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Monday, September 23, 2002

Gizmos can crash planes

Terrorists can easily adapt modified versions of any personal electronic equipment to cause potentially catastrophic interference with an aircraft’s control systems, a security expert has warned according to ANI. Therefore, he said, passengers should be barred from carrying any electronic gadgets onto aircraft until planes are able to detect them. Chet Uber, a technology expert at Security Posture in Omaha, Nebraska, said that devices such as radios, tape recorders, CD players, PDAs and laptop computers could easily - and invisibly - be adapted to bring airliners down. While it has been known for some time that cell phones and laptops can cause low-level interference, no airline monitors such radio emissions during flight. Instead, they rely on passengers turning off their devices during critical periods such as take-off and landing. Currently, if any device being used by a passenger disturbs the normal operation of a plane, pilots have no monitoring system to tell them whether that problem is due to interference or a malfunction. This leaves aircraft wide open to attack from a device operated by a passenger.

Tri-gate transistors

Intel Corp. has developed what it calls a tri-gate transistor, a more powerful circuit that could help keep the world’s largest chipmaker and the industry on track to boost computing power through technical innovation, Reuters reports. Transistors are the millions of tiny switches that make up a semiconductor. The flipping on and off of those switches millions and even billions of times a second in myriad combinations is what gives semiconductors their computing power. Intel said the experimental circuit, which could find its way into large-scale production by the second half of this decade, will likely prove critical to keeping Intel on track with Moore’s Law, an observation that has ruled the semiconductor world since it was first made in 1965. Intel said that the tri-gate transistor is a three-dimensional extension of the terahertz transistor architecture it has already presented to the industry at research conferences. Rivals Advanced Micro Devices Inc. and International Business Machines Corp. have already created double-gate transistors in the laboratory.

India to Taiwan’s aid

India will aid Taiwan in upgrading its software sector to help the island’s IT industry maintain the upward growth in the face of strong competition from China, Taiwan’s senior industry official said. "We are in the process of finalising some agreements with the Indian side for cooperating in the field of software in Taiwan," vice-president of Taiwan’s Institute for Information Industry, Tai-yang Hwang, said in Taipei. Taiwan’s information technology industry, hit by global recession, has concentrated more on computer hardware sector and neglected the software sector. Taiwan has welcomed Indian IT professionals to shift their base to Taipei and there was tremendous scope for Indian IT education companies who are now focussing on China. According to industry estimates, Taiwan would need about 50,000 IT personnel in the next decade. Hwang also said that Taiwan and India should find ways to work together as Taiwan is good in computer hardware and India has excellent software base. He informed that a high-level Taiwanese IT delegation is scheduled to visit India in October to have first-hand knowledge about its software industry.