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August 2019

Dear ComputingEdge reader:

Finding Flaws in Security: Catching and fixing security and privacy vulnerabilities before they are exploited is a crucial part of computer hardware and software engineering. A growing number of tools are helping engineers assess and test for security weaknesses. This issue of ComputingEdge covers two effective testing techniques: fuzzing and penetration testing.

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Beyond Testing

Want to take a break from all the discussion of testing systems for integrity, accuracy, and security? This month’s ComputingEdge has articles that will help you expand your thinking about other issues in computing. Read “My Mother the Car (or Why It’s a Bad Idea to Give Your Car a Personality),” for example. It’s an article about assigning personalities to your smart devices. Is this a good idea? Author Phil Laplante doesn’t think so, and he is a long-term contributor to IEEE periodicals. Artificial intelligence brings new risks, he notes. “Adding a personality to a vehicle will increase these risks.”

To see how big of an impact computing can have, read Campbell and Samsel’s “Lance Gharavi: Performance-Inspired Science + Technology,” a profile of an Arizona State University artist named Lance Gharavi. Gharavi recently used virtual reality in a project that was based on Stephen Hawking’s “A Brief History of Time.” “The project has three central goals,” Gharavi explained: “ to make current scientific research artful, accessible, and compelling for the public; to create new visualization tools that aid scientists in research, communication, and education; and to engage and explore new models of collaboration between artists and scientists.”

If you really want to see the future of computing in artistic expression, look at Patterson’s “Physical Computing’s Connected and Shape-Changing Future.” Patterson is a researcher at Intel who is looking at the new kinds of devices that could interact with human beings. What is coming next? Maybe devices that can sense the location of arms, hands, and fingers? You’ll see the expanding possibilities if you read her article.

If Patterson addresses the future of smart environments, Curry and Sheth take on the problems of building working, active systems. In “Next-Generation Smart Environments: From System of Systems to Data Ecosystems,” you can see them develop a paradigm for all the elements that will need to fit into these systems and for all the ways that we need to think about those elements.

—David Alan Grier for ComputingEdge