How computing will change science

This week’s Nature, which has just landed on my desk (yup, I still like to see the dead-tree version ;), is a special issue on scientific computing. It’s well worth a read, and all the relevant articles are freely available.

Declan Butler, one of the journalists involved in putting it together, has the lowdown on this blog:

Barely a month after Google Earth made the front cover of Nature, computing is back on the cover again. Tomorrow’s issue contains a big special on the future of scientific computing. All the articles are free, thanks to sponsorship from Microsoft; the special was produced in conjunction with the 2020 report published today by an international group of experts convened by Microsoft. The special is, however, of course completely editorially-independent of Microsoft

The special, by journalists and top computing experts, looks at some of the key emerging technologies and concepts that look set to have a major impact on scientific computing by 2020. I’ve a three pager on “sensor webs” – “2020 computing: Everything, everywhere” — in it; there is also a short pop-up box — “Batteries not included” — on the problems of powering these small remote devices.

The full list of article is here. There’s also an editorial, but it doesn’t seem to be online as I write. (I’ll post a link in the comments as soon as I see it appear.)

Disclosure: I contributed a bit to the 2020 Science report that Declan mentions above. Whether or not people agree with its conclusions, I think I speak for all the authors when I say that we hope this Nature special issue proves to be just the first of many analyses and activities inspired by it. Microsoft Research, particularly Stephen Emmott, deserve credit for the huge effort they put into this initiative.


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