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ACM TechNews is published every week on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday.


ACM TechNews is intended as an objective news digest for busy IT Professionals. Views expressed are not necessarily those of either AutoChoice Advisor or ACM. To send comments, please write to technews@hq.acm.org.
Volume 6, Issue 646:  Wednesday, May 19, 2004

  • "EU Approves Software Patent Changes"
    CNet (05/18/04); Kotadia, Munir

    Many amendments to the European Union's Software Patents Directive the European Parliament introduced in 2003 to set limits on software patents have been overruled by the European Council's May 18 decision to approve a revised version of the directive, according to a representative of the Department of Trade and Industry in Great Britain. Many open-source developers agree with this assessment, and warn that the current draft of the directive may be even more detrimental to the European software industry than the original draft. MandrakeSoft Linux founder Gael Duval argued in a letter to the LWN open-source Web site that the latest revision was authored by national patent office representatives with the support of the legal directors of major industrial corporations. The amendments the Council added last year stemmed from criticism of the original draft's wording on the grounds that it was opaque enough to make software patents valid and thus set up a scheme similar to that of the United States, where rampant software patenting has engendered corporation-dominated copyright squabbles. In a letter to U.K. secretary of state for trade and industry Patricia Hewitt, British minister Tom Watson warned that approving the current incarnation of the software patent directive could seriously hurt the reputation of the EU's new intellectual property laws. The European Parliament will vote on the amended directive in the fall, but James Heald of the Foundation for a Free Information Infrastructure says it will be difficult to overturn the Council's decision.
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  • "Fine-Tuning Spam Filtering"
    TechNewsWorld (05/18/04); Korzeniowski, Paul

    Unsolicited commercial email has expanded by more than five times its volume since 2001, and though spam filtering solutions help mitigate the problem, they are not foolproof--and worse, they can unintentionally prevent legitimate email from getting through, often without the user realizing it. The risk of false positives, which has escalated as spammers and anti-spam product vendors play a rapidly accelerating game of one-upmanship, is frustrating for companies that rely on sending large volumes of valid email for their business. One of the more popular spam filtering methods, whitelisting/blacklisting, involves placing incoming spam messages on a whitelist (senders whose emails are permitted into the recipient's inbox) or a blacklist (senders whose messages are blocked because they are assumed to be spam); however, Ferris Research's Richi Jennings warns, "Spoofing [the process of putting another person's or organization's email address in the header] is a major issue, and more than one out of every three spam messages does not come from the address listed." Another widespread spam-blocking technique, content filtering, analyzes message content to statistically determine whether the email is spam, and ranks messages accordingly. With spammers continuously probing filters for work-arounds, and current strategies to avoid false positives resulting in spam overload or reduced productivity, users are clamoring for better spam-blocking measures. Among the techniques vendors are looking at is the use of domain keys that confirm email senders via public-key encryption technology. A successful domain key authentication scheme requires widespread adoption, the creation of a standard supported by all vendors, and upgrading corporate email systems. Though Jennings thinks domain key technology will help curb spam, he notes that "in the short term, it will continue to be difficult for companies to block spam but still deliver needed messages to their users."
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  • "EU Seeks Quantum Cryptography Response to Echelon"
    IDG News Service (05/17/04); Willan, Philip

    The European Union is launching a four-year project to develop long-distance quantum cryptography: The aim of the $13 million program is to deter espionage systems, such as the U.S.-operated Echelon electronic eavesdropping system that collects intelligence data for the United States, United Kingdom, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand. Austrian contractor and project coordinator Christian Monyk says pilfered intelligence has especially hurt Europe in the past, and that quantum cryptography was recommended as the solution in a European Parliament report. Quantum communications would be used only to transmit the encryption key, but not the data itself, which would be sent through regular methods, notes Monyk. Quantum cryptography uses single photons to carry data, which are irreversibly changed if observed by a third party so that no one can spy on the line without being detected. Currently, optical fibers are used to carry photons tens of miles, but the European effort intends to dramatically improve the range by incorporating other technologies in the solution, dubbed Secure Communication based on Quantum Cryptography (SECOQC). "We are taking a really broad approach to quantum cryptography, which other countries haven't done," says Monyk, who expects the system to be working in four years, though it will probably require another three to four years in order to prepare SECOQC for commercial use. There are a number of technical challenges, including building sensitive sensors that can detect photons traveling at high speed, and creating photon generators that release only one photon at a time; more than one photon released would compromise the system, Monyk explains. Another challenge is determining who can use the unbreakable communication system, since terrorists and other criminals could obviously use it to avoid law enforcement.
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  • "ACM's SIGGRAPH 2004 Emerging Technologies Presents 28 Interactive Installations That Explore the Theme of Enhancing Life"
    Business Wire (05/18/04)

    The enhancement of life is a theme that will be demonstrated in 28 interactive installations set up by research labs, independent artists, universities, and industry for ACM's SIGGRAPH 2004 Emerging Technologies exhibition scheduled for August 8-12 in Los Angeles. SIGGRAPH 2004 Emerging Technologies Chair Heather Elliott-Famularo expects the exhibition's life enhancement technologies to include real-time graphics, haptics, imaging and video technology, interactive displays, interactive fine art installations, mobile communication, sensors, virtual and augmented reality, and wearables. One installation, Maria Erwin and Verstappen Driessens' Tickle Salon, integrates meta creativity, artificial intelligence, biology, and pleasure into a haptic system in which robots gently tickle and massage the user's skin to effect relaxation. The Lumisight Table, developed by the University of Tokyo's Yasuaki Kakehi, is a device that can display different information to four viewers concurrently, as well as facilitate face-to-face communication by capturing their gestures. Another installation is The Invisible Train, a multiplayer augmented reality game from Vienna University of Technology developers: The game's setting is a miniature wooden railroad track equipped with fiducial markers for visual post-tracking, while players use a handheld display to see and control the movements of virtual trains. Brian Knepp's Healing is an interactive floor projection with a pattern that shifts as users interact with it, while CirculaFloor from ATR and University of Tsukuba developers is a virtual reality augmentation device that uses a holonomic mechanism so that users can maintain their position while wandering throughout an artificial environment. SIGGRAPH 2004, hosted by the ACM, will attract approximately 25,000 computer graphics and interactive technology professionals from around the world.
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    For more information on SIGGRAPH, or to register, visit http://www.siggraph.org/s2004/.

  • "Panel Urges New Protection on Federal 'Data Mining'"
    New York Times (05/17/04) P. A12; Pear, Robert

    The Technology and Privacy Advisory Committee recommended in a report to Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld that legislative safeguards be set up to shield Americans' civil liberties when the government mines data files and computer records for evidence of terrorist activity. "Our nation should use information technology and the power to search digital data to fight terrorism, but should protect privacy while doing so," the panel declared. The committee also indicated that solving the privacy issue will require a coordinated effort by the Defense Department, the president, Congress, and the courts. Among the panel's conclusions was that anti-terrorism initiatives and constitutionally protected rights of U.S. citizens are actually endangered by disconnected and obsolete information privacy laws, while the Defense Department and many other agencies have been collecting data by monitoring emails and medical, financial, and travel databases in a manner not unlike the Pentagon's defunct Terrorism Information Awareness project. The committee warned that data mining could have a chilling effect on dissent and activism. The panel proposed that the Defense Department and other federal agencies be disallowed from engaging in data mining without the approval of a special federal court, which would have to be convinced that the information is crucial to terrorism prevention or response. The committee admitted that its recommendations would "impose additional burdens on government officials," but contended that searches based on "particularized suspicion about a specific individual, including searches to identify or locate a suspected terrorist," would not be impeded.
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  • "Visionary Computers May Put Hockey on Cell Phones"
    Newswise (05/18/04)

    University of Calgary computer scientist Dr. Jeffrey Boyd and his team of students have created a prototype "smart camera" with computer vision technology whose applications are being developed and tested using hockey. The system converts on-screen movement to computer language via a combination of advanced computer programming and digital video, and can share the visual data with conventional PCs in a network-accessible database by shifting the computer processing to the front end. "This could have many different applications, including most situations that require a human to monitor video taken by a remote camera, such as security cameras," notes Boyd, who adds that the system could be employed to display a live sporting event on a cellular phone. "Instead of video, which requires a lot of bandwidth, you would get a moving schematic or diagram of the action with, say, Sharks or flaming C's representing the players." The invention is being put through its paces with the use of a tabletop hockey rink installed in Boyd's Vision and Motion Analysis Laboratory, while a two-camera system will be set up in the U of C's Olympic Oval to capture hockey and speed skating action. Boyd's project is underwritten by a $180,000 grant from the Institute for Robotics and Intelligence Systems, and builds on earlier research Boyd carried out in collaboration with Dalhousie University, Waterloo University, and University of British Columbia researchers.
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  • "IT Is Still It, Grads Find"
    Pioneer Press (05/15/04); Forster, Julie

    Despite dire forecasts of a major migration of IT jobs to low-wage countries, computer science graduates are finding that there are still plenty of tech job opportunities, although the practice of wooing students while still in school has died down. "The IT industry as a whole will continue to grow...at least in the next five to 10 years," predicts Pen-Chung Yew of the University of Minnesota's Institute of Technology. Matt Rasmussen, a computer science graduate going to MIT to further his education, is confident that there will always be opportunities while the United States holds its crown as world research leader. University of Minnesota computer science graduate Elliot Olds has secured a programming position at Microsoft, and his course of study focused on theoretical subjects such as computational complexity; he says that this background will at least guarantee him a job in a government laboratory, which would be in no danger of getting outsourced. Techies.com CEO Paul Cronin explains that executives are after graduates who are well-versed in business goals and strategic thinking. "The challenge is we're looking for business analysts and project managers, those people who communicate well, play well with others and understand the business strategy in addition to the technology," he explains. The Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates that software applications engineering jobs will increase by 46 percent to 573,000 between 2002 and 2012, while jobs for systems analysts will swell 39 percent to 653,000 and computer specialists jobs will experience 35.8 percent growth.
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  • "Camera Phones Link World to Web"
    Wired News (05/18/04); Ulbrich, Chris

    Canadian programmer Simon Woodside recently released Semacode, a free system that allows camera phones to link to URLs that could be put up anywhere, in theory. Semacodes consist of standard URLs rendered as two-dimensional Data Matrix bar codes, while text URLs are converted into Semacodes by a Java applet on the Semacode Web site. A camera phone's downloadable reader performs Semacode-to-URL translation and loads the URLs into the browser; all a user basically has to do is center the Semacode in the camera's display and push a button. Semacode was developed by Woodside and Ming-Yee Iu, and the system has already been employed by people at San Francisco Bay Area transit stops who post Semacodes that connect to real-time arrival data from NextBus. Other Semacode applications Woodside envisions include Semacoded business cards that connect to contact information, Semacoded museum exhibits that provide information in multiple languages, and Semacoded merchandise. Widespread adoption of the Semacode system could be hindered because of a contrary situation in which a lack of Semacodes will discourage people from installing the Semacode reading software, while a lack of software installations will discourage the creation of Semacodes; furthermore, the Semacode reader is currently limited to a small group of Nokia camera phones that employ the Symbian Series 60 operating system, nor does it support the WAP browsers included in the majority of camera phones. Marc Smith of Microsoft's Collaborative and Multimedia Systems Group adds that Semacode's acceptance also depends on improvements in resolution, illumination, and focus technologies for camera phones.
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  • "Kansas State University Computer Science Professor Receives NSF Career Award for Research on Robotic Teams"
    U.S. Newswire (05/13/04); Tippin II, Keener A.

    The National Science Foundation (NSF) has given Kansas State University computer science professor Scott DeLoach a five-year, $450,000 CAREER Award to be channeled into research toward the improvement of robotic teamwork. "There are many applications for cooperative robotic teams, including search and rescue, waste site cleanup, extraterrestrial exploration, military operations, transportation and factory automation, uninhabited air, ground, and undersea vehicles for intelligence gathering, as well as a variety of industrial applications," DeLoach notes. He explains that autonomous robot teams that function without direct human assistance are the key to the future of cooperative robotics, but points out that the problems they are designed to address make them vulnerable to loss of individual units or functionality. DeLoach says his goal is to reverse the current robot-human ratio and make teams of robots obey the commands of a single human operator, rather than have teams of operators control one robot. With this breakthrough, researchers could create cheaper robots that can work cooperatively and not be impeded in their mission by the loss of one unit. The professor wants to provide the robots with enough data so that the team can configure and reconfigure itself in order to sustain the fulfillment of mission parameters. "We want to put theory into practice; we want to determine how to capture and use organizational knowledge and reasoning techniques in designing and developing realistic cooperative robot systems," DeLoach attests. With the NSF grant, DeLoach and his students plan to involve themselves in activities that encourage pre-college students to pursue science and engineering, as well as kindle interest in such fields among elementary students through a traveling demonstration of robot technology.
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  • "Semantic Web to Take Center Stage at ACM's WWW2004"
    InternetNews.com (05/16/04); Boulton, Clint

    ACM's World Wide Web Conference taking place in New York this week features discussion about the Semantic Web, a concept that will add intelligence to the Web through the use of metadata. The Semantic Web would enable computers to not only identify, but also understand content and what to do with it; many new applications will be possible with such intelligence, and backers have likened Semantic Web development to that of XML. The Semantic Web uses two critical components: The resource definition framework (RDF) for finding and using information, and the Web ontology language (OWL) for understanding information. Both have already been defined as standards, and are reminiscent of artificial intelligence development; World Wide Web Conference event chairman Dr. Stuart Feldman says the term "AI" was intentionally left out of the discussion because of the negative public image it creates, but that the Semantic Web does in fact realize many artificial intelligence aims. Currently head of Internet technologies for IBM, Feldman was part of the original team that developed UNIX. He compares the promise of the Semantic Web to that of XML in 1997 and 1998, when developers did not realize how important it would be in just a few years. Today, XML underpins many important Web efforts, including Web services and service-oriented architecture, and Feldman says the Semantic Web could have a similar effect and even work in conjunction with XML. Some companies are already using Semantic Web component RDF internally, and Adobe incorporates it into its Adobe XMP (Extensible Media Platform) file format. Other topics of interest at the World Wide Web Conference include security, human interfaces, and more than 75 discussions on highly technical issues; Web pioneer and Semantic Web promoter Tim Berners-Lee will deliver the first keynote address.
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    For more information on WWW2004, visit http://www2004.org/.

  • "Language of Science Lags Behind Nanotech"
    Washington Post (05/17/04) P. A7; Weiss, Rick

    One of the key challenges of nanotechnology--beyond creating it--is finding a widely acceptable terminology for the invention. Often inventors have come up with whimsical names for nanotech, a tradition that dates back to the use of the term "buckeyball" to describe complex molecules that resemble the geodesic domes of architect R. Buckminster Fuller. However, scientists, federal regulators, and even insurers are clamoring for a more systematic naming system for nanomaterials; for example, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration and the EPA want nanotech names to closely reflect what the molecules look like and what they do. Researchers expect most nanomaterials will pose no threat to the human body or the environment, but see the wisdom in a naming system that can anticipate the substances' biological effects and other potentially risky characteristics. "The problem is, how do you go about naming materials that are chemically and atomically identical to larger structures but clearly have a different activity level?" inquires Kristen Kulinowski of Rice University's Center for Biological and Environmental Nanotechnology. Experts contend that a properly conceived standardized nomenclature will help spur more accurate communications between researchers and clear up some of the misconceptions about nanotech. "It's like developing a new language, and I don't want this to become Esperanto," notes Rice center director Vicki Colvin, who thinks a clear framework for a standard nanotech terminology could take up to two years to erect. One of the prerequisites in naming nanomaterials is determining their exact structures, which can be changed or misrepresented by the very act of measuring or analyzing them.
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  • "Ex-Dean Aide Gets New Life in Valley"
    SiliconValley.com (05/16/04); Gillmor, Dan

    University of Illinois computer-science student and onetime aide of former Democratic presidential candidate Howard Dean is turning the online collaboration software he co-developed for the Dean campaign into a "grass-roots organizing tool kit" for activists through the CivicSpace Labs venture, which is being funded by August Capital partner Andy Rappaport and his wife, Deborah. The software is built on the open-source Drupal content-management and collaboration system, whose worldwide popularity has cultivated a large pool of volunteer contributors. The system's architects say the software could be used for low-level online collaboration at first. CivicSpace will be geared toward political organizers as a tool to simplify the organization of campaigns and connecting with like-minded activists. The Rappaports are acting as incubators for CivicSpace out of a desire to better society: "We're funding projects we think are interesting on a social level, but are not interesting on financial terms," explains Andy Rappaport, whose line of thinking is becoming more and more commonplace among venture capitalists. Socially beneficial projects are also being cultivated by the Level Playing Field Institute founded by Lotus Development founder Mitch Kapor and his wife. Kapor assesses the virtues of such projects by noting that the results are tangible. Efforts supported by the Kapors' institute include an initiative to encourage more participation by minority students in math and science both in school and at work through scholarships and summer workshops.
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  • "Teen Techies Engineer the Future"
    Wired News (05/18/04); Gartner, John

    Over 1,300 students from 40 nations gathered in Portland, Ore., last week to participate in the 55th annual Intel International Science and Engineering Fair (ISEF), which awards college scholarships in the hopes of motivating high-school students to pursue careers in science and engineering, a field that experts say is threatened with an impending shortfall. American student Sarah Rose Langberg, German student Uwe Treske, and Chinese student Yuanchen Zhu were named the 2004 Intel Young Scientists and each received a $50,000 scholarship. Langberg earned her prize for detailing undersea activity along the Southern Juan de Fuca Ridge using chemical analysis, mathematical models, and motion studies; Treske was honored for developing an inexpensive tunneling microscope incorporating a tungsten filament from light bulbs, a PC sound card, and recycled Styrofoam blocks; and Zhu's winning entry was software that allows 3D computer graphics to be rendered faster. Dominion Digital CEO Gary Henry says he owes his career to his participation in ISEF 35 years ago, which led to a part-time job at IBM that helped him develop critical skills by interacting with adults and presenting his project at symposiums. Another notable student scientist at this year's ISEF was Collin Arnold, who built an eight-legged robot that can map out its surroundings and circumvent obstacles using sonar. And Anna-Marie Gulotta constructed a solar-powered oven for use in higher altitudes and cold weather, which could be of considerable value in developing countries.
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  • "Makers of White-Box Supercomputers Hit Their Stride"
    CNet (05/10/04); Kanellos, Michael; Shankland, Stephen

    Small supercomputing firms have started to gain on their larger rivals and nab high-profile contracts because of their expertise with building sophisticated clusters relatively cheaply using standardized components and open-source Linux software. Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory's Thunder cluster, which could arguably be ranked as the second most powerful supercomputer in the world thanks to its ability to process 19.94 trillion operations per second, was put together by California Digital using 1,024 four-processor Itanium 2 servers. Utah-based Linux Networx, meanwhile, is assembling a pair of supercomputing clusters for the Los Alamos National Laboratory using Advanced Micro Devices' Opteron processor as its core element; the clusters will be employed to study nuclear stockpiling and problems with lower security clearances. "What's changed in recent years is that [supercomputers] can be assembled using Linux, Intel or AMD processors and conventional networks instead of exotic, rare or customized technology," comments Dave Turek, who leads IBM's "Deep Computing" team. Researchers have learned that most supercomputing applications can be run on two- and four-processor assembly clusters from AMD or Intel running Linux. However, the use of standardized technology is complemented by considerable technical skill. Linux Networx, for instance, consults with customers to help them choose the best interconnect technology, memory volumes, and processor volumes to meet their needs, and builds and tests the servers and interconnects prior to shipment. Smaller outfits are getting help in breaking into the supercomputing market thanks to government policies.
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  • "Big Blue Says Breakthrough Means Millipede May Crawl Out of Lab"
    Small Times (05/11/04); Fitzgerald, Michael; Lovy, Howard

    IBM has built a working prototype of the Millipede quantum storage chip, a silicon-based microelectromechanical device comprised of an array of cantilevers that use heated probes to "prick" data into the storage medium as well as read it. The company believes that the heated tip technique will help solve the challenges of selecting the proper substance for the cantilevers' points and proving that Millipede devices can write and delete data reliably for years. Millipede project director Johannes Windeln is evaluating the prototype, and says he will tell IBM's management whether quantum storage is ready for a commercial rollout or requires further development within 12 months. Once the tip material problem is solved, IBM must delve into the practical aspects of Millipede, Windeln explains: His group will be tasked with determining that performance factors such as reliability, data transfer rates, and storage density can be improved over several years. Windeln predicts that Millipede could hit the market in the next two to three years, but Canadian NanoBusiness Alliance President and Sygertech nanotech partner Neil Gordon doubts that consumer Millipede products will emerge for about nine or 10 years. "Unless IBM is going to be the initial customer in some niche application, I don't see how they're going to get huge volumes in the next three to four years," he argues. Millipede's initial consumer rollout is expected to store 5 GB to 10 GB of data, while its MEMS architecture will allow the device to be manufactured using streamlined and inexpensive lithography.
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  • "Cutter Summit: Update on Agility"
    ADTmag.com (05/07/04); Vaughan, Jack

    Advocates of agile modeling want agile practices to encompass management, according to Jim Highsmith, author of Adaptive Software Development and Agile Software Development Ecosystems, and a founding member of the AgileAlliance. Agile modeling is somewhat at a crossroads as its practices become mainstream and as adherents attempt to maintain the underlying value of the agile approach. Agile modeling involves the repeated use of development techniques associated with Extreme Programming while software projects are initially planned. Speaking at the recent Cutter Summit in Cambridge, Mass., Highsmith said agile experts are embracing a "product" view of agile modeling, which is in line with the idea that software is part of a large corporate process, and that parts of products can be used again in future initiatives. Agile advocates will need to show some positive results in the exploratory projects of organizations, Highsmith added. He likened the challenge to the oil industry in which exploratory drilling helps with adaptation and risk management, while production drilling of known oil fields is about optimization and operations. Qwest Communications International methodologist Jean Tabaka said larger teams are accepting agile practices, adding that larger agile projects will need mentoring and a collaborative view for success.
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  • "IT Alliance: Japan, Korea, China Aim to Jointly Counter U.S. Dominance"
    NE Asia Online (05/13/04)

    U.S. information technology standards could face some challenges from protocols that result from alliances between Japan, Korea, and China. Representatives from the three countries are set to gather in July for a communications policy meeting in which a common fourth-generation communications standard for cell phone service will be determined. Japan, Korea, and China have approximately 30 percent of the world's cell phone subscribers, and essentially want to create a de facto global standard for cell phone service. Meanwhile, Japan wants to lessen its dependence on Microsoft's Windows computer operating system, which runs 78 percent of server OSes and 99 percent of personal computer OSes, and its officials in April agreed with their counterparts in Korea and China that standardizing Linux specifications would help to give the free Linux OS more of a foothold in their countries. Also last month, research organizations in Japan and China agreed to work together on smart-tag technology, following the creation of a similar smart-tag alliance involving the South Korean group RFID in March. The nations are also considering adopting a unique wireless LAN standard that would not work with the global standard for local area networks.
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  • "Is Nanotech Ready for Its Close-Up?"
    Fortune (05/17/04) Vol. 149, No. 10, P. 153; Varchaver, Nicholas

    Despite heavy funding into nanotechnology projects and companies from venture capitalists and the federal government, nanotech's most notable accomplishments are pedestrian in nature (moisturizer additives, stain-resistant pants, etc.), and are coming out of firmly established corporations rather than brash young startups. These achievements have been overtaken by hype, which has envisioned microscopic cancer-destroying robots and lightweight materials stronger than steel among nanotech's potential products. But these rather uninspiring advances nevertheless hint that research is on the right course to produce truly miraculous applications, although IBM Research's Tom Theis cautions that "When the really big breakthrough comes, it will not be evident to more than a handful of people." Scientists such as Stan Williams, director of quantum science research at Hewlett-Packard, think that large corporate labs are a better developmental venue for nanotech, since they are not subject to venture funding's notoriously fickle nature and are not under pressure to rapidly deliver products. "The best way to kill a technology is to put it in a small company, because most small companies wind up going bankrupt," Williams contends. Nanotech breakthroughs coming out of corporate labs include nanoscale clay composites that bind to oil, which General Motors is using for trim on vehicles, and a nanofiller-impregnated polymer from General Electric that clings more tightly to paint. Significant nanotech developments could be hindered or left unrealized because the popular media continually reinforce the technology's more sinister aspects, no matter how unrealistic they may be. This sensationalism increases the difficulty in evaluating and managing the real dangers of nanotech.
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  • "A Conversation With Sam Leffler"
    Queue (05/04) Vol. 2, No. 3, P. 17; Russell, James

    Independent consultant Sam Leffler, who has made valuable contributions to Unix and the Berkeley Software Distribution, explains that when comparing the open source software development model to the closed-source model, it is the people involved rather than the models themselves that determine the software's quality. He sees advantages and disadvantages in both models, noting that there tends to be more accountability in proprietary-source projects, while open source development cultivates a large community to rapidly try out the software, although the shrinking size of open source projects is making it more difficult to attract productive developers. Leffler doubts that commercial software will displace open source software as the Internet continues to expand and evolve, although he points out that commercial software has a lock on the wireless networking environment because it is so cheap. Still, open source support for wireless networking equipment will allow other applications, some of them currently unmarketable, to flourish, one example being the creation of mesh technology-based networks. The consultant sees a strong relationship between open source and official standards bodies. "The open source community tends to be quick to produce results that don't necessarily define, but implement, standards, and in so doing, allow you to get some feedback on whether the standard is a good one or not," he explains. Leffler does not like the idea of licensing models such as the GNU Public License because they come with requirements. He prefers a "no strings attached " model that supports the ideal of open source software being truly free.