Solid State Drive

June 9, 2008

Solid State drives, or SSDs as they are popularly called, are new age storage drives and are slowly but gradually replacing traditional hard drives. A hard disk has heads, magnetic surfaces and many other complex moving parts, which enable it to function properly but they also make the hard disks fallible. The moving parts also make hard disks slower in reading and writing data. Whereas the SSD has no moving parts, no heads, and works on a principle similar to a RAM. Solid State Drives used either SDRAM or NAND Flash. Solid State Drives will replace the traditional hard disks due to their inherent advantages — they operate at higher speeds, data can be fetched almost immediately, and there is no time lag between the data request sent and transfer of data.

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Semaphore

May 5, 2008

A semaphore (pronounced as sehm uh fawr, invented by Edsger Dijkstra) in computer science is a classic way of protecting shared resources. In multi-programming environments like Unix systems, semaphores are a technique for coordinating or synchronizing activities in which multiple processes compete for the same operating system resources. A process needing the resource checks the semaphore to determine the resource’s status and then decides how to proceed. Depending on the value found, the process can use the resource or will find that it is already in use and must wait for some time before trying again, thus avoiding deadlocks.


New Internet that’s 10,000 Times Faster

April 10, 2008

The internet could soon be made obsolete by “the grid”. The lightning-fast replacement will be capable of downloading entire feature films within seconds. At speeds about 10,000 times faster than a typical broadband connection, the grid will be able to send the entire Rolling Stones back catalogue from Britain to Japan in less than two seconds.


The latest spinoff from Cern, the particle physics centre that created the web, could also provide the kind of power needed to transmit holographic images; allow instant online gaming with hundreds of thousands of players, and offer high definition video telephony for the price of a local call.


It has been used to help design new drugs against malaria, the disease that kills 1m people each year. Researchers used the grid to analyze 140m compounds — a task that would have taken a standard internet linked PC 420 years. David Britton, professor of physics at Glasgow University and a leading figure in the grid project, believes grid technologies “could revolutionize society”. “With this kind of computing power, future generations will have the ability to collaborate and communicate in ways older people like me cannot even imagine.”


The power of the grid will become apparent this summer after what scientists at Cern have termed their “red button” day — the switching on of the Large Hadron Collider, the new particle accelerator built to probe the origin of the universe. The grid will be activated at the same time to capture the data it generates.

 

Cern, based near Geneva, started the grid computing project seven years ago when researchers realized LHC would generate annual data equivalent to 56m CDs — enough to make a stack 50 miles high. Ironically this meant that scientists at Cern — where Tim Berners-Lee invented the internet in 1989 — would no longer be able to use his creation for fear of causing a global collapse. This is because the internet has evolved by linking together a hotchpotch of cables and routing equipment, much of which was originally designed for telephone calls and which lacks the capacity for high-speed data transmission.


By contrast, the grid has been built with dedicated fibre optic cables and modern routing centers, meaning there are no outdated components to slow the deluge of data. Computers on the grid can transmit data at lightning speed, as well as receive them. This will allow researchers facing heavy processing tasks to call on the assistance of thousands of other computers around the world.

 

THE GRID


While the web is a service for sharing information over the internet, the new system, Grid, is a service for sharing computer power and data storage capacity over the internet It will allow online gaming with hundreds of thousands of players, and offer high definition video telephony for the price of a local call In search of new drugs against malaria, it analyzed 140m compounds — a task that would have taken an internet-linked PC 420 years.

 


A wonder Laptop

March 27, 2008

An Indian medical technology firm has configured a laptop that can do a heart scan, abdomen scan and even a pregnancy test while retaining its basic functions like writing a note, preparing presentations and sending an e-mail.

‘Though portable ultrasound machines are not new in India, this machine doubles up as a laptop and a multi-utility ultrasound machine. It is easy to use, carry and send body images even to your e-mail. The system runs on a standard Apple Mackintosh laptop computer, which is integrated with a fusion processor and a unique, custom-designed, integrated ultrasound chip set.

The familiar Windows graphical user interface makes the system intuitive and easy to use. The t3000 laptop is designed for general, vascular, and breast imaging, interventional radiology, image-guided intervention, endocrinology, laparoscopy, neuro-sonography and nephrology.

The laptop has collar Doppler for better imaging of a total body scan and weighs around three kilograms. The price varies between Rs.1.2 million (over $30,000) and Rs.3 million, depending on the type of configuration a doctor wants.

The laptop, doctors said, helps them do their job more easily and efficiently.’Now a patient or a doctor need not always go to a hospital for any kind of tests like heart scan, thyroid scan, abdomen scan and even pregnancy tests. This helps one to reach the bedside of a patient and treat him.

‘You can do the scanning of different parts of your body and get the image printouts through the same laptop. The images can also be transferred to a PowerPoint presentation or emailed for convenience of a doctor or a patient.The sensor attached to the laptop sends sound waves inside the patient’s body and the laptop placed nearly half a metre away will display internal images, blood flow and blockages inside the organ or body part.


4G WAITING AT THE DOOR

March 24, 2008

THE DAY is not too far off when your PC will respond to your touch within the batting of an eyelid, or to be more precise, 5 milliseconds. Or, your mobile phone will pop up images the second you give the command. What’s more, you can download your favorite Shahrukh Khan-starrer — the full 3-hour movie — onto your mobile phone and watch it on a high definition mobile screen. All this and more is possible once long-term evolution (LTE), an upgrade of the current 3G, comes in. Work on this is currently on in different pockets of the world, including Bangalore. But what exactly is LTE?

LTE is the next generation mobile wireless broadband technology that enables operators to offer wireless broadband services at affordable costs and at the same time provide better performance and capacity when compared to the current 3G wireless networks.

In fact NXP Semiconductors demonstrated the world’s first multi-mode baseband platform which forms the basis of a next-generation software defined radio (SDR) system solution at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona in January 2008. Powered by NXP’s Embedded Vector Processor (EVP), a powerful new chip, the solution is capable of achieving data transfer rates of 150 Mbits downlink and 50 Mbits uplink. How exactly does this quick transfer of data take place? “A key aspect of LTE is its simplified network architecture and the use of new techniques to get high volumes of data through a mobile network. This allows many of the network elements involved in the transport of data between an operators’ base stations and its core network in current cellular systems to be removed. This helps reduce latency (that is the time data takes to travel within a network). Because the number of elements in the transfer of data is reduced, it helps to significantly reduce cost, since fewer pieces of network equipment are needed to achieve the same results”.

“One of the tricks deployed to simplify the network architecture is to make the hardware do some of the functions which the software does. This helps in saving a lot of space,”. One of the advantages of this is that the battery life of gadgets like mobiles and notebooks would be extended almost 2 to 3 times approximately.

While high-speed data transfer is just one of the features, “There will be more spectral efficiency in LTE and the costs will be considerably low. The response time is reduced considerably.” “Another important feature of LTE is the amount of flexibility it allows operators in determining the spectrum in which it will be deployed. Not only will LTE have the ability to operate in a number of different frequency bands (which means that operators will be able to deploy it at lower frequencies), but it also features scalable bandwidth” .These features will offer operators a lot of performance enhancements over 3G, with a target of two to four times the spectral efficiency of 3G/HSPA networks. This means that LTE networks will be able to squeeze in more bits of data into the same amount of spectrum as 3G and HSPA networks.

The evolution to LTE appears very attractive to operators because of the reduced capital and operating expenditures it requires over previous 3G networks. Besides this, another factor which adds appeal to operators is the fact that this technology is an upgrade of 3G. “This means that the operators do not have to begin from the start if they want to switch over to LTE”. “Existing network resources are reused wherever possible”.

Companies like Nokia Siemens Networks have an added advantage as far as this technology go.  The LTE technology is still in the nascent stages of evolution. “The LTE standards have just been formatted.” The advantages of LTE are that there will be more spectral efficiency and the operational costs will be very low. “This technological breakthrough is targeted not only at the handset market, but will also be optimized for laptops, internet tablets and the latest ultra-mobile PCs.

“The advantage here is that all applications like broadband, VoIP, videos, music downloads and movies on demands can be downloaded through PCs.

All eyes are on Japan, the global leaders in technology. In fact, Nokia Siemens Networks has agreed to set up an LTE base station on the request made by Japan’s biggest mobile operator NTT DoCoMo for its Super 3G (LTE) Base Station project.

Nokia Siemens Networks, with its flat architecture networks, will provide a smooth migration path for operators to LTE. They were the first to demonstrate LTE technology in 2006 with data speeds in the 160Mb/s range.

But why do we need LTE? “Like hunger the demand for better efficiency and higher speeds can never be satiated.” Companies are raring to cash in on the ‘wow’ factor this will create.