The vice president for research at the University of Iowa is warning that U.S. leadership in computing is being “diluted” by activity in other countries.
Daniel Reed — a former executive at Microsoft — joined the University of Iowa last fall and he says computing “is in deep transition” to a new era.
“U.S. consumers and businesses are an increasingly small minority of the global market for mobile devices and for cloud services. We live in a post-P.C. world, as we all know, where U.S. companies compete in a global device ecosystem,” Reed says. “Unless we’re vigilant, these economic and technical changes could further shift the center of enabling technology (research and development) away from the U.S.”
Reed is among researchers calling for increased federal government investment in “high-performance” computing. Reed says it’s important for key agencies like the U.S. Department of Defense and the National Science Foundation to work with the Department of Energy to set new computing goals.
“Other nations are investing strategically in high-performance computing to advance national priorities and the U.S. research community has repeatedly warned of the potential and actuality of eroding U.S. leadership in computing and high-performance computing and emphasized the need for sustained and strategic investment,” Reed says.
Three of the world’s four fastest computers are located in the United States, but Reed says developing computers that are thousands of times faster than today’s models helps “amplify” and better analyze a “torrent” of data from a variety of sensors.
“With advanced computing, real-time data fusion and powerful numerical models, we have the potential to predict the tracks of tornadoes, such as the recent one in Oklahoma, saving lives and ensuring the future of our children,” Reed says.
Reed made his remarks last week during testimony before a congressional committee in Washington, D.C. Earlier this week, officials announced Cedar Falls, Iowa, had become one of only six U.S. cities with one gigabit per second download speeds. That is 100 times faster than what’s available elsewhere in Iowa.