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What kind of future do you want to live in? What excites or concerns you about the future? Intel Futurist Brian David Johnson poses these questions as part of The Tomorrow Project, an initiative to investigate not only the future of computing but also the broader implications on our lives and the planet. Science and technology have progressed to the point where what we build is only constrained by the limits of our own imaginations. The future is not a fixed point in front of us that we are all hurtling helplessly towards. The future is built everyday by the actions of people. The Tomorrow Project engages in ongoing discussions with superstars, science fiction authors and scientists to get their visions for the world that's coming and the world they'd like to build.
by Dan Stanzione and Matt Vaughn
In the developing world today, the average person consumes 25% more calories than in 1960. This tremendous progress has come from many sources: improved irrigation, new fertilizers, and the breeding of hybrid species, to name a few. But there are signs that traditional techniques for improving production are stagnating while pressure to produce more mounts. Limited supplies of water, fuel, and land combine with climate change, population growth and changing food habits to put increasing demands on our ability to grow plants. Surprisingly, the future of agriculture turns out to be a computational challenge. By exploring genomic and metabolic networks, scientists are gaining critical insights into how plants work, but the amount of data produced and the computational power required is growing exponentially. This session will describe The iPlant Collaborative, a large-scale project bringing high-end computing, data, and software resources to bear on the grand challenges of plant biology.
9th–13th March 2012