Real Problems for Imagined Computers

Kavli Futures Symposium II and III

Symposium Dates: January 12-14, 2009, San Jose, Costa Rica; September 9-11, 2010, Tromsø, Norway

2009 Futures Symposium

Computers are the workhorses of science. Without their power to crunch numbers, control instruments, turn raw data into intelligible patterns or pictures and test theories with simulations, most of what we now know about ourselves and the universe might still be a mystery. But computing technology as we know it is reaching its limits, even as scientists look forward to new discoveries that are possible only with a great leap in computing power.

How can computing make that leap? That was the subject of the Kavli Futures Symposium, “Real Problems for Imagined Computers,” a meeting of minds between leading computer experts and scientists in disciplines such as cosmology and neuroscience that use computers to process huge quantities of data. “Computing is something important that we have in common,” says lead organizer Roger Blandford, head of the Kavli Institute for Particle Astrophysics and Cosmology (KIPAC) at Stanford University. The dialogue continued with the third Kavli Futures Symposium in Tromsø, Norway: “Growing High Performance Computing in a Green Environment.” Read more.

Report

Feature Articles

  • Extreme Machines: What Science Needs from Computers - Computing technology as we know it is reaching its limits, even as scientists look forward to new discoveries that are possible only with a great leap in computing power. How can computing make that leap?
  • The Future of Computing: From Extreme to Green - Can computing keep up with the needs of science? In 2009, 22 scientists from neuroscience, nanoscience, astrophysics, computer science and engineering gathered for Kavli Futures Symposium II to discuss this question — one that goes to the heart of whether the 21st century fulfills its promise of breakthroughs in knowledge and technology. Twenty months later, the scientists are returning to the table to continue this discussion during Kavli Futures Symposium III.