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Fast, inexpensive computers are now essential for nearly all human endeavors and have been a critical factor in increasing economic productivity, enabling new defense systems, and advancing the frontiers of science. For the last half-century, computers have been doubling in performance and capacity every couple of years. For example, the raw performance of a 1970s supercomputer is now available in a typical modern cell phone. The remarkable growth in computing throughout the lifetimes of most people has resulted in the expectation that such phenomenal progress will continue well into the future. As our demand for increased technology performance shows no signs of slowing, it becomes apparent that we need to find ways to sustain increasing performance.
In their efforts to make faster computers, scientists have concentrated on reductions in transistor size, enabling more transistors to be packed onto computer chips. Current chips range from several complex processors to hundreds of simpler processors. To use chip multiprocessors, applications must use a parallel programming model, which divides a program into parts that are then executed in parallel on distinct processors. However, much software today is written according to a sequential programming model, and applications written this way cannot easily be sped up by using parallel processors. The Future of Computing Performance: Game Over or Next Level? recommends that our nation place a much greater emphasis on IT and computer-science research and development focused on improvements and innovations in parallel processing, and on making the transition to computing centered on parallelism.
This book also discusses the need for research and development on much more power-efficient computing systems at all levels of technology, including devices, hardware architecture, and software. The Future of Computing Performance makes recommendations aimed at supporting and focusing research, development, and education in parallel computing. It sets a path forward to sustain growth in computer performance so that we can enjoy the next level of benefits to society.
This book and others from the Computer Science and Telecommunications Board can inform discussion and guide decision-making.
|The Future of Computing Performance: Game Over or Next Level?
The end of dramatic exponential growth in single-processor performance marks the end of the dominance of the single microprocessor in computing. The era of sequential computing must give way to a new era in which parallelism is at the forefront. Although…
|Wireless Technology Prospects and Policy Options
The use of radio-frequency communication–commonly referred to as wireless communication–is becoming more pervasive as well as more economically and socially important. Technological progress over many decades has enabled the deployment of several successive…
|Transforming Combustion Research through Cyberinfrastructure
Combustion has provided society with most of its energy needs for millennia, from igniting the fires of cave dwellers to propelling the rockets that traveled to the Moon. Even in the face of climate change and the increasing availability of alternative energy…
|Biometric Recognition: Challenges and Opportunities
Biometric recognition–the automated recognition of individuals based on their behavioral and biological characteristic–is promoted as a way to help identify terrorists, provide better control of access to physical facilities and financial accounts, and…
|Critical Code: Software Producibility for Defense
Critical Code contemplates Department of Defense (DoD) needs and priorities for software research and suggests a research agenda and related actions. Building on two prior books–Summary of a Workshop on Software Intensive Systems and…
|Toward Better Usability, Security, and Privacy of Information Technology: Report of a Workshop
Despite many advances, security and privacy often remain too complex for individuals or enterprises to manage effectively or to use conveniently. Security is hard for users, administrators, and developers to understand, making it all too easy to use,…
|Proceedings of a Workshop on Deterring CyberAttacks: Informing Strategies and Developing Options for U.S. Policy
In a world of increasing dependence on information technology, the prevention of cyberattacks on a nation’s important computer and communications systems and networks is a problem that looms large. Given the demonstrated limitations of passive cybersecurity…
|Report of a Workshop on The Scope and Nature of Computational Thinking
Report of a Workshop on the Scope and Nature of Computational Thinking presents a number of perspectives on the definition and applicability of computational thinking. For example, one idea expressed during the workshop is that computational thinking is a…
|Technology, Policy, Law, and Ethics Regarding U.S. Acquisition and Use of Cyberattack Capabilities
The United States is increasingly dependent on information and information technology for both civilian and military purposes, as are many other nations. Although there is a substantial literature on the potential impact of a cyberattack on the societal…