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“Exponentials R Us”

An end-of-year, end-of-decade Xconomy article by UW CSE’s Ed Lazowska.

‘Exponentials R Us’ – Seven Computer Science Game-Changers from the 2000’s, and Seven More to Come

“Forty years ago, in 1969, Neil Armstrong left footprints on the surface of the moon. It was an extraordinary accomplishment.

“Also in 1969, with much less fanfare and at much less expense, Len Kleinrock’s programmer Charley Kline sent the first message over ARPANET. (The message was “lo” – the first two letters of “login.” Then the system crashed.)

“With forty years of hindsight, which of these events has had the greater impact? Unless you’re really big into Tang and Velcro, the answer is clear. From four computers in 1969, the Internet has grown to more than half a billion computers and more than a billion regular users, and is impacting every aspect of our lives.

“‘Exponentials R Us.’ That’s the magic of computer science. It’s what differentiates us from all other fields. (To the extent that other fields are experiencing exponentials, it’s because of computer science – for example, the sensor technology and computational power that are driving biotech.) ‘Exponentials R Us’ is the past, the present, and the future of computer science. If you think you can have greater impact doing something else, you’ve got your head wedged.”

Read the entire article — “Seven Computer Science Game-Changers from the 2000’s, and Seven More to Come” – here.