Notes from February 2003 Meeting

Embedded Systems Conference
Moscone Center
The Electrum Project
Electrum is a sculpture that employs lightning as the major component. Real lightning , which is very rarely seen up close, has the ability to focus and clear the mind. The work stands 38 feet tall and is essentially a column with a sphere on the top. Concealed within the sculpture is a 130,000 watt Tesla Coil. The Tesla Coil is the largest of its kind in the world. Lightning discharges up to fifty feet in length emanate in all directions from the top of the sphere.
Survival Research Labs
Producing the most dangerous shows on earth.
Users of Intuit's TurboTax income tax preparation software are up in arms as a result of new DRM features which were added, with no warning, to this year's product.,3973,832413,00.asp
Fully Informed Jury Association
The FIJA mission is to inform all Americans about their rights, powers and responsibilities when serving as trial jurors. FIJA also seeks to restore the political function of the jury as the final check and balance on our American system of government.
Beowolf clusters
In the summer of 1994 Thomas Sterling and Don Becker, working at CESDIS under the sponsorship of the ESS project, built a cluster computer consisting of 16 DX4 processors connected by channel bonded Ethernet. They called their machine Beowulf. The machine was an instant success and their idea of providing COTS (Commodity off the shelf) base systems to satisfy specific computational requirements quickly spread through NASA and into the academic and research communities. The development effort for this first machine quickly grew into a what we now call the Beowulf Project.
Article in Scientific American -
Raffi Krikorian holds up a circuit board no bigger than a matchbook, with just enough space for a couple of chips, a few threads of wiring and a socket or two. "It costs maybe three dollars," he tells me. It's so cheap and simple, Krikorian's team at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology's new Center for Bits and Atoms expect their humble circuit not only to change the way we wire our homes, but transform how we live in them too.

According to Gershenfeld, these layers are the software embodiment of human bureaucracy: each one has a sort of management committee to administer it and much of its code exists simply to pass messages on to the next layer. The only way to make this system small enough to fit onto a tiny chip was to strip away redundant or non-essential features from each layer, leaving only the code absolutely necessary to perform a specific task. If you were to fully implement each layer, you might need a megabyte of code. But Krikorian found enough waste and duplication for him to fit the essential functions of all seven layers on a 4-kilobyte memory chip. "Our chip doesn't have an operating system," he says. "It doesn't need to communicate with printers or determine which version of software some other computer is running." All it needs to do is send and receive simple commands that resemble Web addresses.

Internet0 is an infrastructure for networking large numbers of small devices. Traditional Internet implementations are simply too complicated for micro devices to understand and use -- we are working towards creating new standardized physical and logical layers for networking that allows small computationally restricted devices to self organize and cooperate while still remaining fully functional with the Internet of today. Our devices, in about 2K of code, are fully functional Internet nodes that can be distributed and embedded in buildings and sensor networks.
Raffi Krikorian -
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