Architecture and Hardware


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Life in the digital world is often frustratingly similar to the real world, especially when it comes to never having enough room for all our stuff. The more space we get, the more we need and want. It’s an endless stream of supply-and-demand. But digitally, at least, we’re making some serious headway.

The cry for more data storage capacity has propelled developers to increase available space in their products by about 100% per year. Indeed, the speed at which such ultra-high-density storage technologies have materialized in recent years has been nothing short of extraordinary, and this month’s special section explores all the latest devices, media, signal processing, and applications.

Guest editor Lambertus Hesselink, a Stanford professor as well as chairman of a firm developing ultra-high-density products, insists that digital data storage is one of the great technological success stories of the past 50 years. Certainly that spirit and sentiment are evident in the section he has orchestrated in which leading scientists and engineers in the data storage field discuss the latest achievements. Their articles detail such technologies as storage area networks, network attached storage, volume holographic storage, MEMS, and magneto-optical recordings, as well as their expectations for future storage devices.

Now, about those filing cabinets . . .

Political agendas have reached fever pitch here in the U.S. where a new President is about to be elected in a race that is, by all accounts, thisclose. In "Digital Village," Hal Berghel illustrates the Web’s influence (or lack thereof) on the political process by assessing the Gore/Lieberman and Bush/Cheney Web sites. What effect, if any, is cyberspace having on digital politics 2000? See what Berghel has to say on page 17. Steven Clift offers his own thoughts about the Internet as a powerful tool in the quest for e-democracy in this month’s "Viewpoint" column. And in "Inside Risks," Rebecca Mercuri writes of the consequences of electronic voting systems and wonders whether we are ready to pay the price—and she’s not just talking dollars.

We go from Capitol Hill to Mount Everest thanks to "International Perspectives" and Sy Goodman et al. who take us to a remote region of Nepal where the digital divide is extreme and the remedies few. And Jason Fouts shares a personal out-of-box experience in this month’s "On Site" column to illustrate serious weaknesses in product design.

Financial footholds run through several feature articles this month, including Fan, Stallaert, and Whinston’s account of how new technologies are (and will be) enhancing current tools used in financial markets. Philip Ginzboorg examines how the latest telephony tools are changing the way customers are billed for services. Liu and Stork dissect the myth that the digital age saves a bundle on paper consumption. And Ned Kock investigates how organizations can prosper via a virtual business component.

Diane Crawford,

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