Next-Gen Computer Engineering
Back in 2011, Prism reported on the eventual expiration of Moore’s Law, the 1965 observation by Intel cofounder Gordon Moore that computer chip performance doubles approximately every two years. Industry was nearing the physical limit on the number of transistors that could be crammed onto a single chip. As that day draws closer, a new computer engineering field is opening up, based on quantum physics, that heralds a revolution in industries from artificial intelligence to medicine with processing power far surpassing today’s most advanced machines. Realizing this dream requires controlling the peculiar behavior of atomic and sub-atomic matter, a major challenge. Excitement surrounding interdisciplinary quantum research leaves it prone to hype, writer Charles Q. Choi warns us. He worked to distinguish fact from bravado in January’s cover story. Since his first Prism feature in 2009 on growing efforts by colleges to crack down on student cheaters, Choi has proven to be one of our most versatile and diligent reporters.
Elsewhere in Prism. Aditya Johri looks at computer advances from an ethical standpoint in his Digital Lens column, and Robin Tatu reviews The Revenge of Analog, a paean to pursuits outside of computers.
A number of engineering schools conduct outreach to K-12 classes, but few match Boston University in the number of students reached, imagination, and painstaking approach. In five and a half years, its “inspiration ambassadors”—engineering sophomores, juniors, and seniors—have reached 17,600 kids in 27 states. Deputy Editor Mary Lord witnessed BU’s Technology Innovation Scholars Program in action at Boston’s Josiah Quincy Upper School, where engineering undergraduates led inner-city teens in a design activity based on cutting-edge biomedical research. She came away with a fascinating account.
Engineers’ level-headed approach to global problems is evident both in our photo essay on extreme weather and in the Last Word essay, where past ASEE President J. P. Mohsen and our former colleague Bill Kelly describe the practical and educational opportunities of the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals.
We hope you find variety and interesting reading in this month’s Prism. As always, your comments are welcome.