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“Smarter, Not Faster, Is the Future of Computing Research”

The New York Times reports on a new report from the President’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology, including extensive comments from UW CSE’s Ed Lazowska.

“Priorities for computing research, according to the report, should include new techniques for exploring large-scale data sets, and algorithms for machine learning. Indeed, a section of the report states that progress in software algorithms has been more important than faster computers in applications like speech recognition, natural language translation and logistics planning.

“Others areas of emphasis, the report added, should include research on privacy, cybersecurity, and pioneering uses of computing in fields like transportation, energy conservation and health care.

“Many of these problems, Mr. Lazowska said, were less suited to supercomputers than machines and software designed to quickly plumb vast amounts of data, looking for patterns and insights.

“’It’s big-data computing,’ he said.  ‘And it’s typically done on Google, Amazon and Microsoft-style computer clusters.’”

Read the New York Times article here.  Learn more about the PCAST report here.

December 21, 2010