The New Standard-Bearer

China is now trying to set the rules for many developing technologies

11 min read
Opening illustration for this feature article.
Illustration: Eric Bowman

In 1494, upon Christopher Columbus’s return to Europe, delegates from Spain and Portugal met in the Spanish village of Tordesillas to divide the New World. In accord with an earlier papal decree, Portugal asserted dominion over what we now know as Brazil, while Spain claimed the rest of the Americas. However, they could not legislate for all time: the latecomers, Britain and France, would one day control much of the western hemisphere.

Recently, technical standards, especially for telecommunications networks, have come to resemble the Treaty of Tordesillas—they have left out a very important latecomer: China. Take, for example, digital cellular networks, just one of many areas where China is suddenly trying hard to play a role. Here, CDMA cellular technology, dominant in a handful of countries, plays the role of Brazil, while the European-bred GSM standard, like Spain, covers the rest of the new (cellular) world.

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IEEE SIGHT Founder Amarnath Raja Dies at 65

The humanitarian program leverages technology for sustainable development

4 min read
Photo of a man in a blue "IEEE SIGHT" jacket in front of a flowering tree.

Amarnath Raja, an IEEE senior member, founded the IEEE Special Interest Group on Humanitarian Technology in 2011.

Jaya Krishnan

Amarnath Raja

Founder of IEEE Special Interest Group on Humanitarian Technology

Senior member, 65; died 5 September

Raja founded the IEEE Special Interest Group on Humanitarian Technology (SIGHT) in 2011. The global network partners with underserved communities and local organizations to leverage technology for sustainable development.

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Hi-fi, Radio, and Retro: The DIY Projects Spectrum Readers Love

They also really like Lego and hacking pretty much everything

2 min read
An assortment of boxy devices, spread out as if on a display table.

Here are some of your favorite Hands On projects: An inexpensive but high-quality DIY audio amplifier (A) and its Web-enabled successor (B); an Arduino-powered replica of the groundbreaking Altair 8800 (C); a Raspberry Pi–powered color mechanical television (D); and (E), a home computer built with just five digital chips that uses an old hack to create an analog video signal.

James Provost

This month we’re celebrating the launch of our second PDF collection of Hands On articles, which IEEE members can download from IEEE Spectrum’s website and share with friends. So we thought we’d take a look at the relative popularity of Hands On articles published over the last five years and share the top 15 projects our website visitors found most interesting.

Just to give a little peek behind our analytics curtain, the measure of popularity Spectrum’s editors use is “total engaged minutes,” or TEM, which combines page views of articles with how long visitors spend reading them. We use TEM because we’re not terribly interested in grabbing folks with a clickbait headline, only for them to bounce out before they’ve finished reading the first paragraph.

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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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