Issue No. 08 - August (2009 vol. 42)
DOI Bookmark: http://doi.ieeecomputersociety.org/10.1109/MC.2009.258
The IEEE Computer Society offers a lineup of 13 peer-reviewed technical magazines that cover cutting-edge topics in computing including scientific applications, design and test, security, Internet computing, machine intelligence, digital graphics, and computer history. Select articles from recent issues of IEEE Computer Society magazines are highlighted below.
In January 2009, Software's editorial and advisory boards selected Michael Cusumano, Alan MacCormack, Chris Kemerer, and Bill Crandall's 2003 article "Software Development Worldwide: The State of the Practice" as one of the magazine's all-time best peer-reviewed articles. Authors of an update in the September/October issue, titled "Critical Decisions in Software Development: Updating the State of the Practice," compress years of research and experience into four contemporary questions central to success in the software development business.
Energy use by PCs is a growing cost to enterprises, with most machines remaining fully powered on, even while idle, for most of the time. In "Greener PCs for the Enterprise," Bruce Nordman and Ken Christensen present the Network Connectivity Proxy, which maintains network presence for PCs but lets them sleep while idle, thus saving energy and reducing total cost of ownership.
Security & Privacy
Massively distributed online role-playing games are a bellwether for problems to come in software security. As cloud computing, service-oriented architecture, and Web 2.0 take off, developers can expect to grapple with technical issues very similar to those currently facing online games. Gary McGraw of Cigital and Ming Chow of Tufts University, guest editors of this S&P special issue on securing online games, tackle the problem from three angles, describing articles that address money and virtual economies, the nascent state of the law, and thorny technical issues.
A major challenge of making the recent Disney/Pixar feature film WALL-E was creating believable physics for human and robot crowds. To do this, Pixar technical directors combined a custom spring-physics system in the Massive software platform with traditional simulation methods. The performance was fast enough to scale for large crowds and maintain interactivity for previews.
"Brain Springs: Fast Physics for Large Crowds in WALL-E," an article in the latest issue of CG&A by Paul Kanyuk of Pixar Animation Studios, details the methods used in achieving this new level of realism in film. Visit Computing Now to view related video segments.
Writer and futurist Isaac Asimov's three laws of robotics have been inculcated so successfully into our culture that they now shape society's expectations as to how robots should act around humans. "Beyond Asimov: The Three Laws of Responsible Robotics," in the most recent issue of IS, reviews some of the shortcomings of Asimov's laws and proposes an alternative, parallel set—three laws of responsible robotics. Authors Robin Murphy and David Woods aim to stimulate debate about accountability when robots' actions can result in harm to people or human interests.
The July/August special issue of D&T features eight articles devoted to exploring high-level synthesis. Articles include overviews on state-of-the-art tools and techniques, a canonical representation of arithmetic expressions and ways to optimize them, sequential equivalence checking techniques, and progress in statistical HLS addressing process variation.
Other features include a case study of hardware implementation using an advanced algorithm, an approach to the problem of power consumption in data-dominated applications, a discussion of the evolution of HLS from research to adoption, and an exploration of lessons and experiences with HLS. Also featured is a virtual roundtable exploring perspectives on HLS by six users in industry.
The world is becoming covered by a seamless electronic "nervous system" that extends across places, things, and people, while 3D virtual environments have recently exploded with the advent of massively shared online virtual worlds. Dedicated immersive games such as World of Warcraft and general-purpose worlds like Second Life now boast more than 10 million subscribers each.
In "Reality Environments," guest editors Joseph A. Paradiso of the MIT Media Laboratory and James A. Landay of the University of Washington introduce coverage in the July-September 2009 issue of PvC that addresses these cross-reality environments.
Semantic Web technologies have been around for some time. However, such technologies have had little impact on the development of real-world Web applications to date. This situation has changed dramatically in the past few months with the ascendancy of linked data. An article from IC's Spotlight department, "Exploiting Linked Data to Build Web Applications" by Michael Hausenblas, shows how linked data sets can be exploited to build rich Web applications with little effort.
At the highest levels, embedded multicore can be defined as a technology, a methodology, and a business and research opportunity. Building a multicore-enabled embedded system requires developers to leverage a combination of these factors. Embedded multicore technology also includes systems on chip (SoCs) with an almost unlimited combination of homogeneous and heterogeneous processors designed to tackle specific applications.
The latest issue of Micro offers a look at successful development strategies and the state of the art in multicore processing from various perspectives.