The Language of E-books

Competing formats and incompatible devices have spawned a complex lexicon

3 min read
The Language of E-books
Illustration: Richard Mia
Remember the Internet Explorer vs. Netscape “browser wars” back in 1995 or so? That’s where e-book formats are today.

Jani Patokallio

September 14, 2000, is a date which will live in, well, “nonfamy,” if I may be permitted such a neologism. That day, Microsoft released Windows Millennium Edition, its most forgettable operating system. It was also the day I posted the entry p-book to my Word Spy site, along with the following prognostication: “Within a few years, using the word ‘book’ without any kind of modifier will be confusing because people won’t know if you’re talking about a book printed on paper or one that’s printed on electrons (so to speak). So I predict that ‘p-book’…will become a common noun that will help us distinguish between the paper and electronic formats.”

Keep Reading ↓ Show less

Stay ahead of the latest trends in technology. Become an IEEE member.

This article is for IEEE members only. Join the world’s largest professional organization devoted to engineering and applied sciences and get access to all of Spectrum’s articles, podcasts, and special reports. Learn more →

Membership includes:

  • Get unlimited access to IEEE Spectrum content
  • Follow your favorite topics to create a personalized feed of IEEE Spectrum content
  • Save Spectrum articles to read later
  • Network with other technology professionals
  • Establish a professional profile
  • Create a group to share and collaborate on projects
  • Discover IEEE events and activities
  • Join and participate in discussions

The Future of Deep Learning Is Photonic

Computing with light could slash the energy needs of neural networks

10 min read

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
DarkBlue1

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.

Keep Reading ↓ Show less