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

January 31, 2003

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

In This Issue:




Topic In Depth


Intel Research Network of Laboratories [.pdf]
Research centers in Berkeley, Seattle, and Pittsburgh comprise a network of academic and industry collaboration sponsored by Intel Corporation. Each location has a specific focus, ranging from networked systems to ubiquitous computing technologies to "distributed storage systems." This Web site overviews the work of the three laboratories, and some notable events and activities are highlighted. A large collection of papers, divided according to their respective places of origin, is provided. The combined efforts of all the locations result in substantial news coverage; many articles from a variety of on- and off-site sources offer different perspectives of the researchers' progress and accomplishments. [CL]
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Digital Library Technology Trends [.pdf]
Published in August 2002, the white paper from Sun Microsystems examines technology trends in digital libraries. It starts with a discussion of the fundamentals of building a digital collection and how practices have evolved in the past few years. The paper notes a few pioneering efforts that were originally intended for the preservation of historical works, and in doing so, underscores the importance of digital library design. By using several different sites as examples, the paper describes how digital libraries are implemented. The document concludes with a look at how future technologies will impact the creation and organization of digital libraries. [CL]
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Complexity International
Complexity International (CI) is an electronic journal devoted to "the field of complex systems, the generation of complex behaviour from the interaction of multiple parallel processes." The journal covers a wide variety of topics, including genetic algorithms, neural networks, and chaos theory. Because much of the focus is based on technological imitation of biological processes, some of the papers are closely tied to the life sciences. Volumes are added to on a continual basis as papers are accepted. Due to the lengthy acceptance process, it is especially useful that the CI Web site offers drafts of current submissions. [CL]
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Robustness and Internet [.pdf, .ps]
A number of research papers related to Internet traffic and congestion management are given on this Web site of the California Institute of Technology. The first two papers reexamine the design of the Internet and propose changes to future methodologies to better suit scientific applications. They take a fundamental view of Web traffic and describe principles that govern its levels. The remaining documents delve into particular aspects of networking and communication protocols. Many other papers, some as recent as 2003, can be found from the main page of the Networking Lab. [CL]
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NP-Click: A Programming Model for the Intel IXP1200 [.pdf]
The Gigascale Silicon Research Center (GSRC) is an organization investigating the gap between processor performance growth and designer productivity. This paper, to be presented at a computer architecture symposium in February 2003, proposes a programming model that simplifies code writing for network processors. The model, called NP-Click, allows the developer "to write efficient code and improve application performance without having to understand all of the details of the target architecture." NP-Click was devised by researchers at the University of California at Berkeley, and it relates directly to the GSRC goal of increasing productivity. [CL]
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PlanetLab: A Blueprint for Introducing Disruptive Technology into the Internet [.pdf]
The title of this paper immediately brings to mind images of a harmful technology that would change the operation of the Internet. In this case, the term disruptive is used to describe a way to revolutionize the Net and break away from the old adage, "If it's not broken, don't fix it." The proposed technology to accomplish this task is overlay networks. The paper describes the characteristics of overlay networks that make them highly adaptable and well-suited to encourage innovation. PlanetLab is then introduced, which serves as a testbed for overlay networks. The overview of PlanetLab offers a glimpse into what could eventually be realized on a much larger scale. [CL]
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Journal of Microwave and Optoelectronics [.pdf, .zip, .ps]
"The Journal of Microwaves and Optoelectronics, published by the Brazilian Microwave and Optoelectronics Society (SBMO), is a professional, refereed publication devoted to disseminating technical information in the areas of Microwaves, Optoelectronics, and Electromagnetics." It is published biannually. Nine papers comprise the December 2002 issue, with abstracts and full-text available free of charge. Every previous issue of the journal is also provided online. [CL]
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TechOnLine Webcast: Solving the Design and Verification Challenges of AMBA-based SoCs [RealPlayer]
This presentation, given in December 2002 by a representative from the Synopsys company, addresses design and verification issues for system-on-chip (SoC) architectures. The speaker focuses on the Advanced Microcontroller Bus Architecture (AMBA) standard, a specification that provides an efficient design process and "enables reuse at multiple levels." The presentation is primarily intended for industry professionals to learn about the AMBA standard and incorporate it into their product development. A short, free registration is required to access the transcript and audio of the 30-minute presentation. [CL]
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Computer Science Student Resource Site by William Stallings [.pdf]
This diverse collection of refreshers, how-tos, and research guides, while geared for computer science (CS) students, also has a few resources that are useful for anyone. A quick review of mathematical concepts and advice on how to write papers and abstracts fit in the later category. Students starting out in CS may find the explanation of binary and hexadecimal systems valuable, or perhaps the detailed guide to queuing analysis. An especially humorous article titled "What the Professor Really Means" will give CS students a better understanding of their instructors. Many of the documents were written by the site's creator; however, some of the links go to off-site resources. [CL]
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Useful Science and Engineering E-Books [.pdf]
The author of this site -- Edward (Ned) Zrenda Moore -- has assembled a long list of online textbooks, which fall into categories of mechanical and electrical engineering, mathematics, software, and other pure sciences. Some of the titles are in-depth analyses spanning 500 pages, while others are short introductions less than 50 pages. Short, one-sentence descriptions/ reviews are given for most of the books. The author's "ultimate goal is to have enough books that someone could do an entire engineering degree with the books listed." Whether the books on this site are used in addition to or in replacement of standard university texts, they are certainly worth the short download time. [CL]
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Two from Louis A. Talman
Mathematics Animated [QuickTime]
The Teacher's Guide to Calculus, v0.2 [.pdf]
Professor Talman of the Metropolitan State College of Denver offers these two sites as a reference for both students and teachers of mathematics. The first is an assortment of animations that demonstrate many mathematical concepts, which are often difficult to visualize. The only downside of the animations is the lack of explanation associated with them. Some have short descriptions, others are somewhat self explanatory, but the rest can initially be quite confusing. The second site is a work-in-progress; it contains the first five chapters of a book for "those who teach the first two or three calculus courses." Talman's book appears to have a good start and can be useful for students as well as teachers. [CL]
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Machine Vision Online: Tips for Successfully Applying Machine Vision [.pdf]
This Web site provides many articles and educational resources related to machine vision. Most of the materials come from companies with significant experience with the topic, including Ford Motor Company, Adept Technology, and many others. Visitors to the site can read about the basics of machine vision and learn how to successfully implement and design a system. Inexperienced people should start with the Strategies for New Users section, which contains a glossary of terms and a couple brief introductions. The Technical Papers section has information on the various components of a machine vision system, and Applications by Industry has case studies of several different operations. [CL]
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What is Design?
Children between the ages of nine and twelve will be drawn into this site that explores the world of design. It encourages "kids to develop critical viewing, technical mastery, artistic awareness, and practical, just, solutions." Many interactive games and activities are available, allowing users to create their own designs and share them with others. For example, children can design their own watch with a simple step-by-step process, and many watches are featured in a gallery. A wealth of information about different real-world design practices and products is also provided. Building architecture, bridge design, and devices used in outer space are all discussed. [CL]
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Cadbury: Maths in the Factory [.pdf]
What kid can resist chocolate? Certainly not many, and this site from the Cadbury Company uses chocolate to entice children to learn about mathematics. Users must apply their knowledge of basic math concepts to solve different problems in the Cadbury factory. The interactive scenarios, which are guided by a group of chocolate cartoon characters, let children practice their skills in arithmetic, measurement, interpretation of data, and geometric objects. There are also sections for teachers and parents. [CL]
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The American Engineering Campaign
The National Society of Professional Engineers developed this Web site to educate people about engineering. "The American Engineering Campaign aims to help people understand just what engineers do, the role engineers have in the many facets of everyday life, and the fun engineers have in their careers." Visitors to the site will find a great deal of information in the Information Kit section. It highlights twenty of the most important engineering achievements of the 20th century and lists some surprising facts about the profession. An especially interesting article considers what life would be like if everything created or inspired by engineering disappeared for a day. The Press Room contains several news articles and quotes about engineering. [CL]
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AHDS Guides to Good Practice
As part of the Arts and Humanities Data Service Project, this Guide to Good Practice covers computer-aided design (CAD). It is a free online handbook "for individuals and organisations involved in the creation, maintenance, use, and long-term preservation of CAD-based digital resources in the humanities." Rather than focusing on a specific software application and situation, the guide discusses a wide range of CAD tools and practices, offering an introduction upon which CAD users can build. The seven chapters describe hardware and software choices, data capturing and documentation, and archiving processes. [CL]
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Digital Bridges [.pdf]
"The Digital Bridges Web site consists of a collection thirty representative 19th century American bridge engineering monographs, manuals, and documents from the Lehigh University Libraries' Special Collections." The archive provides an interesting retrospective into the beginnings of major bridge projects; the material is complete with high-resolution photographs and text scanned from original books. In addition to historical literature, Digital Bridges also features brief accounts of notable people and companies that influenced bridge construction across the country. A glossary of terms commonly used in the documents is also provided. [CL]
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PC Lube and Tune
The objective of PC Lube and Tune "is to supply usable introductions, tutorials, and education on technical subjects to the large audience of computer users." For example, an article added January 20, 2003, looks at the history and evolution of the graphical user interface. The author demonstrates how computers interpret items such as the mouse, toolbars, and menus. Another article explains the basics of Web standards, such as HTML and XML, and how they are used to encode information. Not all of the articles are about computer technologies, though. For instance, one deals with the Microsoft's anti-trust case and its associated technical issues and implications. [CL]
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USAF Museum [RealPlayer]
The US Air Force Museum, situated on the Wright-Patterson Air Force Base in Ohio, is the "oldest and largest military aviation museum in the world." Its homepage is the next best thing to visiting the museum in person. Several galleries showcase hundreds of aircraft, ranging from the early 1900s to modern military jets. Spacecraft and components are also featured. The galleries include photographs, descriptions, technical specifications, and historical accounts; some of the more notable aircraft have short videos that can be viewed online. Other galleries include weapons, engines, and Air Force history. Once a month, a special feature highlights famous Air Force personnel. [CL]
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X2000/ MDS: Advanced Avionics and Autonomy for the Future [Flash, .pdf]
In contrast to the established practice of designing spacecraft and equipment for their individual missions, the goal of the X2000/ Mission Data System (MDS) is to design one highly adaptable system that can be used for a variety of missions. A project of the NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory, the X2000/ MDS is intended to meet the requirements of the next generation of space exploration. The project's homepage has details of technology being developed for the X2000/ MDS. Five papers related to the project and its scope are provided, but they are somewhat dated. A short educational curriculum on advanced avionics can be found in the education section of the site. [CL]
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The TeraGrid: A Primer [.pdf]
A project of the National Science Foundation, the TeraGrid is "a multi-year effort to build and deploy the world's largest, fastest, distributed infrastructure for open scientific research." This paper, published in September 2002, describes the activities and ongoing projects that will ultimately lead to the project's completion. TeraGrid, as the name implies, is based on principles of grid computing. It will eventually consist of a massive network of computers spread out over several sites that can work simultaneously and independently on scientific applications. Many specifications and design objectives are outlined in the paper, offering some insight into the ambitious project. [CL]
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SecurityFocus Online
This news service from SecurityFocus is an excellent resource to learn about important computer security warnings and alerts. The Web site keeps track of many widely used software applications, while reporting known vulnerabilities as they are found. Viruses and worms are another key topic that receives significant attention. Several columns offer expert advice and tips to efficiently use and understand software for different platforms. Government security is covered in the news section, discussing federal practices and legislation related to the national network infrastructure. Because the articles have such a broad scope, the material can be useful for both home and business users. [CL]
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MDAlink [.pdf]
Although US plans for missile defense have somewhat been taken out of the spotlight, the Missile Defense Agency homepage offers relatively current news and press releases. Perhaps the most interesting features of the Web site, from a scientific perspective, are the introduction and fact sheets that describe how missile defense works. Several documents are available for download, which address engineering and technical issues associated with the system's design. They discuss the basic operation and objectives of the missile defense program, as well as explaining how testing and evaluation will be conducted. One fact sheet is devoted to the challenges of the program; it focuses on how to defend against a ballistic missile in each phase of its trajectory. [CL]
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Lemelson-MIT Program: Press Releases
The Lemelson-MIT Invention Index is "an annual survey of Americans' perceptions about inventing and innovating," and on January 21, 2003, the results for 2003 were released. According to this article, the one invention that respondents said they could not live without was the toothbrush, which was found to be more important than the PC, the automobile, the cellular phone, and the microwave oven. Specific results are reported in the press release. Also on this Web site are links to the previous seven surveys. The focus of each year's study usually varies, and it is interesting to note changes in peoples' perceptions over the years. [CL]
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Topic In Depth

Super Bowl Technology
1. Fan-Monitoring Technology Put to Supertest,0,3783536.column?coll=chi-technology-hed
2. Reliant Stadium [QuickTime VR]
3. TechTV: TDs and PCs Hand-in-Hand in NFL,24195,3370643,00.html
4. Virtualized Reality [QuickTime, .mpg, .wav, .pdf, .ps]
5. Special Report: New Head-Injury Research Drives a Revolution in Football Helmet Technology
6. XXXVII Xtra: Lynch to be First to Wear Super Bowl Microphone
7. WCBS FM 101.1: Bogus NFL Tickets? Don't Count On It
8. Keenan McCardell Knocks Off Charlie Garner at the 989 Sports Game Before the Game
Each year, the Super Bowl revs up fans with elaborate pre-game shows, extravagant team entrances, a visually stunning halftime show, and (usually) a downright great game. But people often do not consider the technology that makes everything possible. Television broadcast equipment, safety devices for the players, and crowd monitoring tools all help the big game go off without a hitch.
One of the biggest technology stories surrounding Super Bowl XXXVII was the security measures used to spot disruptive activity and terrorists. The massive network of cameras that was used to monitor the entire stadium is described in this story (1). It also discusses police operations, face recognition systems, and entrance sensors. The Houston Texans were not in the Super Bowl for 2003, but their stadium is certainly classified as hi-tech. The Reliant Stadium (2) is the first in the NFL to have a retractable roof. Its homepage has a construction archive, facts and figures, and a 3D virtual tour of sixteen different locations in the stadium. Although not specific to the Super Bowl, a sophisticated software application was used by several teams over the course of the season to analyze and predict the opponent team's next play. According to this article from TechTV (3), the software uses "measured probabilities" to determine the most likely call. Many people should remember Eyevision, a technology that allowed replays to be shown from a 360 degree viewing angle. This is the homepage (4) of the Carnegie Mellon University research center that developed the system. Several videos demonstrating the technology are given, as well as a basic description of its operation. Head injuries are some of the most devastating occurrences in football, but new research in helmet technology is outlined on this site (5). Dubbed the Revolution helmet, it is the first major change in helmet design in about 25 years. One Super Bowl first featured in the 2003 broadcast was the helmet microphone. John Lynch and Jerry Rice were equipped with the listening devices, but Rice removed his after halftime. The microphone, discussed in this news article (6), provided an interesting glimpse into inter-player conversations and attitudes. Even tickets to the Super Bowl were hi-tech (7). In order to prevent counterfeiting, special holographic paper was used to print the tickets. A now eight-year old tradition, which pits two players from opposing teams in a video game simulation of the Super Bowl, has maintained a perfect 8-0 record. The outcome of the Game Before the Game, as it is called, is summarized in this article (8). [CL]
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From The NSDL Scout Report for Math, Engineering, & Technology, Copyright Internet Scout Project 1994-2002.

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