The Most Promising Computing Technologies of the Recent Future - The Future Is Awesome!

The vacations are on. You are in your room with your laptop. Your mom wonders, what is there in that stupid little box. Why my child is always glued to it? You get on her nerves. She yells at you and you yell back. Little does she know about the amazing horizons and dimensions a laptop may provide.

I agree, your social life has become a waste now. Everything is virtual for you. Physical existence has no meaning for you. But have you ever explored the plethora of possibilities the new age is providing you?

Every day there is something new adding up to the IT era. Researchers at Stanford University, Purdue University, IIT's publish research papers daily and the companies manifest the idea provided in the form of a product. Denis Ritchie will be stunned by the fact how many scholars have derived derivatives of his language C and used it for their own benefits.

New domains are arriving into the computing domain. I don't want to make my article preachy - hence I will give a real time funny example of each of the exciting domains.

One such domain is Ubiquitous Computing. If you Google it you will get the following definition, "machines that fit the human environment instead of forcing humans to enter theirs". Confused? OK I will make your task easier. Let's opt for an example.

It's your birthday - you are the king today. I You can demand whatever you want. You demand ice cream. Someone brings it for you. You keep it in the refrigerator. But wait - your mom has already made some jelly for you and she wants that jelly to set at particular temperature. At the same time you want the ice cream cold enough for you to enjoy. You need to lower the temperature. But that will ruin the jelly. So how do you strike a balance?

Here comes our cool, funky Ubiquitous Computing; an intelligent chap he is. He is currently in the temperature controller of your refrigerator. Like the sun God Helios, he is observing whatever enters and leaves the fridge. He knows everything. Now he has a tough situation in hand. He knows that there is the jelly in there and also the ice cream. Like the Sun God, he has prior knowledge about the best temperature a jelly sets and the best temperature for the ice cream. He will take the average of both and set it accordingly. Your mom is happy, and your joy knows no bounds. All these things happen without your intervention.

Coming to the definition of this intelligent chap, here you are not controlling the controller, the controller is controlling itself according to your requirements. So you need not adjust yourself to the environment of the controller. The controller will do it for you automatically. And this cunning fellow can fit in everywhere, inside your refrigerator and even inside the filaments of your clothing material. His small size and self adjusting property makes him one of the most happening domains under research. The word "Ubiquitous"means omnipresent. An apt word for him, isn't it?

Another domain which I want to talk about is Artificial Intelligence. A standard explanation given by Alan Turing, an eminent scientist says A curtain is raised between the machine and you. You only know the fact that the thing behind the curtain may either be a machine or a human being. But actually there is a machine behind the curtain. He talks to you. You talk to him. If you are not able to distinguish whether that machine is a human being or really a machine, then that machine has Artificial Intelligence.

You are in the year 4050. You sit in a taxi. You are astonished. The taxi has no driver. At the same time, you hear a sweet voice from the speaker. "Good morning Sir. It's a pleasant weather today. I request you to please tell me where you want me to drop you? "

You are still stunned. But then you say "Parkinson Street, Detroit". The sweet voice again comes out. "Ok Sir. Have a wonderful journey". And vroom!

You reach the place in no time. The car dynamically decided the optimum route to reach your destination according to the prevailing weather and traffic conditions.

Have you ever played real time strategic games like Age of Mythology or Age of Empires? In such games you need to build an empire of your own and fight against your enemies. Your enemies are the computer players who have a very high level of AI. In short, they are intelligent programs. They are very sophisticated. If you win a game against them, they will try to learn what went wrong. After coming to the conclusions, they will optimize themselves and give you a really hard play. In fact, the AI implemented in such games have been used as case studies in many universities across the world.

One of the main objectives of AI is to bring a computer closer to the way a human being acts and thinks. Computers are dumb. They only perform what they are programmed to do. So by letting them imbibe AI, they take a step forward to achieve the perfection of a human brain. But be careful - Machines with learning capability can be made to learn wrong things thus providing an output which is not at all desirable. So necessary control mechanism must be provided to keep the learning records less than some threshold value so that they do not become exceptionally brilliant and start governing humans..!!!

One more interesting domain which is the next step of AI is Artificial Neural Network. For understanding this domain you need to understand what "neurons" are. Neurons are small cells in the human brain which generate electric signals and transport information. A dense network of such neurons in the brain makes the brain work. Similarly in Artificial Neural Network the neurons are small very less power computers which are interconnected together to perform some useful work.

In conventional computers, everything is programmed. You know the input and the output and you even know how to achieve it. But in ANN, you don't know how to achieve the desirable result. In ANN, you just give an initial set of instructions to the network. From this training set, the network will try to devise a way to generate the required output. You need not worry about how it will generate the output. These interconnected neurons or small processing elements are really a boon for you. The networks will decide how to produce the output. You need not write an algorithm or program for it. This technique is used in complex tasks like weather forecasting where it becomes difficult for a human being to process such huge weather information.

Cloud computing now forms the crux of the web services. There are websites which offer you trillions of GBs of content like information, music, movies and so on. But have you ever imagined where such huge quantities of information have been stored. They are stored in a network of servers which are nothing but in Cloud Computing terminology called as a cloud. Cloud provides storage space. This storage space is accessible from anywhere in the world. There are many companies providing you cloud computing facilities. One of them is Amazon. Many professional IT organizations need to store huge amount of data of their employees. If they start purchasing servers to store, it will be an overhead for them. Why? Firstly, servers are damn expensive. Secondly, servers need a room. Thirdly, servers require cooling facilities so that they can work efficiently. Hence, instead of opting for such complex liabilities, one can rent some servers or storage space from companies like Amazon. A one time payment is done and you get huge storage space for a small fee. So cloud computing not only provides you software as a service but also infrastructure as a service. Isn't that great?

These are few of the promising domains I have talked about. There are so many more - Cluster Computing, Grid Computing, Parallel programming, etc. the list is endless. The purpose of this article is to give you just an insight about the new emerging domains and let you explore more about them. So next time when your mom shouts at you, make her read this article and within no time she will ruin her social life too!:)
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