The NSDL Scout Report for Math, Engineering, & Technology -- Volume 2, Number 1

January 17, 2003

A Publication of the Internet Scout Project
Computer Sciences Department, University of Wisconsin-Madison

In This Issue:




Topic In Depth


Intel Technology Journal [.pdf]
This quarterly journal from Intel addresses many issues related to computers and networking technology. The articles are not overly technical in nature, making them appropriate for a broad audience. Each issue of the journal has a general area of focus. Some recent topics include smart toys, the "digital home," and Hyper-Threading Technology. While the later is an Intel-specific development, most of the topics are applicable to the industry as a whole. The journal was originally internal to Intel, but every issue since the journal went public in 1997 is now available in an archive. [CL]
[Back to Contents]

The Importance of Being Random: Statistical Principles of Iris Recognition [.pdf]
Professor John Daugman of the University of Cambridge Computer Laboratory is the author of this paper on iris recognition. It examines the characteristics of the human iris from a statistical perspective in order to estimate the requirements for accurate identification. Many complex issues of pattern recognition are addressed, such as the problems of isolating the iris and maintaining accuracy regardless of the eye's position. Professor Daugman's home page has numerous other research papers, as well as a general introduction and overviews of basic iris recognition concepts. [CL]
[Back to Contents]

10 GigE User Conference [RealPlayer, .pdf]
This is the home page of the 10 Gigabit Ethernet (GigE) User Conference, which was held in November 2002. Industry representatives met to discuss current deployments and what the future holds for the network technology. Nearly 30 presentations were given over the 2-day event, and each has a complete video, slides, or both available for download. Some of the speakers provided case studies of locations already using the 10 GigE standard, while others were part of panel discussions about various aspects of the technology. A broadband Internet connection would be helpful to view the videos, since some are nearly 30 minutes in length. [CL]
[Back to Contents]

NanoOpto Technology [.pdf]
NanoOpto is a company using "nano-optics and nano-manufacturing technology to design and make components for optical networking." On this site, NanoOpto offers two white papers that describe some of the methods and techniques. The first serves as an introduction to Subwavelength Optical Elements (SOEs), which allow for improved performance and possibly new features in optical systems. The second white paper is more detailed and delves further into the application of these SOEs. A brief registration is required to access the documents. [CL]
[Back to Contents]

Markle Foundation: The Task Force on National Security in the Information Age [.pdf]
The main feature of this Web site is the report titled "Protecting America's Freedom in the Information Age," released in October 2002. It examines how to effectively use information technology to collect and analyze information pertinent to national security. The report states that current government practices are insufficient in this area, and it is laden with recommendations for improving the situation. The task force's final findings and views are expressed in the first part of the report, some analyses of various working groups are given in the second part, and the final part is a collection of background research articles. Other sections of the site mainly constitute supporting documents for the report. [CL]
[Back to Contents]

Two on Internet Protocol Version 6
IPv6: Welcome to the IPv6 Information Page
Global IPv6 Summit in Japan 2002 [.pdf, .ppt]
Internet Protocol Version 6 (IPv6) is a new standard that will gradually replace the aging IPv4. Spurred by problems with the previous version, its development has the advantage of assigning each device connected to the Internet with its own unique address, as well as several other features. The first site is an information page with plenty of resources and links for people to learn about the new protocol and how the transition between IPv4 and IPv6 will occur. A list of applications already using IPv6 is also provided. The second site has the slides from several presentations given at the Global IPv6 Summit in December 2002. [CL]
[Back to Contents]

Engineering the ULTra System [.pdf]
The Advanced Transport Group at the University of Bristol, upon considering current traffic congestion problems in England and throughout the world, attempted to "identify the ideal system for future urban transport." The group's work has led to the development of the Urban Light Transport (ULTra) System. This paper, published in September 2002, describes the engineering challenges and accomplishments of the endeavor. Thus far, a test track has been constructed, and an initial vehicle design was successfully demonstrated. The ULTra home page provides much more information, documents, and videos. [CL]
[Back to Contents]

The Virtual Microscope [.pdf]
The work of pathologists is often limited by the supply of tissue samples and live specimens they have on hand. This paper addresses this problem by proposing the Virtual Microscope (VM), a software-based solution that digitally records images of magnified slides. In this manner, a scientist would only need to search a database of digital slides instead of hoping to find another slide of the required sample. The VM is created in such a way as to simulate a real microscope, allowing the user to change illumination levels, focus, and magnification factor. The authors describe the architecture and different configurations of the VM system, as well as addressing potential problems due to the massive amount of data required for a single digital slide. [CL]
[Back to Contents]


Multiflyer [Flash]
Multiflyer is an interactive game "for anyone who is trying to learn or 'brush up on' their multiplication." The user is in a virtual space ship and is faced with several missions on the moon, Mars, the asteroid belt, and more. To advance to each subsequent mission, the correct coordinates need to be calculated. This is where multiplication is necessary, and the user is provided with an excellent opportunity to practice the multiplication tables. The game is complete with attractive space environments and sounds, making it a fun way learn. [CL]
[Back to Contents]

The Intimate Machine [Windows Media Player, RealPlayer]
This episode of the PBS television show Scientific American Frontiers, entitled "The Intimate Machine," aired on October 22, 2002. The show is divided into four segments. Interactive, animated computer characters created at the MIT Media Lab are the focus of the first part. The second shows a virtual dog that, just like a real pet, can be trained. Advanced monitoring devices that recognize human emotions are examined in the third segment, while the final part demonstrates a furry robot that emulates human emotions. In addition to being able to view the hour-long episode in streaming video on this site, users can also browse certain Web features. [CL]
[Back to Contents]

Introduction to Linux: A Hands on Guide [.pdf]
This tutorial, hosted by The Linux Documentation Project (TLDP), covers most of the basics needed to understand and use the Linux operating system (OS). A derivative of UNIX, Linux is a popular OS used in many technical applications. Thus, it is probably not intended for home users. It is mostly text-based, but there are some screenshots and figures of various tools. The author does a good job explaining key concepts, such as redirection, manipulating files, and command line arguments. Many other guides and resources can be found on the TLDP hom page. [CL]
[Back to Contents]

Mathematics Demos
For students in mathematics, it is often very difficult to visualize abstract concepts. One of the most obvious examples is the analysis of three dimensional objects, or a 3D coordinate system. This small collection of mathematics demos illustrates some of these concepts by using multi-color animations. Items such as contours, Fourier transforms, and convolution, which cannot be effectively drawn on a chalkboard, are shown in great detail here. The site also demonstrates the dimensions of the spherical coordinate system, as well as several other items. [CL]
[Back to Contents]

An Overview of Cryptography
Gary Kessler, a computer networking professor at Champlain College, is the author of this online introduction to cryptography. The material covers three main types of encryption and their applications, trust models, cryptographic algorithms, and much more. One of the most common areas that employs encryption techniques is the Internet, where it allows users to safely transmit private information (e.g, credit card numbers, financial information). These concepts are discussed in detail, with specific attention given to trust models and public key certificates. Kessler also mentions specific industry architectures used for authentication. [CL]
[Back to Contents]

Computer Architecture Tutorial
Students in computer science or engineering will find this tutorial on computer architecture very useful and enlightening. Contributed by Professor Prabhu at Iowa State University, the material covers beginning and intermediate topics. Beginning with an overview of basic theorems, like Amdahl's Law, Prabhu explains the most important considerations for processor performance. He then goes into more details of a computer's operation, with a particular emphasis on memory hierarchy. This constitutes the first half of the material; the entire second part is devoted to the principles and implications of pipelined execution. Besides the text and figures, the tutorial also has a few interactive components, including a calculator that demonstrates the resulting speedup of an enhancement. [CL]
[Back to Contents]

Numerical Recipes: Books On-Line [.pdf]
Three complete textbooks are provided on this site. They cover numerical methods, applications, and data analysis in the C, Fortran 77, and Fortran 90 programming languages. Each book is structured in nearly the same way, with similar chapters and topic arrangement. The only feature missing from the online version of these books is the sample source code. There are some restrictions on permitted use of these books; users should read the disclaimer at the bottom of the Web page. [CL]
[Back to Contents]

Two from the Junior Engineering Technical Society
JETS: Materials and Resources [.pdf, .doc]
JETS: Guidance Brochures [.pdf]
The Junior Engineering Technical Society (JETS) has a relatively large Web site; so, here are two selections that are especially useful. The first has a few documents and resources for the 2003 Tests of Engineering Aptitude, Mathematics, and Science program. The material is useful for all high school students, not just the ones participating in the program. It outlines several problem-solving and decision-making strategies, as well as suggesting some engineering design activities. The second site has a variety of online motivational brochures that describe most engineering disciplines and the job roles of different types of engineers. [CL]
[Back to Contents]


Semiconductor International [Windows Media Player, Real Player]
The Semiconductor International Association aired a live Web cast in November 2002, which presented the organization's forecast of the semiconductor industry through 2005. The Web cast can be viewed at this site after completing a brief, free registration. Jerry Sanders, who is perhaps most well known as the founder of AMD, presented the 30-minute industry analysis. He gave many important facts and figures, as well as making the profound statement, "The long awaited recovery is underway." Sanders said that, by 2004, the semiconductor industry is expected to reach and surpass its peak level. In the final few minutes of the presentation, Sanders answers a couple questions from the audience. [CL]
[Back to Contents]

Inventors Museum
The Inventors Museum showcases famous and obscure gadgets, technologies, and ideas conceived by creative minds. The historical accounts given on the site serve as a tribute to many people and their inventions. Seven categories highlight innovations in communications, space, transportation, and more. Other sections of the site give examples of notable African American, colonial, and women inventors. The Inventors Museum also has a monthly feature on a single inventor of past or present. [CL]
[Back to Contents]

Gridpoints Magazine [.pdf]
This is the home page of the main publication of the NASA Advanced Supercomputing division (NAS). Released quarterly, Gridpoints features some of the latest accomplishments at NAS. Articles are written "by science writers and researchers on topics ranging from distributed computing to computational molecular dynamics." The fall 2002 issue covered nanotechnology and a special feature on NASA exhibits at the Super Computing 2002 event, among other items. Every past issue of Gridpoints is also available for viewing. [CL]
[Back to Contents]

Two on the Strait of Messina Bridge Project
Reuters: Pressing on with the Mega-Bridge
Stretto di Messina: The Bridge over the Strait of Messina [.avi]
A news article on January 14, 2003, revealed that construction plans are underway for a massive suspension bridge that would connect Italy to the island of Sicily. Actual construction is not expected to begin until 2005, and forecasts mark 2011 for its completion. However, when completed, it will be the longest suspension bridge in the world. The second site is the project's home page. It has a great deal of information about design plans for the bridge, with specifics of the suspension system, towers, anchor blocks, and more. Several reasons for the bridge are presented, which is important because of the controversy surrounding the bridge's justification. Some videos are also given, but the narration is in Italian. [CL]
[Back to Contents]

WAVE Report: Covering Next Generation Computing and Communications Technologies
"The WAVE Report is a timely source of news about technology, products and markets." Published approximately once a week, it is an excellent way to stay informed about current industry trends and developments. The report provides coverage of many conferences, which, in the past, included OLED 2002 (OLED stands for organic light-emitting diode), the 2002 Consumer Electronics Show, and many others. Some feature stories of recent issues include wireless local area networks and handwriting recognition technologies. Occasionally ,an issue of the WAVE Report will have a tutorial of a technical issue, which offers a basic overview of the topic. [CL]
[Back to Contents]

The Mathematical Art of M.C. Escher
M.C. Escher is a widely known and popular artist whose work depicts complex, and often impossible, geometrical patterns. This Web site examines the mathematics behind his drawings. Many examples of Escher's work are given, illustrating mathematical principles such as the shape and the logic of space. Tessellations and polyhedra are common building blocks of the drawings. It is quite interesting to see how basic designs are transformed into the intricacies depicted by Escher. The material is certainly worthwhile and is suitable for anyone, regardless of mathematical experience. [CL]
[Back to Contents]

National Society of Professional Engineers: The 2003 NSPE Milton F. Lunch Ethics Contest
Engineering ethics is an important subject for all engineers, and most have learned about it to some degree. The National Society of Professional Engineers (NSPE) is encouraging its members and all practicing engineers to refresh their memory of the subject by entering a contest. This site provides participants with the NSPE Code of Ethics, a sample case, and the actual fact situation that must be analyzed and commented on. The contest rules and judging criteria are also given. Submissions are due by April 4, 2003, and the winner will have $500 awarded to his/ her local or state NSPE chapter. [CL]
[Back to Contents]

Army Acquisition, Logistics, and Technology Magazine [.pdf]
The Army Acquisition, Logistics, and Technology Magazine provides a glimpse into the operation and practices of the US Army. It is somewhat cut and dry for the lay person, but would be appropriate for anyone with an interest in military planning. Published on a bimonthly basis, the magazine focuses on topics such as deploying technology, harnessing information technology, and implementing training practices. Each issue is comprised of several articles, and an archive holds back issues through 1995. [CL]
[Back to Contents]

Topic In Depth

Artificial Satellites
1. The Satellite Site
2. How Satellites Work
3. NASA Fundamentals
4. Solar Power Satellites - European Approach [.pdf]
5. Satellite 2002 Europe
6. Marbles In Space: Texas Space Grant Consortium [.pdf]
7. BBC News: Satellite Technology Aids Quake Research
8. World's Largest Communications Satellite Lost After Russian Missile Launch
Over 2,000 man-made satellites are currently orbiting the Earth, providing a wide range of services like communications, remote sensing, and global positioning. As more are launched and new technologies are developed, they will play an increasingly important role in everyday life.

The Tech Museum offers this site (1) dedicated to the basics of satellites and their functions. A Java program complements the Satellite Anatomy section, which illustrates the standard components of three different categories of satellites. More information specific to satellite launches and their orbits can be found here (2). Most of the material is composed of fun experiments that demonstrate satellite operation. One of the most interesting features on this NASA site (3) is the Live 3D Java Tracking Display, which shows hundreds of different satellites and their current position in orbit. A few selected news articles and a separate section on satellite applications are also provided. The European Space Agency provides a look at solar power satellites (4), which could essentially "beam" energy to Earth. While it is not a new concept, the sheer magnitude of a project to construct a solar power satellite has thus far been too great to justify an attempt. At a conference held in December 2002 (5), representatives from the satellite industry convened to discuss current developments. Although many of the articles only address industry outlooks, some are more technology-oriented. For instance, one considers a new navigation system that could improve overall coverage and signal availability. A lesson plan (6) for grades K-5 teaches children how satellites are launched and some basic terminology. The activity uses different sized marbles, clay, and some other items to demonstrate fundamental concepts. Satellites of the Global Positioning System are being used for more than they were originally intended in England. This news article (7) describes how they are used to study earthquakes and corresponding movements in the Earth's crust. In other news (8), the largest communications satellite ever built was lost in November 2002. The failure of one of its launching rockets resulted in the satellite falling in a decaying orbit until it fell into the sea. [CL]
[Back to Contents]

Below are the copyright statements to be included when reproducing annotations from The NSDL Scout Report for Math, Engineering, and Technology.

The single phrase below is the copyright notice to be used when reproducing any portion of this report, in any format:

From The NSDL Scout Report for Math, Engineering, & Technology, Copyright Internet Scout Project 1994-2002.

The paragraph below is the copyright notice to be used when reproducing the entire report, in any format:

Copyright Susan Calcari and the University of Wisconsin Board of Regents, 1994-2002. The Internet Scout Project (, located in the Computer Sciences Department of the University of Wisconsin-Madison, provides information about the Internet to the U.S. research and education community under a grant from the National Science Foundation, number NCR-9712163. The Government has certain rights in this material. Permission is granted to make and distribute verbatim copies of the entire Scout Report provided this paragraph, including the copyright notice, are preserved on all copies.

Any opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this publication are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the University of Wisconsin-Madison, or the National Science Foundation.

Cavin Leske -- Editor
Ted Schroeder -- Managing Editor
Rachael Bower -- Director
Edward Almasy -- Technical Director
Max Grinnell -- Contributor
Joel Brieske -- Contributor
Rachel Sohmer -- Contributor
Wayne Hayes -- Contributor
Laura Boyle -- Contributor
Yasuhiro Sasahira -- Contributor
Debra Shapiro -- Contributor
David Sleasman -- Internet Cataloger
Colin Holden -- Assistant Internet Cataloger
Barry Wiegan -- Software Engineer
Pat Coulthard -- Technical Specialist
Noah Diewald -- Technical Specialist
Andy Yaco-Mink -- Website Designer

For information on additional contributors, see the Internet Scout Project staff page.