Context aware computing

Never drunk dial again. That is the promise from Intel CTO, Justin Rattner, as he discussed context aware computing and the next generation of personal devices, at the annual Intel Develop Forum in San Francisco. Combining GPS technology with data from microphones, cameras, heart monitors and brain scans, new apps could track and document your every move. Don't worry about taking a picture of that landmark; your phone already did because it knows you never remember to. It also updated your … [Read more...]

Five nines reliability standard

Uptime. It's all about uptime; ask any sysadmin. Components fail and networks go down. Power goes out. Users download viruses on to systems. Apophis could go to eleven on the Torino impact hazard scale, smack right into Euro Disney, and the call from marketing would be to inquire when the servers are going to be back up. The Black Swan has a nasty habit of smacking us around, so we come up with contingencies and try to engineer redundancy. Redundancy has costs but the question remains, how … [Read more...]

Extending Moore’s Law

According to Science News, researchers at Rice University have created the first two-terminal, pure silicon memory chips, easily adaptable to nanoelectric manufacturing. Researchers discovered that silicon oxide could replace carbon in the process. When an electric charge is sent through silicon oxide-an insulator-between semiconducting sheets of polycrystalline silicon, it forms a conductive pathway as small as 5 nanometers (billionths of a meter) wide. This process creates a two-terminal … [Read more...]

Cashews, Datacenters and Imperial Pints

When I was a kid, there was a t.v. show called Beyond 2000. It showcased cutting edge technology that was supposed to change the way we worked and lived. I guess, at the time, the siren song of the millennium still held its allure. Then we got American Idol and it all went downhill. I remember one episode, in Beyond 2000, where they talked about containers made from processed rice. The containers could be molded into any shape, used and then consumed. And by consumed, I mean … [Read more...]

The Six Million Dollar Human (adjusted for inflation)

"Gentlemen, we can rebuild him. We have the technology...Better, stronger, faster." -from The Six Million Dollar Man Memresistors and human engineering. Artificial intelligence and supercomputers. Biosynthetic corneal implants and facebook updates. What do these things have in common? The reliance on microprocessors? Hardly. This technology might soon be packaged into a portable, rugged, ergonomically correct platform. The human skin. From an article on DiscoveryNews, Hartmut … [Read more...]

Software Driven Networking: Enabling New Internet Speed Protocols

A team from the Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology created a router, built from parts found in most high-end desktop computers, that transmits data at nearly 40 GBps. The technique used by the scientists could lead to the development of cheap commodity chips, replacing the custom made hardware in high performance routers. The software could lead to the development of new techniques and protocols to replace the decades old infrastructure, on which the Internet currently … [Read more...]

GPUs in the news: medical imaging

Next time you feel like bemoaning the state of today’s big thumbed, small minded, video-game generation, think about the social benefit all those gaming man-hours are contributing to medical research. A team from UC San Diego created an algorithm for CT scan image reconstruction using an NVIDIA GPU, discovering, in the process, the superior effectiveness in creating  targeted images of tumor cells. This improvement over traditional medical scans reduces the total radiation cancer patients … [Read more...]