"Seven grand challenges" facing IT over the next quarter of a century have been identified by analyst Gartner.
Many of the innovations that will unfold during the next 25 years can be found today in research papers, patents or prototypes already in production, said the analyst.
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"IT leaders should always be looking ahead for the emerging technologies that will have a dramatic impact on their business, and information on many of these future innovations are already in some public domains," said Ken McGee, an analyst for the company.
The seven IT grand challenges:
- Never having to manually recharge devices - the ubiquity of portable computing and communications devices powered by battery means that many people would find it highly desirable to either have their batteries charged remotely or devices powered by a remote source, bypassing the use of batteries altogether.
- Parallel programming - rather than simply creating faster single-core processors to perform tasks serially, another way to meet the constant demand for faster processor speed is to develop multiple, slower speed processors that perform tasks serially.
- Non-tactile, natural computing interface - the idea of interacting with computers without any mechanical interface has long been a desirable goal in computing.
- Automated speech translation - once the many hurdles of natural language processing are overcome to yield human-to-computer communications in one language, the complexity extends further when translation and output is required to a target language that is understandable to a human.
- Persistent and reliable long-term storage - current technologies are hard-pressed to perfectly preserve Dr Francine Berman's 2006 estimate of 161 exabytes (x1018) of digital information on digital media for more than 20 years.
- Increase programmer productivity 100-fold - as business and society's demand for software development increases, and the apparent decline of students pursuing software engineering and computer science degrees intensifies, removing uncertainty from meeting future demands will have to be met by increasing the output, or productivity, per programmer.
- Identifying the financial consequences of IT investing - one of the most perplexing challenges faced by IT leaders has been to convey the business value of IT in terms readily understandable by business executives.
Future IT challenges: