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Volume 6, Issue 623: Friday, March 26, 2004

  • "Storage Limits? What Storage Limits?"
    SiliconValley.com (03/26/04); Langberg, Mike

    New technologies and upgrades are expected to dramatically expand the storage capacity of hard drives in the coming years; optimism for such storage breakthroughs ran high at a March 25 meeting of the American Physical Society. For example, Apple Computer's iPod mini digital music player, which currently has a maximum capacity of 4 GB, could boast 55 GB in six years and 3 TB by 2020, while typical desktop drive storage capacity could reach 2 TB by 2010 and 86 TB by 2020. Meanwhile, hard-drive cost is expected to remain the same even as storage space skyrockets. Seagate Technology CTO Mark Kryder, Hitachi Global Storage Technologies VP Currie Munce, and International Disk Drive Equipment and Materials Association President Mark Geenen believe the first major storage technology breakthrough will emerge in about two years: Data is currently stored on hard disks via a longitudinal recording system in which magnetic particles are arranged in a sideways configuration, but capacity could be significantly enlarged--and density swelled to 10 to 15 times existing limits--through perpendicular recording technology that stacks the particles vertically. Meanwhile, Seagate and Hitachi are developing thermally assisted magnetic recording, which employs a minuscule laser in the head of the hard disk that heats particles when writing data. This approach permits the head to switch the setting on the particles with low magnetic fields, preventing the magnetic fields of the closely-packed particles from interfering with each other and allowing more particles to be squeezed onto a platter. Another concept under investigation is shrinking the hard disk's particles down to the size of single molecules, which could swell hard-drive capacity by a factor of 3,500. Hard drives with such massive storage capacities are expected to generate new classes of electronics for consumers.
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  • "United Nations Ponders Net's Future"
    CNet (03/26/04); McCullagh, Declan

    A U.N. summit is discussing the need for greater international involvement in Internet technical, social, and economic issues, and much of the dissent is from developing countries that say they have little or no say in how important decisions about the Internet are made. U.N. Secretary General Kofi Annan criticized the current system for assigning domain names and creating Internet standards, saying that those responsibilities should be given over to a U.N. body; the summit this month will also hear from five working groups about how the U.N. can become more involved in Internet issues. Much of the resentment over how the Internet is administered has merit, such as the fact that China was allocated only 9 million global Internet addresses while Stanford University received 17 million. Cuban delegate Juan Fernandez brought up the "interconnection" issue: Under current rules, users who connect have to pay for the traffic, but users from developing nations such as Cuba connect to U.S. Web addresses far more often than U.S. users visit Cuban sites. But members of the technical community strongly opposed U.N. involvement in technical matters, and ICANN Chair Vint Cerf emphasized that many groups have different roles to play in administering the Internet; he urged summit delegates to leave the current technical structure alone, explaining that "If it ain't broke, don't fix it." Representatives from the Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF), the Internet Architecture Board (IAB), and the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) were emphatic in their defense of the current system, and made a point that many so-called Internet governance issues did not actually need governing. IETF Chair Harald Alvestrand said open processes such as his organization operates on are good ways to gather input from stakeholders. Other groups that oppose U.N. efforts to regulate the Internet or set standards include the International Chamber of Commerce (ICC) and the U.S. Commerce Department, who warn that bureaucracy would stifle Internet innovation.
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  • "Think Tank: Offshoring Hits High-End Workers"
    Investor's Business Daily (03/25/04) P. A4; Howell, Donna

    Offshore outsourcing is often blamed for the erosion of U.S. call center and programming jobs, but a new study from the Economic Policy Institute sees a similar overseas migration of high-end software jobs. EPI's Josh Bivens predicts that the real effect of this job exportation will not be felt for 10 or so years, but when it comes it will dramatically drive down salaries for skilled white-collar IT professionals. "These workers who thought they were going to see big wage increases every year, that they had skills that were in demand, are not going to be seeing those wage increases," he contends. Bivens reports that over the last several years, some of the highest-paying jobs in areas such as software publishing and custom software have experienced major declines in employment. Accompanying this steep drop-off is a software job boom in India, where roughly 100,000 new jobs that directly serve the U.S. market have been created over the past four years. Bivens cites anecdotal evidence indicating that computer services imports are down, while other data find that imports are climbing; the economist theorizes that this paradox could be explained if Indian-owned companies based in the U.S. are tackling a major amount of outsourcing work. Bivens acknowledges that measuring software job exports is a difficult task, given that jobs cannot be tagged and processed through ports like goods. "If we really are talking about someone writing a computer program in Ireland or India and sending it over email to someone in the U.S., it's really hard to track that," he observes.

  • "Interaction Technologies Connect and Enhance Lives: CHI2004, April 24-29, Vienna"
    Market Wire (03/24/04)

    Approximately 2,000 information technology professionals from more than 35 countries are expected to attend CHI2004 in Vienna, Austria, April 24-29. Sponsored by the Association for Computing Machinery's Special Interest Group on Computer-Human Interaction (ACM SIGCHI), the conference offers a program filled with more than 200 presentations, as well as tutorials, vendor exhibits, and networking opportunities. Ambient intelligence, games, mobile communications, robotics and transport, and European HCI research will be the focus of the technical program. ACM President and Princeton Dean of Engineering Maria Klawe will be involved in a presentation on the Aphasia Project. "This project is unusual in many respects: how it was founded [with the late Anita Borg], its highly interdisciplinary team, the challenges of doing participatory design with people suffering from language deficits, and the possibilities of significantly improving the quality of life for these individuals," says Klawe. Jun Rekimoto of Sony and Tim Brown of IDEO will give the keynote presentations.
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    For more information about, or to register for, CHI04, visit http://www.chi2004.org.

  • "Brain Waves Control Video Game"
    BBC News (03/24/04); Twist, Jo

    Researchers at MIT Media Lab Europe in Dublin recently demonstrated a thought-controlled video game system called Mind Balance, whose potential applications include gaming as well as brain-computer interfaces for handicapped users. The demo involved a user wearing a wireless headset dubbed Cerebus that employs direct electroencephalography (EEG), cerebral data nodes, and Bluetooth, offering a less invasive interface than the direct brain-computer connections and implants popularized in science fiction and being pursued by research labs worldwide. Six distinct nodes are placed over the user's occipital lobes where light, vision, and hallucinations are processed, and the player concentrates on a pair of checkered boxes that flash at different frequencies on either side of a large screen, thus stimulating different responses in the user's cortex, according to MIT Media Lab Europe research associate Ed Lalor. "Tuning" into the boxes in turn controls the movements of a virtual character walking a tightrope. "We are able to pick up electrical activity on the scalp and take the brain activity into a C# signal-processing engine which analyzes those signals in real time and makes a decision which of the two boxes the player is looking at," Lalor explains. He believes the Cerebus device could be adapted for video game players as it becomes simpler to use and more aesthetically appealing. "One of the obvious applications is for someone who is locked in or paralyzed completely, somebody who has an advanced case of ALS [Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis], where they literally cannot communicate at all, but their brain is operating fine," Lalor adds. The brain-computer interface would give such users the means to communicate.
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  • "When Instant Messages Come Bearing Malice"
    New York Times (03/25/04) P. E4; Junnarkar, Sandeep

    Instant messaging (IM) is the next big target for spammers and hackers now that the number of people who use the technology has grown significantly. Popularized by teenagers during the late 1990s, IM has now spread to the business world where people find it useful for quickly sharing files and communicating. The immediacy of the format makes it especially vulnerable to social engineering schemes such as an "Osama Captured!" game spread over America Online's IM network: That IM spam message, known in IM parlance as "spim," got people to click on a link claiming Osama Bin Laden was captured, which then took them to a game download site; when users downloaded the game, they also got a load of adware and executable code that sent copies to everyone on their buddy list. America Online chief trust officer Tatiana Gau says filters are in place now to screen out the Osama message, and Zone Labs' John LaCour says the exploit was relatively benign since it did not carry a more potent payload. The CERT Coordination Center at Carnegie Mellon University has repeatedly warned about the danger social engineering attacks pose to IM networks. Promises of free products, pornography, and intriguing links have long been used to trick email users, and now are expected to increasingly show up on IM. IM is also inherently less secure than email since it is sent as plain text over the network, allowing unethical system administrators to cull messages for passwords or personal information. IM users also often have the option of opening shared files to people on their buddy list, and those files can contain important documents or other pieces of information possibly aiding identity theft. Major IM client vendors Yahoo!, Microsoft, and America Online all use closely guarded code which experts say makes them more susceptible to have software flaws.
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  • "Attaining New Goals in Computer Vision"
    IST Results (03/25/04)

    Information Society Technologies' EVENTS and VISIRE projects involve computer-vision technologies that are reportedly superior to existing commercial products. Project coordinator Tomas Rodriguez at Eptron says that EVENTS interpolates images and furnishes multi-view presentations of TV broadcasts in close to real time, and its speediness is due to a sophisticated software platform and computer-vision algorithms. EVENTS was designed as a tool that broadcasters can employ to reduce the number of cameras used at sporting events by generating virtual viewpoints with only a handful of cameras, thus saving money. EVENTS was put through its paces at stadiums in Spain and the United Kingdom last year, and video-compression or mobile services may also benefit from the technology. VISIRE was created to streamline the generation of 3D images by automating as much as 95 percent of the 3D rendering process, thus cutting the time it would take to render such images manually by two-thirds. VISIRE can render any object or structure in 3D regardless of size, and is particularly well-suited to the rendering of the most complex images. With VISIRE, a multimedia specialist can build 3D images from 2D footage taken from a home-video camera. VISIRE was tested at Florence's Uffizi Gallery and the Casino Madrid in Spain. Eptron is currently debating how EVENTS and VISIRE can be commercialized.
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  • "'FlashMob Supercomputer' Readied for Mass Supercomputing"
    Silicon Strategies (03/24/04); LaPedus, Mark

    The creators of FlashMob Computing are working to bring supercomputing capabilities to the average computer user. On April 3, a mass supercomputer, comprised of an infinite number of computers connected via a high-speed local-area network, will be launched on the campus of the University of San Francisco. Participants in the FlashMob I project will use open-source software to connect their PCs to the network. A FlashMob supercomputer is designed for temporary use, can be organized ad hoc to solve a single problem, and can be launched in a few hours. "We hope to give ordinary citizens the power to explore and address problems that are most important to them--whether it's a high-school science class looking to participate in the study of global warming, or a family impacted by breast cancer, or even a chess club looking to build an electronic grand-master," states FlashMob Computing co-creator and graduate student John Witchel. USF professor Greg Benson says that "because FlashMob supercomputers are relatively easy to set up and its code is so portable, scientists can write programs that are 'flashable' and put out a request for a FlashMob, breaking science's long-time dependence on traditional supercomputer centers." USF plans to submits its best benchmark for inclusion in the Top 500 Supercomputer list.
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  • "Virtual People Look Realistically"
    Technology Research News (03/31/04); Patch, Kimberly

    Researchers at Ireland's Trinity College are enabling virtual humans to gaze at objects with the same authenticity of their real-world counterparts by imbuing them with a memory system that can store information about people and objects a virtual character has previously seen, explains Trinity computer science researcher Christopher Peters. The memory model uses as its template the psychological paradigm that draws a distinction between long-term and short-term memory to find information that should be archived for a longer period of time. Sensory input is fed into the memory module via synthetic vision modules. Peters notes that the researchers simulated gaze behavior because of its relationship to visual perception and recall, and adds that it was a tough challenge to determine what components of an internal representation, or memory, of an environment the character would be most interested in. Peters says the Trinity scientists integrated scene-based attention metrics of a gaze model developed by University of Southern California researchers with object-based data from their memory module to locate objects in an environment that interest a character because they account for temporal changes. Psychology literature was tapped to find factors such as head-move attributes that could be used to model appropriate gaze and blinking movements. The Trinity researchers detailed their work last July at the Association of Computing Machinery's Siggraph 2003 conference. Peters anticipates that three to six years will pass before a practical real-time virtual human performance featuring a full attention system emerges.
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  • "To Save a Life or a Limb, Gently Shake a Minefield"
    New York Times (03/25/04) P. E7; Eisenberg, Anne

    Conventional detectors are often unable to distinguish buried plastic antipersonnel mines with a small amount of metal from metal debris, but universities are developing new detection systems that generate seismic waves to cause these mines to vibrate in a unique way so they can be positively identified by laser or radar scanning. "This is a completely different approach in that it uses mechanical excitation--shaking the dirt--to look for the vibrations of land mines," notes Clifford Anderson of the Office of Naval Research, which is supporting projects at the University of Mississippi, Stevens Institute of Technology, and Georgia Tech. The seismic waves, which are not strong enough to set off the mines, are produced either by above-ground loudspeakers or mechanical "shakers" that pound the surface. Sean Burke of the U.S. Army's Night Vision and Electronic Sensors Directorate believes detectors that integrate multiple sensors will become more critical in locating mines, and points out that units built by Cyterra that combine radar and electromagnetic induction are being used in Iraq and Afghanistan. Georgia Tech electrical and computer engineering professor Waymond R. Scott Jr. is working on seismic sensors that could be embedded into the Cyterra devices; the development of his sensors is partially underwritten by Burke's office. Scott's experiments involve exciting the ground with small electrically powered vehicles and using radar to measure the small surface vibrations, whose differences can be rendered visually or audibly. "It's a lot like tapping a wall when you are listening for a stud," Scott explains, adding that sometimes the vibrations are more clearly represented as audio signals. James M. Sabatier of the University of Mississippi vibrates the ground using loudspeakers and measures surface variations with lasers, and he reports that this approach can accurately identify antitank mines 95 percent of the time, with no false alarms.
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  • "Foundation Showcases Data-Sharing Network, Urges Action"
    National Journal's Technology Daily (03/22/04); Honan, Mathew

    Panelists from a forum at Stanford University featuring members of the Markle Foundation Task Force on National Security in the Information Age have suggested a homeland security information network, database-driven, to let Homeland Security Department officials share information across agencies and cross-reference data. The task force, which included private- and public-sector leaders, spent 18 months studying ways to enhance the flow of information within and between governments. Markle Foundation President Zoe Baird says, "The information revolution that had taken place in the nation and much of the world had not taken place in government...the government has not taken advantage of information technology to improve security." The task force concluded that the core problems are the compartmentalization of information, government reliance on paper, and the tendency to share information slowly between agencies. Panelist Tara Lemmey says, "There are tens of thousands of bits of info coming in every year," data which needs to be quickly and seamlessly shared across all agencies. The task force says the president must order the creation of a homeland security information network and get the network up and running quickly. Such a network, for example, would enable agents with the proper security clearances to access information according to those security clearances.
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  • "Programmers, Look to Video Games"
    InformationWeek (03/22/04); Malykhina, Elena

    The University of Southern California plans to offer an advanced program in video-game design with the help of a multimillion-dollar donation from Electronic Arts. The university's School of Cinema-Television will offer the Electronic Arts Interactive Entertainment Program, which will feature specialized courses in video-game design, writing for video games, and creating games with multiple players, which typically are not offered by most computer science departments. Moreover, a research lab will be available for learning more about interactive entertainment and studying game development. "Melding storytelling, art, music, game design, and technology has become so complex that it is imperative for tomorrow's designers and producers to acquire an education with both depth and breadth in order to achieve success in our ever-growing industry," says Rusty Rueff, executive vice president of human resources at Electronic Arts. The field of interactive entertainment could provide jobs for IT students who are concerned about outsourcing and the job market in the United States. David Cole, president of market research firm DFC Intelligence, believes such a program would give students the necessary skill set to find jobs in the competitive gaming industry.
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  • "Why Internet Needs to Break Down the Language Barriers"
    Financial Times (03/25/04) P. 7; Nuttall, Chris

    ICANN chief executive Paul Twomey says too much of the Internet's content and addresses are written solely in English, which constitutes a major obstacle to e-commerce and communications. "We don't want the Internet fracturing into language-based intranets when it is supporting billions of dollars in trade right now," he observes, noting that China is the most rapidly growing Internet market with 80 million users. Twomey explains that ICANN is concentrating on technical matters, such as vastly expanding the number of addresses the Internet can support by switching from version 4 of the Internet Protocol to version 6. He adds that top-level domains (TLDs) have changed from being mere identifiers to manifestations of identity--as reflected by recently proposed TLDs such as .post, .mobi, and .cat, which respectively stand for the postal system, mobile devices, and Catalans. Other examples of the latest proposed TLDs include .asia (Asian region) and .xxx (pornography). Internet governance is another issue Twomey is grappling with: The United Nations is investigating whether control of the Net's generic and country codes should be administered by governments and a U.N. entity, while Twomey thinks such a job should be left to ICANN, whose advantages include a democratic framework and multidisciplinary advisors. He adds that whereas the U.N.'s International Telecommunications Union takes an average of 18 months to approve new communications standards, ICANN can do the job in about five months. "Our most important challenge is how we support a network that is now localizing in its expression and still keep it as a global Internet," Twomey maintains.
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  • "Six Barriers to Open Source Adoption"
    Tech Update (03/20/04); Farber, Dan

    The broad enterprise adoption of open source software faces a number of hurdles outlined by Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers partner and former Oracle executive Ray Lane at last week's Open Source Business Conference 2004. The biggest obstacle to acceptance is a paucity of formal support, though the improvement of Linux support by distributors is expected to continue; smaller outfits are using open source code as a platform for proprietary extensions and support services. Enterprises can turn to the open source community for informal support, which is not enough for mission-critical applications. Many IT executives object that open source software projects have no clear roadmap, though there are advantages to the open source community's development strategy: The approach is more democratic than proprietary software development; debates are public; and the community has a good record of self-regulation and focusing on long-term goals. The clarity and transparency of open source projects is expected to grow as constituent feedback becomes more and more common. IT executives are concerned that the open source community is modifying and upgrading its software too fast for the enterprise to keep up, so the major Linux distributors offer as a solution scheduled releases through a subscription scheme, as well as certify the software. Open source software's functionality gaps, compared to those in proprietary software, will become less objectionable as time goes on, as major vendors as well as open source developers funnel more engineering and proselytism resources into open source projects. There needs to be more transparency and solid practices embedded into open source licensing and intellectual property protection, and CIOs are more likely to listen to open source endorsements from enterprise peers rather than independent software vendors.
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  • "ADT at SD West: Grady Booch on Software"
    Application Development Trends (03/22/04); Waters, John K.

    Rational Software co-founder, author, and IBM Software Group principal architect Grady Booch highlighted his keynote presentation at the recent Software Development West conference with an overview of how software development's role as a business process has changed over the years. "What we're seeing is that even old businesses are relying on the presence of software...to help them innovate and compete in a particular marketplace," he posited. Booch observed that software once had no place in the transportation industry, but since then it has become an integral component in vehicles that boast innovative systems to enhance braking, collision avoidance, and other functions. Factors driving software development's progress include the growing complexity of software systems as well as shifts in the business environment. Booch reported that development has become much more collaborative due to componentization and maturation, while globalization has nurtured development environments conducive to far-flung stakeholder interactions. The author maintained that business environment trends have enhanced software development as an enterprise component. He noted, "It used to be that we techies would invent new stuff and sort of impose it on the world, and cool things would happen. Now, we're really in a period in which business needs are driving our software development efforts." Booch explained that software development's status as a business process makes the industry explore how the developer experience can be augmented to boost efficiency.
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  • "Get Out of My Namespace"
    New York Times Magazine (03/21/04) P. 44; Gleick, James

    The growth of the Internet and the spread of globalization has thrown name ownership laws into confusion, as opportunists register people's or institutions' names online in the hopes of selling them back to the original owners, while people or entities with names that are similar or identical to those of celebrities, companies, or products run the risk of penalization for registering their names in complete innocence. The potential of similarly spelled names to confuse consumers and hurt businesses--the exact degree of which is hard to determine--has sparked a land grab from companies registering and trademarking common words and phrases in a desperate bid to protect their intellectual property as broadly as possible. Laws governing name ownership often operate on a psychological principle such as the most familiar or dominant concept a person associates with a name, although this does not guarantee that ownership will be retained by a single entity. Registering other people's names for the purpose of extortion, a practice known as cybersquatting, comes on the heels of fans registering names as a tribute to their favorite celebrities. Many people--including those accused of cybersquatting--protest the domain-name arbitration process, which is administered by the World Intellectual Property Organization according to the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers' Uniform Domain Name Dispute Arbitration Policy (UDRP). The UDRP assigns domain names based on three criteria: Whether the complainant possesses rights to the name, or to a name "identical or confusingly similar;" whether it can be proved that the domain-name holder has no legitimate right to the name; and whether the domain-name holder is using the name in "bad faith." Accused cybersquatter Jeff Burgar argues, "The arbitrators are almost all of them attorneys who have a vested interest in looking out for big business or celebrities." The overprotection of names has encouraged costly long-term lawsuits that are wasteful and serve no public good.

  • "New Speech Technologies Making Noise"
    Network World (03/22/04) Vol. 21, No. 12, P. 14; Bednarz, Ann; Evers, Joris

    New speech technologies--VoiceXML 2.0 from the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) and Microsoft's Speech Server product line--may be based on rival voice browser standards, but the W3C's Dave Raggett postulates that these standards could eventually be integrated into a hybrid specification. The W3C recently moved VoiceXML 2.0 and its complementary Speech Recognition Grammar Specification (SRGS) to final "recommendation" status, making them the most mature standards in the Speech Interface Framework. The framework defines standards for building applications that facilitate phone-based interaction between people and Web services via an array of voice-based interfaces; VoiceXML's role is to dictate interaction between the user and a voice application while SRGS is used by developers to define the words and phrases end users must provide in response to vocal cues. VoiceXML already serves as a standard scripting language for accessing Web content through vocal command and telephony. Microsoft's Speech Server 2003 speech-recognition platform, which is expected to be officially launched at SpeechTEK, allows Visual Studio .Net developers to build applications that recognize vocal commands, render text as speech, and produce spoken prompts via the insertion of XML- and Speech Application Language Tags (SALT)-based code within existing applications. James Mastan of Microsoft's Speech Server group reports that the platform takes calls and employs SALT and XML to communicate with a Web server, and allows online applications to be phone-accessible. Though SALT lags behind VoiceXML in its progress to standardization, it has the support of major industry players, including Intel, Philips, and Cisco. At the core of the rivalry between the SALT and VoiceXML voice browser standards is ease of use: SALT supports Visual Basic, while more telephony-type skills are needed to use VoiceXML.
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  • "Ballot Boxes Go High Tech"
    Newsweek (03/29/04) Vol. 143, No. 13, P. 62; Levy, Steven

    Touch-screen machines were touted as the best solution to a flawed voting system that led to the Florida debacle in the last presidential election, but findings that touch-screen systems are susceptible to hacking and issues with their lack of a voter-verifiable paper trail have raised doubts about their trustworthiness. Cryptographers and computer scientists are developing alternate systems that must be secure enough to prevent election fraud while maintaining voters' anonymity in order to be of any practical use. Rebecca Mercuri's verified voting scheme, in which the votes a person casts are displayed on the screen and printed on a paper ballot, has found its way into legislation from lawmakers such as Rep. Rush Holt (D-N.J.) and Sen. Hillary Clinton (D-N.Y.); Mercuri has since modified the concept to use the ballots as the actual votes. Another scheme involves a cheap digital storage tool dubbed a frog, with which voters can record their votes using any desired computer. The voter would insert the frog into an official voting terminal on election day and confirm or change his choices, after which the frog enters a frozen mode so that the outcome cannot be altered; the frog is left behind in case it is needed for a recount. Cryptographer David Chaum has conceived of a scheme in which a voter enters his choices on a computer touch screen, which causes the computer to produce an internal printout with three bar codes that, taken separately, look like random patterns of dots. Combining the bars creates a readable display of the voter's choices, which is projected on a small screen so the voter can check for accuracy; the voter then takes home one of the codes so he can confirm online that his code matches the one posted for tallying. Others advocate voting via the Internet, but the scheme suffers from a lack of secrecy, uneven security, and vulnerability to denial-of-service attacks.
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    For information on ACM's activities regarding e-voting, visit http://www.acm.org/usacm.

  • "Chameleon Computing"
    Computerworld (03/22/04) Vol. 32, No. 12, P. 34; Vijayan, Jaikumar

    Building a handheld device that can function as a cellular phone, an MP3 player, a personal digital assistant, and numerous other tools may become feasible through reconfigurable computing, in which computer chips can be rewired on the spur of the moment by hardware- or software-based microcontrollers. Such processors are faster and more energy-efficient because they eliminate a sizable portion of the overhead and redundancy characteristic of static chips. "What you are trying to do is to change the hardware to match the problem at hand," explains QuickSilver Technologies co-founder John Watson, whose company makes an integrated circuit technology that dynamically changes on the fly to create hardware for different applications. Watson believes the technology could find its way into an all-purpose cell phone or automotive electronic components. Meanwhile, Intel is working on software-defined radio that employs software to automatically reshape a chip's hardware logic, and research fellow Steve Pawlowski says the long-term goal is to make a wireless communications chip that can execute different standards and protocols while outperforming dedicated application-specific integrated circuits. Independent analyst Jim Turley remarks that current microprocessor designs have remained relatively unchanged for the past three or four decades, and building and managing dynamically reconfigurable chips is a difficult concept for many people to grasp. He adds that applications that might benefit from this approach are also not fully understood. "Someone is going to have to build a very high-volume application for the case to be really compelling," comments Gilder Technology Report editor Nick Tredennick, who notes that static processors will soon be physically unable to maintain a balance between power and performance.
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