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European computing Network of Excellence sets course for the future

The HiPEAC European Network of Excellence announced today its newest roadmap for the future of computer systems. The blueprint, “HiPEAC vision for Advanced Computing in Horizon 2020”, was released at the Design, Automation, and Test in Europe Conference (DATE 2013), held this week in France.

The computing roadmap comprises a set of analysis, challenges and recommendations for Horizon 2020, the European Commission’s new programme for research and innovation, scheduled to begin in 2014. In plotting out its recommendations for the future of computing systems research in Europe, the HiPEAC roadmap identifies three key strategic areas: mobile, embedded, and data center computing, as well as comprehensive challenges in the areas of energy consumption, system complexity, and dependability. Addressing these strategic areas and tackling these challenges will require working across system and application boundaries, rethinking hardware and software interfaces, and investigating the impacts of technology and application evolution on algorithms and methodologies. “The computing world currently faces technological limitations in nearly every area,” explained Koen De Bosschere, coordinator of the HiPEAC network. “We can no longer just increase the physical speed or ignore the energy output of computer systems. Technological limitations are preventing the seemingly effortless performance increases of the past, while global-scale applications are placing computing systems into ever larger, more intensive, and more critical roles. At the same time applications and business trends are broadening the requirements for interoperability and flexibility.” The new HiPEAC roadmap looks to the future while addressing the current reality. Even as new challenges present themselves, various computing disciplines are converging, leading to a new focus on those areas that require additional research and present new opportunities. “Devices must integrate into global and distributed information processing chains,” noted Marc Duranton, a leading researcher at CEA in France and the chief editor of the HiPEAC 2013 roadmap. “These include embedded systems interfacing with the physical world, mobile devices, and data servers for cloud computing that are always interconnected and communicating.” The 48-page document presents its recommendations for Horizon 2020 based on an analysis of market trends, a discussion of technology constraints and opportunities, and a frank review of Europe’s strengths and weaknesses in the field of computing systems. The HiPEAC roadmap calls particular attention to the EU’s position as it poises to enter a new phase of scientific innovation. The continent must balance its strong embedded ecosystem, available public funding for R&D, and vibrant higher education institutions with the real challenges and threats posed by the current financial crisis, loss of competitiveness in certain domains, and fierce competition from external, inexpensive structures. “We believe the next-generation of ‘killer applications’ will come from the convergence of mobile and embedded human centric interface devices and data center computing,” De Bosschere summed up. “This convergence will enable applications to dynamically redistribute computation and communications, operating at a scale that can handle millions of global users and the processing of enormous data sets. By developing the infrastructure and techniques to develop applications that span these three converging layers of computing, we will all benefit from the available data, interactivity, and compute power.”


Computing systems