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Communications of the ACM

ACM TechNews

Tech to Cure Crop Failure and Look Inside Einstein's Mind?

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Technology will help solve some of the most pressing issues the world is facing, says ACM president and University of Southampton professor Dame Wendy Hall. Hall has co-written the Grand Challenges report on the economic, environmental, and social problems that technology will help address in the years to come. For example, virtually mapping the external and internal functions of plants as they grow will give researchers new clues about preventing crop failure. Using artificial intelligence and virtual reality to record the whole waking life of an individual on a single computer disc could lead to a new care companion for the elderly. Researchers also are working to virtually recreate past events to gain a better understanding of the underlying circumstances, and people would be able to visit historical locations without having to travel to them.

The impact of information technology on infrastructure, food, climate, and personal lives will be similar to the industrial revolution, Hall says. The British Computer Society, the U.K. Computing Research Committee, the Engineering and Physical Science Research Council, the Institution of Engineering and Technology, and the Council of Professors and Heads of Computing are all working on the Grand Challenges.

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