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  • Boats Should Be Sleek—But Only Up to a Point

    In comparison with Moore's Law, the nonsilicon world's progress can seem rather glacial. Indeed, some designs made of wood or metal came up against their functional limits generations ago The length-to-beam ratio (LBR) of large oceangoing vessels offers an excellent example of such technological maturity. This ratio is simply the quotient of a ship's length and breadth, both measured at the waterline; you can think of it simply as the expression of a vessel's sleekness. A high LBR favors speed but restricts maneuverability as well as cargo hold and cabin design. These considerations, together with the properties of shipbuilders' materials, have limited the LBR ratio of large vessels to single digits. If all you have is a rough wickerwork over which you stretch thick animal skins, you get a man-size, circular or slightly oval coracle—a riverboat or lake boat that has been used since antiquity from Wales to Tibet. Such a craft has an LBR close to 1, so it's no vessel for crossing an ocean, but in 1974 an adventurer did paddle one across the English Channel. THEY JUST KEEP GETTING BIGGER In each successive era, the biggest ships have gotten even bigger, but the length-to-beam ratio rose only up to a certain point. Narrower designs incur less resistance and are thus faster, but the requirements of seaworthiness and of cargo capacity have set limits on how far the slimming can go. John MacNeill Building with wood allows for sleeker designs, but only up to a point. The LBR of ancient and medieval commercial wooden sailing ships increased slowly. Roman vessels transporting wheat from Egypt to Italy had an LBR of about 3; ratios of 3.4 to 4.5 were typical for Viking ships, whose lower freeboard—the distance between the waterline and the main deck of a ship—and much smaller carrying capacity made them even less comfortable The Santa María, a small carrack captained by Christopher Columbus in 1492, had an LBR of 3.45. With high prows and poops, some small carracks had a nearly semicircular profile. Caravels, used on the European voyages of discovery during the following two centuries, had similar dimensions, but multidecked galleons were sleeker: The Golden Hind, which Francis Drake used to circumnavigate Earth between 1577 and 1580, had an LBR of 5.1. Little changed over the following 250 years. Packet sailing ships, the mainstays of European emigration to the United States before the Civil War, had an LBR of less than 4. In 1851, Donald McKay crowned his career designing sleek clippers by launching the Flying Cloud, whose LBR of 5.4 had reached the practical limit of nonreinforced wood; beyond that ratio, the hulls would simply break. A high LBR favors speed but restricts maneuverability as well as cargo hold and cabin design. These considerations, together with the properties of shipbuilders' materials, have limited the ratio of large vessels to single digits. But by that time wooden hulls were on the way out. In 1845 the SS Great Britain (designed by Isambard Kingdom Brunel, at that time the country's most famous engineer) was the first iron vessel to cross the Atlantic—it had an LBR of 6.4. Then inexpensive steel became available (thanks to Bessemer process converters), inducing Lloyd's of London to accept its use as an insurable material in 1877. In 1881, the Concord Line's SS Servia, the first large trans-Atlantic steel-hulled liner, had an LBR of 9.9. Dimensions of future steel liners clustered close around that ratio: 9.6, for the RMS Titanic (launched in 1912); 9.3, for the SS United States (1951); and 8.9 for the SS France (1960, two years after the Boeing 707 began the rapid elimination of trans-Atlantic passenger ships). Huge container ships, today's most important commercial vessels, have relatively low LBRs in order to accommodate packed rows of standard steel container units. The MSC Gülsün (launched in 2019) the world's largest, with a capacity of 23,756 container units, is 1,312 feet (399.9 meters) long and 202 feet (61.5 meters) wide; hence its LBR is only 6.5. The Symphony of the Seas (2018), the world's largest cruise ship, is only about 10 percent shorter, but its narrower beam gives it an LBR of 7.6. Of course, there are much sleeker vessels around, but they are designed for speed, not to carry massive loads of goods or passengers. Each demi-hull of a catamaran has an LBR of about 10 to 12, and in a trimaran, whose center hull has no inherent stability (that feature is supplied by the outriggers), the LBR can exceed 17. This article appears in the August 2021 print issue as "A Boat Can Indeed Be Too Long and Too Skinny."

  • Insulator-Conductor Transition Points Toward Ultra-Efficient Computing

    For the first time, researchers have been able to image how atoms in a computer switch move around on fast timescales while it turns on and off. This ability to peer into the atomic world may hold the key to a new kind of switch for computers that will speed up computing and reduce the energy required for computer processing. The research team made up of scientists from the Department of Energy's SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory, Stanford University, Hewlett Packard Labs, Penn State University and Purdue University were able to capture snapshots of atomic motion in a device while it was switching. The researchers believe that the new insights this technique will generate into how switches operate will not only improve future switch technology, but will also resolve the ultimate speed and energy-consumption limits for computing devices. Switches in computer chips control the flow of electrons. By applying an electrical charge to the switch and then removing that charge, the switch can be turned back and forth between acting as an insulator that blocks the flow of electrons to a conductor that allows the flow of electrons. This on/off switch is the basis for the "0-1" of binary computer logic. While studying a switch made from vanadium dioxide, the researchers were able to detect with their imaging technique the existence of a short-lived transition stage between the material going from an insulator to a conductor and then back again. "In this transient state, the structure remains the same as in the starting insulating state, but there is electronic reorganization which causes it to become metallic," explained Aditya Sood, a postdoctoral researcher at SLAC National Lab & Stanford University. "We infer this from subtle signatures in how the electron diffraction pattern changes during this electrically-driven transition." In order to observe this transient state, the researchers had to develop a real-time imaging technology based on electron diffraction. Electron diffraction by itself has existed for many decades and is used routinely in transmission electron microscopes (TEMs). But in these previous kinds of applications, electron imaging was used just to study a material's structure in a static way, or to probe its evolution on slow timescales. While ultrafast electron diffraction (UED) has been developed to make time-resolved measurements of atomic structure, previous implementations of this technique relied on optical pulses to impulsively excite (or "pump") materials and image the resulting atomic motions. What the scientists did here for the first time in this research was create an ultrafast technique in which electrical (not optical) pulses provide the impulsive excitation. This makes it possible to electrically pulse a device, look at the ensuing atomic scale motions on fast timescales (down to nanoseconds), while simultaneously measuring current through the device. The team used electrical pulses, shown here in blue, to turn their custom-made switches on and off several times. They timed these electrical pulses to arrive just before the electron pulses produced by SLAC's ultrafast electron diffraction source MeV-UED, which captured the atomic motions.Greg Stewart/SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory "We now have a direct way to correlate very fast atomic movements at the angstrom scale with electronic flow across device length scales," said Sood. To do this, the researchers built a new apparatus that integrated an electronic device to which they could apply fast electrical bias pulses, such that each electrical bias pulse was followed by a "probing" electron pulse (which creates a diffraction pattern, telling us about where the atoms are) with a controllable time delay. "By repeating this many times, each time changing the time delay, we could effectively construct a movie of the atomic movements during and after electrical biasing," explained Sood. Additionally, the researchers built an electrical circuit around the device to be able to concurrently measure the current flowing through during the transient switching process. While custom-made vanadium-dioxide-based switches were fabricated for the sake of this research, Sood says that the technique could work on any kind of switch just as long as the switch is 100 nanometers or thinner to allow electrons to be transmitted through it. "It would be interesting to see if the multi-stage, transient switching phenomenon we observe in our vanadium-dioxide-based devices is found more broadly across the solid-state device landscape," said Sood. "We are thrilled by the prospect of looking at some of the emerging memory and logic technologies, where for the first time, we can visualize ultrafast atomic motions occurring during switching." Aaron Lindenberg, a professor in the Department of Materials Science and Engineering at Stanford and a collaborator with Sood on this work said, "More generally, this work also opens up new possibilities for using electric fields to synthesize and stabilize new materials with potentially useful functional properties." The group's research was published in a recent issue of the journal Science.

  • Learn How the President-Elect Candidates Plan to Improve IEEE

    The four candidates share their plans for increasing student membership; expanding science, technology, engineering, and math education programs; and attracting more members from industry. The annual IEEE election process begins in August, so be sure to check your mailbox for your ballot. To help you choose the 2022 IEEE president-elect, The Institute is publishing the official biographies and position statements of the four candidates, as approved by the IEEE Board of Directors. The candidates are Life Fellow Thomas M. Coughlin, Life Senior Member Francis Grosz, Life Fellow Saifur Rahman, and Fellow S.K. Ramesh. Thomas M. Coughlin Life Fellow Thomas M. Coughlin Nominated by Petition Coughlin is founder and president of Coughlin Associates in San Jose, Calif., which provides market and technology analysis as well as data storage, memory technology, and business consulting services. This IEEE Life Fellow has more than 40 years of experience in the data storage industry and has been a consultant for 20 years. Before starting his own company, Coughlin held leadership positions in companies such as Micropolis, Syquest Technology, and Ampex. Coughlin publishes several industry reports including the Digital Storage Technology Newsletter, the Media and Entertainment Storage Report, and the Emerging Non-Volatile Memory Report. He is also the author of Digital Storage in Consumer Electronics: The Essential Guide, which is now in its second edition. Coughlin is a regular contributor on digital storage for the Forbes blog and other news outlets. He has held several leadership positions in IEEE including 2019 IEEE-USA president as well as chair of the IEEE New Initiatives Committee, the IEEE Public Visibility Committee, and IEEE Region 6. He is also an active member of the IEEE Santa Clara Valley Section and has been active with several societies, standards, and the Future Directions Committee. Coughlin, who is an IEEE-HKN member, is the recipient of the 2020 IEEE Member and Geographic Activities Leadership Award. He is on the Society of Motion Picture and Television Engineers' Conference Program Committee and has published articles in several of the organization's journals. Coughlin is also the founder of the Storage Networking Industry Association's Solid State Storage Initiative, the Storage Visions Conference, and the Creative Storage Conference. The events highlight the latest trends in digital storage and their applications. He was the general chair of the annual Flash Memory Summit Conference and Exhibition for 10 years. The event brings together storage industry engineers to network, learn about upcoming technologies, and meet with various organizations in the industry. CANDIDATE'S POSITION STATEMENT The COVID-19 pandemic impacted our members and IEEE operations. The lessons learned can help us improve IEEE's reach, relevance, and value. I believe that IEEE is a community that must engage our members. This should start at the section level, but the idea of community should pervade IEEE, helping us be inclusive, efficient, and effective. I feel strongly that IEEE should advance and promote its members, increase student membership and Young Professional retention, make senior member advancement easier, and find more ways to recognize our heroes. As IEEE president, I will work to increase our value to industry, encourage STEM careers and sustainable technologies, support lifelong learning, improve diversity, and promote IEEE membership. I will encourage collaboration and innovation across the organization, while working to increase our external impact and general public awareness, and advancing technology for the benefit of humanity. I support a member-led organization, open discussion and transparency within the IEEE, and believe that we must be a representative global organization. I believe that IEEE should be open to all technologists and that we should create a safe environment that supports our members to be their best selves. My leadership experience inside and outside of IEEE and my connections with multiple IEEE organizational units enables me to facilitate linking, partnering, and communicating across boundaries. I feel that IEEE should be at the forefront of advancing new technologies, creating timely standards, and influencing public policies that demonstrate the value of technology professionals to the world. Francis Grosz Life Senior Member Francis Grosz Nominated by the IEEE Board of Directors Grosz, who retired in 2012, designed systems for defense contractors Litton Data Systems, Omni Technologies, and the U.S. Naval Research Laboratory. He was granted two U.S. patents—one for a method of transmitting data through a ship's bulkhead, and the second for a NASA fiber-optic communication system for rocket engine testing. He was an assistant professor of engineering at the University of New Orleans for six years and an adjunct professor for two years. Grosz was also an adjunct engineering professor at Tulane University, also in New Orleans, for two years. Grosz has been an IEEE volunteer for more than 35 years, serving at the section, region, and institute levels. He has held almost all offices at the section level, including chair, secretary, and vice chair of the IEEE New Orleans Section. Grosz also has been a member of the IEEE Region 5 executive committee for 18 years. He served on the IEEE Board of Directors as the 2016–2017 Region 5 director and the 2019 vice president of IEEE Member and Geographic Activities (MGA). He was the 2017 chair of the audit committee and cochair of the 2019 ad hoc committee on member engagement, which included three subcommittees that examined member value and led MGA's efforts in realigning IEEE's regions. Grosz, a member of IEEE-HKN, has received several recognitions including an IEEE Third Millennium Medal, the 2008 IEEE Region 5 Outstanding Member Award, and a 1999 NASA Space Act Award, which recognizes a technical innovation of significant value to the agency's activities. An amateur radio operator, his call sign is K5FBG. CANDIDATE'S POSITION STATEMENT IEEE does many things well, and we must continue to support them. Should I become a Board member and president, I would focus on increasing support for local Organizational Units (OUs)—sections, chapters, affinity groups, and student branches—and on increasing industry engagement. I think there is a natural synergy here, and our greatest opportunity. I believe that the current Local Groups pilot program offers an opportunity for sections and chapters to simultaneously provide increased service and value to members, prospective members, and the public while further engaging local industry, especially smaller and mid-sized companies. The Technical Activities/MGA Ad Hoc Committee on Chapter Support is looking at ways to increase support for chapters, which is where many of our members find their value in IEEE, and we should support this. We also need to provide better tools to help local OUs provide more service and value to their members with less work. One particular need, especially for the smaller OUs, is a way to help them more efficiently arrange interesting meetings with engaging speakers. We have been working on industry engagement for some time. We have made progress with programs such as IEEE Collabratec and the IEEE Mobile App, and the Local Groups program should really help, but we need to do more. We must convince industry to value their engineers and their work more highly, and show them that partnering with IEEE can help both the companies and their employees. Finally, we must make the public more aware of the contributions of engineering to society. Saifur Rahman Life Fellow Saifur Rahman Nominated by Petition Rahman is a professor of electrical and computer engineering at Virginia Tech. He is the founding director of the Advanced Research Institute at the university, which provides faculty members access to research funding, government laboratories, and industry research centers. Rahman is also the founder and chairman of BEM Controls in McLean, Va., a software company that provides buildings with energy efficiency solutions. He served as chair of the U.S. National Science Foundation Advisory Committee for International Science and Engineering from 2010 to 2013. Rahman is the founding editor in chief of the IEEE Electrification Magazine and the IEEE Transactions on Sustainable Energy. He served as the 2018–2019 president of the IEEE Power & Energy Society (IEEE PES). While president, Rahman established the IEEE PES Corporate Engagement Program, which allows employers to receive IEEE benefits by paying their employees' IEEE membership dues. Rahman set up IEEE PES Chapters' Councils in Africa, China, India, and Latin America. These councils have empowered local leaders to initiate local programs. He also led the effort to establish the PES University, which offers courses, tutorials, and webinars to members. Rahman was also the 2006 chair of IEEE Publication Services and Products Board and a member of the IEEE Board of Directors. He is a Distinguished Lecturer for IEEE PES, and has given lectures in more than 30 countries on topics such as the smart grid, energy-efficient buildings, and sensor integration. Rahman has received several IEEE awards including the 2000 IEEE Millennium Medal for outstanding achievements and contributions to IEEE, the 2011 IEEE-USA Professional Achievement Award, the 2012 IEEE PES Meritorious Service Award, and the 2013 IEEE PES Outstanding Power Engineering Educator Award. CANDIDATE'S POSITION STATEMENT Over the past 40 plus years, IEEE has been an integral part of my pursuit of excellence in professional life. While speaking at more than 200 IEEE events, I have come across academics, young professionals, and mid-career engineers in industry and government including women and under-represented minorities. Such engagements at the grassroots level gives me better insights into understanding the community's needs and help advance their professional careers. I pledge to: Global Community Building: Highlight networking opportunities at IEEE events. Reach out proactively to women and underrepresented minorities. Ensure financial transparency, stability, and broader member benefits. Encourage and Recognize Member Engagement: Encourage technology professionals without a college degree to join IEEE. Recognize contributions our volunteers make through committee work and reviews. Provide resources to help members elevate to IEEE Senior Members and IEEE Fellows. Growth and Nurturing: Provide access to IEEE resources for up-skilling worldwide. Evolve PES University best practices as IEEE University Online. Focus on Industry Certification courses. Service to Humanity and Smart Engineering: Develop closer and purposeful ties with Industry. Engage Sustainable Development thought leaders to address global challenges. Work with policymakers to help with Smart Engineering. Intellectual Property Rights: Build IPR awareness Build an IEEE IPR skills framework Develop KPIs for IEEE sections on local IPR activities Partnership to Support Entrepreneurship: Work with Startup Incubators to harness Entrepreneurial potentials. Incubate Innovation Centers to nurture Maker competencies. Design IEEE Startup Show to highlight regional and local Innovations. Together we will make IEEE a more successful and resilient global technical organization. S.K. Ramesh Fellow S.K. Ramesh Nominated by the IEEE Board of Directors Ramesh is a professor of electrical and computer engineering at California State University Northridge's college of engineering and computer science, where he served as dean from 2006 to 2017. While dean, he established centers on renewable energy, entrepreneurship, and advanced manufacturing. He created an interdisciplinary master's degree program in assistive technology engineering to meet emerging workforce needs. Ramesh is the founding director of the university's nationally recognized Attract, Inspire, Mentor, and Support Students program, which advances the graduation of underrepresented minorities in engineering and computer science. He has been an IEEE volunteer for almost 40 years and has served on the IEEE Board of Directors, Awards Board, Educational Activities Board, Publication Services and Products Board, and Fellows Committee. As the 2016–2017 vice president of IEEE Educational Activities, he championed several successful programs including the IEEE Learning Network and the IEEE TryEngineering Summer Institute. He expanded chapters of IEEE's honor society, Eta Kappa Nu ( IEEE-HKN), globally to serve all 10 regions, and he increased industry support as the society's 2016 president. Ramesh was elevated to IEEE Fellow in 2015 for "contributions to entrepreneurship in engineering education." He serves on the board of ABET, the global accrediting organization for academic programs in applied science, computing, engineering, and technology, and was elected as 2021 president elect. Ramesh has served IEEE Region 6 at the section, chapter, and area levels. He currently serves on the IEEE Buenaventura (California) Section member development team, which received a 2020 Gold Award for its work. His many recognitions include the 2004 IEEE Region 6 Community Service Award and the 2012 John J. Guarrera Engineering Educator of the Year Award from the Engineers' Council. CANDIDATE'S POSITION STATEMENT IEEE has been an integral part of my life for almost four decades—from student member to an engaged volunteer today. My IEEE experiences have taught me some timeless values: To be Inclusive, Collaborative, Accountable, Resilient, and Ethical. Simply put, "I CARE." These values and IEEE's mission are especially relevant today, as we adapt and change to serve our members globally, and overcome the challenges from the pandemic. My top priority is to deliver an exceptional experience to every member. If elected, I will focus on three strategic areas: Member Engagement: Expand and offer affordable and accessible continuing education programs through the IEEE Learning Network (ILN), and the IEEE Academy. Strengthen participation of Women in Engineering (WIE), Young Professionals (YPs), Students, Life Members, and Entrepreneurs. Volunteer Engagement: Nurture and support IEEE's volunteer leaders to transform IEEE globally through a volunteer academy program that strengthens collaboration and inclusion. Establish strong relationships between IEEE volunteers and key industry sector leaders to increase awareness of IEEE. Industry Engagement: Increase the value of conferences, publications, and standards to make them more relevant to practicing engineers. Focus on innovation and sustainable development as we look ahead to hybrid/virtual conferences and open access publications. I will empower the IEEE leadership team to lower costs and increase the value of membership. Our members create enormous value for IEEE through their contributions. Let us "Engineer the Future," and create an IEEE "Of the Members," "By the Members," and "For the Members." Thank you for your vote and support. IEEE membership offers a wide range of benefits and opportunities for those who share a common interest in technology. If you are not already a member, consider joining IEEE and becoming part of a worldwide network of more than 400,000 students and professionals.

About Us

The Department of Telecommunications was founded in 1976, and it is one of four departments of the Faculty of Electrical Engineering, University of Sarajevo. Since 2005, study programs have been harmonized with the Bologna Declaration, and are divided into Bachelor, Master and Doctoral Studies.

The bachelor’s study program, with a duration of three years, is oriented towards fundamentals of engineering practice and telecommunication knowledge, and it is accredited by ASIIN – the German member of European Quality Assurance Association in Higher Education (ENQA). On the other hand, the master’s study program with a duration of two years is oriented towards practical engineering work and scientific-research activities.

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