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Singapore’s Water Cycle Wizardry

Singapore’s toilet-to-tap technology has saved the country from shortages—and a large electricity bill

10 min read
Singapore’s skyline
Singapore’s skyline gleams behind the marina reservoir. The newly enclosed bay is flanked by a three-pillared resort built on reclaimed land.
Photo: Darren Soh

Singapore began its journey to sovereignty with a mighty jolt. The island was still an exotic outpost of the British Empire when World War II delivered the shake-up. Japan’s army was preparing to invade from the Malay Peninsula, and the British forces beat a retreat to Singapore across the one bridge connecting it to the mainland. To thwart the Japanese troops, the Royal Engineers blew up the bridge behind them.

The blast sealed the island’s doom, for it also ruptured a critical pipeline that brought water from Johor, a Malay state. The people of Singapore discovered they had only a few days’ water stored in their meager reservoirs. The island was truly defenseless. The Japanese swiftly repaired the bridge, bicycled across the strait, and claimed victory.

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IEEE President’s Note: Looking to 2050 and Beyond

The importance of future-proofing IEEE

4 min read
Photo of K. J. Ray Liu
IEEE

What will the future of the world look like? Everything in the world evolves. Therefore, IEEE also must evolve, not only to survive but to thrive.

How will people build communities and engage with one another and with IEEE in the future? How will knowledge be acquired? How will content be curated, shared, and accessed? What issues will influence the development of technical standards? How should IEEE be organized to be most impactful?

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The Device That Changed Everything

Transistors are civilization’s invisible infrastructure

2 min read
A triangle of material suspended above a base

This replica of the original point-contact transistor is on display outside IEEE Spectrum’s conference rooms.

Randi Klett

I was roaming around the IEEE Spectrum office a couple of months ago, looking at the display cases the IEEE History Center has installed in the corridor that runs along the conference rooms at 3 Park. They feature photos of illustrious engineers, plaques for IEEE milestones, and a handful of vintage electronics and memorabilia including an original Sony Walkman, an Edison Mazda lightbulb, and an RCA Radiotron vacuum tube. And, to my utter surprise and delight, a replica of the first point-contact transistor invented by John Bardeen, Walter Brittain, and William Shockley 75 years ago this month.

I dashed over to our photography director, Randi Klett, and startled her with my excitement, which, when she saw my discovery, she understood: We needed a picture of that replica, which she expertly shot and now accompanies this column.

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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.