- Along with its managerial emphasis, the ICJEM has always been committed to bringing its readers reports of technical advances and new applications of computer technology. Those in the information management field need not only to keep up with their own speciality but also need to be aware of advancements in other areas. No area is completely isolated from any other and if one too narrowly focuses on one's own area of work one will be apt to miss developments that will eventually have application to that work. The field is developing much too rapidly to allow anyone to be complacent about what he or she knows.
- One important area of interest that has wide application is data compression. As the information that computers process increasingly involve images, animations, and videos, and as this information has more and more to efficiently make it through the limited bandwidths of the Internet and telephone lines, and stored permanently on magnetic and optical media, it becomes very critical to make it as compact and efficient as possible.
- In their article, Aran Namphol, Steven H.Chin, Mohammed Arozullah examine the techniques of neural networks to provide a novel solution to the problem of compression. The techniques allow shortening encoding and decoding without the use of codebooks. These techniques may play a major role in this important aspect of computer technology.
- Image compression, as was noted above, is especially important when the data has to travel over relatively low-bandwidth communications lines. Two other articles in the issue deal directly with this area. Ajin Jirachiefpattana and Richard Lai describe a technique for the analysis of communications protocols using Estelle, a Formal Description Technique that allow unambiguous specifications of communications protocols. By using this method rather than natural language specifications there is an increased accuracy and an increased ability to analyze system designs. As the design of efficient communications systems becomes central to the world computer system, such advances can be very important.
- A more direct application of computerized telephony is found in K.V. Chin, S.C. Hui and S. Foo's description of a software for use in Internet real-time telephone calls. The use of the Internet for very cost-efficient two-way communications has attracted a great deal of interest in recent years although such communications can be much less convenient than using the traditional telephone system. One cannot, for example, ring up someone who is not already on-line. The system described by the authors maintains a telephone exchange that keeps track of users who are on line and which manages the communication once a connection is made. The prospects for the merger of telephony and computer networks that such software makes possible may have revolutionary prospects for the world's communication system.
- A final article directly considers an issue important to those of our readers who are directly involved in project management. Any organization must decide which of any number of possible projects are most deserving of the limited resources available to it. The complexity of many projects, and the difficulty of comparing them, makes such decisions highly involved. The heuristic algorithm discussed by Chiu-Chi Wei in his article provides an automated method for making the comparisons that can achieve near-optimal solutions.
- This is just a sample of the type of work being done in the information processing field but this sample provides strong evidence that shows just how exciting a field it is.
Prof. Dr. Srisakdi Charmonman