Features

Making Sense Out of SOUP (Software of Unknown Pedigree)

Software test tools have been traditionally designed with the expectation that the code has been (or is being) designed and developed following a best practice development process. Legacy code turns the ideal process on its head. Although such code is a valuable asset, it is likely to have been developed on an experimental, ad hoc basis by a series of “gurus” — experts who prided themselves on getting things done and in knowing the application itself, but not necessarily expert at complying with modern development thinking and bored with providing complete documentation. That doesn’t sit well with the requirements of standards such as DO-178B.

Posted in: Articles, Articles

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Multicore Processing: A Technological Dead End?

The computing press is full of discussions about multicore systems, defined here as single-chip computers containing two or more processing cores each connected to a common shared memory (Figure 1).These devices are being presented as the solution to the performance problems faced by embedded systems, but in fact, multicore may be more of a problem than a solution.

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Understanding Virtex FPGAs

With each new generation of FPGA devices, Xilinx continues to push the performance envelope to match the ever-increasing requirements of target applications. The recent announcement of the Virtex-6 is no exception. More processing power, lower power consumption and updated interface features to match the latest technology I/O requirements are all part of the new devices. While it might be easy to assume that faster, bigger, more powerful is better, it’s important to understand how the latest FPGA innovations actually deliver this higher performance to best match the device to the specific requirements of the application.

Posted in: Semiconductors & ICs, Articles, Articles

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Advancing Automotive Design With Innovative Collaboration

The automotive industry has faced hardships in recent times, but it can and will survive by renewing itself through innovation. After enduring a $14.6 billion loss in 2008, Ford reported a $2.7 billion profit in 2009 and applied for a total of 119 patents for the 2010 Ford Fusion and Fusion Hybrid. Clearly, now more than ever, inventive thinking is key to any automaker’s success. In the process, automotive engineers have not gone it alone — collaborations with various scientific disciplines continue to inspire and reinvent the design of safer and more efficient vehicles.

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Choosing the Right Touchscreen Display Technology for Your Control/Automation Process

From industrial panel PCs, to open-platform graphic operator interface terminals (OITs), to microOITs, to human-machine interfaces (HMIs), there are many choices of interactive display technologies for manufacturing and process control. It can be a challenge to decipher the right product for the right application — even for the more technically minded individual, let alone the business owner who simply wants his process automated. The best way to get a handle on these products is to categorize them and then describe each group.

Posted in: Imaging, Articles

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Using Micro OTDRs to Test Fiber Optic Networks

Uses for traditional optical time domain reflectometers, or “OTDRs” include the certification and troubleshooting of very long-haul fiber optic networks such as campus and metro networks. In many LAN, WAN or FTTH environments, however, fiber links are relatively short and, therefore, usually operate over multimode fiber cables at wavelengths of 850nm and 1300nm. A new generation of “Micro OTDR” is ideally suited for this application, which typically has a maximum range of about 25 miles.

Posted in: Articles, ptb catchall

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Reinventing Disease Detection and Diagnosis

As devices for disease detection and diagnosis become more advanced, they also are becoming smaller. Next-generation technologies for faster detection of diseases such as cardiovascular disease, melanoma, and breast cancer are handheld devices that are easy to use, portable, and more accurate than many of the currently available diagnostic tools. As the following examples illustrate, immediate diagnosis and detection of life-threatening diseases may soon be held in the palm of your hand.

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