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Tom Conte is President-elect, IEEE Computer Society; Professor of Computer Science and Electrical & Computer Engineering, Georgia Institute of Technology; and Elie Track is President, IEEE Council on Superconductivity; CEO, nVizix. The may be reached at editor@ScientificComputing.com.The IEEE Technology Time Machine (TTM) is going further into the future.

Now in its third year, the annual two-day IEEE meeting is mixing things up a little in terms of format and topics. Rather than just looking at how some technologies might evolve in the next decade, experts and visionaries are going to look out to 2035 and beyond.

Trying to predict the outcomes of technologies so far ahead is certainly not easy, and the vision of the future at this year’s TTM should not be used to guide investments in the stock market, but by bringing together the best experts IEEE has to offer, TTM hopes to increase the quality of predictions.

In previous years, TTM has brought in representatives from various technology companies to talk about how they see the future shaping up for them in the next five to 10 years. This year, TTM has tapped experts and visionaries who will talk about technologies and industries more broadly. And it won’t be just one. Instead, there will be three speakers for each topic — a point / counterpoint approach. Experts will prepare their arguments in advance. This format will definitely lead to more lively discussion and will include time for questions and answers from the audience.

TTM is taking on six themes this year with a greater diversity of topics, including the future of processing, which encompasses topics such as distributed, cloud and quantum computing, as well as potential replacements for CMOS, including plasmonics.

The discussion of the future of processing will center a great deal on the end of Moore’s Law, a topic that is becoming more and more talked about as the laws of physics clearly indicate that computing must change and our current technologies won’t serve our needs. We’re nearing the point where we can no longer just squeeze together smaller transistors. We will hit a point where our current architectural designs for computing cannot compensate.

What we want do with computing is shifting; we’ve hit some strange and unique inflection points. The arbitrary decisions we have made in the past have put us down a certain path. TTM will be a focal point of discussing a new path to computing after Moore’s Law. And the future of processing will also affect the future of networks, including everything from infrastructures to fabric, as well as the Internet of Things and intelligent objects.

TTM will also focus on the several other key themes:

  • Future of energy: Production, distribution and utilization will all be points of discussion, as well as policy, the disruptions ahead and geopolitical changes.
  • Future of fabrication: Robotic networks, atoms and bits, functional 3-D printing, bio-inspired manufacturing, sustainable manufacturing and smart materials are all ripe for opportunity and should lead to some fascinating discussions.
  • Future of health care: A primary concern for all nations that will be heavily affected by technology, including genomics, microbots and cyborgs. It will even touch on the possibility of an unlimited life span.
  • Future of humans: What will humans look like in 25 years? Cybernetics and trans-humanism looms. Enabling connectomics, bio-engineering, brain machine interfaces and building body area networks are realities that are already here and inevitable.

Technology is certainly a big part of TTM, but all of these themes will also address issues surrounding technology development and adoption, including economics, costs and the behavior of consumers.

Ultimately, technology is driven by what people want and TTM will explore what the future holds 25 years from now through the impact of technology on humanity, and how they are intertwined.

For more information, or to register to attend TTM please visit: bit.ly/XMtzZq.

Tom Conte is President-elect, IEEE Computer Society; Professor of Computer Science and Electrical & Computer Engineering, Georgia Institute of Technology; and Elie Track is President, IEEE Council on Superconductivity; CEO, nVizix. The may be reached at editor@ScientificComputing.com.

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