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Potentials, IEEE

Issue 5 • Date Dec. 2003-Jan. 2004

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Displaying Results 1 - 16 of 16
  • Energizing change

    Page(s): 26 - 30
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    Everyone pretty much knows that the big three Es - economics, energy and the environment - must be constantly weighed against one and another. All three are important in the scheme of things for "life as we know and enjoy it" for a great many people. And there is concurrence that, in some major countries, energy and economics have ganged up on the environment. One of the results appears to be global warming which everyone, more or less, grudgingly agrees "could be" a worldwide problem, i.e. a problem shared by everyone. But by when, where and how to solve it? This is where the three big Es' many and varied constituent groups have had some trouble playing well together. The article examines the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) and the Kyoto Protocol to UNFCCC and discusses to what extent they have been applied. View full abstract»

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  • On the job: validating data

    Page(s): 6 - 7
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    Any job in engineering, including most certainly those in electrical and computer engineering, inevitably involves the generation of large amounts of data. The data can come from analysis, computation and/or measurement. Data can be associated with tasks ranging from basic research to development to design and testing. As a result, many questions can arise over its reliability and validity. While bad decisions and bad conclusions can be reached, even when the data is perfect, good decisions and good conclusions certainly cannot be made when the data is faulty. The article briefly considers some aspects of the fundamental question, "How can data be validated?". View full abstract»

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  • Lunar solar power

    Page(s): 20 - 25
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    The Earth continually intercepts ∼175,000 terawatts of solar power. However, just a fraction of this sunlight is captured every year by the biosphere in the form of newly separated atmospheric carbon and oxygen, mostly from water. Each year the trees, grasses and grains of the continents' biomass capture thermal energy, in the form of new plant mass, but only ∼0.03% of the primary solar energy. The article discusses various ways that solar energy can be exploited on Earth. It then proposes a lunar solar power system in which solar power is collected on the Moon and transferred to Earth via microwave power beams. It is impractical and costly simply to gather solar power on Earth because Earth's atmosphere and clouds reflect solar power back to space, absorb it, and block it from reaching the surface of Earth. The lunar solar power system overcomes these problems. View full abstract»

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  • Disaster recovery planning

    Page(s): 42 - 44
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    In today's world, where fears of "what if" grow daily, information technology (IT) professionals are planning for those possible disasters. According to a 2003 article found on ComputerWorld's web site, nine out of ten IT leaders surveyed had already cemented a disaster recovery plan or will have one in place within the year. Planning for a disaster may seem odd at first. But it is a smart choice for anyone who wants to protect a valuable asset. For instance, just as you would not carelessly store paper money next to the fireplace, the same intelligence applies to data and computers. A catastrophe is anything that threatens the function or existence of a business, ranging from a computer virus to a huge earthquake. A well thought out disaster recovery plan can play a major role in a company's survival/success. Disaster recovery covers a broad range of topics and includes practically everyone in an organization. Every employee - manager and janitor - must be on the same page when a disaster occurs. The support of all the management teams is also necessary. This article covers two important topics in disaster recovery, risk management and disaster recovery planning. View full abstract»

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  • Technology of speech for a computer system

    Page(s): 35 - 38
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    Voice processing has made considerable progress in the last 10 years. Interaction with computer systems using spoken language is becoming common in consumer products, office systems and telecommunications applications. The article focuses on speech technology for computer systems. We briefly review voice technology, its current status, and specific aspects of automatic speech recognition, speech synthesis and applications. View full abstract»

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  • The CRL gateway

    Page(s): 8 - 11
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    Smaller and smaller semiconductor integrated circuits are being designed. Traditional semiconductor fabrication processes are still extremely effective. However, these methods' effectiveness will come to a halt as components shrink to atomic size. Quantum physics then start to govern device behavior. Thus a radical shift, hence upheaval (change is never easy), in computing is a foregone conclusion. But the resulting quantum computers will be tremendously powerful. As our circuits become smaller, the heat they generate becomes harder to control. Much of this heat is a result of the logic function itself, rather than simple resistive dissipation. Therefore, new forms of logic must be considered. Conservative reversible logic (CRL) can reduce the problem of energy dissipated due to logic functions and can be utilized to build quantum computers. Before that can happen, research must be done on how to utilize these gates. Also, a usable synthesis process must be designed. Unparalleled computing power, power savings, and resources are being uncovered. The paper discusses CRL-based gates. They are only models, but models must exist to meet the technology developments required to build quantum computers. View full abstract»

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  • Semiconductor device simulation: the hydrodynamic model

    Page(s): 17 - 19
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    VLSI (very large scale integrated) chips incorporate hundreds of millions of semiconductor circuits. To predict the performance of VLSI circuits, the current-voltage (I-V) characteristics of the semiconductor devices are required. Semiconductor device simulation codes provide a way of predicting I-V curves as device parameters are varied, without having to fabricate the device first. Thus, many different designs for devices and circuits can be explored efficiently using computer simulations. Promising designs then can be selected for actual fabrication and testing. A fundamental approach to modeling the quantum transport of electrons and holes in semiconductor devices is the Wigner-Boltzmann equation, the quantum generalization of the Boltzmann equation. Simulating these kinetic equations is computationally expensive. Thus, a hydrodynamic approximation to the kinetic equations, where the density, velocity and temperature of a charge carrier are functions only of three spatial dimensions plus time, offers enormous computational speedups in simulating devices. The article discusses the use of classical and quantum hydrodynamic models in semiconductor device simulation. View full abstract»

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  • Electrostatic discharge (ESD)

    Page(s): 39 - 41
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    Electrostatic discharge (ESD) refers to the sudden transfer (discharge) of static charge between objects at different electrostatic potentials. ESD belongs to a family of electrical problems known as electrical overstress (EOS). ESD poses a serious threat to electronic devices, such as microcircuits, transistors, and diodes, and affects the operation of the systems that contain those devices. Most electronic companies regard all semiconductor devices as ESD sensitive because of the damage ESD can cause. For this reason, ESD is a major concern in the microelectronic and electronic industry in manufacture and testing. ESD concerns also exist in nonelectronic components such as disk drives, magnetic recording heads, and sensors. The article describes the causes of ESD, its damaging effects and how the effects can be prevented or minimized. View full abstract»

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  • The bright future of organic LEDs

    Page(s): 31 - 34
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    Electro-luminescence is light emission from a solid through which an electric current is passed. Electro-luminescence from organic compounds was discovered in the early '60s, but the subject did not receive much attention until the discovery and development of conductive polymers. Compared to other electro-luminescent technologies (such as inorganic compound semiconductors, porous silicon and liquid crystals), polymer/organic light-emitting diodes (PLEDs/OLEDs) are very attractive. The reasons are their very low operating voltage, high brightness and their tunability to produce the three fundamental colors (red, blue and green). Furthermore, they are lightweight and can be grown on flexible substrates. They are fairly easy and inexpensive to fabricate. Today, PLEDs/OLEDs are suitable for applications such as automotive displays. In the future, they will probably conquer a large portion of the micro display market. Their higher efficiency and lower weight will make them quite competitive with LCD displays, the currently favorite technology. The article concludes that the future of organic light-emitting diodes seems very bright indeed. View full abstract»

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  • Particle-based methods in computational electronics

    Page(s): 12 - 16
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    As the density of integrated circuits increases, pressure to reduce the dimensions of the individual components also increases. Smaller circuit dimensions reduce the overall die area. However, as semiconductor feature sizes enter the nanometer-scale realm, the modeling of device behavior becomes increasingly complicated. The goal of computational electronics is to provide simulation tools that capture the essential physics issues while minimizing the computational burden. We give a brief overview of particle-based simulation techniques used in semiconductor device simulation. We begin with a discussion of the Monte Carlo method for the solution of the Boltzmann transport equation (BTE), including full-band effects. Some key elements of particle based simulation, such as the proper choice of mesh size and time step, as well as particle-mesh coupling and calculation of the current, are discussed. Typical particle based simulation results for the potential and current-voltage characteristics of a 23 nm MOSFET device follow. View full abstract»

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  • Editorial

    Page(s): 5
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    Freely Available from IEEE
  • The way ahead

    Page(s): 5
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    First Page of the Article
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  • Essays [It's the spirit that matters, not the noise]

    Page(s): 45 - 46
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    Freely Available from IEEE
  • Circuit rider [Student history paper competition IEEE 2004 Conference on the History of Electronics]

    Page(s): 46
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    Freely Available from IEEE
  • 2003 Student Activities Committee e-mail addresses

    Page(s): 47
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    Freely Available from IEEE
  • Gamesman problems / Gamesman solutions

    Page(s): 48 - 47
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    Freely Available from IEEE

Aims & Scope

IEEE Potentials is the magazine dedicated to undergraduate and graduate students and young professionals.

Full Aims & Scope

Meet Our Editors

Editor-in-Chief
Elizabeth T.B. Johnston
Design Alaska, Inc.