On October 21 I participate in a Colloquium on the Frontiers of IT at IBM’s Thomas J Watson Research Center. The colloquium, - which was part of IBM’s Centennial celebration, - brought together experts across industry and academia to discuss and debate the direction of four key Grand Challenges at the very leading edge of IT: nano systems, exascale, big data, and cognitive computing.
John Kelly, senior VP and director of IBM Research, gave an overview of these four areas. Here is a similar version of his talk given a week earlier at the University of Melbourne. John explained that these four areas have the potential to transform the IT industry because of their exponential growth, a result of both continual improvements and disruptive innovations. “Exponential curves,” he said, “will either put you ahead of the competition of kill you. It’s one of the other.”
Over the next decade, nano-devices are expected to advance by three orders of magnitude, from a billion to a trillion transistors in a chip. We will be able to design sophisticated, powerful nano systems-on-a-chip that will be totally contained within such a trillion transistor nano device. To do so, we will have to shift from silicon to other carbon-based materials. This requires disruptive technologies and innovations at all levels, including new materials, fabrication processes and design tools. The work is underway.