Monthly Archives: September 2012

Interesting stuff about Curiosity Mars Rover

How does the Curiosity Rover Nuclear Battery work?

Mars needs rovers! (and it just got a big one)

Inside NASA’s Curiosity: It’s an Apple Airport Extreme… with wheels (It’s a 200MHz PPC processor running VxWorks!)

2 articles on the independence day!

What a coincidence!

Today is Brazilian Independence day, and two of my papers accepted for publication became on-line today! Here they are:

Increasing Students’ Interest With Low-Cost CellBots

This paper introduces the use of a flexible and affordable educational robot specifically developed for the practical experimentation inherent to technological disciplines. The robot has been designed to be reconfigurable and extendible, serving as an experimental platform across several undergraduate courses. As most students have a mobile cell phone, this was used as the main control computer for the so-called CellBot, thus avoiding any need to deal with the details of microcontrollers or other embedded computing devices. Assessment results are also presented, based on a pre- and post-survey of student opinion administered to 204 science and engineering students from several universities. Among the conclusions are that 83% of the students prefer to use these low-cost robots as tools to improve their learning of the theory in several disciplines, and 71% of the students stated that they prefer to have their own robot to experiment with, instead of using a didactic kit loaned to them by the university.

Towards green data-centers: A comparison of x86 and ARM architectures power efficiency

Servers and clusters are fundamental building blocks of high performance computing systems and IT infrastructure of many companies and institutions. This paper analyzes the feasibility of building servers based in low power computers through an experimental comparison of server applications running on x86 and ARM computer architectures. The comparison executed on web and database servers includes power usage, CPU load, temperature, request latencies and the number of requests handled by each tested system. Floating point performance and power usage is also evaluated. The use of ARM based systems has shown to be a good choice when power efficiency is needed without losing performance.