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Issue No. 02 - Feb. (2013 vol. 46)
ISSN: 0018-9162
pp: 4-5
The IEEE Computer Society's lineup of 12 peer-reviewed technical magazines cover cutting-edge topics in computing, including scientific applications, Internet computing, machine intelligence, pervasive computing, security and privacy, digital graphics, and computer history. Select articles from recent issues of Computer Society magazines are highlighted below.
Over the past decade, the advent of social networking has fundamentally altered the landscape of how software is used, designed, and developed. In many cases, it has eliminated boundaries and upended traditional hierarchies that constrained the flow of information. "Bridging Software Communities through Social Networking" introduces three feature articles in Software's January/February focus on social networking. Guest editors Andrew Begel of Microsoft Research, Jan Bosch of Chalmers University of Technology, Sweden, and Margaret-Anne Storey of the University of Victoria, Canada, also interview designers from four popular software-related social networking sites: GitHub, MSDN, Stack Exchange, and TopCoder.
Security & Privacy
In their feature article in S&P's November/December issue titled "Is Everything We Know about Password Stealing Wrong?," Microsoft Research's Dinei Florêncio and Cormac Herley debunk many popular beliefs about the threat and risks associated with stealing passwords. Although money is certainly a large part of the motivation for this activity, the liability for US consumers is zero. Their review of the "business models" for monetizing stolen credentials leads the authors to conclude that "if the goal were mayhem and destruction rather than moneymaking, we might be a great deal worse off."
Internet Computing
In their introduction to IC's January/February special issue on Internet sustainability, guest editors Albert Conte of Alcatel-Lucent Bell Labs in France and Michela Meo of Politecnico di Torino, Italy, note that recent research shows information and communications technology (ICT) to be responsible for roughly 4 percent of world energy consumption—a figure that's "expected to double in the next decade if things don't change drastically." The authors review the challenges in reducing ICT energy consumption from datacenters to network infrastructures and user devices and then introduce four articles that offer a snapshot of ongoing efforts toward a global solution to these challenges.
Intelligent System
"Computational Deception and Noncooperation" is the topic of IS's November/December Trends & Controversies department. Anton Hijholt of the University of Twente, Netherlands, introduces six contributions to the state of the art in this research area, ranging from analysis of noncooperative behavior and of multiparty interactions to methods of detecting misleading information in computer-mediated communication.
IT Professional
"Lessons Learned from Hurricane Sandy: Maintaining Service during a Disaster" is the Insecure IT department article in IT Pro's January/February issue. The author, George Sherwood, is CEO of, an automated, combinatorial test design service that offers 24/7 availability to software engineering clients all over the world. The company's offices and servers are located about 10 miles inland from a part of the New Jersey coast that was hit especially hard by Hurricane Sandy in October 2012. Sherwood gives a harrowing account of how his business maintained its services through the next 24 days of power and communication outages, which were exacerbated by a harsh nor'easter snowstorm that followed in Sandy's wake. "The lessons learned apply beyond natural disasters," notes the department's editor, Rick Kuhn. "Readers can find many ideas to keep their own operations reliable and available in the face of the unexpected."
In "Redefining the Role of the CPU in the Era of CPU-GPU Integration" in Micro's November/December issue, researchers from the University of California, San Diego, look at what computations will be remapped to GPUs and those that will remain on the CPU in integrated CPU-GPU systems. Results from experimental simulations show post-GPU code to have lower instruction-level parallelism; more difficult prediction of branches, loads, and stores; and much smaller gains from the availability of multiple cores. The authors advise that changes in the nature of CPU computations call for rethinking CPU design and architecture.
Computer Graphics
Redirected walking (RDW) is a natural locomotion interface that solves the problem of limited interaction space in immersive virtual environments (IVEs) that relates gains to tracking data and applies the result to an IVE virtual camera's motion. In "Using Perceptual Illusions for Redirected Walking," the Spatial Interfaces department article in CG&A's January/February issue, Frank Steinicke and Gerd Bruder of the University of Würzburg, Germany, review the RDW state of the art. They also present results from psychophysical experiments to identify the detection thresholds for human sensitivity to RDW. Then they explore three illusions to solve threshold problems and improve RDW's efficiency. Although RDW research is in its infancy, Steinicke and Bruder equate it with Ivan Sutherland's "ultimate display"—that is, "the Wonderland into which Alice walked."
In "Bringing HPC to Engineering Innovation" in CiSE's November/December issue, researchers from Rennselaer Polytechnic Institute discuss the current state of high-performance computing's influence on industrial innovation. They examine why progress has been slow and limited in this field, despite a widespread belief that HPC could dramatically increase industrial innovation. They also describe efforts to address the technical, economic, and organizational barriers that have stood in the way.
Stereoscopic (3D) models and visualizations have applications value, especially in videoconferencing systems, where they offer a higher level of immersion when accessing remote 3D models. However, several challenges constrain their widespread use, including the processing and transmission of large volumes of data with low latencies and their display across heterogeneous systems. Czechoslovakian researchers survey the state of the art in "Remote Access to 3D Models for Research, Engineering, and Art" in MultiMedia's October-December issue. They also describe promising results from several long-distance experiments they conducted using prototype systems developed at the Czech Technical University in Prague.
Pervasive Computing
In PvC's January-March special issue on transit and transport, guest editors from Europe, Singapore, and the US introduce three feature articles that address aspects of pervasive computing applications in public transportation systems, accessibility, and travel-planning mashups as well as two reports of works in progress, one on traffic-light optimization and the other on monitoring waste transport.
In "The Relational Database and the Concept of the Information System," the lead article in Annals' October-December issue, author David Alan Grier argues that E.F. Codd's landmark 1970 paper, "A Relational Model of Data for Large Shared Data Banks," marked not the beginning of an idea that created a new intellectual field and industry but, rather, the end of an idea that had been evolving for 25 years from the inception of the electronic computer.
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