Beyond Mobile: Announcing Xconomy’s May 17 Forum on the 10-Year Future of Computing

4/14/11Follow @wroush

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groups. We want our home to help us learn, stay informed, be entertained, come together as a family. We want our offices to help us have productive meetings, and our school rooms to know their students and help them interact and learn.” On May 17, Mark will share insights from some of his own research on “smart spaces” that anticipate our needs.

We have two more special guests lined up for Beyond Mobile, and I’ll tell you even more about them in future articles. But briefly:

Larry Smarr will be flying up from La Jolla, CA, where he’s director of the California Institute for Telecommunications and Information Technology (Calit2). As founding director of the National Center for Supercomputing Applications, Smarr oversaw research that gave birth to the Mosaic (later Netscape) browser and the first large-scale computing grids. At Calit2, Smarr now leads multidisciplinary efforts to turn insights from computing research at University of California campuses into marketable applications in the areas of culture, energy, the environment, and health. The Calit2 buildings themselves are a laboratory for the kinds of visualization, communication, and collaboration systems that might (if Bill Mark is right) pervade our homes and offices by the 2020s. Because Calit2 researchers are already “living in the future” in certain ways, Smarr is in a good position to help us understand what that future might look like.

Finally we’ll be joined by Dan Reed, who holds two important titles at Microsoft in Redmond, WA. In his role as corporate vice president of technology policy and strategy, he helps corporate and government officials understand Microsoft’s perspective on the future of information technology in areas like education, health, the environment, and economic development. And as leader of the eXtreme Computing Group (XCG) inside Microsoft Research, Reed’s charge is to help the company question its assumptions about the nature of computing, and how trends like cloud computing, parallel programming, and natural-language interfaces could alter the way we experience information technology. Reed has called XCG “a vanguard of change” inside Microsoft, which—if it hopes to be as influential in 2021 as it is in 2011—will obviously need to grow beyond its historical reliance on PC, server, and mobile operating systems.

We’ll engage with Mark, Smarr, and Reed in an informal on-stage discussion, with plenty of time for audience Q&A. The event will also feature a few short “burst” presentations from Silicon Valley startups that are experimenting with new interfaces and new computing paradigms. And as always, we’ll provide time for networking before and after the formal program. If you think you can join us on May 17, I urge you to buy your ticket now; our “super saver” registration rate expires April 21.

Wade Roush is a contributing editor at Xconomy. Follow @wroush

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