Issue No. 09 - September (2010 vol. 43)
DOI Bookmark: http://doi.ieeecomputersociety.org/10.1109/MC.2010.251
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 Computer Society magazines are highlighted below.
Most modern enterprise applications use a relational database management system as the underlying data store. Because many applications use object-oriented or functional languages, this can create an impedance mismatch between the application layer and the data layer. Storing data the same way it's used in the application would simplify the programming model, making it easier to decentralize data processing and, in turn, enable horizontal scaling. Emerging NoSQL data-storage engines support this strategy. Just like the application layer, the data-storage layer can use multiple paradigms and store data in a way that's semantically closer to the corresponding domain models. In "Multiparadigm Data Storage for Enterprise Applications," in the September/October issue of Software, Debasish Ghosh of Anshin Software discusses a strategy for using multiparadigm data storage within a single application.
In recent years, social behavioral data has been exponentially expanding due to the tremendous success of various outlets on the Social Web (aka Web 2.0) like Facebook, Digg, Twitter, Wikipedia, and Delicious. As a result, there is a need for social learning to support the discovery, analysis, and modeling of human social behavioral data. The goal is to discover social intelligence, which encompasses a spectrum of knowledge that characterizes human interaction, communication, and collaborations. The social Web has thus become a fertile ground for machine learning and data mining research. A July/August special issue of IS gathers state-of-the-art research in social learning and presents some of the best and most representative works in this area.
Under conditions of anonymity, a large multinational company gave Rand scientist Shari Pfleeger and her research team complete access to its staff and documentation regarding a real, sustained attack on its systems. "Anatomy of an Intrusion" is the lead article in IT Pro's July/August special issue on cybersecurity. Pfleeger presents an insider's look at what happened from the moment IT staff noticed strange behavior after a server update, through a worldwide attack and the company's response. Her analysis includes lessons learned.
The Digital Emily Project uses advanced face scanning, character rigging, performance capture, and compositing to achieve one of the world's first photorealistic digital facial performances. The project scanned the geometry and reflectance of actress Emily O'Brien's face in 33 poses, showing different emotions, gaze directions, and lip formations in a light stage. These high-resolution scans—accurate to skin pores and fine wrinkles—became the basis for building a blendshape-based facial-animation rig in which the expressions closely matched the scans. The result was a realistic 3D digital facial performance credited as one of the first to cross the "uncanny valley" between animated and fully human performances. Read "The Digital Emily Project: Achieving a Photorealistic Digital Actor" in the July/August 2010 issue of CG&A.
Global optimization's active research community continues to pursue increasingly efficient computational strategies for addressing large-scale optimization problems. Muhammad Sahimi and Hossein Hamzehpour address the state of the art in "Efficient Computational Strategies for Solving Global Optimization Problems" in the July/August issue of CiSE.
Security & Privacy
Gary McGraw interviews Richard A. Clarke in the monthly Silver Bullet podcast from S&P. Clarke is an internationally recognized expert on national security, counterterrorism, and cybersecurity who teaches at Harvard's Kennedy School of Government. He is an on-air consultant for ABC news and served for 11 consecutive years in the White House under three different presidents, including a stint as special advisor to the president on cybersecurity. Hear the full podcast or watch the videocast of the interview at www.computer.org/security/podcasts or www.cigital.com/silverbullet. An associated Web extra provides a full transcript of the interview. Gary McGraw is the CTO of Cigital, a software security and quality consulting firm with headquarters in Virginia.
Mobile devices and social media have considerable potential for learning, from both the individual-skills and socialization perspectives. However, acceptable-use policies have limited the use of mobile devices on school campuses.
In "Acceptable Use of Technology in Schools: Risks, Policies, and Promises," in the July-September issue of PvC, Meg Cramer and Gillian Hayes of the University of California, Irvine, ask why mobile devices and social-media applications are much less pervasive in the classroom than in other parts of youth life. Certain perceived risks and observed problems with regard to youth online underlie educators' attitudes toward pervasive technologies in formal learning settings.
The authors assert that educators, researchers, and designers must work together with youth to provide greater access to these systems and applications in a formal schooling context.
In the July/August 2010 issue of Internet Computing, author Aaron Bedra shows how to use Clojure, a relatively new but robust Lisp implementation on the Java virtual machine, to create and deploy an application on the Google App Engine platform. The article also contains several blocks of code, which will prove useful when applying the author's concepts.
Micro's July/August issue is a special issue on Data-center-Scale Computing. Guest editors Luiz André Barroso of Google and Parthasarathy Ranganathan of HP Labs predict a transformation in the datacenter landscape over the next decade, with new workloads and new technologies leading to a new systems stack and architectural optimizations targeted specifically at this space. They present eight articles that explore ongoing work and emerging trends in the architecture design, programming abstractions, and operational management for a computer infrastructure that increasingly moves programs, services, and storage to large computing clusters, accessible through high-speed Internet links.
"A Tactile Glove Design and Authoring System for Immersive Multimedia," in MultiMedia's July-September 2010 issue, describes the implementation of a framework for immersive multimedia that augments movie and gaming experiences with tactile sensations such as heat and texture. The implementation uses a tactile glove and tactile-authoring tool, and the authors report results from system and user studies as well as live demonstrations.
Design & Test
Limitations of copper interconnect technologies are driving research for alternative materials. In D&T's July/August special issue on emerging interconnect technologies, Hong Li, Chuan Xu, and Kaustav Banerjee of the University of California, Santa Barbara, discuss various carbon nanomaterials and compare them with optical and RF technologies. They report their conclusions in "Carbon Nanomaterials: The Ideal Interconnect Technology for Next-Generation ICs."
The July–September issue of Annals features four articles by pioneers from German electronics giant AEG-Telefunken's TR 440 development team. Hans Rüdiger Wiehle, who headed the TR 440 operating system development group from 1965 to 1968, introduces the set. In "External Characteristics of Computer Operations: Toward Large Conversational Time-Sharing Systems," Wiehle reviews the history of scientific-technical computing in Germany from the mid-1950s to 1960s. In three subsequent articles, Eike Jessen, Dieter Michel, Hans-Juergen Siegert, and Heinz Voigt explore AEG Telefunken's strategy for creating large-scale computers, the TR 440 system design and development, and the development of its software.