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Fredrik Rehnmark, William Bluethmann, Joshua Mehling, Robert O. Ambrose, Myron Diftler, Mars Chu, and Ryan Necessary
The International Space Station highlights NASA's reliance on extravehicular activity spacewalks to configure external equipment, connect services, and perform maintenance. Conventional EVA operations are planned for two astronauts working an eight-hour day.
The recent emergence of highly dexterous space robots could help conserve EVA hours by relieving humans of many routine inspection and maintenance chores and assisting them in more complex tasks. As astronaut surrogates, the robots could take risks unacceptable to humans, respond more quickly to EVA emergencies, and work around the clock on renewable power. NASA plans to someday deploy EVA teams that combine the information-gathering and problem-solving skills of human astronauts with the survivability and physical capabilities of diverse robot archetypes.
Sol Efroni, David Harel, and Irun R. Cohen
Some complex systems are transformational, of an input-process-output type, repeatedly carrying out their prescribed work for each new set of inputs. A far more problematic class comprises large systems that are heavily control- or event-driven.
Such systems—dubbed reactive because they react to various kinds of events, signals, and conditions in intricate ways—are often concurrent and distributed. Reactive animation, a patent pending technology, offers great promise as a way to enhance the visualization of system behavior, especially for reactive systems, which are a central part of most current computerized technologies.
Oliver Bimber, Andreas Emmerling, and Thomas Klemmer
The popularity of today's flat-panel liquid-crystal and plasma TV displays shows that emerging trends favor large-screen displays. Another display type may soon conquer the entertainment market, however: Video projectors have experienced an enormous metamorphosis during the past decade.
These devices now offer admirable cost reductions and performance increases, and they can generate images much larger than the devices themselves. The screens on which they project their images, however, require a large area. Smart projectors, on the other hand, allow a correct projection onto many arbitrary existing surfaces, such as papered walls or curtained windows.
Chris Dwyer, Alvin R. Lebeck, and Daniel J. Sorin
Despite the convenience of clean abstractions, technological trends are blurring the lines between design layers and creating new interactions between previously unrelated architecture layers. For example, virtual machines such as VMWare and Transmeta implement the application-software-visible architecture in virtual-machine software, allowing more flexibility in the hardware/software interface beneath the VM layer.
Future technologies will likely further increase the interactions between design layers. Programmable self-assembly is an emerging fabrication technology that must be considered in the higher layers of computer system design. This technology offers an opportunity to perform computation during the fabrication process itself.
Robert W. Keyes
Quantum computing has attracted considerable interest in the past decade as a possible way to deal with certain intractable problems of conventional digital computing. Quantum computers built using the versatile methods of solid-state technology are attractive because the many thousands of devices needed for such a computer could be fabricated with well-established technologies. However, the imperfections of solid-state devices constructed in laboratories and factories will limit the use of solid-state devices in quantum computing.
The challenge for solid-state quantum computing is to find a way to use devices without precise knowledge of their physical characteristics.
To remain globally competitive, multinational corporations are outsourcing their IT services and relocating their labor-intensive operations overseas to low-wage countries.
In the past decade, India's IT services industry emerged as an important player in this global market. While worldwide IT services revenue increased less than 2 percent from 2000 to 2003, India's IT services industry experienced a 22 percent revenue growth—a pace comparable to the rise in Hong Kong's electronics industry during the 1970s.