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10 Little-Known Shifts in Computer Science

by Richard Anders
fact checked by Darci Heikkinen

Computer science constantly evolves, and some of the most exciting shifts happen quietly. While the headlines often highlight the latest gadgets or social media crazes, many significant changes occur behind the scenes. These developments might not grab as much attention, but they’re shaping the future of technology in meaningful ways.

In this list, we’ll explore ten lesser-known shifts in computer science. These advancements span various fields, from innovative computer processors to cutting-edge wireless technology. Each one holds the potential to transform our lives, making everyday tasks more efficient and opening up new possibilities.

Whether you’re a tech enthusiast or just curious about what’s next, these ten items will give you a closer look at some of the quieter but fascinating developments in computer science. Let’s dive in and see what’s happening behind the scenes.

Related: 10 Examples of Vintage Computing Still in Wide Use Today

10 ARM Processors on Desktop PCs

128-core MONSTER Arm PC: faster than a Mac Pro!

For years, ARM processors were mainly used in mobile devices due to their energy efficiency and solid performance. Recently, however, they have started appearing in desktop PCs. One notable example is Jeff Geerling’s project, in which he built one of the fastest ARM-based desktop PCs. In his detailed blog, Geerling explains how he used various components to create a powerful and efficient ARM desktop system, demonstrating the potential of ARM architecture in a desktop setting.

ARM microprocessors differ significantly from Intel and AMD x86 CPUs. ARM uses a reduced instruction set computing (RISC) architecture, simplifying the instructions the processor executes. This leads to greater efficiency and lower power consumption, which is why ARM processors are popular in mobile devices. In contrast, x86 processors use a complex instruction set computing (CISC) architecture, allowing them to execute a larger set of more complex instructions but generally consuming more power.

Despite being relatively new in the desktop PC market, ARM processors show clear potential. As more companies adopt this architecture, we can expect a broader range of devices to benefit from ARM’s strengths, potentially transforming the desktop computing landscape.[1]

9 Linux on Desktop PCs

5 Things LINUX MINT Objectively Does Better Than WINDOWS 11

Linux has been making steady progress as a desktop operating system, recently hitting a significant milestone. According to a report by Tom’s Hardware, Linux has achieved a 3% market share in the desktop PC market. This growth is driven by increasing awareness and adoption among users who value its open-source nature and security features.

One of the main attractions of Linux is its robustness and security. Unlike other operating systems, Linux is less prone to viruses and malware, making it a more secure choice for many users. Additionally, its open-source nature means that anyone can inspect the code, which leads to greater transparency and trust. This aspect is particularly appealing to users concerned about privacy and data security.

The increasing compatibility of Linux with popular software and hardware is also driving its adoption. Gaming on Linux, for instance, has become more viable, with platforms like Steam offering better support. As more people discover the benefits of Linux, it’s becoming a more compelling option for those looking for a stable and secure desktop operating system.[2]

8 RISC-V Architecture Adoption

The Magic of RISC-V Vector Processing

RISC-V is making waves in the world of computer processors, standing out from the usual suspects like Intel or ARM. What makes RISC-V unique is its open-source nature, allowing anyone to use and modify it without paying hefty licensing fees. Developed at UC Berkeley, RISC-V was initially created for educational and research purposes, fostering a collaborative environment that has led to rapid advancements.

RISC-V’s design is simple and flexible, making it easier for developers to create custom solutions for various needs. This architecture is gaining traction in many industries, from tiny microcontrollers in smart gadgets to powerful systems in data centers. The shift toward RISC-V is opening up new opportunities in technology, allowing more people to experiment and innovate without the constraints of proprietary designs.

This democratization of technology could lead to exciting developments and make advanced computing resources more accessible. By removing barriers, RISC-V is paving the way for a more innovative and inclusive tech landscape.[3]

7 The Proliferation of Edge AI

Exploring Edge AI | Edge Computing Revolutionizes the Future | The Future of Intelligent Devices

Edge AI is making a big impact by bringing data processing and AI tasks directly onto devices rather than relying on distant data centers. This change means quicker response times, essential for autonomous cars, smart cameras, and IoT devices. By processing data locally, these gadgets can make real-time decisions without needing constant internet access.

Besides speed, Edge AI boosts privacy and security by keeping data on the device instead of sending it to the cloud. This approach also cuts down on bandwidth usage. With more companies investing in Edge AI, smarter, more efficient devices are becoming part of our daily lives, reshaping how we interact with technology.[4]

6 Blockchain Beyond Cryptocurrency

This Huge Bet on Blockchain Could Change A $50 Trillion Industry

When you think of blockchain, you probably think of Bitcoin. But this technology has much more to offer beyond digital currencies. One exciting use of blockchain is in supply chain management. Imagine being able to track a product from the factory to your doorstep with complete transparency. This helps ensure that goods are authentic and not tampered with along the way.

Blockchain is also revolutionizing digital identity verification. Traditional methods can be slow and error-prone, but blockchain offers a secure and efficient alternative. Storing identity information on a decentralized ledger enhances security and gives people more control over their personal data. These applications show that blockchain’s potential reaches far beyond cryptocurrency, promising to transform various industries in significant ways.[5]

5 Wi-Fi 6 and Wi-Fi 6E

Wi-Fi 6 vs Wi-Fi 6E: Here’s the difference

Wi-Fi 6 and Wi-Fi 6E are bringing significant improvements to our wireless networks. Wi-Fi 6 offers faster speeds and better efficiency, which is crucial for homes with many smart devices. It handles multiple connections more smoothly, reducing the lag you might experience with older Wi-Fi versions.

Wi-Fi 6E furthers these benefits by using the 6 GHz band, reducing interference and congestion in crowded areas. This means even faster data rates and better performance, especially in environments with lots of connected devices.

These advancements make Wi-Fi 6 and 6E essential for modern connectivity, ensuring that networks can handle the increasing demand for high-speed internet.[6]

4 Advances in Photonics

How Photonics Will Completely Transform the Internet

Photonics, the science of using light to transmit information, is making exciting progress. Unlike traditional electronics that rely on electrons, photonics uses photons, allowing data to travel at the speed of light. This advancement is particularly useful in telecommunications, which leads to faster and more efficient data transfer over long distances.

Recently, photonics has started to impact computing as well. Researchers are developing photonic chips that use light instead of electrical signals to process information. These chips could significantly reduce power consumption and boost processing speeds in data centers.

Photonics is also making waves in medicine. Technologies like optical coherence tomography (OCT) provide detailed imaging of biological tissues, aiding diagnosis and treatment. As advancements continue, photonics is set to play a crucial role in various fields, offering innovative solutions that were once thought impossible.[7]

3 The Rise of Neuromorphic Computing

Neuromorphic Computing Is a Big Deal for A.I., But What Is It?

Neuromorphic computing is inspired by how the human brain works, using artificial neurons and synapses to process information. Unlike traditional computers, which rely on binary logic, these systems handle data in a parallel and energy-efficient manner. This makes them well-suited for complex tasks like pattern recognition and decision-making.

Research in neuromorphic computing is advancing quickly, with companies and universities developing hardware that mimics neural networks. These systems can learn and adapt in ways traditional computers can’t, making them particularly promising for AI and machine learning applications. Their ability to process information in real time is crucial for tasks that require quick adaptation.

As this technology evolves, it could transform fields such as robotics and autonomous systems. Neuromorphic computing offers a new way to design computers, potentially leading to major breakthroughs in how machines interact with their environments. This shift could significantly impact the future of technology.[8]

2 Sustainable and Green Technologies in Computing

6 Steps to a Greener Data Center

The tech industry is increasingly turning to green technologies to reduce environmental impact and cut costs. Companies are now using energy-efficient processors and eco-friendly data centers. These advancements help lower the carbon footprint and operational expenses, making them a win-win for businesses and the planet.

Renewable energy, like solar and wind, is being integrated into data centers to make them more sustainable. Improved cooling technologies, such as liquid cooling and better airflow designs, also reduce energy use. This makes data centers more efficient and less harmful to the environment.

Sustainable practices are also being adopted in hardware design. Companies are using recyclable materials and focusing on reducing electronic waste through better product lifecycle management. These efforts make the computing industry more sustainable and eco-friendly, showing that tech can advance while still caring for the planet.[9]

1 The Growth of Open-Source Hardware

How Open Hardware will Take Over the World: Nathan Seidle at TEDxBoulder

Open-source hardware is changing the tech landscape by making hardware designs freely available for anyone to use, modify, and share. This approach encourages innovation and collaboration, with popular projects like Arduino and Raspberry Pi leading the way. These platforms allow hobbyists and professionals alike to build and improve upon existing designs, driving creativity and technological advancement.

One of the key benefits of open-source hardware is transparency. Since anyone can inspect and verify the designs, it builds trust and ensures reliability, which is especially important in areas like security and privacy. By openly sharing their work, developers can collectively create more secure and dependable hardware.

As more people and companies embrace open-source hardware, we’re seeing a surge in innovative products that benefit from the collective expertise of a global community. This collaborative spirit not only speeds up technological progress but also makes advanced technology accessible to a wider audience, fostering a more inclusive tech environment.[10]

fact checked by Darci Heikkinen