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Engineering the Future at IEEE

IEEE Celebrates 125th Anniversary

2 min read

Anniversaries are often engulfed by nostalgic memories of past achievements and glory days gone by. Not this one. While commemorating its members’ historic engineering accomplishments over the past 125 years, IEEE’s 125th-anniversary celebrations--going on throughout 2009 around the globe--focus on how today’s engineers are inventing and building technologies that will shape the world’s future over the next 125 years.

Take, for example, the media roundtable IEEE put on in New York City in March to showcase the work of just seven of its members (you can still view the whole presentation at It’s well worth checking out.

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The Future of Deep Learning Is Photonic

Computing with light could slash the energy needs of neural networks

10 min read
Image of a computer rendering.

This computer rendering depicts the pattern on a photonic chip that the author and his colleagues have devised for performing neural-network calculations using light.

Alexander Sludds

Think of the many tasks to which computers are being applied that in the not-so-distant past required human intuition. Computers routinely identify objects in images, transcribe speech, translate between languages, diagnose medical conditions, play complex games, and drive cars.

The technique that has empowered these stunning developments is called deep learning, a term that refers to mathematical models known as artificial neural networks. Deep learning is a subfield of machine learning, a branch of computer science based on fitting complex models to data.

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