Jim Benya: The Illuminator

Benya designs energy-efficient lighting systems for commercial, public, and residential projects

4 min read
James R. (“Jim”) Benya
Lightwork: Jim Benya designs lighting that’s environmentally friendly.
Photo: David Stuart

Twilight falls on California’s Yosemite National Park. Pulling on gloves and zipping their jackets against the fall evening’s creeping chill, a group of park employees huddle around lighting designer James R. (“Jim”) Benya. A burly 200 centimeters tall, with a shock of thick gray hair and a neatly trimmed goatee, Benya towers over the small gathering as he explains the evening’s lighting demonstration. His team is about to switch on three new 6-meter-high, 50-watt metal-halide lamps in the parking lot and three 3-meter-high, 13-W compact fluorescent lamps along the footpath fronting the cabins of Curry Village. Besides hosting visitors, the village soon will house dozens of park staff.

At night, there’s hardly any light at all deep in Yosemite Valley, except for the anemic lemon-yellow glow from the jelly-jar lamps screwed above each cabin door. The National Park Service, part of the U.S. Department of the Interior, wants to use the lowest amount of light possible. Ideally, no light should pollute the star-studded night sky or disturb the circadian rhythms of the park’s human and nonhuman inhabitants.

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Video Friday: Turkey Sandwich

Your weekly selection of awesome robot videos

4 min read
A teleoperated humanoid robot torso stands in a kitchen assembling a turkey sandwich from ingredients on a tray

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

Enjoy today's videos!

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New AI Speeds Computer Graphics by Up to 5x

Neural rendering harnesses machine learning to paint pixels

5 min read
Four examples of Nvidia's Instant NeRF 2D-to-3D machine learning model placed side-by-side.

Nvidia Instant NeRF uses neural rendering to generate 3D visuals from 2D images.

NVIDIA

On 20 September, Nvidia’s Vice President of Applied Deep Learning, Bryan Cantanzaro, went to Twitter with a bold claim: In certain GPU-heavy games, like the classic first-person platformer Portal, seven out of eight pixels on the screen are generated by a new machine-learning algorithm. That’s enough, he said, to accelerate rendering by up to 5x.

This impressive feat is currently limited to a few dozen 3D games, but it’s a hint at the gains neural rendering will soon deliver. The technique will unlock new potential in everyday consumer electronics.

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Learn How Global Configuration Management and IBM CLM Work Together

In this presentation we will build the case for component-based requirements management

2 min read

This is a sponsored article brought to you by 321 Gang.

To fully support Requirements Management (RM) best practices, a tool needs to support traceability, versioning, reuse, and Product Line Engineering (PLE). This is especially true when designing large complex systems or systems that follow standards and regulations. Most modern requirement tools do a decent job of capturing requirements and related metadata. Some tools also support rudimentary mechanisms for baselining and traceability capabilities (“linking” requirements). The earlier versions of IBM DOORS Next supported a rich configurable traceability and even a rudimentary form of reuse. DOORS Next became a complete solution for managing requirements a few years ago when IBM invented and implemented Global Configuration Management (GCM) as part of its Engineering Lifecycle Management (ELM, formerly known as Collaborative Lifecycle Management or simply CLM) suite of integrated tools. On the surface, it seems that GCM just provides versioning capability, but it is so much more than that. GCM arms product/system development organizations with support for advanced requirement reuse, traceability that supports versioning, release management and variant management. It is also possible to manage collections of related Application Lifecycle Management (ALM) and Systems Engineering artifacts in a single configuration.

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