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Computer

Issue 11 • Date Nov. 2001

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Displaying Results 1 - 16 of 16
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  • Internet-driven telecommunications [New Books]

    Page(s): 127
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    Freely Available from IEEE
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  • Terrorism, technology and the profession

    Page(s): 136, 134 - 135
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    Technology made the scale of the September 11 terrorist tragedy possible: it built both the towers and the planes that destroyed them, and it produced the funds and provided the communications the terrorists used to implement their plan. Much of this technology is digital. The authorities had technology in place to predict and prevent terrorist acts such as this and, because of September 11's events, they will receive calls for much greater use of preventive technologies and systems. Much of this technology will be digital, and members of the computing profession will be heavily involved in its development. Many computing professionals have great experience in preventive systems, particularly for the Internet, and this experience will surely be relevant to the anti-terrorism effort. The author considers how their professional judgment should be used to evaluate proposals that, if accepted, will likely have a considerable effect on the conduct of everyday life, our freedom of movement and speech, and our personal privacy and liberties View full abstract»

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  • Exploring embedded-systems architectures with Artemis

    Page(s): 57 - 63
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    Because embedded systems mostly target mass production and often run on batteries, they should be cheap to realize and power efficient. In addition, they require a high degree of programmability to provide real-time performance for multiple applications and standards. However, performance requirements as well as cost and power-consumption constraints demand that substantial parts of these systems be implemented in dedicated hardware blocks. As a result, their heterogeneous system architecture consists of components ranging from fully dedicated hardware components for time-critical application tasks. Increasingly, these designs yield heterogeneous embedded multiprocessor systems that reside together on a single chip. The heterogeneity of these highly programmable systems and the varying demands of their target applications greatly complicate system design. The increasing complexity of embedded-system architectures makes predicting performance behavior more difficult. Therefore, having the appropriate tools to explore different choices at an early design stage is increasingly important. The Artemis modeling and simulation environment aims to efficiently explore the design space of heterogeneous embedded-systems architectures at multiple abstraction levels and for a wide range of applications targeting these architectures. The authors describe their of this methodology in two studies that showed promising results, providing useful feedback on a wide range of design decisions involving the architectures for the two applications View full abstract»

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  • Rosetta: semantic support for model-centered systems-level design

    Page(s): 64 - 70
    Save to Project icon | Request Permissions | Click to expandQuick Abstract | PDF file iconPDF (183 KB) |  | HTML iconHTML  

    With the advent of system-on-chip (SoC) technology, the design of small electrical systems has become a systems engineering task. Such tasks require working at high levels of abstraction to build systems by either integrating information from various design domains or modeling different aspects of the same component. Designers of traditional computer-based systems usually rely on component-based techniques that parallel the physical architecture. The model-based approach encompasses the component-centered approach, treating structural decomposition as a single model in the overall hierarchy. Model-centered semantics and languages let designers concentrate on the data, computation, or communication models that describe complex computer-based SoC requirements. Appropriate design semantics specify each system aspect, and the designer assembles those aspects into models to define complete systems and components. The developers of Rosetta, a heterogeneous systems-level modeling language that supports predictive design analysis, have identified mechanisms for defining and composing models that specify multiple domains of interest from many perspectives. Rosetta requirements and domains define test cases and generate abstract vectors for each test scenario. Several analysis tools are under development for transforming Rosetta into existing analysis environments, and the authors describe their authors are also developing native analysis tools for symbolic verification and simulation environments. The authors use Rosetta to provide computation models for customized digital and mixed-signal system-specification environments. Other domains to support, optical and microelectrical mechanical systems specifications are under consideration View full abstract»

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  • The evolution of Web-caching markets

    Page(s): 128 - 130
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    Internet businesses lose billions of dollars each year because of slow and failed Web services, and new companies and coalitions have rushed to provide the worldwide content caching that can help recapture this lost revenue. Although the media has often characterized these companies as trailblazers in the e-commerce revolution, they are merely exploiting a temporary niche along the path to Internet infrastructure commoditization and distributed e-markets. The current players have a chance to succeed, but the future belongs to innovators in the distributed storage and compute online commodities markets View full abstract»

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  • Virtual design of multiengineering electronics systems

    Page(s): 71 - 79
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    The authors describe a virtual reality prototyping (VRP) and virtual product design approach that uses a modeling strategy to design, test, and evaluate concepts and products in advance-before creating any physical design models. Their design decisions reflect solutions and practices derived from systems engineering and software engineering research. Close competition has forced companies to focus on tailoring technological products to meet customer preferences in user interface design, usability, and appearance. Often, implementing new features has assumed less importance than creating an optimal product variation for different customer segments in international markets. Modern computer-based systems result from a multidomain development process, and organizing this work requires developers to communicate, cooperate, and coordinate effectively with nonengineering teams. Early linking of product development to other company operations supports this activity. Geographically dispersed development teams must communicate and coordinate effectively. Extending the use of interactive, functional, and photorealistic 3D product models into other company domains can facilitate effective business practices that cover the entire value chain, from simulated product idea to Web-based customer support of the final product. This wider adoption of the VRP technology and process offers ample scope for further research View full abstract»

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  • Embedded OSs gain the inside track

    Page(s): 14 - 16
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    Almost every automated system has an embedded OS, and so there is an increasing demand for embedded OS. No single vendor dominates the marketplace. A growing number of companies have released open-source embedded OS, primarily those based on BSD Unix and Linux. These OS have the same appeal that open-source software has in other markets: they are relatively inexpensive and users have access to and can customize the source code. It is thought that they will become the accepted standards. Developments from Windows are also outlined. Developments of new architectures are also considered View full abstract»

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  • 3D technology, ready for the PC?

    Page(s): 17 - 20
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    3D graphics software is computationally intensive, but the hardware is getting cheaper. Suitable motherboard-bus and graphics card developments are discussed, as are ways of overcoming network-bandwidth limitations. The article then considers applications-games and entertainment, design, presentations, and virtual shopping; one can even make a virtual representation of oneself to try on virtual clothes before ordering them. Finally, the development of standards in formats and in players for distribution is discussed View full abstract»

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  • Agile software development, the people factor

    Page(s): 131 - 133
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    In a previous article (2001), we introduced agile software development through the problem it addresses and the way in which it addresses the problem. Here, we describe the effects of working in an agile style View full abstract»

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  • Composing domain-specific design environments

    Page(s): 44 - 51
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    Domain-specific integrated development environments can help capture specifications in the form of domain models. These tools support the design process by automating analysis and simulating essential system behavior. In addition, they can automatically generate, configure, and integrate target application components. The high cost of developing domain-specific, integrated modeling, analysis, and application-generation environments prevents their penetration into narrower engineering fields that have limited user bases. Model-integrated computing (MIC), an approach to model-based engineering that helps compose domain-specific design environments rapidly and cost effectively, is particularly relevant for specialized computer-based systems domains-perhaps even single projects. The authors describe how MIC provides a way to compose such environments cost effectively and rapidly by using a metalevel architecture to specify the domain-specific modeling language and integrity constraints. They also discuss the toolset that implements MIC and describe a practical application in which using the technology in a tool environment for the process industry led to significant reductions in development and maintenance costs View full abstract»

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  • Engineering computer-based systems: meeting the challenge

    Page(s): 39 - 43
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    Embedded computers in system products have become pervasive. As Engineering of Computer-Based Systems (ECBS) assumes a greater role in computing-product development, engineers face increasing pressure to resolve the challenges of disparate architectures, long interdisciplinary system life cycles, method and tool incompatibility, and spiraling complexity View full abstract»

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  • Automated debugging: are we close?

    Page(s): 26 - 31
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    Although software engineers have enjoyed tremendous productivity increases as more of their tasks have become automated, debugging remains as labor-intensive and painful as it. was 50 years ago. An engineer or programmer must still set up hypotheses to use in identifying and correcting a failure's root cause. The author describes a new algorithm that promises to relieve programmers of the hit-or-miss approach to debugging. Delta Debugging uses the results of automated testing to systematically narrow the set of failure-inducing circumstances. Programmers supply a test function for each bug and hardcode it into any imperative language. The test function checks a set of changes to determine if the failure is present or if the outcome is unresolved, then feeds that information to the Delta Debugging code. As we discover more about the structure of these circumstances and the resulting causality chain, we come closer to passing much of the boredom and monotony of debugging onto machines. Debugging can be just as disciplined, systematic, and quantifiable as any other area of software engineering-which means that we should eventually be able to automate at least part of it. Ultimately, debugging may become as automated as testing-not only detecting failures, but also revealing how they came to be View full abstract»

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  • Managing vulnerabilities in networked systems

    Page(s): 32 - 38
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    Most organizations recognize the importance of cyber security and are implementing various forms of protection. However, many are failing to find and fix known security problems in the software packages they use as the building blocks of their networks and systems, a vulnerability that a hacker can exploit to bypass all other efforts to secure the enterprise. The Common Vulnerabilities and Exposures (CVE) initiative seeks to avoid such disasters and transform this area from a liability to a key asset in the fight to build and maintain secure systems. Coordinating international, community-based efforts from industry, government and academia, CVE strives to find and fix software product vulnerabilities more rapidly, predictably, and efficiently. The initiative seeks the adoption of a common naming practice for describing software vulnerabilities. Once adopted, these names will be included within security tools and services and on the fix sites of commercial and open source software package providers. As vendors respond to more users requests for CVE-compatible fix sites, securing the enterprise will gradually include the complete cycle of finding, analyzing, and fixing vulnerabilities View full abstract»

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  • Flexibility as a design driver [systems analysis]

    Page(s): 52 - 56
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    Ambiguous requirements and those that emerge late in the design cycle often complicate development and throw off established schedules. The authors describe how reformulating information missing at the design stage into a flexibility requirement can turn the absent data into a design driver. Designers constantly run into issues that have yet to be understood through specification, system design, or standardization. Changes in evolving technologies and businesses often result in unstable system requirements. Reliable hardware or mechanical details might not be available until very late in the development process. Yet engineers must initiate software development even though some subsystem details have not yet been completely defined. Missing information and related flexibility requirements can lead to a design plagued by many well-known problems that affect performance, modularity, scalability, and clear separation of concerns. In some cases, developers must sacrifice rules of thumb to maintain planned development schedules. Providing flexibility for everything in the system isn't possible, so developers will always need to determine the static requirements and explicitly state where continued development and rapid modification require flexibility View full abstract»

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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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Ron Vetter
University of North Carolina
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