A Sobering Look at Computer Science Research

Rob Hof

It's easy to be complacent about the state of technology today when you see venture capitalists starting to invest in startups again, traffic worsening in Silicon Valley, and blockbuster IPOs like Google creating new wealth. But most of tech today exists only because decades ago, some far-sighted folks persuaded the federal government to spend amply on computer science research. Amazon Chief Technology Officer Werner Vogels points to a new warning in Science magazine that steady cutbacks in computer science research will be disastrous. "Where will the next generation of groundbreaking innovations in IT arise?" ask authors Edward D. Lazowska and David A. Patterson. Their depressing answer: Unless current trends change, not in the United States.

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