by Steve Lohr, New York Times
TECHNOLOGY tends to cascade into the marketplace in waves. Think of personal computers in the 1980s, the Internet in the 1990s and smartphones in the last five years.
A new wave of technological advancements in computing may be on the horizon, with researchers and entrepreneurs predicting smarter hardware and software that will automate more tasks and help improve human decision-making.
Massachusetts Institute of Technology adjunct professor Michael Stonebraker believes that new software will exploit swift computer hardware advances to help researchers and businesses make sense of an explosion of data.
Today experts see a critical mass of related technologies supporting new products and capabilities, with examples including low-cost computing, storage distributed across thousands of computers, and inexpensive, intelligent sensors that are key to a new generation of automated machines.
Stonebraker sees improvements in solid state or flash memory as particularly important, as performance increases and prices plummet. Flash memory is finding increasing use in big computers, retaining a large database in memory rather than storing data on disk drives.
“All parts of the technology pipeline are gearing up at the same time, and that’s how you get this explosion of new applications and uses,” says Cornell University professor Jon Kleinberg.
Experts note technological progress typically proceeds over a period of years before a commercial breakthrough emerges. Article