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A Market for Clean Air

China adopts emissions trading to curb pollution

3 min read
Photo: Fritz Hoffmann/DocumentChina
Photo: Fritz Hoffmann/DocumentChina

As it hurtles toward becoming the largest economy in the world, China can barely keep up with its booming energy demand. But the nation is starting to address the dark side of the boom: the pollution spewing from coal plants that is taking its toll on the environment and on human health.

In fact, the open-market economy that is driving China's soaring demand for energy also points a possible pathway to salvation. The Chinese government is now investigating a sulfur dioxide (SO2 ) emissions trading program, a market-based approach to reducing air pollution modeled on a successful U.S. program launched in 1995. The U.S. “cap and trade" program sets a limit on how much SO2 a factory or power plant can emit. A facility that produces fewer emissions than the maximum allowed gets the difference as a credit, which it can sell to companies that cannot meet the cap.

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Video Friday: Humanoid Soccer

Your weekly selection of awesome robot videos

4 min read
Humans and human-size humanoid robots stand together on an indoor soccer field at the beginning of a game

Video Friday is your weekly selection of awesome robotics videos, collected by your friends at IEEE Spectrum robotics. We also post a weekly calendar of upcoming robotics events for the next few months. Please send us your events for inclusion.

CoRL 2022: 14–18 December 2022, AUCKLAND, NEW ZEALAND
ICRA 2023: 29 May–2 June 2023, LONDON

Enjoy today’s videos!

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Computing With Chemicals Makes Faster, Leaner AI

Battery-inspired artificial synapses are gaining ground

5 min read
Array of devices on a chip

This analog electrochemical memory (ECRAM) array provides a prototype for artificial synapses in AI training.

IBM research

How far away could an artificial brain be? Perhaps a very long way off still, but a working analogue to the essential element of the brain’s networks, the synapse, appears closer at hand now.

That’s because a device that draws inspiration from batteries now appears surprisingly well suited to run artificial neural networks. Called electrochemical RAM (ECRAM), it is giving traditional transistor-based AI an unexpected run for its money—and is quickly moving toward the head of the pack in the race to develop the perfect artificial synapse. Researchers recently reported a string of advances at this week’s IEEE International Electron Device Meeting (IEDM 2022) and elsewhere, including ECRAM devices that use less energy, hold memory longer, and take up less space.

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Designing Fuel Cell Systems Using System-Level Design

Modeling and simulation in Simulink and Simscape

1 min read
Designing Fuel Cell Systems Using System-Level Design

Design and simulate a fuel cell system for electric mobility. See by example how Simulink® and Simscape™ support multidomain physical modeling and simulation of fuel cell systems including thermal, gas, and liquid systems. Learn how to select levels of modeling fidelities to meet your needs at different development stages.