The October 2022 issue of IEEE Spectrum is here!

Close bar

WebAssembly Will Finally Let You Run High-Performance Applications in Your Browser

Online applications could work as smoothly as the programs you install on your machine

10 min read
Luke Wagner [right] and his Mozilla colleague Alon Zakai.
The author, Luke Wagner (right), and his Mozilla colleague Alon Zakai strive to make browsers run programs faster and better.
Photo: Gabriela Hasbun

What if you could share a computer-aided design (CAD) model and even allow a colleague to manipulate it from afar? “Click on this link, check out my design, and feel free to add more holes or fill some in,” you might say. You wouldn’t have to instruct your distant coworker to install special software or worry about whether her operating system could run it. Imagine that all your programs and data were stored in the cloud and that even computationally intensive applications like multimedia editing ran just as well in your browser as they would if they had been installed locally.

Since the early days of the World Wide Web, a lot of smart, passionate people have wanted to make it into a vehicle for running almost any kind of program. What makes that dream so tantalizing is that the Web is different from other software platforms. It’s defined by open standards, so anyone can build on it. It’s not owned by any company, so developers are beholden only to their users. And it’s constructed largely around open-source technologies, so it has the potential to be very democratic.

Keep reading...Show less

This article is for IEEE members only. Join IEEE to access our full archive.

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 →

If you're already an IEEE member, please sign in to continue reading.

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

Make IEEE Your Home Base

The association offers networking opportunities and professional development programs

3 min read
group of young people smiling at the camera

These IEEE members connected with each other at this year's IEEE International Conference on Robotics and Automation, held in London.

IEEE

The word home evokes a sense of belonging and welcoming. IEEE aims to create a similar feeling by offering services for members at every stage of their career and by building a community among them.

IEEE President and CEO K.J. Ray Liu is committed to making IEEE the professional home for members. As he announced in his March column in The Institute, he’s doing that by “examining ways in which the organization could evolve to best meet the needs of all technical professionals in the years ahead.”

Keep Reading ↓Show less

Home Heating With Hydrogen: Ill-Advised as It Sounds

Several studies reveal serious drawbacks

3 min read
Two white boilers mounted on a wood wall, with pipes and tubes.

An old central heating boiler [left] and a hydrogen boiler inside the Hydrogen Experience Center, in the Netherlands.

Sem van der Wal/ANP/Getty Images

Hydrogen, if it comes from splitting water with renewable electricity, has its role as a climate-friendly energy source. It could help decarbonize challenging sectors like heavy industry, shipping, and aviation.

But hydrogen makes absolutely no sense for heating homes and buildings, according to a new review of several international studies. It is simply much too expensive and inefficient for that purpose, says Jan Rosenow, Europe director at the Regulatory Assistance Project, an energy think tank in Brussels, who authored the commentary published in the journal Joule.

Keep Reading ↓Show less
WIPL-D

Handling various complex simulation scenarios with a single simulation method is a rather challenging task for any software suite. We will show you how our software, based on Method-of-Moments, can analyze several scenarios including complicated and electrically large models (for instance, antenna placement and RCS) using desktop workstations.

Download this free whitepaper now!