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Extreme and Green: What Science Needs from Computing

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Can computing keep up with the needs of science?

Leading scientists from neuroscience, nanoscience, astrophysics, computer science and engineering are gathering to discuss this question in Tromso, Norway, continuing a dialogue that began at last year's Kavli Futures Symposium. In a teleconference held July 7, four academic and professional computer scientists discussed some of the key ideas expected to be raised at the symposium—in particular, the possibility of extremely energy-efficient computing technologies that might mirror the efficiency of the human brain. They also discussed the current impact of recent advances in computing. As participant Terry Sejnowski of the Howard Hughes Medical Institute noted, "We're in the middle of a revolution right now in the brain sciences and in many other sciences. . . . We're entering an era now where computers have finally become fast enough to allow us to make rapid progress over the next decade."

Participants in the discussion:

  • Tom Abel, Associate Professor of Physics at Stanford University and the Kavli Institute for Particle Astrophysics and Cosmology;
  • Andreas G. Andreou, Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering, Computer Science and the Center of Language and Speech Processing at Johns Hopkins University;
  • William J. Dally, the Willard R. and Inez Kerr Bell Professor in the Stanford University School of Engineering and former Chairman of the Stanford Computer Science Department;
  • Terry Sejnowski, Investigator with the Howard Hughes Medical Institute and Francis Crick Professor at The Salk Institute for Biological Studies.

A transcript of their discussion and links to related material is available at


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