News Archive

July 2012

Gig.U Project Aims for an Ultrafast US Internet

June 2012

Bringing Location and Navigation Technology Indoors

May 2012

Plans Under Way for Roaming between Cellular and Wi-Fi Networks

Encryption System Flaw Threatens Internet Security

April 2012

For Business Intelligence, the Trend Is Location, Location, Location

Corpus Linguistics Keep Up-to-Date with Language

March 2012

Are Tomorrow's Firewalls Finally Here Today?

February 2012

Spatial Humanities Brings History to Life

December 2011

Could Hackers Take Your Car for a Ride?

November 2011

What to Do about Supercookies?

October 2011

Lights, Camera, Virtual Moviemaking

September 2011

Revolutionizing Wall Street with News Analytics

August 2011

Growing Network-Encryption Use Puts Systems at Risk

New Project Could Promote Semantic Web

July 2011

FBI Employs New Botnet Eradication Tactics

Google and Twitter "Like" Social Indexing

June 2011

Computing Commodities Market in the Cloud

May 2011

Intel Chips Step up to 3D

Apple Programming Error Raises Privacy Concerns

Thunderbolt Promises Lightning Speed

April 2011

Industrial Control Systems Face More Security Challenges

Microsoft Effort Takes Down Massive Botnet

March 2011

IP Addresses Getting Security Upgrade

February 2011

Studios Agree on DRM Infrastructure

January 2011

New Web Protocol Promises to Reduce Browser Latency

To Be or NAT to Be?

December 2010

Intel Gets inside the Helmet

Tuning Body-to-Body Networks with RF Modeling

November 2010

New Wi-Fi Spec Simplifies Connectivity

Expanded Top-Level Domains Could Spur Internet Real Estate Boom

October 2010

New Weapon in War on Botnets

September 2010

Content-Centered Internet Architecture Gets a Boost

Gesturing Going Mainstream

August 2010

Is Context-Aware Computing Ready for the Limelight?

Flexible Routing in the Cloud

Signal Congestion Rejuvenates Interest in Cell Paging-Channel Protocol

July 2010

New Protocol Improves Interaction among Networked Devices and Applications

Security for Domain Name System Takes a Big Step Forward

The ROADM to Smarter Optical Networking

Distributed Cache Goes Mainstream

June 2010

New Application Protects Mobile-Phone Passwords

WiGig Alliance Reveals Ultrafast Wireless Specification

Cognitive Radio Adds Intelligence to Wireless Technology

May 2010

New Product Uses Light Connections in Blade Server

April 2010

Browser Fingerprints Threaten Privacy

New Animation Technique Uses Motion Frequencies to Shake Trees

March 2010

Researchers Take Promising Approach to Chemical Computing

Screen-Capture Programming: What You See is What You Script

Research Project Sends Data Wirelessly at High Speeds via Light

February 2010

Faster Testing for Complex Software Systems

IEEE 802.1Qbg/h to Simplify Data Center Virtual LAN Management

Distributed Data-Analysis Approach Gains Popularity

Twitter Tweak Helps Haiti Relief Effort

January 2010

2010 Rings in Some Y2K-like Problems

Infrastructure Sensors Improve Home Monitoring

Internet Search Takes a Semantic Turn

December 2009

Phase-Change Memory Technology Moves toward Mass Production

IBM Crowdsources Translation Software

Digital Ants Promise New Security Paradigm

November 2009

Program Uses Mobile Technology to Help with Crises

More Cores Keep Power Down

White-Space Networking Goes Live

Mobile Web 2.0 Experiences Growing Pains

October 2009

More Spectrum Sought for Body Sensor Networks

Optics for Universal I/O and Speed

High-Performance Computing Adds Virtualization to the Mix

ICANN Accountability Goes Multinational

RFID Tags Chat Their Way to Energy Efficiency

September 2009

Delay-Tolerant Networks in Your Pocket

Flash Cookies Stir Privacy Concerns

Addressing the Challenge of Cloud-Computing Interoperability

Ephemeralizing the Web

August 2009

Bluetooth Speeds Up

Grids Get Closer

DCN Gets Ready for Production

The Sims Meet Science

Sexy Space Threat Comes to Mobile Phones

July 2009

WiGig Alliance Makes Push for HD Specification

New Dilemnas, Same Principles:
Changing Landscape Requires IT Ethics to Go Mainstream

Synthetic DNS Stirs Controversy:
Why Breaking Is a Good Thing

New Approach Fights Microchip Piracy

Technique Makes Strong Encryption Easier to Use

New Adobe Flash Streams Internet Directly to TVs

June 2009

Aging Satellites Spark GPS Concerns

The Changing World of Outsourcing

North American CS Enrollment Rises for First Time in Seven Years

Materials Breakthrough Could Eliminate Bootups

April 2009

Trusted Computing Shapes Self-Encrypting Drives

March 2009

Google, Publishers to Try New Advertising Methods

Siftables Offer New Interaction Model for Serious Games

Hulu Boxed In by Media Conglomerates

February 2009

Chips on Verge of Reaching 32 nm Nodes

Hathaway to Lead Cybersecurity Review

A Match Made in Heaven: Gaming Enters the Cloud

January 2009

Government Support Could Spell Big Year for Open Source

25 Reasons For Better Programming

Web Guide Turns Playstation 3 Consoles into Supercomputing Cluster

Flagbearers for Technology: Contemporary Techniques Showcase US Artifact and European Treasures

December 2008

.Tel TLD Debuts As New Way to Network

Science Exchange

November 2008

The Future is Reconfigurable

Spatial Humanities Brings History to Life

by George Lawton

Research in history, archaeology, literary theory, geography, cultural and religious studies, and other fields depends on analyzing many pieces of information relevant to specific topics.

However, researchers often cannot probe the spatial aspects of topics because there are no detailed maps of many sites — such as ancient empires, battlefields, and cities destroyed by natural disasters — that no longer exist or no longer look the same.

Improvements to geographic information systems (GISs), including better user interfaces for tools such as Google Earth, are beginning to change this, said Open University classical-studies lecturer Elton Barker.

As a result, humanities researchers are starting to look for new, advanced ways to use spatial information.

For example, they are using geographic and historical data to create maps that make it easier to visualize important events.

Map-based data could show the locations of ancient cities and trade routes, as well as illustrate population groups, religious influences, and other important items, noted Lancaster University digital-humanities reader Ian Gregory.

Literary theorists are even using such techniques to create maps of places from works of fiction.

This is the basis of a new field called spatial humanities.

"These technologies [let researchers] visualize information in terms of the spatial context in which it occurred," said Barker. "And we can look for patterns that are not obvious."

Building a Better Map

Urban planners and others have used advanced mapping tools since the 1960s and geographic historical information systems since about 1990. However, such tools were not as powerful or appropriate for use in the humanities as those used today in spatial humanities.

Spatial humanities is an interdisciplinary field that addresses the mutual influence of geographic and human-constructed space on society and culture, said David J. Bodenhamer, cofounder and codirector of the Virtual Center for Spatial Humanities, a multidisciplinary collaboration among several US universities.

Basic Technology

Virtual-mapmaking systems start with information sources such as ancient texts.

In many cases, researchers must go through old books manually to geocode the text. However, researchers are also working on techniques and algorithms for processing large volumes of text automatically.

To render the chosen data, the systems use a software-mapping tool. Much of the analysis occurs on high-end computers. PCs typically handle the necessary display and rendering.

Tools Used in Spatial Humanities

The technology uses geospatial and Web 2.0 technologies, such as Google Earth. It lets researchers associate various concepts with geographic entities or spatial relationships and organize them in ways that show their importance.

Basic maps can't accommodate all elements that are important to understanding humanities-related issues.

Using techniques such as self-organizing or cognitive maps along with geographic maps helps users better understand and explore key concepts, Bodenhamer explained.

Self-organizing maps cluster information, keeping conceptually similar items close to each other.

Cognitive maps are graphical representations of facts with symbols indicating how different aspects of a given concept relate to one another.

Increasingly, Bodenhamer noted, humanities scholars are enhancing their maps with multimedia — like images and videos — to provide more useful information.

Technologies such as Google Earth let users embed maps with information from sources such as diaries, letters, photographs, and video that give users more perspective and flexibility in understanding spatial environments and their relationship to various humanities-related issues, he said.

He added that working with immersive approaches — such as using a cave automatic virtual environment (CAVE) to create 3D models of ancient cities — can make spatial data easier to understand.

Virtual-Mapmaking Projects

The Open University's Barker, University of Birmingham lecturer Stefan Bouzarovski, and Oxford University professor Christopher Pelling are using the Google Books archive to create a map of the ancient world based on writings by the historian Herodotus.

This is part of the trio's Herodotus Encoded Space-Text-Imaging Archive (Hestia) project (

Google Books is a service that searches the full text of books that Google has scanned, converted to text, and stored in a database.

Barker noted that he has already used the Google Books archive to show that cities within the ancient Greek and Persian empires were much more interconnected than previously thought.

Middlebury College researchers are using old battlefield maps to create an overall map of the US Civil War's Battle of Gettysburg that lets viewers see the scene from multiple perspectives.

In 2005, Bodenhamer cofounded the Virtual Center for Spatial Humanities, a collaboration among Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis, West Virginia University, and Florida State University. The center seeks, among other things, to adapt geospatial technologies and develop platforms such as deep maps — maps overlaid with multiple levels of data — for use with humanities research.

The University of Virginia's Salem Witch Trials Documentary Archive and Transcription Project ( is using spatial humanities to analyze records of complaints against women suspected of being witches in colonial America in 1692 and 1693 to determine why so many accusations occurred so rapidly.

University of Saskatchewan historian Geoff Cunfer used spatial humanities to correlate historical weather data and land-use patterns to determine the influence that plowing practices had in creating the 1930's US Dust Bowl.

Via its Digital Humanities Research Awards, Google has funded the Google Ancient Places project (, which is working on techniques for manually and automatically encoding ancient texts with spatial information to improve humanities research.

Glimpsing the Future

Although spatial-humanities techniques hold great promise, they also face several challenges because they are expensive and difficult to learn, and can require complete and precise data that many scholars don't have, explained Bodenhamer.

However, said Lancaster University's Gregory, the need for tools to analyze the data is greater now that a massive amount of digital humanities-related content is available to scholars.

And going forward, the Open University's Barker said, these same tools could be applied to areas other than the humanities, such as analyzing news or looking for geographic trends.