The December 2022 issue of IEEE Spectrum is here!

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One of the great business stories of our young century lies buried within the 74 million video-game machines sold in the past three years. IBM began by making microprocessors only for Nintendo, but now it also supplies the ones inside the Sony PlayStation 3 and the Xbox 360.

A new tell-all business book, The Race for a New Game Machine , documents that industry transformation. The authors—David Shippy, chief architect of the microprocessor core, and project manager Mickie Phipps—cast blame and credit equally, letting the chips, so to speak, fall where they may.

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Deep Learning Could Bring the Concert Experience Home

The century-old quest for truly realistic sound production is finally paying off

12 min read
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Image containing multiple aspects such as instruments and left and right open hands.
Stuart Bradford
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Now that recorded sound has become ubiquitous, we hardly think about it. From our smartphones, smart speakers, TVs, radios, disc players, and car sound systems, it’s an enduring and enjoyable presence in our lives. In 2017, a survey by the polling firm Nielsen suggested that some 90 percent of the U.S. population listens to music regularly and that, on average, they do so 32 hours per week.

Behind this free-flowing pleasure are enormous industries applying technology to the long-standing goal of reproducing sound with the greatest possible realism. From Edison’s phonograph and the horn speakers of the 1880s, successive generations of engineers in pursuit of this ideal invented and exploited countless technologies: triode vacuum tubes, dynamic loudspeakers, magnetic phonograph cartridges, solid-state amplifier circuits in scores of different topologies, electrostatic speakers, optical discs, stereo, and surround sound. And over the past five decades, digital technologies, like audio compression and streaming, have transformed the music industry.

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