2008 - June
A Farewell Message from Ubiquity Editor-in-Chief
by John Gehl
June 2008As Ubiquity's editor-in-chief John Gehl leaves his post, he shares some parting words.
An Interview with Richard A. Demillo
by Ubiquity staff
June 2008Richard A. DeMillo is the Dean of Georgia Tech's College of Computing. He previously was Hewlett-Packard's chief technology officer and served as director of the Georgia Tech Information Security Center. Under DeMillo's leadership, Georgia Tech's College of Computing has replaced the core curriculum for undergraduates with an ambitious and innovative Threads program, as he explains in this interview with Ubiquity's editor-in-chief John Gehl.
Critical Theory: Ideology Critique and the Myths of E-Learning
by Norm Friesen
June 2008Critical theory designates a philosophy and a research methodology that focuses on the interrelated issues of technology, politics and social change. Despite its emphasis on technology, critical theory arguably remains underutilized in areas of practical research that lie at the confluence of social, political and technological concerns, such as the study of the use of the usability of information and communication technologies (ICTs) or of their use in educational institutions. This paper addresses this situation by first describing the methodology of ideology critique. This critical methodology operates comparatively, by "measuring" consensual truths against actual social conditions. In doing so, it frequently shows these truisms to have the quality of mystifications or "myths," claims possessing a "false clarity" and that are misleading in developing and justifying research plans and priorities. Focusing on the specific example of e-learning (or the use of ICTs in education), this paper shows how critical theory can be used to "de-mystify" three particular truths or myths. These are claims that 1) we live in a "knowledge economy," 2) that users enjoy ubiquitous, "anywhere anytime" access, and 3) that social and institutional change is motivated by a number of fixed "laws" of progress in computer technology. These claims are shown to simplify or obscure a complex social reality that is constituted by different and conflicting forms of knowledge, and these claims are shown to work to the benefit of interests that are hegemonic and conservative in nature.
Dimension of Philosophy of Technologies: Critical Theory and Democratization of Technologies
by Arun Kumar Tripathi
June 2008Philosophy of technology promises the possibility of an understanding of technology that may be important not only to public policy but also in helping to conceptualise intellectual approaches to the study of technology and, indeed, to shaping new fields of knowledge and research. Philosophy of technology may also have a role to play in relation not only to structuring a largely disparate and inchoate field but also more directly in teaching and learning about technology (Peters, et. al 2008).
Information technology as an ethical challenge
by Rafael Capurro
June 2008Information technology has an ambiguous impact on society. This situation calls for a two-level ethical analysis. On the one hand the issues of power and control must be reconsidered under the viewpoint of institutional structures, i.e., of living norms. On the other hand, the technological shaping of society, taking the character of power, oppression, verbosity and dogmatic belief, should be at the same time reconsidered under the viewpoint of a plurality of living forms, i.e., within a framework of deliberation and dissent. This paper presents briefly both issues, taking into account Michel Foucault's concept of "technologies of the self."
Transcending from Virtual Reality into Tele-Immersive Technologies and Applications: A Perspective
by Ramesh Singh, Anubhav Kumar Singh
June 2008The goal of this paper is to investigate the basic principles of a tele-immersive system, its main components, development history, demonstrations and potential uses as one of today's most challenging technologies which takes all our knowledge of virtual reality, networks, haptics etc to the limits and beyond. Ultimately the paper presents a future research and development roadmap for this technology. Tele-immersion involves combining teleconferencing, tele-presence and virtual reality to allow individuals to manipulate a shared environment, converse, interact and even see each other. But the ultimate objective of tele-immersion is not solely to reproduce a real face-to-face meeting in detail, but also to provide the interface for collaborators, world-wide, to work together in a shared virtual environment, even though they may be miles apart physically. Tele-immersion stands at the crossroad of researches related to virtual reality and networking, computer visualization and user interfaces and can be said to unify all of these research areas.
Software-Based Fault Tolerance: Concept Map-Based Learning
by Goutam Kumar Saha
June 2008This paper aims to visually describe the important concepts of software-based fault tolerance and the relationships thereof using a concept map.
An Interview with Wei Zhao
by Ubiquity staff
June 2008Wei Zhao is currently the Dean of the School of Science at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute. Before he joined RPI in 2007, he was a Senior Associate Vice President for Research at Texas A&M University. Between 2005 and 2007, he also served as the Director for the Division of Computer and Network Systems in the National Science Foundation. He completed his undergraduate program in physics at Shaanxi Normal University, Xi'an, China, in 1977. He received his M.Sc. and Ph.D. degrees in Computer and Information Sciences at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst in 1983 and 1986, respectively. During his career, he has also served as a faculty member at Amherst College, the University of Adelaide, and Texas A&M University. This interview was conducted by Ubiquity editor-in-chief John Gehl.
CMOS RF Down-Conversion Mixer Design for Low-Power Wireless Communications
by K. Faitah, A. El Oualkadi, A. Ait Ouahman
June 2008This paper aims to study the design of a low-power single-balanced mixer for downconversion in wireless RF receivers. The proposed circuit is designed to work at a radiofrequency of 1.9GHz using CMOS 0.18 µm technology. The obtained results show a conversion gain equal to 7 dB and low power consumption of 3.86mW at 1.8.V supply voltage. The single side band noise figure performance was founded to be 8.dB. These results show a good potential of this CMOS mixer and justify its use for low-power wireless communications.
21st Century Information Technology Revolution
by Sanjay Kumar Pal
The computing power in the few micro processors that are now in a Ford Motor Car is much more than all the computing power that was put in the space vehicle that landed the first men on the moon and brought them back. In today's do-more-with-less business environment, with increasing demands from customers, shareholders, and regulators, the IT organization is not only asked to work harder and smarter, but is being asked to take on the role of assuring the business.
Humanity has progressed from agricultural revolution to the industrial revolution and is now moving to an information revolution. It is this awesome computing power at continuously falling prices and the computers being networked over global telecom highways that is leading to the use of Information Technology in every sector of human activity be it communication, banking, trading, learning and teaching, entertainment, socializing, government, management and librarying. Just as machines have extended man's mechanical power and his convenience and comfort, Information Technology as commonly picturized by computers, is extending man's mind or brain or intellectual power. The term information technology has ballooned to encompass many aspects of computing and technology, and the term is more recognizable than ever before.
Four Short Reviews of Current Software Engineering Books of Interest
by Ross Gagliano
June 2008Associate editor Ross Gagliano offers four short reviews of current software engineering books of interest.
Mathematics by Jannat
by Jannat Jannat
June 2008Arrgh!!! Well! If this is your reaction upon hearing the word MATH, you are not alone. You too are part of that ever increasing family which loves to hate it.