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Spectrum, IEEE

Issue 5 • Date May 2006

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Displaying Results 1 - 21 of 21
  • Books: Smartbomb & Saturn

    Page(s): 66 - 67
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    Freely Available from IEEE
  • Shot in the dark [nuclear weapon testing]

    Page(s): 12 - 14
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    This paper discusses the future of the National Ignition Facility (NIF) located in Livermore, CA, amid criticisms about whether it can achieve its stated scientific goals and whether such a money-draining project was really necessary in the first place. Envisioned as an ideal site for nuclear weapons testing, the NIF could produce fusion in controlled conditions that would allow weapons specialists to simulate the detonation of different types of bombs to help them assess the status of aging atomic stockpiles without conducting risky test explosions that international law is trying to ban. A major source of concern among critics is the question of whether a fusion reaction that occurs inside a capsule smaller than a fingernail can provide an accurate indication of how a full-size nuclear weapon would detonate. NIF scientists are confident, however, that applying computer-generated formulas to their experimental data can account for such scale differences. View full abstract»

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  • Forum

    Page(s): 8
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  • Africa calling [African wireless connection]

    Page(s): 56 - 60
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    It might come as a surprise that sub-Saharan Africa is now the world's fastest growing wireless market. The rate of growth for the entire continent has been more than 58% per year, compared with the almost 22% annual growth rate in America. This development is primarily attributed to the fact that Africa's landline networks and institutions are inadequate and that growing political stability has begun to attract more foreign investments to the region. Notwithstanding the substantial increase in complementary service jobs brought about by the wireless boom, the African government is urged to provide basic financial management training programs for vendors, especially kiosk owners who need help to look beyond their immediate financial gains to a sustainable future. African regulators are also urged to develop strategies to promote local investments in the wireless arena, as well as in other telecommunications sector. View full abstract»

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  • Bogus: electronic manufacturing and consumers confront a rising tide of counterfeit electronics

    Page(s): 37 - 46
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    This paper discusses the growing concern over the counterfeiting of electronics components and systems. Three key factors are identified as the root cause of this problem: the shift of manufacturing to China where intellectual property laws are not strictly enforced and supply chains are convoluted; the growing sophistication of technology that enables cheaper and more convincing fakes; and the rise of the Internet as a marketplace, allowing buyers and sellers make fast trades without ever meeting face to face. As many companies are learning the hard way, counterfeiting requires a constant, deliberate, and multifaceted effort, vigorous monitoring of potential trouble spots, and judicious use of anticounterfeiting technologies. View full abstract»

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  • THE BIG PICTURE: Live From New York!

    Page(s): 22 - 23
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  • A French regulatory edge [Internet regulations]

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    The US telecommunications equipment maker, Lucent Technologies Inc., has merged with the French company, Alcatel SA, with the latter playing the more dominant role due in part to the French government's emphasis on advanced Internet technologies. The merger compels Alcatel to open its system to competing providers of broadband services, resulting to lower television, telephony and Internet access rates while giving a boost to national phone companies and their dominant equipment suppliers. View full abstract»

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  • One-click content, no guarantees [online encyclopedia reliability]

    Page(s): 64 - 65
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    As the first-ever major reference work with a democratic premise, the free online encyclopedia, Wikipedia, has generated shared scholarly efforts to rival those of any literary or philosophical movement in history. As such, Wikipedia is vulnerable to user-generated articles that are inaccurate or irrelevant. While a carefully executed and multilayered review process is performed by a team of volunteers, critics believe that the lack of formal gatekeeping procedures ensures that the lowest common denominator will prevail and, since no experts or editors are hired to review the articles, no clear standards exist for accuracy or writing quality. Despite its imperfections, Wikipedia users claim that it works well in practice. Nevertheless, readers are advised to check their online finds against other sources and to be aware of Wikipedia's unique strengths and weaknesses, especially when gathering information for research projects. View full abstract»

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  • Tools & Toys: Getting Vexed

    Page(s): 68 - 69
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  • Poky plastic perks up [polymer semiconductor]

    Page(s): 20 - 21
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    Material scientists in Britain and California have invented the first polymer semiconductor to perform almost as well as the type of silicon used to drive flat-panel displays. The new polymer was found to beat previous polymers by a factor of about six in terms of charge carrier mobility. Key to the team's success is the fact that its polymer is also a liquid crystal, which means charge can travel more quickly. Although the liquid crystal approach has certainly improved polymer's prospects, many research groups are hard at work improving the printability of small molecules. View full abstract»

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  • The Olin experiment [engineering education experiment]

    Page(s): 30 - 36
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    This paper describes the engineering education experiment conducted at the Franklin W. Olin College in Needham, MA, aimed at increasing the quality and quantity of the engineering workforce in the US. Instead of the usual theory-heavy lectures, segregated disciplines, and individual efforts, the experiment emphasizes design exercises, interdisciplinary studies and teamwork. Olin's radically new way of training engineers incorporates changes that many in industry and academia say are long overdue. Judging by some of their internships, it appears that Olin's first graduates will have no problems landing their desired jobs. Meanwhile, people are keeping an eye on these graduates as they make their way into the real world. View full abstract»

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  • GaAsing up cellphones

    Page(s): 15 - 16
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    A group of researchers from the Texas-based company, Freescale Semiconductor Inc., has fabricated metal oxide semiconductor field-effect transistors (MOSFET) using gallium arsenide and a novel gate dielectric. If the group can overcome some significant manufacturing challenges, this innovation could lead to a cellphone-on-a-chip and instant analog-to-digital conversion. It may even enable chip makers to improve processor speed and performance when transistors on silicon chips can be miniaturized no further. View full abstract»

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  • Parallel processor [community service]

    Page(s): 61 - 64
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    This paper relates how IBM senior technical staff member, Sandra Johnson, was able to parlay her expertise into two successful careers: one as an architect of computing systems and the other as an energetic volunteer who introduces women, minorities and youngsters to technology. While heading a small business technology group and contributing to a company-wide technical leadership team, Johnson serves on the board of directors of the Austin Area Urban League, raising scholarship funds with her sorority, and co-chairing Black Family Technology Awareness Week, an international event of which IBM is a major sponsor. View full abstract»

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  • Brain power - borrowing from biology makes for low power computing [bionic ear]

    Page(s): 24 - 29
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    This paper describes the recent advances in the field of neuromorphic engineering, more generally, biologically inspired electronics. This paper focuses on the work being done to develop bionic ears. A key area of interest is understanding the scheme that allows low-power analog processing in the ear followed by digitization. Researchers at MIT have developed a bionic ear processor that does the job of the digital signal processor, is small enough to be implanted, and could run on a 2 gram battery needing a wireless recharge only every two weeks. This effort has also led to the design of a new algorithm that can improve the performance of ordinary cochlear implants and other speech processors. The team is currently working on designing an ultrawideband spectrum analyzer that can simultaneously tune into radio signals all the way from the FM radio bands to Wi-Fi bands. View full abstract»

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  • The Back Story: Back to School

    Page(s): 7
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  • A broadband utopia [fast broadband connectivity]

    Page(s): 48 - 54
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    The Utah Telecommunication Open Infrastructure Agency (Utopia) promises to deliver to each of its 3,000 subscribers high-speed Internet access, telephony and television programming through a fiber-optic cable at data rates that reach 30 megabits per second. Encompassing 14 cities in the northeastern Utah, the optical-fiber broadband network is expected to soon reach speeds of 50 and even 100 Mb/s. Because Utopia sends TV programming as Internet packets, it puts a huge reservoir of bandwidth at the disposal of its providers. In addition to its dedicated bandwidth connections, Utopia relies on the Ethernet standard to carry Internet protocol data packets all the way from the central office to the individual subscriber without changing the format, greatly simplifying the network. View full abstract»

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  • IEEE Spectrum - May 2006

    Page(s): 01
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    Freely Available from IEEE
  • Table of contents - Vol 43, No 5

    Page(s): 1 - 5
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    Freely Available from IEEE
  • Bubble Fusion Research Under Scrutiny

    Page(s): 16 - 21
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    Freely Available from IEEE
  • Digital photographs [Reflections]

    Page(s): 84
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    Freely Available from IEEE

Aims & Scope

IEEE Spectrum Magazine, the flagship publication of the IEEE, explores the development, applications and implications of new technologies.

Full Aims & Scope

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Editor-in-Chief
Susan Hassler
IEEE Spectrum Magazine