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ACM Opinion

Quantifying Computing Power and Innovation

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Futuristic image of a microprocessor in a circuit.

"By looking directly at capabilities, we are able to get more precise measurements and thus get better estimates of how computing power influences performance." -Neil Thompson

Neil Thompson is an MIT research scientist at the Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory (CSAIL) and the Sloan School of Management.

Neil Thompson and his research team set out to quantify the importance of more powerful computers for improving outcomes across society. They analyzed five areas where computation is critical, including weather forecasting, oil exploration, and protein folding. The team found that between 49 and 94 percent of improvements in these areas can be explained by computing power. But computer progress is slowing, which could have far-reaching impacts across the economy and society.

In an interview, Thompson discusses this research and the implications of the end of Moore's Law.

From MIT News
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