"We've been headed here for a while, but it's becoming increasingly clear that we can't keep shrinking components while increasing performance", stated the HiPEAC Vision editor-in-chief, Marc Duranton (CEA). "Acceleration for specific applications is the short-term route to performance gains, while we investigate new paradigms such as neuromorphic and quantum computing - which will however complement, rather than replace, silicon semiconductor technology."
"The progress over the last 50 years has been stunning, to the point where computers are an integral part of our everyday lives. However, from encouraging addictive behaviour to ultimately threatening our democracies, we've also seen the damage digital technology can cause", added Professor Koen De Bosschere from Ghent University, the HiPEAC network coordinator. "We need to ensure that robust digital ethics shape our future systems, and Europe should provide an example to follow."
Setting out how business and society both influence and respond to everything from hardware components to system software, the Vision explores the state of the art and outlines future directions. As well as needing to be safe, secure and energy efficient - all at a reasonable cost - modern computers, which increasingly use artificial intelligence (AI) techniques, also need to follow our ethical principles. However, AI could also hold the key to surmounting the increasingly unmanageable complexity of modern systems.
"Computing technologies now form a continuum - from the devices at the edge we interact with daily, such as virtual assistants, smartphones and medical wearables, to the largest data centres and high-performance computers", explained Marc Duranton. "Computers are also increasingly making themselves smarter through automated accelerator development and intelligent software design."
To create the latest version of the HiPEAC's flagship roadmap, the editorial board drew on the expertise of the 2000-strong HiPEAC community, which is funded by the European Commission, and distils its extensive findings into a series of recommendations. These include:
Europe should lead the way towards more humane and environmentally friendly systems by using collective data, developing a sustainable electronics industry, investing in the future workforce and, more generally, creating a compelling digital ethics framework.
The HiPEAC Vision 2019 is available for free download .