Beyond Calculation: The Next Fifty Years of Computing by Peter J. Denning

By Peter J. Denning

In March 1997, the organization for Computing equipment will rejoice the 50th anniversary of the digital desktop. to appreciate what a rare fifty years the pc has had, you wish merely go searching you--probably no farther than your table. desktops are all over the place: in our autos, our houses, our supermarkets, on the telephone corporation workplace, and at your neighborhood health center. yet because the members to this quantity clarify, the clinical, social and fiscal impression of pcs is just commencing to be felt. those 16 invited essays at the way forward for computing tackle a stunning number of issues, with evaluations from such specialists as Gordon Bell, Sherry Turkle, Edsger W. Dijkstra, Paul Abraham, Donald Norman, Franz Alt, and David Gelernter. This brilliantly eclectic assortment, commissioned to have fun a huge milestone in an ongoing technological revolution, will fascinate anyone with an curiosity in desktops and the place they are taking us.

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20 Mpixels), in real time. Using 1994 SUN computers, * each high resolution frame of the motion picture Toy Story took seven hours to compute on a 165-mil1ion~instruction­ per-second (Mips) processor. Real-time rendering would require a 605,000fold speedup (7 hours/frame X 3600 seconds/hour x 24 frames/second). Such capacity would require 100 million Mips (or 100 Teraops), and a computer of this speed will likely not be available until about 2030. However, rendering video for high-defmition television would require only 6 Teraops, which will probably be attained six years earlier.

Wifeless networking would allow many applications including truly portable and mobile computing, use within buildings for local and home networks, robotics, and, when used with GPS, to identify the location of a platform. Various authors have proposed a reallocation of the radio spectrum so that fIXed devices such as television sets would be wired so that telephony, videotelephony, and data platforms could be mobile. 5-64 GHz). The actual capacity depends on the geographical cell size that enables space-sharing of a given channel that is interconnected via terrestrial cabling.

As buildings are constructed, key GPS locations can be recorded for future use. Real estate records will be far more accurate and more easily searched than at present. The impact of geocentric indexing will be dramatic. Things, people, and events will become related merely by their current proximity or, in the extreme, because they were once nearby-or will be nearby, as in collision detection and avoidance. The incorporation of sensor data into the normal computing stream will make computers and networks far more "aware" of surroundings and local activity.

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