The Future of Computing

December 7, 2011

The New York Times has special coverage on the future of computing today. Here are the stories we found most interesting.

Taking Faster and Smarter to New Physical Frontiers, By Drew Endy

From scheduling conference rooms to rooting out incipient tumors, computers that can go to the information that we care greatly about

Leave the Driving to the Car, and Reap Benefits in Safety and Mobility, By Sebastian Thrun

A Google team’s self-driving cars have traveled nearly 200,000 miles on public highways in California and Nevada, 100 percent safely.

Death Knell for the Lecture: Technology as a Passport to Personalized Education, By Daphne Koller

Until now, it has been hard to see how to make individualized education affordable. But advances in technology may provide a path to this goal.

Quantum Computing Promises New Insights, Not Just Supermachines, By Scott Aaronson

Quantum computing is one of the most exciting things happening in science right now. Just not for the reasons you usually hear.

In Planning Digital Defenses, the Biggest Obstacle Is Human Ingenuity, By Stefan Savage

Anticipating security threats is not merely a matter of reasoning abstractly about how new technology might raise new risks; it requires an understanding of human nature.

An Evolution Toward a Programmable Universe, By Larry Smarr

With a harvest of data from a wired planet, computing has evolved from sensing local information to analyzing it to being able to control it.

In an Open-Source Society, Innovating by the Seat of Our Pants, By Joichi Ito

The Internet is a belief system, a philosophy about the effectiveness of decentralized, bottom-up innovation. And it’s a philosophy that has begun to change how we think about creativity itself.

Computer Scientists May Have What It Takes to Help Cure Cancer, By David Patterson

Computer scientists may have the best skills — they can use machines, algorithms and the wisdom of the crowd — to fight cancer.

Power in Numbers: China Aims for High-Tech Primacy, By David Barboza and John Markoff

In an otherwise nondescript conference room, Wu Jianping stands before a giant wall of frosted glass. He toggles a switch and the glass becomes transparent, looking down on an imposing network operations center full of large computer displays. They show maps of China and the world, pinpointing China’s IPv6 links, the next generation of the Internet.

Vast and Fertile Ground in Africa for Science to Take Root, By G. Pascal Zachhary

Computer science study in Africa shows great promise, with one Ugandan university even charting its own course in many aspects of mobile computing ahead of the developed world.

Out of a Writer’s Imagination Came an Interactive World, By John Schwartz

Neal Stephenson doesn’t like talking about how he predicted the future.

Predicting the Future of Computing

Readers are invited to make predictions and collaboratively edit this timeline, which is divided into three sections: a sampling of past advances, future predictions that you can push forward or backward in time (but not, of course, into the past), and a form for making and voting on predictions.

And three stories already posted on KurzweilAI:

A High-Stakes Search Continues for Silicon’s Successor, By John Markoff

Creating Artificial Intelligence Based on the Real Thing, By Steve Lohr

Full Speed Ahead, Without a Map, Into New Realms of Possibility, By Theodor Holm Nelson