Features

Using Parallel Processing on GPUs to Accelerate Finite-Difference Time-Domain Algorithms for Electromagnetic and Seismic Applications

Many scientific, technical and engineering applications in finance, medical imaging, modeling, simulation, and image processing can benefit greatly from the floating point acceleration offered by modern general purpose graphics processing units (GPGPU). Today’s graphics processors have evolved into sophisticated, massively-parallel, highly-programmable compute engines ideally suited for algorithms with a high degree of data parallelism. Combined with modern parallel programming languages and application interfaces such as industry standard OpenCL™, GPGPU offers a new paradigm for high-performance computing (HPC).

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Using Multiprocessing in Industrial Automation Systems

Automated industrial control systems are an integral part of today’s manufacturing facilities. As these systems’ capabilities advance, the engineer shifts from someone who oversees processes to one who manages the data produced and functions performed by these systems to ensure product quality. Manufacturing systems need to be reliable, since downtime is an expensive alternative. Automation has reduced the number of people staffed at each facility so, if a system goes down, it’s probably not feasible for people to actually step in and move production along. If a system stops, so does production.

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Using FPGAs for Automated Design Validation

In the design process, after the first prototype returns from fabrication, engineers often use traditional test equipment to make low-level measurements such as digital rise times, voltage thresholds, and leakage currents, and analog harmonic and spurious distortion, noise, and more. Once these parameters are verified to be within specification, higher-level attributes such as protocol compliance on digital devices and modulation parameters on communications devices are then checked. This gives the engineer a good understanding of how the device behaves, and whether or not that behavior allows the device to properly interact with the world around it. However, how can you guarantee that the device will continue to operate over time, with the myriad of permutations of device state, data content, and in the presence of non-ideal, real-world conditions? Who has the time to run all those tests?

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Back to Edison, Back to Innovation

This regular column features guest editorials by industry leaders in all areas of technology on the importance of innovation. Our guest columnists provide their insight into how innovation plays a pivotal role in everything from basic product design to the future of engineering education.Somewhere during the last 100 years or so, we have lost something critical — something that funded and inspired the inventions that propelled us into modernism and delivered luxuries we now take for granted. Somehow we lost the urge to innovate. I am not sure if it was an individual dimming of passion or the lack of an environment to foster innovation, but I am sure it vanished.

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Industry Update: Analysis & Simulation Software

In our annual poll of executives at leading analysis and simulation software companies, we asked about the economic situation’s effect on the market, the pros and cons of virtual prototyping, and how software vendors are helping customers do more with less. Here’s what they had to say about market trends for 2011, and maintaining competitive advantages in a challenging business market.

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2010 Create the Future Design Contest

The 2010 Create the Future Design Contest, sponsored by COMSOL, Inc., PTC, and Tech Briefs Media Group (publishers of NASA Tech Briefs), recognized innovation in product design in six categories: Consumer Products, Machinery & Equipment, Medical, Safety & Security, Sustainable Technologies, and Transportation. On the following pages, you’ll meet the Grand Prize Winner, as well as the winners and Honorable Mentions in all six categories. Congratulations to this year’s winners, and thanks to the nearly 1,000 entrants who submitted their creative design ideas. To view the contest entries online, visit www.createthefuture2010.com.

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2010 Create the Future Design Contest Grand Prize Winner

Rowheel Wheelchair Propulsion System Salim NasserMerritt Island, FL There are approximately 1.8 million manual wheelchair users in the United States, and that number is expected to grow at a rate of 10% annually. Seventy-five percent of wheelchair users rely on manual wheelchairs. Prolonged manual wheelchair use is directly linked to repetitive stress injuries and pain in the upper extremities. The effects of muscle overuse become evident in the forms of muscle pain, torn rotator cuffs, joint degeneration, and carpal tunnel syndrome. There is a need to minimize these types of injuries while retaining the benefits of the exercise that these devices provide. Studies have found that continued prevalence and pain intensity over time resulted in a change in lifestyle in which the user ceased to routinely perform these activities.

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