IEEE Top Tech Predictions

Yet more New Year’s stuff, the IEEE Computer Society technology trends for 2017. Technology that will “reach adoption” in 2017 include (in a very, very nerdy list):

1.    Industrial IoT
2.      Self-driving Cars
3.      Artificial Intelligence, Machine Learning, Cognitive Computing (especially data intensive, near real time applications)
4.      5G
5.      Accelerators (i.e., of computer performance)
6.      Disaggregated Memory – Fabric-attached Nonvolatile Memory (NVM)
7.      Sensors Everywhere and Edge Compute
8.      Blockchain (beyond Bitcoin)
9.      Hyper-converged Systems (“software-defined everything,”)

In many ways, this is a very conservative list. I mean predicting self-driving cars and 5G is predicting last year’s tech will be big this year!

Of course, it is interesting to see “Blockchain” on the list, reflecting the fact that grown ups are taking note of the technology in serious ways (e.g.,   this and this and this).

Their predictions for  ‘adoption in 5 years” is a more interesting (and even more nerdy) list.

1.  Rebooting Computing (includes quantum computing)
2.      Human Brain Interface
3.      Capabilities – Hardware protection (bringing back an idea from the 1960s)
4.      The Year of Exascale
5.      NVM Reaches Maturity
6.      Silicon Photonics Becomes a Reality
7.      Smart NICs
8.   Power Conservative Multicores

Quantum computing!  “Human Brain Interface”? Yes! (Done it.)   What are they for? Who cares! The “technical coolness” multiplier is so high!

On the topic of Exascale computing, they are on target. This is coming for sure, and things like “power conservative multicores” are in development in order to scale up that far.

While some of the buzz around the highest end HPC is symbolic, and there is always a gigantic gap between theoretical peak and actual useful capability, this “mines bigger” thing is, in fact, symbolic of the overall strength of computing and computational science. And, like it or not, it is critical for national security.

For that reason, the really, really important trend not mentioned in the IEEE list is that China is overtaking the US here. Rapidly.

As Rebecca Tan reports for Asian Scientist Magazine that China is rapidly approaching their own exascale system, and might well get there first. <<link>>

Noone should be surprised at this development, given the large computer and IT industry in China. It is also true that a lot of technical fields have seen a growing leadership from Chinese labs in all kinds of areas, including digital optics, new materials, and digital networking. In fact, between homegrown and overseas researchers, Chinese science is ahead of the US in almost everything.

With a new US administration that seems determined to “stand up” to China, it would be a good idea to think beyond attempts to “punish” China, and think about about boosting US basic and advanced research.

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