The end of computing as we know it represents an opportunity for Europe to steer the development of future systems which respect the planet and humanity, according to a major new report produced by HiPEAC, the European Network on High Performance and Embedded Architecture and Compilation.
"We've been headed here for a while, but it's becoming increasingly clear that we can't keep shrinking components while increasing performance," says the HiPEAC Vision editor-in-chief, Marc Duranton (CEA). "Acceleration for specific applications is the short-term route to performance gains, while we investigate new paradigms such as neuromorphic and quantum computing—which will however complement, rather than replace, silicon semiconductor technology."
"The progress over the last 50 years has been stunning, to the point where computers are an integral part of our everyday lives. However, from encouraging addictive behaviour to ultimately threatening our democracies, we've also seen the damage digital technology can cause," adds Koen De Bosschere (Ghent University), the HiPEAC network coordinator. "We need to ensure that robust digital ethics shape our future systems, and Europe should provide an example to follow."
Setting out how business and society both influence and respond to everything from hardware components to system software, the Vision explores the state of the art and outlines future directions. As well as needing to be safe, secure and energy efficient—all at a reasonable cost—modern computers, which increasingly use artificial intelligence (AI) techniques, also need to follow our ethical principles. However, AI could also hold the key to surmounting the increasingly unmanageable complexity of modern systems.
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