missile attack, the message would be transmitted in seconds to land-based launch crews and in minutes to submarine crews. Thousands of warheads could be launched within 30 minutes or so of the initial decision. A stand-down from this strategic forces alert-a lengthening of the launch readiness of the missiles from minutes to hours or days or longer-would do in reality what the de-targeting step did symbolically. It would end an anachronistic state of affairs-the fact that, a decade after the end of the Cold War, the United States and Russia are still maintaining nuclear weapons on hair-trigger alert aimed at each other's nuclear forces and cities. The authors discuss the alert status of the nuclear forces, pressure for fast launches, and the path to de-alerting, and a de-alerting scenario. View full abstract»

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  • Modeling the wiring of deep submicron ICs

    Page(s): 65 - 71
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    The semiconductor industry has fuelled the enormous growth of the electronics industry with an unending flow of even better, faster, cheaper chips. These chip improvements, in turn, have been stoked by steady progress in semiconductor process technology, which, as Moore's law predicts, doubles IC transistor counts every 18 months. Supporting this progress is the infrastructure provided by design tools, which today, however, comes up short against the process advances crucial to tomorrow's chips. Why? Because present design tools and methodologies presuppose that chip performance is determined by the transistor. That supposition may have been true a few years ago, but no more. Chip performance now depends on the interconnect. The new significance of interconnect performance is driving changes throughout the logic design flow because logic synthesis engines and other tools assume that timing can be predicted before the physical layout is done. But pre-layout and post-layout timing values no longer converge, and design tools must evolve to match this change in process technology. The first step is for vendors to create tools that accurately predict the performance of designs in this interconnect-dominated technology. The author discusses the importance of timing, 2D and 3D modelling of the interconnects, and deep submicron effects View full abstract»

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  • A coming attraction: digital cinema

    Page(s): 72 - 78
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    Discusses the advent of the digital cinema where the film to be shown has been digitally recorded and stored on disk drives that have been brought to the theater, where it will be digitally projected as well. The author pays particular attention to digital projection methods View full abstract»

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  • The troubling state of nuclear controls

    Page(s): 28 - 30
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    A decade after the cold war officially ended-with the reunification of Germany, the liberation of Eastern European nations from Soviet hegemony, and the collapse of the Soviet State itself-events have taken an alarming turn for the worse. The United States and Russia have refused to ratify nuclear arms control treaties they signed, both are back-pedaling on the implementation of less formal arms agreements, and they are bickering over a broad range of issues on which their differences are widening rather than narrowing. The authors discuss these issues and what can be done to overcome the problems and eliminate the nuclear menace View full abstract»

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  • Minding Russia's nuclear store

    Page(s): 44 - 50
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    Russia's thousands of metric tons of bomb-grade uranium and plutonium and hundreds of thousands of displaced nuclear workers represent a proliferation risk that is impossible to ignore, particularly after smugglers have been caught with weapons grade plutonium. The authors discuss the extent of the problem caused by the break-up of the Soviet Union. Cooperation between the US and Russia on aspects of security of such material is discussed View full abstract»

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  • A new species of hardware

    Page(s): 59 - 64
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    If natural evolution is so successful a designer, why not simulate its workings in an engineering setting, by using a computer to evolve solutions to hard problems. Researchers pursuing this idea in the 1950s and '60s gave birth to the domain of evolutionary computation. Four decades later, the domain is flourishing, both in industry and academia, presenting what may well be a new approach to optimization and problem-solving. Published in 1859, Charles Darwin's “On the Origin of Species by Means of Natural Selection” shook the foundations of not only science but also society at large. Now with new uses for the evolutionary model coming into being, researchers and scientists are beginning to create hardware that can grow and improve itself over time, evolving steadily as it finds new and better ways to do the tasks it has set before it View full abstract»

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  • Mending nuclear fences [arms control]

    Page(s): 54 - 58
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    The end of the cold war brought with it the hope, and even the expectation, that the dreaded nuclear sword of Damocles would no longer hang over the heads of Russians, Americans, and, indeed, over all the world's peoples. Yet 10 years after the Berlin Wall was torn down, that hope seems further from being realized than before. Instead of the bold visions enunciated by President Mikhail Gorbachev and President Ronald Reagan-not to speak of the citizens and scientists urging them on-the world now witnesses foot-dragging on conclusion of agreements, nitpicking and haggling over details, and a deterioration of trust and even mutual comprehension. The authors discuss the reasons for this and discuss whether the deadlock on arms control can be broken. Possible courses of action that could be taken are outlined View full abstract»

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