An Innovative Test Tool Framework to Improve Technology Standardization

Download this free whitepaper to learn about Comarch Automated Test Framework (CATF), which allows easier, faster, and more reliable device certification. Read the document to find out:Why do manufacturers join alliances that create certification programs for their technologiesWhat a typical product certification process looks likeStep by step selection and implementation of a test tools vendorThe most common problems faced by certification organizationsThe seven most common challenges which may need to be overcome to successfully finish the certification processImprovements in the certification process that can be made using the Comarch Automated Test Framework

IEEE Spectrum : Computing An Innovative Test Tool Framework to Improve Technology Standardization

Two of World’s Biggest Quantum Computers Made in China

Two of the most powerful quantum computers in the world to date now both come from China, and new experiments with them re-ignite the controversy over what kinds of problems might be quantum computationally solvable that couldn't begin to be solved by a conventional supercomputer. A quantum computer with great enough complexity—for instance, enough components known as quantum bits or “qubits"—could in theory achieve a "quantum advantage" allowing it to find the answers to problems no classical computer could ever solve. In principle, a quantum computer with 300 qubits could perform more calculations in an instant than there are atoms in the visible universe. In 2019, Google argued it ..

IEEE Spectrum : Computing Two of World’s Biggest Quantum Computers Made in China

Electronics Cooling Design Optimization with SimScale

Engineers who design and test electronics require high-fidelity engineering simulation to investigate heat transfer and fluid flow in order to develop the best thermal management strategies. Access to physics-based solvers in the cloud can enable teams to quickly assess performance and accelerate design iterations. See how.

IEEE Spectrum : Computing Electronics Cooling Design Optimization with SimScale

Learn Docker and Kubernetes With the Turing Pi

Once upon a time, if you wanted to install a piece of software, you just stuck an executable file on your hard drive somewhere and went on your merry way. But as computers became more complex, so did installation procedures, which led to problems like "dependency hell," as different applications dueled over conflicting system configurations. One increasingly popular solution today is to add a container layer to the software stack, giving each application its own temporary, sandboxed environment without needing the resources required for a complete stand-alone virtual machine. And as a bonus, containers make it easier to deploy applications efficiently in a cloud or across a local computing ..

IEEE Spectrum : Computing Learn Docker and Kubernetes With the Turing Pi

Cognition Without Computation

I'm just going to come out and say it: Human cognition might have nothing whatsoever to do with computation. Yes, I am well aware that the computational theory of mind is a deeply entrenched one, starting with the work in the early 1940s of Warren McCulloch and Walter Pitts in Chicago, and then later at MIT, where they were joined by Jerome Lettvin and Humberto Maturana. But over the course of human history, lots of theories have been widely but wrongly held, sometimes for decades. Consider the phlogiston theory of combustion. For over a century, starting in 1667, most scientists believed that what made disparate things burn was a common substance, later named phlogiston, that dissipated in..

IEEE Spectrum : Computing Cognition Without Computation

Facebook Steps Toward Cryptocurrencies

Facebook has finally made its long awaited foray into cryptocurrencies, but the project is a shadow of its ambitious initial plans. The company has launched its Novi digital wallet, but without the Diem cryptocurrency, which was supposed to be the cornerstone of the enterprise.The limited pilot will be restricted to 200,000 users in the US and Guatemala. And with the launch of Facebook-backed Diem still held up by regulatory concerns in the US, Novi will instead allow users to exchange Paxos, a stablecoin whose value is pegged to the dollar.Promotional material and comments from head of Facebook Financial (F2) David Marcus suggest the pilot is focussed on muscling into the lucrative remittan..

IEEE Spectrum : Computing Facebook Steps Toward Cryptocurrencies

System Sniffs Out Trojans in Electromagnetic Emissions

Is that a warplane or a commercial airliner? Mistaking one for the other has had truly tragic consequences. So if you've got an automated system doing it, you better know for sure that it hasn't been compromised with a malicious hardware trojan somewhere along the supply chain.It's such scenarios that the Defense Advanced Research Agency (DARPA) is hoping to defeat with a project called SHEATH (for Safeguards against Hidden Effects and Anomalous Trojans in Hardware), which recently wrapped up its 18-month run. The result? A system called TEMPEST that can tell if part of a computer has been compromised just from its electromagnetic emissions. Engineers from Aether Argus, in Atlanta, revealed ..

IEEE Spectrum : Computing System Sniffs Out Trojans in Electromagnetic Emissions

The Metaverse Could Help Us Better Understand Reality

Certain neologisms seem to pop up, then disappear, only to return in another guise. William Gibson's award-winning 1984 science fiction classic Neuromancer popularized the word cyberspace, a meaningless portmanteau that went viral and eventually became a shorthand expression describing the totality of the online world. We're now seeing something similar happen with the word metaverse, coined in Neal Stephenson's 1992 novel Snow Crash where it referred to the successor of our two-dimensional Internet. The word resurfaced a short time later in the product road maps of a hundred failed startups and is returning now as the plaything of Big Tech. We're hearing that everyone will need access to th..

IEEE Spectrum : Computing The Metaverse Could Help Us Better Understand Reality

Gaming-Related Malware on the Rise on Mobile, PCs

Popular online games such as Minecraft and The Sims are helping spread malware on both PCs and mobile devices, highlighting the risks that both games and mobile devices now pose, a new study finds.Gaming is increasingly a way not just for people to entertain themselves, but also to connect with others, which is otherwise difficult to do during the pandemic, notes freemium virtual private network service Atlas VPN."We've been watching the amount of malware accelerate within games for the past decade or so," says Jacinta Tobin, vice president of global sales and operations at cybersecurity firm Proofpoint's Cloudmark mobile and email security division. "It's a space that's rife to be exploited..

IEEE Spectrum : Computing Gaming-Related Malware on the Rise on Mobile, PCs

Meet Snitch: the Small and Agile RISC-V Processor

This article is part of our exclusive IEEE Journal Watch series in partnership with IEEE Xplore. As society's insatiable demand for computing power continues to grow, so too does the need for more efficient processors. A group of researchers in Switzerland has devised a new processor design that may help meet our computational-intensive needs. It is physically small and computationally agile—and aptly named Snitch. (Harry Potter fans will get the reference.)Florian Zaruba, a postdoc at the Integrated Systems Laboratory at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology (ETH) in Zürich—and a researcher involved in the creation of Snitch—notes that there's a trend with commercial, general-pu..

IEEE Spectrum : Computing Meet Snitch: the Small and Agile RISC-V Processor

How Exida’s Automated Software Tools Redefined Functional Safety

This is a sponsored article brought to you by Exida.It is said that necessity is the mother of invention. Just over 20 years ago, two men who met on opposite sides of a product safety certification process ended up proving this maxim once again. Back in the late 1990s, Dr. William Goble, a development manager for an automation company, was attempting to get a safety certification on a product his team was developing. During this process, Goble met Rainer Faller, who at the time was a business unit manager at Technischer Überwachungsverein (TUV) Bayern, one of the few safety certification associations in the world. Goble and Faller agreed that the existing certification process was burdensom..

IEEE Spectrum : Computing How Exida’s Automated Software Tools Redefined Functional Safety

Windows 11 Is Here, But Will It Run on Your PC?

Microsoft's Windows 11 is awesome. It also abandons millions of users. The latest version of Microsoft's 36-year-old operating system began its rollout on 5 October 2021. Some eligible devices may not receive it until mid-2022. Still, there's a chance your PC will have the update by the time you read this. If you have a new PC, that is. Windows 11 is a free upgrade, but in a break from past releases, Microsoft will exclude hundreds of millions of PCs that run Windows 10. To add insult to this injury, Microsoft is ejecting users who installed the preview build of Windows 11 on unsupported machines as part of the Windows Insider Program, which is used to test new Windows builds. These machine..

IEEE Spectrum : Computing Windows 11 Is Here, But Will It Run on Your PC?

This CAD Program Can Design New Organisms

In the next decade, medical science may finally advance cures for some of the most complex diseases that plague humanity. Many diseases are caused by mutations in the human genome, which can either be inherited from our parents (such as in cystic fibrosis), or acquired during life, such as most types of cancer. For some of these conditions, medical researchers have identified the exact mutations that lead to disease; but in many more, they're still seeking answers. And without understanding the cause of a problem, it's pretty tough to find a cure. We believe that a key enabling technology in this quest is a computer-aided design (CAD) program for genome editing, which our organization is la..

IEEE Spectrum : Computing This CAD Program Can Design New Organisms

New Optical Switch up to 1000x Faster Than Transistors

A new optical switch is, at 1 trillion operations per second, between 100 and 1,000 times faster than today's leading commercial electronic transistors, research that may one day help lead to a new generation of computers based on light instead of electricity, say scientists in Russia and at IBM.Computers typically represent data as ones and zeroes by switching transistors between one electric state and the other. Optical computers that replace conventional transistors with optical switches could theoretically operate more quickly than regular computers, as photons travel at the speed of light, while electrons, typically, don’t.The new device relies on a 35-nanometer-wide organic semicondu..

IEEE Spectrum : Computing New Optical Switch up to 1000x Faster Than Transistors

Forget JPEG, How Would a Person Compress a Picture?

Picture your favorite photograph, say, of an outdoor party. What's in the picture that you care about most? Is it your friends who were present? Is it the food you were eating? Or is it the amazing sunset in the background that you didn't notice at the time you took the picture, but looks like a painting? Now imagine which of those details you'd choose to keep if you only had enough storage space for one of those features, instead of the entire photo. Why would I bother to do that, you ask? I can just send the whole picture to the cloud and keep it forever. That, however, isn't really true. We live in an age in which it's cheap to take photos but will eventually be costly to store them en m..

IEEE Spectrum : Computing Forget JPEG, How Would a Person Compress a Picture?

Why Is Facebook Getting Into Cryptocurrency?

Facebook is on the cusp of launching an ambitious new cryptocurrency-based payment system that it says will boost financial inclusion and slash transaction fees. But experts have questioned whether the technology will really achieve those goals.At the center of the company's plan is a digital wallet called Novi designed to let people trade Diem—a "stablecoin" whose value is pegged to the US dollar. The project is essentially a re-branding of the Libra cryptocurrency and Calibra wallet, which the company unveiled in June 2019 but quickly put on the backburner following significant pushback from lawmakers and regulators.The plan has undergone a major revamp, and the company now plans to laun..

IEEE Spectrum : Computing Why Is Facebook Getting Into Cryptocurrency?

An Inconvenient Truth About AI

We are well into the third wave of major investment in artificial intelligence. So it's a fine time to take a historical perspective on the current success of AI. In the 1960s, the early AI researchers often breathlessly predicted that human-level intelligent machines were only 10 years away. That form of AI was based on logical reasoning with symbols, and was carried out with what today seem like ludicrously slow digital computers. Those same researchers considered and rejected neural networks. This article is part of our special report on AI, “The Great AI Reckoning.” In the 1980s, AI's second age was based on two technologies: rule-based expert systems—a more heuristic form of symb..

IEEE Spectrum : Computing An Inconvenient Truth About AI

Why OpenAI’s Codex Won’t Replace Coders

This summer, the artificial intelligence company OpenAI released Codex, a new system that automatically writes software code using only simple prompts written in plain language. Codex is based on GPT-3, a revolutionary deep learning platform that OpenAI trained on nearly all publicly available written text on the Internet through 2019.As an early Beta tester, I've had extensive opportunities to put both GPT-3 and Codex through their paces. The most frequent question I'm asked about Codex is "Will this replace human programmers?" With world powers like the United States investing billions into training new software developers, it's natural to worry that all the effort and money could be for n..

IEEE Spectrum : Computing Why OpenAI’s Codex Won’t Replace Coders

Benchmark Shows AIs Are Getting Speedier

This week, AI industry group MLCommons released a new set of results for AI performance. The new list, MLPerf Version 1.1, follows the first official set of benchmarks by five months and includes more than 1800 results from 20 organizations, with 350 measurements of energy efficiency. The majority of systems improved by between 5-30 percent from earlier this year, with some more than doubling their previous performance stats, according to MLCommons. The new results come on the heels of the announcement, last week, of a new machine-learning benchmark, called TCP-AIx.In MLPerf's inferencing benchmarks, systems made up of combinations of CPUs and GPUs or other accelerator chips are tested on up..

IEEE Spectrum : Computing Benchmark Shows AIs Are Getting Speedier

7 Revealing Ways AIs Fail

Artificial intelligence could perform more quickly, accurately, reliably, and impartially than humans on a wide range of problems, from detecting cancer to deciding who receives an interview for a job. But AIs have also suffered numerous, sometimes deadly, failures. And the increasing ubiquity of AI means that failures can affect not just individuals but millions of people. Increasingly, the AI community is cataloging these failures with an eye toward monitoring the risks they may pose. "There tends to be very little information for users to understand how these systems work and what it means to them," says Charlie Pownall, founder of the AI, Algorithmic and Automation Incident & Controvers..

IEEE Spectrum : Computing 7 Revealing Ways AIs Fail

Competing Visions Underpin China’s Quantum Computer Race

China and the US are in a race to conquer quantum computing, which promises to unleash the potential of artificial intelligence and give the owner all-seeing, code-breaking powers. But there is a race within China itself among companies trying to dominate the space, led by tech giants Alibaba and Baidu.Like their competitors IBM, Google, Honeywell, and D-Wave, both Chinese companies profess to be developing "full stack" quantum businesses, offering access to quantum computing through the cloud coupled with their own suite of algorithms, software, and consulting services.Alibaba is building solutions for specific kinds of hardware, as IBM, Google, and Honeywell are doing. (IBM's software stac..

IEEE Spectrum : Computing Competing Visions Underpin China’s Quantum Computer Race

Crypto’s Slow Motion Gold Rush

When Chinese authorities cracked down on cryptocurrency mining in May, earnings soared for miners in other countries. That set the stage for a crypto gold rush in other countries, but supply chain disruptions and logistical bottlenecks have made capitalizing on the opportunity tough.Mining plays a crucial role in the functioning of many cryptocurrencies, including the two biggest—Bitcoin and Ethereum. Miners compete with each to solve complex calculations that help secure transactions, and are rewarded with new coins in return. While anyone with a computer can try their hand at mining, today the bulk of it is done by professional outfits running thousands of specialized chips in dedicated ..

IEEE Spectrum : Computing Crypto’s Slow Motion Gold Rush

Researchers Tap Antiferromagnets for Better RAM

Strange magnetic materials known as antiferromagnets are promising candidates for a next generation of computer memory. Now scientists have discovered magnetic effects within these materials that could help them operate with greater speed and energy efficiency than current devices. Standard magnets have particles that are magnetically all oriented in the same direction. As a result, their magnetic polarity can influence their surroundings. In contrast, antiferromagnets , which are far more abundant in nature than regular magnets, have particles that align themselves into opposing directions throughout the material. This leads antiferromagnets to have virtually no magnetic effects on their e..

IEEE Spectrum : Computing Researchers Tap Antiferromagnets for Better RAM

Digital Currency and Trade Systems Are Tearing up the Rules

The next big thing in global commerce is "trust chain" digital platforms. Nations are now creating such platforms to allow businesses to execute transactions from anywhere on the planet securely and irrefutably. These platforms—which combine open alliance legal agreements (like Visa or Mastercard's legal agreements), distributed ledger technology (for example, blockchains like hyperledger), and end-to-end encryption—can handle not only payments but also finance, trade, tax, and audits in a uniform manner.A well-documented example is Singapore's Project Ubin, sponsored by the country's monetary authority and its Temasek sovereign wealth fund, which is now being deployed after five years o..

IEEE Spectrum : Computing Digital Currency and Trade Systems Are Tearing up the Rules

Glass Chip Is Key to New Quantum Architecture

Maryland-based IonQ has unveiled a new kind of chip in its quest to scale up its type of quantum computer technology. Its computers calculate using the quantum states of ions electromagnetically trapped in the space near a chip. Previous traps were made using silicon chipmaking processes, but the company has now switched to an evaporated glass trap technology—a way of constructing micrometer-scale features in fused silica glass often used to make microfluidic chips. Its previous trap technology, the company says, could not have supported IonQ's new quantum architecture, which is based on multiple chains of ion-based qubits. Ultimately, IonQ executives say, the glass chip's reconfigurable ..

IEEE Spectrum : Computing Glass Chip Is Key to New Quantum Architecture

Top Programming Languages 2021

Learn Python. That's the biggest takeaway we can give you from its continued dominance of IEEE Spectrum's annual interactive rankings of the top programming languages. You don't have to become a dyed-in-the-wool Pythonista, but learning the language well enough to use one of the vast number of libraries written for it is probably worth your time.Once you've got the basics of Python down, it's all about the ins and outs of particular libraries for things like embedded projects and large-scale AI systems. Frankly, depending on the domain, complexity, and/or quality of documentation, grokking one can be considerably tougher than learning Python itself. But Python has its limits, as the continue..

IEEE Spectrum : Computing Top Programming Languages 2021

Intel Unveils Big Processor Architecture Changes

This week Intel unveiled what senior vice president and general manager Raja Koduri called the company's biggest processor advances in a decade. They included two new x86 CPU core architectures—the straightforwardly-named Performance-core (P-core) and Efficient-core (E-core). The cores are integrated into Alder Lake, a "performance hybrid" family of processors that includes new tech to let the upcoming Windows 11 OS run CPUs more efficiently. With traditional ways of increasing the density of logic on a chip losing steam, processor architecture—basically, how a computer actually goes about its business—will have to carry more of the load. "This is an awesome time to be a computer arch..

IEEE Spectrum : Computing Intel Unveils Big Processor Architecture Changes

IBM’s Fall From World Dominance

Steven Cherry Hi, this is Steven Cherry for IEEE Spectrum's podcast, Fixing the Future. IBM is a remarkable company, known for many things—the tabulating machines that calculated the 1890 U.S. Census, the mainframe computer, legitimizing the person computer, and developing the software that beat the best in the world at chess and then Jeopardy. The company is, though, even more remarkable for the businesses it departed—often while they were still highly profitable—and pivoting to new ones before their profitability was obvious or assured. The pivot people are most familiar with is the one into the PC market in the 1980s and then out of it in the 2000s. In fact, August 2020 marks the 4..

IEEE Spectrum : Computing IBM’s Fall From World Dominance

IBM's Quantum Computing Compromise—a Road to Scale?

Quantum computers are some of the most fiendishly complex machines humans have ever built. But exactly how complex you make them has significant impacts on their performance and scalability. Industry leaders, perhaps not surprisingly, sometimes take very different approaches.Consider IBM. As of this week (8 August), all of Big Blue's quantum processors will use a hexagonal layout that features considerably fewer connections between qubits—the quantum equivalent of bits—than the square layout used in its earlier designs and by competitors Google and Rigetti Computing.This is the culmination of several years of experimentation with different processor topologies, which describe a device's ..

IEEE Spectrum : Computing IBM's Quantum Computing Compromise—a Road to Scale?

The Real Story of Pixar

The story of Pixar doesn't start with its founding—a tech company's story rarely does. Rather, the original spark often comes from a university lab, a renegade group at a large company, or a hobbyist building stuff for fun. Pixar's story doesn't even start with the creation of Lucasfilm's Computer Graphics Group, which developed the Pixar Image Computer, the company's first product.The story, instead, goes back to a time when I and other researchers in computer graphics scattered around the United States began to see the technology as allowing a new art form: the creation of digitally animated movies. A handful of us began talking about when somebody would make the first one—"The Movie,"..

IEEE Spectrum : Computing The Real Story of Pixar