Cisco Catalyst 3550 series

Today, I received my first networking equipment: a Cisco L3 Switch. Here are some pictures of me unboxing.

Figure 1: Well done packaging of Network device

Figure 2: Minor wear on surface but does it work?

I bought this L3 switch through eBay for the low cost of $40. Good price in my opinion for a switch with 48 ports and can do routing protocols. Next set of photos are to show the inputs and outputs.

Figure 3: Front side

Figure 4: Back side

Now, it’s time to test it out and make sure I got my money’s worth. After powering up the device, I was startled with the sound of a roaring fan. You’d expect these things to be a bit quieter. In my opinion, the device passed the Power-on-Test. Check out the picture below to verify my belief.

Figure 5: Systems are a go!

Next, I will be trying to get into the command line interface of this machine. The method I chose for getting into the CLI is telnet. I had to reset the switch because it already had some configuration rules. With the switch cleared of outdated configurations, I was able to use Express mode to configure the basic requirements to telnet. Here are the commands I used:

Switch# show running-config (To check the IP address)

Switch# config t

Switch(config)# lime vty 0 4

Switch(config-line)# transport input telnet

Switch(config-line)# password $&@!

Switch(config-line)# login

Switch(config-line)# exit

Figure 6: Finally received telnet access

This was just one step toward my journey. I have my other routers, switch, and ASA firewall ready to put on the network.

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Phishing Attacks : Too Many Phishers for ISPs to Catch

Privacy for all People

Information security has recently become a thriving and fast-moving discipline by the failure of security systems from technical factors. The purpose of having secure information is to preserve confidentiality, integrity, and availability of information. Confidentiality means that only the right people will have permission to access the information; integrity means that the information system and data are accurate; and availability means that the information system operates reliably. These three key ideas will shape the way organizations create policy.

Phishing attacks have been making their appearance locally and internationally in a big way. The United Kingdom trade association asserted a 726% increase in phishing attacks between 2005 and 2006. This drastic increase in attacks shows that people need to pay close attention to what information they provide to others. Also, organizations need to update and enforce policies that involve privacy of personal data. IBM states that phishing is one of the more prominent attack vectors used to compromise information and communications technology networks. With the growing number of attacks, we must develop better ways to implement information security.

Internet service providers (ISPs) play an important role when it comes to crime committed in the cyber domain. All traffic that goes to the world wide web flows from the source host to provider to target host. This shows that providers are the ones responsible for allowing all malicious payload through their network to reach the victim. Information security is compromised every time the ISP is negligent in securing their massive network. ISPs are at fault and should play a larger role in protecting people from attacks that can cripple their internet wellbeing. 

Phishing attacks are pervasive and can happen at any moment. There are various types of phishing attacks such as smishing and vishing. These types are not as common as the email phishing, but still, raise a real concern for citizens’ privacy. For example, privacy is compromised when people use their mobile devices for actions that require collecting sensitive and personal information. Phishing attacks on mobile devices are three times more vulnerable than desktop users. Since consumers are constantly using their mobile devices, they need to be cautious about the information they input, because there is a distinct possibility phishers are maliciously stealing their information. 

Technical Perspective of Phishing Attacks

Typically, a phisher (person committing the phishing attack) starts by running a web server and building a spoofed website of well known companies such as Facebook or Amazon. The spoofed website will have malicious code to capture the user’s personal information like their credentials or credit card number. Once the website is created and has access to the internet, the phisher will send the spoofed link to a victim, with their intention to trick them into giving up their personal data. The malicious code goes through the phishers internet service provider then  on to the victim. After receiving the link, the victim may open it and input his or her personal information without knowing it is a spoofed website. The malicious code is executed storing the information in a database for the phisher to use at his or her own discretion. One way the user can use the information is by inputting it into the real website to steal more information about the victim. This simple, typical and low-cost phishing scenario is outlined in figure 1.

Simple Phishing Scenrio

Other phishing attacks have most of the same steps as depicted in figure 1. The main differences are the medium to send the spoofed link and the malicious code. Most commonly the medium is email, but recently mobile devices are becoming more vulnerable to phishing attacks. Since the web server hosting the fake site is accessible through the internet, phishers will be able to send text messages to victims’ mailboxes. The most common phishing tactics are spoofing websites, text messages and images; weblink manipulation; malicious scripting languages; javascript popup and fake address bars; and utilizing browser vulnerabilities. Figure 2 gives a graphical representation of the most common tactics used to compromise people’s privacy. Thus, the methods that hackers carry out to exploit their victims are endless.

Screen Shot 2018-07-26 at 7.15.57 PM

Spoofing websites, text, and images involve the perpetrator crafting files that are similar to something that the victim is accustomed to seeing. In other words, these files are not real and will mislead you into thinking that you are on the real site. Web link manipulation attacks occur when the user does can see the link explicitly. The user is unaware that if the link is clicked he or she will be brought to a website that will trick them into giving up their credentials. Malicious use of scripting languages has a similar behavior to the spoofed website but is hidden to the victim. On the other hand, there are attacks that will steal information when there is a javascript popup or when someone installs a plugin that actually is a malicious address bar. The last phishing attack is knowing the vulnerability of web applications and exploiting them to get sensitive data. Thus, there are many ways to implement a phishing attack and cyber professionals need to be confident that their systems are secure for any attack.

There are many industries that are susceptible to these types of phishing attacks. Some will need a stronger cybersecurity infrastructure than others. Two examples of phishing attack in different industries and countries are given below to show how widespread the phishing problem is. Above all, industries that collect and store private information need to be cautious at all times of the risks that will arise when conducting operations via the internet.

 Foreign Bank Meltdown

TSB, a bank that is located in the UK, was in a merger with Lloyd Banking Group until September 2013 when the two companies split. Once TSB left, it became an orphaned bank forcing a portion of the customer base to go along with it. The orphaned bank was on its own to protect the information of roughly five million customers. For example, one customer banked with Lloyd Banking before TSB was part of the merger, but had to switch due to TSB being the customer’s local branch. 

A project was underway to migrate TSB customers data from Lloyd Banking Group systems to their own proprietary systems. Proteo4UK was the migration tool that the banking institution chose to help with moving the data securely and efficiently. The project finished with a press release from TSB stating the migration was complete, but the migration did not move the data as expected. When the bank reopened for the public to access their accounts after the system downtime, people began to notice other accountholders’ transactions and that their accounts simply didn’t add up. A writer from the Wired UK states that “Banking systems are almost as low-tech as they are complex.” A technical failure that resulted in bank tellers not being able to access the system occurred at the completion of the data migration. TSB customers struggled to make payments, pay off bills or simply access their account without being confronted with someone else’s transactions. It seems that banking institutions such as TSB use software that compromise their privacy’s confidentiality, integrity, and availability.

As a result of the data migration failure, phishing emails and text messages were sent to TSB customers attempting to steal their banking details. Not only were TSB customers the target, but also other customers at local banks such as Barclay and NatWest. Phishers and scammers are aware of companies with internal scandals due to angry customers on social media posts. Customers were exploited by being encouraged to click a link and input their username and password to process their complaint against TSB. These customers lost control of their bank accounts. There have been ten complaints per day from frustrated customers since April 30th. The frustrated customers were exploited during the technical failure when they did not have access to see their accounts. One customer stated that “it was a vulnerable time, and clearly security behind-the-scenes was not up to scratch.”

When private information is at stake, the correct security measures need to be taken in order to establish confidentiality, integrity, and availability. TSB is at fault for not testing the migration beforehand to know that everything would be error free. Furthermore, there needs to be policy at TSB to ensure that this event never happens again. After creation of such policy, other banks in the area need to adopt similar cyber policy positions. With the spread of policymaking, people will become more aware of cyber attacks and have a way to defend against them.

Education System Attack

Around the same time of the TSB meltdown, there was a phishing attack on teachers at a high school in California called Ygnacio Valley High School. This attack was similar in nature but was not as serious as the attack in the UK. Schools do not collect financial information such as credit card and saving accounts number, but schools do collect grades and other sensitive information like social security numbers. The main differences between what happened in the UK and California are the number of people who were affected and the culprit’s age. 

At the beginning of May, the police department in Concord, California put a teen in handcuffs for sending phishing emails to his teachers. The email contained a link that could take the victims to a spoofed grading system login page. After the victim inputed his or her’s information, the teenager phisher was able to logon to the grading system with real credentials. As a result of gaining access to the confidential and password protected system, the phisher was able to change grades for some students excluding his own.

The student wanted to teach his school how easy it was to trick people into giving him what he wanted. Since a teenager did this act instead of an adult, the police department had to deal with a minor committing serious crime. Apparently, the teen phisher only spent five minutes to create the email. Even surprisingly, an information technology staff found the message two weeks later in the spam folder. The high schooler stated a playful remark that “it was like stealing candy from a baby.” If anything was learned, the administrators know now that they have threats coming from their students.

It is important to note that the number of people affected by this phishing attack was relatively small. The people affected included a couple of teachers who received the email and students whose grades were changed. Even though the number is not close to five million like the TSB crisis, it still had a great impact on the high school’s community and its reputation. Now that students see how easy it is to trick teachers into giving them their credential, the number of phishing attacks are most likely to rise. Thus, the community will have to deal with malicious attacks not only from outside but also from within.

Teachers in school systems and universities around the globe are susceptible to malicious phishing attacks. Some students will do similar acts to change their grades if they feel they will not get caught. In this case, the student did not care about his grade, but he wanted to show that social engineering is an easy and effective technique. Just imagine if he did a better job covering up his tracks, what would the school do? As a response, the school district needs to make changes in their cyber operations and policy to ensure that this will not happen again. Hopefully, these changes in policy will spark a conversation with other school districts around the nation, so they can adopt similar upgrades.

The role of ISPs

Since TSB is not a well-known bank to United States citizens, they will not undoubtedly care about the outcome because it did not affect their financial situation. However, citizens need to care so that industries and companies holding their data in the United States understand the risks at hand. The executives in these industries are constantly battling with phishers internally and externally. Phishers are the present day cyber criminals and they will not cease to exist, only increase in numbers. In the financial world, these criminals are similar to a present-day bank robber. Banks will never stop getting harassed; all the money is located there. In the educational world, phishing is not a problem until it becomes one. So in order to deter phishing, public and private sector industries and educational institutions need to practice safe browsing and have updated software and hardware. 

Phishing is everywhere. Also, phishing is only one type of the techniques that cybercriminals can use against public and private sector industries. The examples mentioned are supposed to show that this is a current and prevalent problem that many countries are facing. This problem needs to be resolved collectively by working together to stop cybercriminals. Internet service provider such as AT&T and Comcast need to step there game up when it comes to securing its networks. As we speak, malicious traffic is going unnoticed. There could be a phishing attack on you and the ISP would not know until after the target is exploited. Internet service providers are usually well placed to detect infection because evidence of a user’s infection flows over an ISP’s network. Hosting providers that have control of the malicious hosting can take the phishing pages down. Anderson et. al. proposes fixed statutory damages against an ISP that does not act within a fixed time period after being notified of an infected computer on its network. This proposal was for the European Union, but something similar should be proposed to the United States government. If ISPs are unable to detect infected hosts that are connected to their network then shame on them. They need to understand that they are the middleman in every cyber attack.

When an ISP notices that a host is sending spoofed links, it should immediately take that host offline. The way in which the provider deciphers between the infected hosts and the uninfected hosts is something that service providers need to implement, if not already. This algorithm or firewall of some kind will have the potential to protect people’s privacy around the globe. As a result, there needs to be pressure on small ISPs and large ISPs, so that they can share knowledge about phishing hosts. When there is such teamwork between the ISP there will be better communication which should lead to fewer attacks. In all, it is imperative that ISPs play a vital role in securing the world wide web from attackers.

Conclusion

The internet is vast and is home of phishers that will steal information right from under your fingertips. In order to mitigate phishing attacks, there needs to be a collaborative effort among governments, private and public sector industries, and internet service providers. These are the main actors when coming to implement a policy that will safeguard a citizen’s confidentiality, integrity, and availability. The two recent attacks show that this technique is inevitable and easy to accomplish. So why cannot ISPs detect malicious web traffic before reaching the victim? The traffic could be simply dropped or filtered, but knowing which packet to filter is the issue. This is clearly an issue that ISPs need to resolve in order to make the world wide web safe.

Research Log

Aaron, G. (2010). The state of phishing//doi.org/10.1016/S1361-3723(10)70065-8 Retrieved from http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S1361372310700658

Anderson, R. (2001). “Why Information Security is Hard – an Economic Perspective”.Web.

Anderson, R., Böhme, R., Clayton, R., & Moore, T. (2008). Security economics and the internal market. United Kingdom: European Union Agency for Network and Information Security.

Anti-corruption Digest. (2018, May 23,). TSB phishing scams are surging in the wake of its online banking crisis. Retrieved from https://anticorruptiondigest.com/anti-corruption-news/2018/05/23/tsb-phishing-scams-are-surging-in-the-wake-of-its-online-banking-crisis/#axzz5IKxABvFx

Farivar, C. (2018, May 14,). ‘Like stealing candy from a baby,’ arrested teen says of his phishing efforts. Arstechnica Retrieved from https://arstechnica.com/tech-policy/2018/05/like-stealing-candy-from-a-baby-arrested-teen-says-of-his-phishing-efforts/

Gaurav, Varshney, Misra Manoj, and Pradeep K. Atrey. (2016) “A Survey and Classification of Web Phishing Detection Schemes.” Security and Communication Networks 9.18: 6266-84. Web.

Gramma, Joanna. (2015). Legal Issues in Information Security. 2nd ed. Massachusetts: Jones & Bartlett Learning. Print.

IBM. (2018). IBM X-Force Threat Intelligence Index 2018. Armonk, New York: IBM Security. Print.

Jones, R. (2018, June 6,). TSB admits 1,300 customers lost money from accounts. Retrieved from https://www.theguardian.com/business/2018/jun/06/tsb-admits-1300-customers-lost-money-from-accounts

Kollewe, J. (2018, April 30,). TSB online banking meltdown drags into second week. Retrieved from https://www.theguardian.com/business/2018/apr/30/tsb-online-banking-internet-business-it

Megaw, N. (2018, June 5,). FCA to launch formal investigation into TSB’s IT failure. Financial Times Retrieved from https://www.ft.com/content/a000d194-68a6-11e8-8cf3-0c230fa67aec

Moore, Tyler, Richard Clayton, and Ross Anderson. (2009) “The Economics of Online Crime.” Journal of Economic Perspectives 23.3: 3-20. Web.

Shahriar, Hossain, Tulin Klintic, and Victor Clincy. (2015). ”Mobile Phishing Attacks and Mitigation Techniques.” Journal of Information Security 6.03: 206. Web.

Stokel-Walker, C. (2018, May 1,). ‘We’re on our knees’: Inside the tally avoidable TSB crisis. Wired UK Retrieved from http://www.wired.co.uk/article/tsb-crisis-it-issues-online-banking-problems-ibm-paul-pester-compensation

CCENT Certification (100-105)

I passed my Cisco Certified Entry Networking Technician exam!

ccent_network_largeThis has been a struggling two months studying for this exam. Fortunately, I gained prior experience configuring and verifying commands on routers and switches through my courses in college. Most of the materials on the exam was review, but I did learn more in detail about routing and switching protocols. In order to fully understand the exam topics, one must mess around on routers and switches to get a feel of what you will be configuring and verifying.

My study materials consisted of the ICDN1 book from Ciscopress and a Youtube video series created by Ryan Beney. It is important to use multiple study aids–do not use only video tutorials or only books to study. The video series I used is very comprehensive and helpful for beginner. Here is the first episode of the video series:

As for my reaction when completing the exam, I was freaking out because I did not want to fail and have to study and take the test all over again. The score to pass was 832 and I got a 846! 14 points or about two questions away from failing. There were 54 question in total with 90 minutes to complete them. Thanks God for helping me through this stressful time because it was well worth the struggle.

My next step in my journey to become a Network Security engineer is to obtain my CCNA Security certification. So I will be studying fo the IINS 210-260 (Implementing Cisco Network Security). With that certification, I will be able to continue on to the CCNP Security cert which will show off my skills in securing network infrastructures.

Wafer of chips

5nm Chip

Preparing test wafers

Preparing test wafers with 5nm silicon nanosheet transistors

IBM group of researchers, Global Foundries and Samsung created a new transistor design based on a new inventive process that will lead to more speed and power efficiency at a lower cost. The reason for having a smaller size is to power self-driving cars, on-board AI and 5G sensors. Also, the pressure to keep up with Moore’s Law of 1965 needed to move to a new structure and allow for more transistors on one chip. During the fabrication process, these chips are constructed of horizontal FinFET structured layer with silicon nano sheets to create a fourth gate. Sadly, these chips will not meet the market until after the predecessor 7nm process chips do in 2018.

5nm nanosheet transistors

Silicon nanosheet transistors at 5nm

“As we make progress toward commercializing 7nm in 2018 at our Fab 8 manufacturing facility, we are actively pursuing next-generation technologies at 5nm and beyond to maintain technology leadership and enable our customers to produce a smaller, faster, and more cost efficient generation of semiconductors.” – Gary Patton, CTO and Head of Worldwide R&D at GlobalFoundries

FinFET

The last major breakthrough came in 2009 with the creation of FinFET. The first manufacturing of FinFET was in 2012 with the 22nm process (now 7-10nm process).

First use of the 3D structure to control electric current, rather than the 2D ‘planar’ system of years past.

Maximizes the amount of current flow in the on state  and minimizes the amount of leakage in the off state which makes it more efficient.

“Fundamentally, FinFET structure is a single rectangle, with the three sides of a structure covered in gates” – Mukesh Khare, VP of Semiconductor  Research for IBM

Wafer of chips

Wafer of chips with 5nm silicon nanosheet transistors

Images courtesy of IBM

Optical Computing

ising

The Ising model is a mathematical model which describes how magnetic materials have atomic spins with an upward or downward states. This mathematical model will lead to solving real-world business challenges such as the optimal delivery truck route and discovering new prescription drugs. Using the Ising model in optical computing is the next step for computer architecture since researchers are able to compute mathematical problems much faster than conventional computers. Due to the lack of progress to keep up with Moore’s Law, this new technology will help with discovering new advancements in many fields such as pharmaceutical and telecommunications. I fear that this will lead to more electronic waste when this type of computing is put on the market due to shift away from  computers to Ising model computers. However, my fear can be solved if researchers think about the global impact of designing a new chip for computer computations.

Strength: The articles were able to provide a simplified definition of an Ising model and give ample background information of the advancements of these models.

Weakness: The articles were not able to state the global impact of designing a totally new chip with regards to the massive electronic waste today.

http://spectrum.ieee.org/semiconductors/processors/hpes-new-chip-marks-a-milestone-in-optical-computing

http://spectrum.ieee.org/tech-talk/computing/hardware/new-computer-combines-electronic-circuits-with-light-pulses

http://science.sciencemag.org/content/354/6312/603.full

What’s in your iPad?

 

Computers perform the same basic function: inputting, outputting, processing, and storing data. Also, most computers have the same basic components: input, output, memory, data path, and control. In other words, a computer needs input devices, output devices, storage, and a processor to function.

Liquid Crystal Display (LCD) – A display technology using a thin layer of liquid polymers that can be used to transmit or block light according to whether a charge is applied

Active Matrix Display – A LCD using a transistor to control the transmission of light at each individual pixel

Pixel – the smallest individual picture element. Screens are composed of hundred of thousands to millions organized in a matrix.

While there are a variety of ways to implement a touch screen, many tablets today use capacitive sensing. Since people are electrical conductors, if an insulator like glass is covered with a transparent conductor, touching distorts the electrostatic field of the screen, which results in a change in capacitance or storage of electrical energy. This technology can allow multiple touches simultaneously.

Input/Output Devices:

  • LCD display
  • Camera
  • Microphone
  • Headphone jack
  • Speakers
  • Accelerometer
  • Gyroscope
  • Wi-Fi network
  • Bluetooth network

Input and output devices dominate space in a device while data path, control and memory makeup a tiny portion of space.

Integrated Circuits (chips) – A device with dozens to millions of transistors

Central Processing Unit (CPU or processor) – The active part of the computer, which contains the data path and control and which adds numbers, test numbers, signals I/O device to activate, and so on. Data path performs arithmetic operations while control tells the data path, memory, and I/O device what to do according to the instructions of the program

Volatile Memory (Main or primary) – storage for programs and data for programs during runtime

  • Dynamic Random Access (DRAM) – A volatile chip that provides random access to any location with an access time of 50 nanoseconds
  • Static Random Access (SRAM) – A volatile chip that is faster and less dense than DRAM
  • Cache – A volatile, small, fast memory that acts as a buffer for a slower, larger memory

Nonvolatile Memory (Secondary) – hold data and programs between

  • Magnetic Disks – Composed of rotating platters coated with a magnetic recording material. Access times are 5 ~ 20 milliseconds
  • Flash Memory – Slower and cheaper than DRAM, yet it’s more expensive per bit and more power efficient than disks. Access times are 5 ~ 50 microseconds

Multiple DRAM chips work together to contain the instruction and data of a program.

Abstraction : Hardware and the lowest-level software such instruction set architecture and application binary interface (ABI).

Networks Advantages:

  • Communication – Exchange of information between computers at high speeds
  • Resource Sharing – Computers on the same network share I/O devices
  • Nonlocal Access – Remote access to your computer

With the dramatic rise in deployment of networking and increase in capacity, network technology became an integral part to the information revolution.

Software vs Hardware

Abstraction – Interpret or translate high-level operations into simple computer instructions

screen-shot-2017-01-06-at-11-00-04-am

Hardware and software as hierarchical views

Types of System Software:

  1. Operating System – Supervising program manages the resources of a computer for the benefit of the programs that run on that computer
  2. Compiler – A program that translates high-level language statements into assembly language statements
  3. Assembler – A program that translates a symbolic version of instructions into the binary version

In order to communicate to hardware, you need to send electrical signals to it. The signals are categorized by on and off or 1 and 0. Moreover, hardware has a two letter alphabet with each letter as a binary digit or bit. Using bits for both instructions and data is a foundation of computing!

Even though hardware speaks in binary, humans do not which creates a barrier between programmers and their hardware. As a result, an assembler was introduced to translate machine instructions to binary.

screen-shot-2017-01-06-at-11-42-50-am

High-level to machine language

High-level Language vs. Machine Language?

  1. More natural language
  2. Improved programmer productivity
  3. Allows programs to be independent of the computer

The Greatest Ideas in Computer Architecture

  • Moore’s Law – Integrated Circuits resources double every 18-24 months
    • Prediction in 1965 by Gordon Moore, Founder of Intel
    • Design with future of technology in mind vs present of technology
    • Represented by the graph below

      graph-original

      ‘up and to the right’ graph

  • Abstraction – Represent the design at different levels of representation
    • Increases productivity and decreases design time
    • Lower levels details are hidden to make it simple = higher level details
abstract-art-painting-tadeusz-machowski-1

abstract painting

  • Common Case Efficiency – Enhance efficiency more than the efficiency of rare cases
    • Experimentation and measurement is required
    • Fast sport cars versus fast minivan?
01_my16_ftype_gallery_tcm97-137003_desktop_1366x769

Jaguar F-Type

  • Parallelism Efficiency – Performing operations in parallel
    • Increases performance
    • Represented by the jet engines on a plane below
60745-004-7dd3fcc2

Dual engines on jet

  • Pipelining Efficiency – Pattern of parallelism
    • Has a particular sequence with different stages
    • Represented by ventilation in data centers
u6sjkqu

Air ventilation of data centers

  • Prediction Efficiency – Easier to ask for forgiveness than permission
    • As long as prediction is not expensive and is accurate
    • Represented by the sky for weather forecasting
marestail

Weather forecasting based on clouds

  • Memory Structure – Required to be fast, large, and cheap
    • Memory speeds hinders performance while capacity limits unsolvable issues
    • Memory is one of the most expensive component in computers
    • Cache versus Random Access Memory (RAM) versus Hard  Disk Drive (HDD)
    • Represented by a pyramid with cache at the top and HDD at the bottom
pyramidelcastillo

Pyramid memory structure

  • Redundancy Dependency – Components for detecting  and resolving failures
    • Moral of the story is that any device can fail
    • Represented by emergency procedures when flying a plane
no_luggage__800x600_q85_crop_subject_location-246182

Emergency procedure for crashed plane

Evolution of Computers

This will be the beginning of a series of posts that will serve to enlighten the ever changing information technology industry.

Real Gross Output of Computer systems design and related services (in billions) (1)

2008 2009 2010 2011 2012 2013 2014 2015
269.8 266.2 291.8 312.0 331.3 335.3 348.1 354.3

Moore’s law refers to an observation made by Intel co-founder Gordon Moore in 1965. He noticed that the number of transistors per square inch on integrated circuits had doubled every year since their invention. (2)

20140104_gdc939_0

 

Computer Applications:

  • Personal Computer (PC) – Most widely known application. Delivers good performance to single user at low cost and executes third part software.
  • Servers (S) – greater computing, storage, and input/output capacity. In general, servers place a greater emphasis on dependability, since one crash can be costly.
  • Supercomputers (SC) – tens of thousands of processors and many terabytes of memory. Mostly used for scientific developments like weather forecasting and oil exploration.
  • Embedded Computers (EC)- Run one application or set of related applications that are integrated within the hardware. There are many embedded computers around now.
  • Personal Mobile Devices (PMD) – Replacing the PC with drawback of not having traditional peripherals and being costly
  • Cloud Computing (CC) – Replacing the server with datacenters known as Warehouse Scale Computers

Issues of PostPC Era (PMD & CC) are the parallel nature of processor and the hierarchical nature of memories. Despite the issues, many professionals still believe that Moore’s Law holds substance in the evolution of the computer based on the graph below.

20150425_woc302

By reading this series you will gain an understanding of:

  1. Programming in high level languages such as C and Java
  2. Interfacing hardware and software
  3. The performance of a program and how to improve performance
  4. Techniques used to improve performance and energy efficiency for hardware designers
  5. Pros and Cons of sequential and parallel processing
  6. The great ideas in the computer world

References:

(1) – U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis

(2) – Investopedia