da Vinci Surgical System

davinciThe da Vinci Surgical System was approved by the U.S. FDA in 2000 and was the product of development and research in the late 1980s by SRI International. In 1991 the National Institutes of Health provided funding and a prototype robotic surgical system was created. This caught the attention of DARPA, the agency once known as ARPA.  In 1995, a group of doctors and investors optioned SRI’s intellectual property and formed Intuitive Surgical Devices, Inc. They took the SRI System as it was then known and refined it into a testing prototype in 1997. The prototypes were named after da Vinci themes, and the final version became known as the da Vinci Surgical System. The name was retained after it was commercialized.

The current da Vinci SI system released in April of 2009 costs 1.75 million including maintenance contracts and instruments expenses. It is currently cleared for urology, gynecology, cardiac, and general surgery and is one of the foremost modern surgical robots in existence.

Windows 2000

win2000Windows 2000 was released by Microsoft February 17th, 2000 as the successor to Windows NT. It was used for desktop, notebooks and servers. It was initially released in four versions: Professional, Server, Advanced Server, and Datacenter Server. It is the final release to display the Windows NT designation.

Originally called NT 5.0, it was changed to Windows 2000 on Oct. 27th, 1998, and was the first version without a code name. The beta was released in Sept., 1997, ending with Beta 3 on April 29th, 1999. It also introduced Active Directory, Microsoft’s proprietary directory service architecture, which replaced NT’s earlier model. It was summarily dissed by Novell, which was the leader in network directory services at the time. It was also originally intended to replace both NT and Windows 98, but that changed later. New features included NTFS 3.0, the Microsoft Management Console, Automated System Recovery, UDF support, and the Encrypting File System. Windows File Protection and the System File Checker utility were also introduced. Still used in production today, Microsoft has scheduled support to terminate on July 13th, 2010.

DDOS Attacks

virusIn early 2000 and 2001 and the late 90s, hackers were becoming more sophisticated in their attacks, moving from traditional methods such as SYN flooding to more malicious attacks like Denial of Service. The first well known attack was against the University of Minnesota in August of 1999, when thousands of machines flooded the school’s network with UDP packets.

In February of 2000, massive attacks were launched against prominent corporate websites such as Microsoft, Amazon, E-bay and many more. These sites suffered complete loss of connectivity to the internet or massive slowdowns. See one of the original news stories here: http://ireland.iol.ie/~kooltek/dosattacks.html

Short for denial-of-service attack, a type of attack on a network that is designed to bring the network to its knees by flooding it with useless traffic. Many DoS attacks, such as the Ping of Death and Teardrop attacks, exploit limitations in the TCP/IP protocols. For all known DoS attacks, there are software fixes that system administrators can install to limit the damage caused by the attacks. But, like viruses, new DoS attacks are constantly being dreamed up by hackers.

The I Love You Virus

virusThe “Love Letter” worm is a malicious VBScript program that first appeared May, 2000, which spreads in a variety of ways. As of 5:00 pm EDT(GMT-4) May 8, 2000, the CERT Coordination Center received reports from more than 650 individual sites indicating more than 500,000 individual systems were affected. In addition, several reports of sites suffering considerable network degradation as a result of mail, file, and web traffic generated by the “Love Letter” worm.

You can be infected with the “Love Letter” worm in a variety of ways, including electronic mail, Windows file sharing, IRC, USENET news, and possibly via webpages.

View the rest of the original CERT advisory.

Blue Gene

bluegeneOn December 6, IBM announced a new $100 million exploratory research initiative to build a supercomputer 500 times more powerful than the world’s fastest computers.

The new computer — nicknamed “Blue Gene” by IBM researchers — was capable of more than one quadrillion operations per second (one petaflop). This level of performance made Blue Gene 1,000 times more powerful than the Deep Blue machine that beat world chess champion Garry Kasparov in 1997.

Blue Gene’s massive computing power was initially used to model the folding of human proteins, making this fundamental study of biology the company’s first computing “grand challenge” since the Deep Blue experiment. Learning more about how proteins fold is expected to give medical researchers better understanding of diseases, as well as potential cures.