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Volume 6, Issue 705:  Wednesday, October 13, 2004

  • "U.S. Funds Chat-Room Surveillance Study"
    Associated Press (10/11/04); Hill, Michael

    The National Science Foundation has awarded a one-year, $157,673 grant to Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute computer science professor Bulent Yener to develop mathematical models that can extract patterns from the traffic of public online chat rooms, which could help determine whether such forums are being used by terrorists. Yener will download data from selected chat rooms and build a statistical profile of the traffic by tracking the times that messages were sent. He says the goal of the project is to uncover the identity of chat-room correspondents without actually reading their communications. Another goal of Yener's is to ascertain the subjects of group discussions by checking chat-room messages for specific keywords. The monitoring of traffic on public chat rooms does not circumvent constitutional rights to privacy, according to experts. Still, former director of the Justice Department's computer crimes unit Mark Rasch thinks such a system is another step toward the Pentagon's infamous Terrorism Information Awareness data-mining program. However, some cybersecurity experts doubt that chat-room surveillance would be a very effective countermeasure, given that terrorists can resort to more secretive means of online communication.
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  • "The Quest for Secure Code"
    Globe and Mail (CAN) (10/12/04); Kirwan, Mary

    Poor software quality is responsible for every one of the SANS Institute's top 20 Internet security vulnerabilities, yet universities still fail to teach proper coding techniques and government remains cowed by industry lobbying efforts. SANS Institute research director Alan Paller says evaluation and certification programs are needed to ensure that programmers have the proper training, and he notes that even universities appointed by the government to be "Centers of Excellence in Cybersecurity" do not require security courses for their IT graduates. Carnegie Mellon University computer science department head Jeannette Wing says even if students are taught more security, practical realities at the workplace will mean feature-focused code produced quickly, if that is what those students' employers desire. Meanwhile, millions of business customers are hindered by restrictive licenses from tweaking their software purchases. Microsoft emphasizes security during its interview process for prospective employees and evaluates workers on their ability to deliver quality code, but the company has a huge legacy infrastructure and backward compatibility issues, says Wing. The government has made many efforts to intervene and make vendors liable for their products, but have been met with hundreds of millions of dollars in lobbying efforts, notes Paller. Even attempts to make vendors liable with caps on potential damages has not worked, as IT industry lawyers are reluctant to admit that secure code is possible. Rep. Adam Putnam (R-Fla.) is expected to make a new push for legislation soon and is chair of the House subcommittee on cybersecurity policy, and the Federal Information Security Management Act is also expected to make a change as vendors cater to the $40 billion federal IT market.
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  • "Kerry, Bush Willing to Shell Out Some Bucks to Soothe Tech Ills"
    Investor's Business Daily (10/13/04) P. A4; Deagon, Brian

    Political observers and technology trade association leaders note that the federal government has prioritized national security, the global economy, and the war in Iraq over tech issues, while progress on such issues has stalled in Congress because of increasing enmity between Republicans and Democrats. However, both President Bush and Democratic presidential candidate John Kerry are promising more proactive tech policies on a number of fronts: Bush's No Child Left Behind Act commits $269 million to aid the development of better math teachers and stresses math and reading proficiency, and Bush has requested an annual budget of $250 million to fund job training programs and intends to help community colleges train 100,000 additional professionals for industries with the highest job growth. Kerry, meanwhile, has announced plans to encourage the recruitment of more math and science teachers with a $5,000 bonus, expand online training courses at community colleges, and spend $10 billion on initiatives to increase female and minority participation in math and science courses, among other things. Both Bush and Kerry support the permanent institution of the R&D Tax Credit as well as long-term defense research, while Kerry also aims to award federal monies to tech contest winners as a strategy to fuel innovation, backs the Research and Experimentation Tax Credit, and has promised to grant a five-year capital gains tax exemption on investments made in small businesses in order to encourage riskier investments. As part of his plan to deploy national broadband connectivity by 2007, Bush has instructed federal agencies to accelerate accessibility of federal lands to broadband providers, and urged Congress to establish a permanent broadband tax exemption. Kerry, meanwhile, wants all police and fire departments to have broadband access by 2006, and promises a 10% to 20% tax credit for broadband investments.
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  • "Optical Networking: The Next Generation"
    CNet (10/11/04); Reardon, Marguerite

    U.S. universities are being connected into an all-optical network comprised of thousands of miles of fiber through the National LambdaRail (NLR) project, an initiative whose ambition is comparable to the ARPAnet project commissioned by the Defense Department almost 40 years ago and the National Science Foundation's NSFnet in the late 1980s. NLR CEO Tom West describes the network as the next stage in the evolution of research and education via networking. NLR's first phase, which concluded in September, involved the setup of links between Atlanta and Jacksonville, Seattle and Denver, and Denver and Chicago; the second deployment phase will establish connections between universities in Louisiana, Texas, Oklahoma, New Mexico, Arizona, Salt Lake City, and New York. The Internet2 consortium that backed the creation of the 10Gbps Abilene network also supports NLR, but NLR differs from Abilene in that it provides an entire fiber infrastructure upon which researchers can erect their own personal IP networks. "For the first time, researchers will actually own underlying infrastructure, something that is crucial in developing advanced science applications and network research," notes West. NLR uses dense wave division multiplexing technology that segments light on fiber into hundreds of wavelengths, significantly boosting bandwidth capacity and enabling the same infrastructure to support multiple dedicated links. The Pittsburgh Supercomputing Center employs the LambdaRail infrastructure to link to the NSF's Chicago-based Teragrid facility, while the National Center for Atmospheric Research plans to use NLR to tap remote computing and data resources for building more complex climate models. The declining optical networking industry is the sector most likely to benefit from NLR, though network engineers acknowledge that research carried out on the NLR infrastructure may not show up in commercial products or services for years.
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  • "Scientists Gingerly Tap Into Brain's Power"
    USA Today (10/11/04) P. 1B; Maney, Kevin

    Scientists are developing technologies that read brainwave signals and translate them into actions, which could lead to neural prosthetics, among other things. Cyberkinetics Neurotechnology Systems' Braingate is an example of such technology: Braingate has already been deployed in a quadriplegic, allowing him to control a television, open email, and play the computer game Pong using sensors implanted into his brain that feed into a computer. Although "On Intelligence" author Jeff Hawkins praises the Braingate trials as a solid step forward, he cautions that "Hooking your brain up to a machine in a way that the two could communicate rapidly and accurately is still science fiction." Braingate was inspired by research conducted at Brown University by Cyberkinetics founder John Donoghue, who implanted sensors in primate brains that picked up signals as the animals played a computer game by manipulating a mouse; the sensors fed into a computer that looked for patterns in the signals, which were then translated into mathematical models by the research team. Once the computer was trained on these models, the mouse was eliminated from the equation and the monkeys played the game by thought alone. The Braingate interface consists of 100 sensors attached to a contact lens-sized chip that is pressed into the surface of the cerebral cortex; the device can listen to as many as 100 neurons simultaneously, and the readings travel from the chip to a computer through wires. Meanwhile, Duke University researchers have also implanted sensors in primate brains to enable neural control of robotic limbs. The Defense Advanced Research Project Agency (DARPA) is pursuing a less invasive solution by funding research into brain machine interfaces that can read neural signals externally, for such potential applications as thought-controlled flight systems. Practical implementations will not become a reality until the technology is sufficiently cheap, small, and wireless, and then ethical and societal issues must be addressed.
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  • "India Emerges as Innovation Hub"
    Wired News (10/11/04); Joseph, Manu

    India has become a center for technological innovations that can benefit Third-world countries by bringing rural, multilingual, and impoverished populations into the information age. The International Institute of Information Technology in Hyderabad is developing Shakti, software designed to translate English prose into several Indian languages, while further research seeks to translate English into an African language. Institute director Rajeev Sangal intends to release a package that translates English into the Indian dialects of Hindi, Marathi, and Telugu in several months. MIT-affiliated Media Lab Asia aims to improve life in rural regions by enabling telecommunications, one example being a deployment of Wi-Fi computing devices in a village in Uttar Pradesh. Meanwhile, Hewlett-Packard's Bangalore research center is working on Script Mail, a device designed to ease electronic communication for people who speak languages that cannot be typed using a standard keyboard. Script Mail features a pad on which a user positions a piece of paper and writes his message with an electronic pen; the device recognizes the handwriting, and the message is displayed for corrections and stored on an attached monitor, and can be emailed via an external modem. Indian Institute of Technology professor Kirti Trivedi has created K-yan, a "compact media center" that bundles a PC with a Pentium 4 processor, a 120GB hard disk, a modem, a DVD drive, four USB ports, a television tuner, and a projector with SVGA resolution into a single box. K-yan is designed for use in classrooms that cannot afford PCs for each student, and Trivedi describes his invention "as an educational tool that can introduce large groups of poor children to basic computing because of the sheer size of the image that can be beamed on a wall or a screen."
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  • "Furthering Linux's Life"
    Daily Texan (10/11/04); Hsu, Kristi

    Linux enthusiasts at the University of Texas at Austin set up Linucon 2004 this month to generate more support for the open source operating system they believe will eventually become a mainstream technology used by everyone. Currently, Linux remains a promising alternative for security-minded financial firms and cost-conscious businesses and governments: Austin CIO and city council member Peter Collins attended the Linucon conference and said Linux is used on the city's Web servers and for blocking spam and managing security. On campus, Linux is installed on all the computers in the Applied Computational Engineering and Sciences building and is used by many computer science graduate students and professors, says SIGLinux head Jeff Strunk. The ACM special interest group SIGLinux hosts an Installfest at UT Austin each year in order to help nontechnical users get started with the free operating system. Strunk says the program proves average users can operate Linux easily and that only one in 200 participants over the last three years has lost their Windows installation as a result. UT Austin IT services vice president Dan Updegrove says the university considered putting Linux on the campus computer laboratory machines, but decided against it because of the limited software available. Austin CIO Collins also said the limited selection of software made Linux unsuitable for wider government adoption, and that the operating system was not suitable for critical applications such as an emergency dispatch program. Still, others say it is just a matter of time before Linux is more widely adopted. UT alum Chris Tom says, "It's getting better. But it's not going to happen overnight."
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  • "A Matter of Trust: Privacy and Security in the Information Age"
    IST Results (10/08/04)

    A number of FP6 IST projects seek to improve privacy and identity management (PIM) in the hopes of enabling Europeans to interact in cyberspace safely and securely while allowing them to manage their personal data, a critical ability if citizens are to adopt new online services. Notable initiatives include Privacy and Identity Management for Europe (PRIME), the Future of Identity in the Information Society (FIDIS), Government User IDentity for Europe (GUIDE), and Roadmap for Advanced Research in Privacy and Identity Management (RAPID). The RAPID project, which was completed in June 2003, influenced the FP6 research agenda by recognizing two categories: A technical category concerning multiple and dependable identity management, infrastructure, and enterprise, and a nontechnical category that dealt with socioeconomic and legal issues. PRIME involves a 20-member international consortium that aims to improve the usability and functionality of privacy-enhancing technologies (PETs) through the application of "privacy by design" and "data minimization" principles: The former focuses on building PETs into information systems using basic technologies such as human-computer interfaces, ontologies, authorization, and cryptology, while the latter stresses permitting the collection of personal data on an as-needed basis. Both the FIDIS and GUIDE projects emphasize the need for an integrated, coordinated, Europe-wide identity research effort to achieve their respective goals. FIDIS members will collaboratively investigate interoperability of IDs and ID management systems, forensic applications, mobility issues, profiling, the "identity of identity," and de-identification and the high-tech ID. GUIDE's objective is to construct an open architecture for secure, compatible e-government electronic ID services and transactions for Europe.
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  • "Quantum Math Models Speech"
    Technology Research News (10/13/04); Smalley, Eric

    Speech recognition, speech synthesis, and telecommunications technologies could benefit considerably from a model of speech organized by researchers at King's College London and Phonologica using a mathematical approach derived from quantum physics. The research involves modeling the dispersion of sound wave frequencies as the waves encounter the dents and bumps that show up in the human vocal tract during speech, using the movement of sound waves in a straight pipe as a template, according to Phonologica founder Barbara Forbes. The traditional sound wave physics model places the maximum shift in resonance at the point where a sound wave pressure node encounters a change in the shape of the pipe wall, but the researchers discovered that the sound wave does not disperse there--rather, shifts are determined by complex effects in close proximity to the pressure node. Multiple resonance frequencies can be shifted independently, and Forbes notes that 30 vowel sounds--enough to model the fundamental systems of all human dialects--can be reproduced through specific degrees of curvature changes at only a half-dozen places in the vocal tract. Representing speech with a minimal number of parameters can facilitate the compression of a large amount of acoustical data comprising speech into a smaller volume of digital information: Forbes says, "Mapping the full-bandwidth speech signal onto a sparse representation or code is necessary for ultra-low-bit-rate technologies such as mobile telephony." The researchers' model has been used to produce vowel sounds, an important step toward more natural-sounding speech synthesis. Forbes says the model could significantly improve speech recognition as well, and hopes that a prototype speech recognition system will be ready for demonstration in a few years.
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  • "Mathematicians Offer Help in Terror Fight"
    Associated Press (10/10/04); Crenson, Matt

    A group of researchers met last month at Rutgers University's Center for Discrete Mathematics and Theoretical Computer Science to discuss the application of order theory to anti-terror strategy. Among the ideas that were discussed was one from MIT mathematician John Farley that abstract math could be used by intelligence officers to determine how to most efficiently cripple a terrorist network; he also suggested that mathematical methods could help clarify the organizational structures of terrorist groups through the use of computer programs that mine databases for links between individuals, locations, or incidents. Meanwhile, University of Southern California computer scientist Jafar Adibi is developing programs to unearth hidden connections between known terrorists and their as-yet-unidentified accomplices by analyzing commonalities between established individuals and other people in the same database. Such programs could help anti-terror initiatives concentrate on the most likely suspects, and reduce the inconvenience to innocent people detained because of misplaced suspicions. University of California-Irvine cognitive scientist Vladimir Lefebvre thinks terrorists' decision making can be mathematically modeled and thus manipulated, while a Carnegie Mellon University lab helmed by computer scientist Kathleen M. Carley is attempting to model a wide array of social groups that includes terrorist organizations. The research has yielded models of al-Qaida and Hamas extracted by a pattern-seeking computer program from a database of publicly available information. Gary G. Nelson with the Homeland Security Institute says his organization is authorized by Congress to see if anti-terror programs can be aided by mathematical research, and he was particularly intrigued by projects detailed at the Rutgers meeting that could help intelligence agencies condense the enormous volumes of data they must deal with.
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  • "Smart Watch System Could Help Busy, Forgetful People Keep Track of Necessities"
    PhysOrg.com (10/07/04)

    University of Washington computer scientist Gaetano Borriello has devised a prototype wearable personal reminder system that uses radio frequency identification (RFID) technology. The system consists of a smart wristwatch powered by a small personal server that the user can carry in a pocket, although later versions will embed the server into the watch. RFID tags affixed to important items and RFID readers deployed in various locations--the user's house, car, or office, for instance--check to see if the user is forgetting to take certain necessities and if so alert him through the watch. A person passing by a reader causes the reader to ping the tags, and they locally broadcast their item ID information to the user's personal server, which then checks for the presence of all critical objects while also considering the items' last known location, the user's calendar, and the user's possible destination. "This project demonstrates one of the promises of ubiquitous computing, which is that our information systems will be proactive," Borriello says. The next phase of the project is to upgrade the personal server with a wireless location system so it can ascertain users' whereabouts at any given time as well as whether they are arriving or departing. Borriello, who recently demonstrated the prototype reminder system at the Sixth International Conference on Ubiquitous Computing, notes that the project is part of a larger initiative to RFID-enable a building. "We want to explore not only how these systems would work, but also social issues like privacy implications," he explains.
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  • "Program Cracks Crosswords"
    Nature (10/04/04); Castellani, Federica

    Researchers at the University of Siena in Italy have developed Web Crow, a crossword puzzle program that could find a use in artificial intelligence applications. Web Crow is designed to solve crossword puzzles in any language, unlike an earlier program developed by Duke University researchers that only works with English language crossword puzzles. The program analyzes a clue, devises a simple query, enters it into Google, then uses a certainty score to rank the possible answers among the responses returned by the Internet search engine. From this point, Web Crow uses an algorithm to determine which word best fits the crossword grid as a whole. Web Crow could be used to develop software that is able to automatically grab useful information from the Web, and figure out the best combination of other pieces of information, such as course schedules and staff shifts. Computer engineers Marco Gori and Marco Ernandes say that a prototype of Web Crow could be available before the end of the year.
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  • "Tech Major Loses Its Luster"
    Raleigh News & Observer (10/03/04) P. E1; Cox, Jonathan B.

    Companies may have little choice but to outsource IT jobs overseas, given the 28% drop in U.S. undergraduate computer science majors since 2000, according to the Computer Research Association. "Especially if the quality goes down, companies will feel they're better off going to other countries," remarks Duke University's Pankaj K. Agarwal, whose computer science department has experienced a 25% decline in undergraduate enrollments over the past three years. Those in the field observe that technology jobs have lost a lot of their allure since the dot-com explosion, when high demand for even minimally skilled computer science graduates promised fast money and early retirement; the subsequent meltdown of the tech boom, mass layoffs, and the growth of offshoring has discouraged students. Kevin Jaffay with UNC-Chapel Hill notes that students now perceive computer science as a study-intensive major with little career payoff, while many parents are pressuring students to choose different careers as a result of the tech offshoring boom. Red Hat CEO Matthew Szulik warns that the U.S. could lose its status as worldwide tech leader and become "nothing but a services industry" if it fails to fuel interest in technical fields by overhauling public education to stress science and math more and encourage students to pursue tech careers. Some downplay such warnings, arguing that undergrads' decisions to pursue degrees in spite of the IT downturn is indicative of a higher level of quality and appeal to employers. Other encouraging signs include colleges' inclusion of computer instruction into other majors, and the Bureau of Labor Statistics' prediction that there will be almost 4 million new high-tech jobs in 2012, up from 2.9 million two years ago. Still, Forrester Research forecasts that the number of offshored computer jobs will more than double to approximately 247,000 between 2003 and 2008.
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  • "Visionaries Outline Web's Future"
    BBC News (10/08/04)

    The recent Web 2.0 conference focused on future directions the Internet is expected to take from Web luminaries such as Brewster Kahle, Amazon leader Jeff Bezos, and Net veteran Bill Gross. A running argument from many presenters was that most of the Internet's potential to dramatically transform business and society is still unrealized. Whereas the recent past has chiefly emphasized the construction of a practical infrastructure and making it compatible with programming tools, the coming years will build on this framework in ways that "grow in the telling," according to Web 2.0 co-organizer Tim O'Reilly. Conference presenters proclaimed that the next-generation Internet will stem from the creative and programming communities' tinkering of the Net's vast information resources. Bezos predicted that the future Web will cultivate new businesses and services by re-tasking the data companies such as Amazon collect using new tools and programs. Gross, meanwhile, spotlighted the Snap search engine as a forerunner of future Net capabilities: Snap, which retrieves Web pages related to keyword queries while producing additional information, is designed to spur interaction and build on the data trails covered by previous visitors. Kahle suggested the creation of universal online access to all human knowledge, beginning with the digital scanning of the U.S. Library of Congress' 26 million books. He estimated that such a task could be accomplished for a mere $260 million, while storage would cost only about $60,000 and take up approximately 1 terabyte of space, enabling the entire archive to fit on a single shelf.
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  • "Dollars and Sense of Common Criteria Debated at Conference"
    Government Computer News (10/06/04); Jackson, William

    Complaints from software vendors and federal administrators filled the air at an Oct. 6 Common Criteria users conference in Washington, D.C. The former group said the Common Criteria certification process took too long and was too expensive, while the latter group claimed that funding was insufficient. The certification of Common Criteria, which are standards used to assess security software against vendor claims or user requirements, is jointly administered by the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) and the National Security Agency (NSA) under the National Information Assurance Partnership (NIAP). NSA's Pamela Yocum said the number of products submitted for assessment has increased dramatically, but the NSA budget for software evaluation and validation has held steady at $5 million for five years, which only covers the cost of validation. She warned that her agency will have to start prioritizing submissions in the event of a budget crunch, while additional funding from NIST is unlikely because NIST's Computer Security Division already has its hands full attempting to comply with the Federal Information Security Management Act (FISMA) while facing budget cuts. Division chief Ed Roback said NIST would most likely start evaluating security configuration recommendations for government-employed IT platforms from product vendors instead of developing their own recommendations. A task force created at the December 2003 Homeland Security Department cybersecurity summit advised an upfront grant of $12 million to NIST to build additional protection profiles, with $6 million more a year later.
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  • "Collaborators Designing Data, Control Architecture for New Generation of Ocean Observatories"
    UW News (09/30/04); Ramsey, Doug; Hines, Sandra

    Oceanographers and computer scientists are working on an IT infrastructure for ocean-based research centers along North America's Pacific coast. The Laboratory for the Ocean Observatory Knowledge Integration Grid (LOOKING) program will provide network, hardware, and software needed to link operations and data between land- and ocean-based research centers. Researchers are also creating sensor technologies that will provide academia and the general public with access to real-time ocean data. Eventually, the technologies and architectures developed to link ocean-based sensor networks and research facilities--both on land and in the water--will be applied to other remote or hostile environments. "Our prototype infrastructure will be a large distributed data grid, driven by a variety of instruments, and we want it to be capable of interactively analyzing and collaboratively visualizing multiple data objects," says John Orcutt, LOOKING principal investigator at the University of California, San Diego. The project is funded by the National Science Foundation (NSF) and supports a larger NSF program called the Ocean Observatories Initiative set to begin in 2006 with $245 million in funding allocated over five years. A number of federally funded ocean-research projects are planned over the next few years, including the MARS deep-water observatory testbed in Southern California, the VENUS shallow-water observatory testbed in Canada, and the NEPTUNE U.S.-Canadian underwater sensor network set for initial operation in 2007 in the northeast Pacific Ocean. The LOOKING project will also utilize the supercomputing storage and software capabilities of the NSF-funded OptIPuter project.
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  • "Nations Plan for Net's Future"
    Wired News (10/11/04); Grossman, Wendy M.

    All the world's governments are participating in the World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS), an International Telecommunication Union (ITU)-hosted event established to define a unified vision of Internet governance. WSIS is a two-part summit: Part one was held last December, while part two will take place next November; in the interval between these two events, the Working Group on Internet Governance is supposed to furnish a report that will guide the decisions WSIS will ultimately make. Membership in the working group will be divided equally between governments, non-governmental organizations (NGOs), and the private sector, while meetings will be public affairs. ICANN was founded when Web pioneers such as Jon Postel realized that the Internet was too big and critical to be overseen by a few individuals, but ICANN cannot handle issues outside the allocation of IP addresses and domain name sales. Likewise, specific technical tasks are assigned to groups such as the Internet Architecture Board or the Internet Engineering Task Force, but problems that universally affect Internet users--spam, broadband deployment, the impact of voice-over-IP telephony services, the digital divide, cybersecurity--cannot be addressed by a single authority. The U.S. is biased in its thinking that market forces rather than government policy should dictate development, but ITU Internet strategy and policy advisor Bob Shaw notes that nations with industrial policies--Japan and Korea in particular--have overtaken the U.S. in terms of broadband penetration. The NGOs participating in WSIS reflect a wide array of interests that includes indigenous peoples and digital rights. Shaw reports that trends are signaling a move toward public policy directed by government rather than the Internet community.
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  • "NASA Software Enables Satellite Self-Service Options in Space"
    NASA Ames Research Center (10/07/04)

    NASA scientists are testing the ability of artificial intelligence software to troubleshoot errors in the instruments and systems of its Earth Observing One (EO-1) satellite. Scientists have radioed the software, Livingstone Version 2 (LV2), to EO-1, which was launched in November 2000, to evaluate its effectiveness in detecting and diagnosing simulated failures in the satellite's systems. "This software grants us the ability to troubleshoot the robotic systems required to handle increasingly complex tasks of exploration, while they are millions of miles and perhaps light years away from Earth," says Ghassem Asrar, deputy associate administrator for NASA's Science Mission Directorate. NASA normally troubleshoots spacecraft systems on the ground. LV2 is designed to monitor software that controls EO-1, and if the satellite does not respond to the software, Livingstone has the ability to detect the error, diagnose it, and radio its analysis to the Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, MD. "Livingstone gives us a chance to recover from errors, protect our investments in space, and continue to achieve our mission goals," says Sandra Hayden, experiment principal investigator of Livingstone EO-1.
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  • "Building an Idea Factory"
    Business Week (10/11/04) No. 3903, P. 194; Hof, Robert D.; Burrows, Peter; Hamm, Steve

    Sustainable and successful innovation hinges on the solid management of the innovation process, a challenge whose difficulty has hardly lessened in the last one-and-one-quarter centuries. "Managing innovation means cultivating an environment where lightning can strike twice," notes Institute for the Future director Paul Saffo. The drive to rethink product and service development has been fueled by increasing competition spawned by the economic boom of the 1990s, and the radical strategies companies are employing, which range from setting perhaps unattainable goals to the public exposure of corporate research and procedures, demonstrate a willingness to take more risks. Pursuing risky objectives can yield enormous payoffs: Apple Computer offered an easy-to-use digital music player in the iPod, but CEO Steven P. Jobs saw more potential in the provision of legal consumer access to online songs, and his pursuit of this vision has made Apple a force to be reckoned with in the digital entertainment market. Another critical factor for continuous innovation is unceasing experimentation, a strategy that reduces companies' chances of losing potentially advantageous opportunities to competitors; keeping project teams small and dexterous can minimize the cost of failed experiments. Increasing numbers of businesses are dismantling partitions between different internal departments and looking for new product ideas among vendors, customers, and other outside resources. The transition to a service economy is spurring companies to create innovative products as well as innovative business models. Such breakthroughs can bring entirely new markets into existence as well as fundamentally transform the way people live and work.
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