The December 2022 issue of IEEE Spectrum is here!

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The UK Wants a Few Good Gamers

Recruiting engineers over Xbox Live

1 min read

"A world of malicious hacking and miltiary conflict.   Of terrorism, money laundering, and international smuggling. No, not a game.  It's real."

Real, indeed.  This is the pitch in an advertisement running on Xbox Live - Microsoft's online gaming service - for the UK's Government Communications Headquarters, one of the country's three intelligence agencies.  GCHQ sees the Xbox as an efficient means through which to target engineers and coders.  "This means we can offer excellent training and careers for people with specialist technical skills," a GCHQ spokesperson told the Guardian, "However, the fact remains that many potential candidates remain unaware of GCHQ and what we do. Using video on Xbox LIVE helps carry our message to the right people in a creative and innovative manner."

This isn't the first time that a government has used games for recruitment.  The U.S. Army created a free online game called America's Army for this purpose.  According to Army Subcommittee Testimony from February 2000, the game is more effective recruiting soldiers than any other means. 



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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
Image containing multiple aspects such as instruments and left and right open hands.
Stuart Bradford

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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