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Computer

Issue 3 • Date March 2000

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Displaying Results 1 - 21 of 21
  • Style sheet standards renew old debate [Letters]

    Page(s): 8
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    Freely Available from IEEE
  • A missed pun [Letters]

    Page(s): 8
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    Freely Available from IEEE
  • An absurdity in today's world

    Page(s): 9
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  • Semantic web party poopers [Letters]

    Page(s): 10
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    Freely Available from IEEE
  • Why can't I buy a mercedes PC? [Letters]

    Page(s): 10
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    Freely Available from IEEE
  • Teaming up for software development [Books]

    Page(s): 104
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    Freely Available from IEEE
  • Embedded databases ocme out of hiding

    Page(s): 16 - 19
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  • UQBT: adaptable binary translation at low cost

    Page(s): 60 - 66
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    Developments in the semiconductor industry have made possible smaller and faster processors for general-purpose computing, portable devices, multipurpose appliances, and system-on-chip designs. Binary translation offers a quick, inexpensive way to migrate software from one processor to another. Although binary-translation techniques are still in their infancy compared to their compiler counterparts, engineers have been using them for 15 years. Just as engineers build compilers partly on the basis of specifications, the authors are developing the University of Queensland Binary Translator (UQBT) on the basis of machine specifications and properties of machines and operating systems. This static binary-translation framework supports various processors, including complex-instruction-set computers (CISC), reduced-instruction-set computers (RISC), and stack-based machines. The authors describe the UQBT framework and discuss their observations while using it to instantiate six different translators across Sun Sparc, Intel Pentium, and Java virtual-machine architectures View full abstract»

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  • The evitability of software patents

    Page(s): 30 - 34
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    Responding to Kenneth Nichols' article in Computer (“The Age of Software Patents”, April 1999, pp. 25-31), the author disputes the two claims: “software patents are neither inherently good nor bad” and “software patents are here to stay.” The author thinks software patents are not impersonal technology, but rather a part of an intellectual patent system that is a social artifact. Because all social artifacts are fair game for judgments, software patents fall into that category. Not only does the author think it reasonable that an interested party examine the ethics and morality of any branch of the legal system (of which software patents and copyrights are a part), but he feels professionals in relevant areas have a social duty to do so. After exploring several arguments for software patents and copyrights, the author settles on the evitability of software patents, though he points out this does not ensure they will be avoided. However, he thinks there are good arguments for avoiding software patents for other more practical and just forms of monopoly for software View full abstract»

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  • Dynamic and transparent binary translation

    Page(s): 54 - 59
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    High-frequency design and instruction-level parallelism (ILP) are important for high-performance microprocessor implementations. The Binary-translation Optimized Architecture (BOA), an implementation of the IBM PowerPC family, combines binary translation with dynamic optimization. The authors use these techniques to simplify the hardware by bridging a semantic gap between the PowerPC's reduced instruction set and even simpler hardware primitives. Processors like the Pentium Pro and Power4 have tried to achieve high frequency and ILP by implementing a cracking scheme in hardware: an instruction decoder in the pipeline generates multiple micro-operations that can then be scheduled out of order. BOA relies on an alternative software approach to decompose complex operations and to generate schedules, and thus offers significant advantages over purely static compilation approaches. This article explains BOA's translation strategy, detailing system issues and architecture implementation View full abstract»

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  • Welcome to the opportunities of binary translation

    Page(s): 40 - 45
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    A new processor architecture poses significant financial risk to hardware and software developers alike, so both have a vested interest in easily porting code from one processor to another. Binary translation offers solutions for automatically converting executable code to run on new architectures without recompiling the source code View full abstract»

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  • 3D mapping of an interactive synthetic environment

    Page(s): 35 - 39
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    Traditional geospatial information systems (GIS) use geographically referenced data to produce highly accurate digital maps. These two-dimensional maps include well-recognized symbols that represent features such as mountains, forests, buildings, and transportation networks. Although this flat view provides an excellent means of orienting the user to the general nature and location of the geographic features for a given area, it does not provide the full experiential value that comes from immersion within a 3D environment. The authors, working in conjunction with the University of New Orleans' Computer Science Department, developed a 3D-GIS to assist the US Marine Corps with mission preparation and rehearsal. It also provides on-site awareness during actual field operations in urban areas. Going beyond presenting stereoscopic views of an area or merely applying photo textures to highly simplified geometric shapes, they created an environment that replicates its real-world counterpart by including detailed 3D objects. The article details the design considerations they faced as well as the implementation and structural overview for the entire system View full abstract»

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  • Unifying software engineering and systems engineering

    Page(s): 114 - 116
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    The author describes CMMI (Capability Maturity Model Integration) and the emerging project methods which demonstrate the opportunities for process improvement gains open to organizations. The organization that changes from separated software and system engineering processes to a more unified approach will find itself far more suited to developing dynamically changing, software-intensive systems. Culture change is never easy, but the alternative is even less palatable View full abstract»

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  • Generic support for distributed applications

    Page(s): 68 - 76
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    In the late 1980s, software designers introduced middleware platforms to support distributed computing systems. Since then, the rapid evolution of technology has caused an explosion of distributed-processing requirements. Application developers now routinely expect to support multimedia systems and mobile users and computers. Timely response to asynchronous events is crucial to such applications, but current platforms do not adequately meet this need. Another need of existing and emerging applications is the secure interoperability of independent services in large-scale, widely distributed systems. Information systems serving organizations such as universities, hospitals, and government agencies require cross-domain interaction. To meet the needs of these applications, Cambridge University researchers developed middleware extensions that provide a flexible, scalable approach to distributed-application development. This article details the extensions they developed, explaining their distributed software approach and the support it has provided for emerging applications View full abstract»

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  • AOL, time Warner, and the crash of 2000

    Page(s): 120, 118 - 119
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  • A codesign approach for distributed systems

    Page(s): 110 - 113
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    Distributed systems have become prevalent in response to the rapidly expanding Internet's demands. Their design presents new challenges because it involves the interaction of hardware and software. Continual marketplace innovation drives computing toward heterogeneity in both hardware and software and generates a complexity that goes beyond the earlier codesign approaches, which were developed for more homogeneous systems executing in non-distributed environments. Codesign of heterogeneous systems requires the support of a powerful modeling and simulation environment because analysis alone cannot deal with all the challenges such complex systems pose. We believe that modeling and simulation, using the discrete-event system specification modeling and simulation framework, are the most suitable vehicles to study the complexities associated with developing distributed-object computing systems View full abstract»

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  • The Koala component model for consumer electronics software

    Page(s): 78 - 85
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    Most consumer electronics today contain embedded software. In the early days, developing CE software presented relatively minor challenges, but in the past several years three significant problems have arisen: size and complexity of the software in individual products; the increasing diversity of products and their software; and the need for decreased development time. The question of handling diversity and complexity in embedded software at an increasing production speed becomes an urgent one. The authors present their belief that the answer lies not in hiring more software engineers. They are not readily available, and even if they were, experience shows that larger projects induce larger lead times and often result in greater complexity. Instead, they believe that the answer lies in the use and reuse of software components that work within an explicit software architecture. The Koala model, a component-oriented approach detailed in this article, is their way of handling the diversity of software in consumer electronics. Used for embedded software in TV sets, it allows late binding of reusable components with no additional overhead View full abstract»

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  • PA-RISC to IA-64: transparent execution, no recompilation

    Page(s): 47 - 52
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    Making the transition to a new architecture is never easy. Users want to keep running their favorite applications as they normally would, without stopping to adapt them to a different platform. For some legacy applications the problem is more severe. Without all the source code, it is well-nigh impossible to recompile the application to a new platform. Binary translation helps this transition process because it automatically converts the binary code from one instruction set to another without the need for high-level source code. However, different choices force different trade-offs between some form of interpretation (or emulation) and static translation. Interpretation requires no user intervention, but its performance is slow. Static translation, on the other hand, requires user intervention but provides much better performance. To help PA-RISC (precision architecture-reduced instruction set computing) users migrate to its upcoming IA-64 systems, Hewlett-Packard has developed the Aries software emulator, combining fast interpretation. The article describes how the system works and outlines its performance characteristics and quality View full abstract»

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  • Pricing Internet services: proposed improvements

    Page(s): 108 - 109
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    Flat-rate pricing appeals to Internet users and service providers because of its simplicity and predictability. However, congestion is the inevitable consequence of flat-rate pricing because Internet users who pay a fixed access fee have no incentive to limit their network usage. Future applications that require timely delivery of data will require mechanisms for allocating network resources that give consumers choices in services and prices while allowing service providers to recover their costs. We examine the proposed improvements in Internet pricing that are designed to increase its economic efficiency and support the deployment of new applications that require a better quality of service than the Internet currently offers View full abstract»

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Aims & Scope

Computer, the flagship publication of the IEEE Computer Society, publishes highly acclaimed peer-reviewed articles written for and by professionals representing the full spectrum of computing technology from hardware to software and from current research to new applications.

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Meet Our Editors

Editor-in-Chief
Ron Vetter
University of North Carolina
Wilmington