Saturday, January 30, 2010

#6 Refined List of Research Topics (freewrite, 5-5-5 minutes)

This topic covers some very easily implemented programming concepts and some very intricate, complex ones.  The most basic, which I have done in a CS class, was to implement a very easy and basic eye scanner, something which could have been more complex and maybe fashioned into something usable.  Most of the biometrics stuff I have learned about deals with security issues on computers and many other places.  With a single eye scanner security can be made much more impermiable.  Just like your fingerprint, your eyes are also extremely unique, and now that I'm thinking about it, I think i've read that it is the most distinguishable thing about us humans.  Other uses of biometrics would be to test your gait.  I remember hearing about this in a lecture with Professor Heishman some time ago.  Apparently this can be used to detect people that should or should not be in the room at the time, almost like a under-floor security detection system.  Biometrics can also help with the disabled.  Just like scanners can use your eyes to secure certain places or things, they can also use them for people missing limbs so that they will be able to work in a better fashion in order to ease their lives.

Audio Compression
Although I havn't had any formal classes on this topic, I have seen enough of it to be interested.  No matter what you're listening to, each file has a certain file type extension.  These correlate to the compressions that the audio has undergone.  I am really interested in figuring out what these compressions actually mean for us humans, and to what extent the sound quality drops in our minds.  I am also interested in learning about DRM.  I know that many music companies sell their music with this type of security integrated so that the buyer won't be able to do anything illegal with that piece of music.  While on the topic of audio compression, I would also like to know how the compression is done.  I know most of it can be done on a computer with various software, but in what manner does the program actually compress the file to make it smaller?  It would be interesting to learn about the function and algorithms put in place to actually compress the files.  Does the software just pick out pieces of the music in different increments so that the song sounds the same, or is there just another algorithm for piecing the music apart while still allowing the original sounds to come through?

Network Security
I haven't had a formal class on this topic either, but while messing around with the topic on Linux I have opened my interests for this topic.  I've heard many instances of network security being very easy to break, allowing intruders into your home network where a lot of delicate information can be stored.  I know that WEP is the source of the problems, but I would think that after a while of being used it would either be honed down to be perfect, or another passwording system with better integrity would be implemented and take over.  In this topic I also know that there is cryptography.  I did a short project on this within the first year of joining George Mason University, and I know that the very basic level is completely overwhelming for a beginner in Computer Science.  During that project we learned that there are many various ways to crypt data and other information that you don't want to be found, and I know that various network traffic can be made secure, both via your browser (for example Google https) and in a terminal via secure file transfer, both of which are still widely used today.  I would be interested in learning some of the more secure ways of crypting data, and learning the uses of each one and how exactly they crypt and secure your data.

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