Issue No. 04 - April (2005 vol. 38)
DOI Bookmark: http://doi.ieeecomputersociety.org/10.1109/MC.2005.110
NETWORK SERVICE (p. 7). "Packet Communications Inc. (PCI) has submitted an application for Federal Communications Commission authorization to offer a nationwide packet-switched data communication network service. Their proposed network will be similar in concept to the Advanced Research Projects Agency's (ARPA) Network, which currently serves over 30 computers in universities, research centers and Government installations. (The ARPA Network was developed by the U.S. Department of Defense and is not available for commercial use.)"
"PCI's application notes prominently that PCI does not intend to construct or acquire any communication lines. Rather, PCI intends to utilize the lines and facilities offerings of the existing communications carriers, and in addition to these offerings to add equipment and ancillary services in such a way that the resulting network will solve the special problems of teleprocessing users."
TECHNOLOGY'S SOCIAL IMPLICATIONS (pp. 8-9). "Engineers are becoming increasingly concerned with the effects of technology on our society. The uses of technology, the priorities assigned in developing new technology, and the effects on our physical and social environment are of vital importance to our future. The present generation is the first in history to face the prospect of a planet limited in its ability to support an exponentially growing and polluting human race. The public has become increasingly intolerant of what it sees as the nuisances or hazards resulting from technology.
"In response to these concerns the Executive Committee of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) has formed an Ad Hoc Committee on Social Implications of Technology (C-SIT). Its areas of concern include: professionalism and social responsibility in engineering; understanding the interaction between technology and society; predicting and evaluating the impact of technology on society; and fostering study, discussion and appropriate action in these areas."
COMPUTING NETWORKS (Ruth M. Davis, p. 14). "The $64 question today is 'How do we make sure that computer networks are used to our best advantage?' I submit that we don't yet have a satisfactory answer. Further, I am convinced that we have not yet asked the right questions that let us present, to a listening audience, a realistic appraisal of what is the real power of computer networks.
"I do assert, however, that time has run out for those of us who still wish to equivocate about computer networks and their place in today's world. Experience to date with computer networks makes cowards of those of us who still vacillate in speaking of the roles for computer networks in society today.
"The same technical cowardice is exhibited by those who try to brush aside the significance of minicomputers and their steadily increasing numbers in our national inventory of computers. The tremendous power for good possessed by the coupling of minicomputers and their gigantic counterparts—the maxicomputers—by computer networks should be a cause célèbre of the computer industry and not another false reason for self-flagellation by computer professionals."
VIDEO GENERATOR (p. 38). "One of the interesting aspects of the graphic video generator presented here is that it represents an all digital, all electronic solution to a problem that heretofore required analog or mechanical devices for its solution. Thus we have been able to achieve both performance improvement and cost reduction over analog devices to obtain a device that is well-suited for minicomputer applications. It is rather interesting to speculate about other situations in which we can take advantage of advances in integrated circuit technology to arrive at totally different design approaches. It is safe to say that even the video generator described here will undergo drastic changes in coming years as newer semiconductor memories become available."
ARITHMETIC PROCESSOR (p. 45). "A new 10-digit binary-coded decimal arithmetic processor in a single integrated circuit has been announced by Texas Instruments. Designated the TMS0117, the IC is designed to process numerical data in serial BCD format. Numbers of up to 10 digits can be processed in under 100 milliseconds main operation time. The four basic operations—add, subtract, multiply, and divide—are provided; others include increment, decrement, shift left, shift right, exchange operands, add to overflow, and subtract to zero."
FIRE FIGHTING (p. 46). "Glasgow, Scotland plans to link its fire engines with a computer to fight blazes more efficiently.
"Small facsimile printers installed in the cabs of 40 fire engines will receive by radio and print out detailed information on floor plans of the burning building and its known fire hazards while the firemen are on their way to battle the blaze."
"The system, based on two Honeywell 316 computers due to be installed in June or July, will ultimately contain data on 10,000 properties. The information, to be updated daily, would include building plans and layouts, known hazardous materials in the building, and a special file of 1,000 hazardous substances and how to handle them in the case of fire."
AIRPORT SECURITY (p. 48). "Friendship International Airport is starting installation of a computer-based security system as part of its total airport security concept, Robert J. Aaronson, State Aviation Administrator, announced today. The $200,000 security system goes into operation this spring.
"The Baltimore-Washington, D.C. airport will be the first in the nation to use IBM's new controlled access system, which will link 60 security stations throughout the airport to a central computer in the airport security office.
HARDWARE TESTING (p. 12). "Why an issue of Computer on [software tools for hardware] testing? Because the automatic generation of test vectors and their evaluation through fault simulation are extremely complex and time-consuming operations, consuming hours and days of computer time. The complexity of the circuits on which these tools are used is growing faster than the speed of the computers on which they run. New algorithms and techniques are required for both the circuits of today and tomorrow. The techniques for solving complex problems in the physical sciences, such as vectorization and the exploitation of parallelism, do not lend themselves to solving testing problems. The purpose of this issue is to expose these problems to a wider audience and, perhaps, stimulate research that will find solutions."
TEST GENERATION (p. 16). "VLSI test generation is very complex. The test generation problem is NP-complete when defined in terms of the most common (low-level) circuit and fault models, which represent the circuit using Boolean logic elements and binary signals. Specialized design-for-testability techniques and high-performance computer-aided design workstations have held this intractability in check, but the design techniques are not without their costs and might not always apply. As a result, considerable recent research has focused on test generation techniques that give good results on wide classes of circuits and design styles. Much of this effort focuses on what we call high-level approaches, which view the circuit with less structural detail, that is, from a more abstract viewpoint and often hierarchically."
SYSTEM TESTABILITY (p. 59). "System testability and diagnosability depend on the design of the system and on the test sets used to perform testing and diagnosis. It is important to emphasize, however, that irrespective of the resources (for example, computer time, test time, automatic test equipment capabilities) one can afford to allocate for test set development, the system design defines an upper limit on the degree of testability and diagnosability that can be achieved in a given system. Therefore, the designer can directly affect a system's degree of testability and diagnosability by considering its test and diagnosis requirements as design requirements, not as test requirements decoupled from the design process, as designers often do today."
COMPUTER LITERACY (p. 80). "Computer Literacy Month has become a year-round campaign to promote computer literacy in North America with the establishment of the Computer Learning Foundation. Supported by major software publishing companies, as well as Apple, IBM, Tandy, and Commodore in 1988, CLF expects to receive up to $1 million in funding this year.
"CLF's announcement coincided with predictions of national technological decline touched off by an Educational Testing Service study that showed 13-year-old US students scoring the lowest in an international comparison of mathematics and science skills. Earlier, a National Research Council study reported that American students were being 'left behind' due to a mathematics teaching system that set its expectations too low."
PRINTERS (p. 83). "Microcomputer printers have come a long way since the high-decibel, low-resolution, dot matrix boxes and the daisywheel dinosaurs of yesteryear. Today, microcomputer owners can choose from a bewildering variety of fast, sophisticated, 9- and 24-pin dot matrix printers at the low end of the price range and from a plethora of whisper-quiet laser printers at the high end that rival typesetters in print quality."
A MILLION TRANSISTORS (p. 95). "The 64-bit i860 RISC microprocessor from Intel contains more than 1 million transistors and performs up to 80 million calculations per second, according to the company. The chip reportedly targets multiprocessing systems, 3D workstations, and graphic subsystems.
"The i860 contains integer and floating-point graphics units, a memory management unit, and instruction and data caches. It is manufactured using the company's CHMOS IV one-micron process."
MULTIPROCESSOR UNIX (p. 97). "HCL America has announced the M3000 series of Unix-based multiprocessor minicomputers, built around Motorola's 25-MHz 68030 processor and optional 68882 math coprocessor. The systems come with from one to six CPUs with performance ranging from 4 to more than 15 million instructions per second.
"The architecture uses a single global shared memory with two-way interleaving. The proprietary HMP (High-speed Multi Processor) bus handles transfers between CPUs and memory, while the VMEbus handles peripheral I/O."
WAFER SCALE INTEGRATION (p. 104). "Tadashi Sasaki of Sharp Corp. presented compelling arguments for the economic importance of wafer scale integration for future complex microelectronic systems … ."
"Sasaki described Japan's long-range plan to bring its WSI technology into place in the year 2000. He commented that progress is well ahead of schedule, so we should see this technology used in the 1990s.">