22. Pushing 100Gbps copper networks
Penn State engineers are trying to push relatively short Category-7 copper cables to support digital data speeds up to 100Gbps.
The idea would be to enable copper cables within a room or building, perhaps being used to interconnect servers, to handle data rates typically reserved for fiber-optic links. The trick has been coming up with a transmitter/receiver that uses error correcting and equalizing methods to can cancel interference better than traditional systems.
"A rate of 100 gigabit over 70 meters is definitely possible, and we are working on extending that to 100 meters, or about 328 feet," said Ali Enteshari, graduate student in electrical engineering, in a statement. "However, the design of a 100 gigabit modem might not be physically realizable at this time as it is technology limited. We are providing a roadmap to design a high-speed modem for 100 gigabits."
Mohsen Kavehrad , a professor of electrical engineering at Penn State, says his team is working with NEXANS, the company that makes the cable. "These are the current, new generation of Ethernet cables," he says.
23. Drivers wielding cell phones
We've seen or heard about drivers on cell phones causing accidents. But research from the University of Utah also shows that such drivers are also responsible for slowing traffic flows.
Those talking on cell phones tend to drive more slowly on freeways, pass slowgoing vehicles less frequently and generally take longer to get from one point to another, the researchers found. This can cost society in terms of lost productivity, fuel costs and more, the researchers concluded.
"At the end of the day, the average person's commute is longer because of that person who is on the cell phone right in front of them," said University of Utah psychology Professor Dave Strayer, leader of the research team, in a statement. "That SOB on the cell phone is slowing you down and making you late."
The research is based on a PatrolSim driving simulator.
Meanwhile, don't feel so smug about how safety conscious you are by using a hands-free cell phone in the car: Carnegie Mellon University researchers say you're still likely to be distracted.
The researchers used brain imaging to show that even just listening to a cell phone while driving cuts by more than a third your attention to driving. Subjects inside an MRI brain scanner were tested on a driving simulator and were found to weave, similar to if they were under the influence of alcohol. The study (featuring cool colorful brain images) showed lessened activity in the brain's parietal lobe, which is called upon for spatial sense and navigation, and occipital lobe, which handles visual information.
24. Open source on bug patrol
An open source tool is being readied for release this year that its creators say could dramatically speed software development and improve software quality.
Computer scientists from the National Institute of Standards and Technology and the University of Texas at Arlington credit the use of "combinatorial testing" for their breakthrough.
The trick is being able to quickly test interactions of up to six variables. The work stemmed from research into what really causes bugs in software. The researchers found that it is more often caused by problematic interactions between a few variables rather than a bunch even if a program, such as an e-commerce application, features hundreds of variables.
Findings of this latest software debugging research are described in several presentations, one by NIST researchers and another by University of Texas researchers
Developers interested in getting your hands on code should contact NIST's Raghu Kacker.