For more than half a century, relentless miniaturization of computer technology was the gift that kept on giving: as the essential components became smaller, they also became faster, cheaper, and more energy efficient. Had this not been the case, cellphones, tablets, laptops, and other familiar portable computing devices would not be possible, and the internet could not exist. Throughout the past decade or so, however, continued miniaturization of conventional technology has encountered physical limits. This has disrupted historical progress in the performance and efficiency of computer technology, which has evolved rapidly and reliably since the 1950s. Multiple technological and economic trends portend even rougher seas ahead for conventional approaches, which has led to a growing sense that long-term future progress will require a technological revolution. This has catalyzed a multidisciplinary exploration of new and radically unconventional computing technologies, demanding fundamental reexamination of basic concepts, definitions, and practices. In this talk, Professor Anderson will give a brief and accessible introduction to the historical evolution of information technology, the seeds of a potential revolution, the ideas behind some of the most unconventional exploratory technologies, and the question of how physical laws ultimately constrain the efficiency and performance of computing.
Neal Anderson, professor of electrical and computer engineering and Terrance Murray Commonwealth Honors College Professor, will present this Pizza and Prof event in the CHC Events Hall.