Report highlights evolutionary challenges facing IT

Developing systems that never fail and computers that act like humans are among the biggest long-term challenges facing the IT...

Developing systems that never fail and computers that act like humans are among the biggest long-term challenges facing the IT industry, according to a report from the British Computer Society.

The report, published yesterday (25 January), outlines a series of research proposals from leading UK academics into a range of computing issues.

It also calls for the introduction of a new Computer Council to promote the discipline of computer studies at university and secondary school levels.

The proposed research projects, which would run 15 years, include: developing systems that never fail, getting computers to act like humans, creating a computer architecture to model the human brain and research into distributed systems.

The projects to develop methods, tools and infrastructure will enable software "to be developed at lower costs and with less risk than today", said the BCS.

“The fast expanding amounts of information that people and organisations hold about themselves, including photographs, sound recordings, e-mails and web browsing histories, bring the challenge of managing and searching these different data forms - and storing them safely after current storage and access software come to the end of their lives,” adds the BSC report.

The research proposals come from workshop sponsored by the UK Computing Research Committee, a BCS expert panel, with support from the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council.

The projects are linked by their long-term nature and the possible requirement for international co-ordination of research.

Two other proposals relate to distributed systems to cope with ubiquitous computing, supporting the design of networks that can expand and handle a growing variety and number of devices.

View the research proposals at: www.bcs.org/BCS/Awards/Events/GrandChallenges/conferencereports

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