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The Antikythera Mechanism: A Computer Science Perspective

pp. 22–27

Diomidis Spinellis

The Antikythera mechanism is an ancient astronomical calculator that contains a lunisolar calendar, predicts eclipses, and indicates the moon's position and phase. Its use of multiple dials and interlocking gears eerily foreshadows modern computing concepts from the fields of digital design, programming, and software engineering. The author explains the mechanism's operation based on a reconstruction that relies on the recent findings that an international cross-disciplinary team of scientists obtained through surface imaging and high-resolution x-ray tomography.

Emerging Nanoscale Memory and Logic Devices: A Critical Assessment

pp. 28–32

James A. Hutchby, Ralph Cavin, Victor Zhirnov, Joe E. Brewer, and George Bourianoff

A natural question for the semiconductor industry is how to exploit nanoscale materials and structures to develop a new, but CMOS-compatible, information-processing technology. During the past two years, the ITRS Emerging Research Devices Working Group has explored the questions of whether nanoscale technology can eventually replace CMOS with a highly scalable, high-performance, low-power binary Boolean logic switch or provide a memory or storage technology capable of scaling either volatile or nonvolatile memory technology beyond 22 nm.

Emerging Research Architectures

pp. 33–37

Ralph Cavin, James A. Hutchby, Victor Zhirnov, Joe E. Brewer, and George Bourianoff

With high-end microprocessor architecture moving to a multicore format, dual-core products have become available commercially, and quad-core chips are entering the marketplace. Indeed, a recently announced 80-core experimental chip heralds a new milestone.

Researchers estimate that headroom exists for perhaps an order-of-magnitude improvement, relative to single-core processors, in these performance metrics as more elementary processors are added. The difficult problem is utilizing this many-core capability to gain an algorithmic advantage across the general class of computational problems.

Boolean Logic and Alternative Information-Processing Devices

pp. 38–46

George Bourianoff, Joe E. Brewer, Ralph Cavin, James A. Hutchby, and Victor Zhirnov

CMOS scaling trends have been at the core of the ITRS since its inception in 1994, and to be viable, any new technology will have to compete with scaled CMOS along some axis. The Emerging Research Devices chapter within the 2007 ITRS addresses for the first time the question of whether emerging technologies have an advantage over scaled CMOS because their particular physical characteristics provide useful information-processing functions other than general-purpose Boolean logic such as recognition, mining, and synthesis.

A Practical Paradigm and Platform for Video-Based Human-Computer Interaction

pp. 48–55

Jason J. Corso, Guangqi Ye, Darius Burschka, and Gregory D. Hager

In this new age of human-centered computing, human-computer interaction (HCI) must look to new technologies for building intuitive interfaces. Video is one such technology. Computer vision techniques could provide far richer interactivity than conventional devices. With the video input signal, systems could use large-scale, unencumbered motion from multiple concurrent users, leading to more direct, robust, and effective computing.

The visual interaction cues paradigm uses a shared perceptual space between the user and the computer. Approaching the problem this way removes the need to globally track and model the user.

Improving Wireless Health Monitoring Using Incentive-Based Router Cooperation

pp. 56–62

Upkar Varshney

Many healthcare providers are beginning to use infrastructure-oriented wireless networks and cellular systems to monitor and track patients, but potentially spotty coverage due to time- and location-dependent channel quality and signal attenuation resulting in dead spots can significantly diminish message delivery reliability. Ad hoc networks could be used to supplement such networks, but they rely on the cooperation of devices acting as routers. Performance results from an analytical model show that using incentives to obtain router cooperation can significantly improve message delivery reliability.

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