Computer Experts Release Dashboard for IEEE Computer Society’s 2021 Tech Predictions

“Last year was just as unpredictable as 2020, and it’s not surprising that our predictions were rated the same as the year before, with an average score of B,” he said. Dejan Milojicicformer chair of IEEE CS (2014) and current Distinguished Technologist at Hewlett Packard Labs. “The advancement of technologies requiring a remote workforce due to the pandemic has certainly accelerated, while most other technologies have not.” So much. We look forward to finalizing the predictions for 2022 and tracing the paths of the fastest developments in the coming year.”

Remote workforce technologies (rated A) were strongly driven by the need for continuity of work; they were central to many industries and professions where physical presence was not required. HPC as a service (rated B+) enabled remote access to high performance resources critical in pandemic assessments. in-memory computing (grade B) was considered to have made progress in the past year.

In addition to measuring prediction success, this year the team tracked technology maturity, trust, and the impact the technologies have had, presented in the “Scorecard of the Predictions” chart. All values ​​for these four categories were assigned by averaging their individual rating for each forecast technology last year from A to F. For maturity, they were driven by the level of technology readiness that was adjusted for that purpose. They mapped AF respectively as mature, emerging, incubating, prototype, conceptual, and unsuccessful. In the graph, the color of the bubble corresponds to the level of maturity, the diameter of the bubble corresponds to the impact and success in the prediction and our confidence are represented on the Y and X axes respectively. If some predictions are ranked with the same alphabetical rank, they may differ numerically, which is reflected in their rank order. This is presented in the rank-ordered list that follows the chart. The team will continue to experiment with dashboards over the next year, including simplifying summary charts, introducing trends, and removing perceived correlation between metrics.

The 2021 technologies predicted last year are listed, ranked by the success of the predictions. The current rating is listed, followed by a comparison to last year’s rating.


Remote Workforce Technologies (Rated A, Same Rank). In hindsight, it was obvious that remote technologies such as collaboration tools and remote presence would be very successful. This is true in a variety of use cases such as education, manufacturing, and healthcare, none of which were considered easy to do remotely before the pandemic. The team was very confident in this technology, the impact was high and the technologies evolved to be more mature. This technology was exactly where it was predicted to be, at #1.


HPC as a Service (Rated B+, Rank Enhanced). The team predicted the delivery of High Performance Computing as a Service (HPCaaS) as it is increasingly adopted among HPC users. The convergence of AI, high-performance data analytics, and HPC further fueled the growth and adoption of HPCaaS. Similar to remote workforce technologies, team trust was high, impact was high, and the technology reached maturity. This technology outperformed compared to last year’s prediction (rank 6).


Compute in memory (B+, improved range). Although in-memory computing is not yet a mature technology, several emerging implementations went beyond prototypes and resulted in a relatively high ranking, albeit with somewhat lower confidence. This is amplified by the potentially huge impact this technology could have on the market, particularly in low power endpoint and edge systems. This technology significantly exceeded last year’s prediction (10th place).


Machine Learning (ML) for Additive and Subtractive Manufacturing (B, Rank Enhanced) and Advanced Cyber ​​Weapons (B, Rank Enhanced) they share positions 4-5, with exactly the same ranking. The advances of both technologies were correctly predicted. The impact of ML for additive manufacturing is slightly amplified by the pandemic and the need for remote work, but the maturity is still lower than that of advanced weapons. Advanced cyber weapons were similarly amplified by the pandemic and have unfortunately reached a greater degree of maturity, as evidenced by a series of attributed or alleged cyber attacks that took place in the past year. (They were ranked 11th and 12th last year.)


Social distancing technologies (B, decreased range). While much greater success was expected from these technologies, their impact remains high but slightly tempered due to the controversy associated with privacy regulations. Social distancing technologies did not advance as they might have primarily due to concerns about (potential) violation of privacy, not due to intrinsic technological shortcomings. All of this also resulted in lower confidence in the score. Last year, these technologies were ranked in the same place as the remote workforce (1), so these technologies underperformed significantly than expected.


Reliability/security challenges for intelligent autonomous systems (B-, decreased range). The team continues to believe in the importance of these technologies, but expected a slightly higher rate of progress over the past year. Automation is one of the enablers of many other technologies, including remote workforce technologies and social distancing, as mentioned above, but its time may not yet have come. Last year, these technologies shared the top spot with remote workforce and social distancing, so they also underperformed significantly.


Synthetic data to train bias-free ML systems (B/C, reduced range) and misinformation detection (B/C, reduced range) shares positions 8-9 with exactly the same score. This is another pair of related technologies with a similar level of maturity (in incubation) and a similar level of impact. The overall confidence in the misinformation detection assessment was much higher than for synthetic data for unbiased ML training. Synthetic data to train bias-free machine learning systems was fourth last year and misinformation detection was fifth, both underperforming.


Low latency virtual music rehearsal and performance (B/C, reduced range). This is a relatively narrow market but a good success story that allowed for musical performances and rehearsals last year. There are already some initial products on the market and new ones on the way. Last year, this technology ranked ninth.


Reliable and explainable AI/ML (C+, decreased range). These technologies continue to be of great importance, but unfortunately, little progress has been made in the past year in the direction of reliability and explainability, which are closely linked. New hardware and software approaches offer some potential, but have not been realized. This technology has the least maturity. Last year, these technologies ranked 8th.


Electoral security controls / social networks (C, decreased range). Like social distancing and screening for misinformation, election security and social media checks were unsuccessful this year. Another reason for the lack of progress is its close link with governance, which is extremely complex to introduce. Also similar to previous technologies, these are less mature. Last year, these technologies ranked 7th.

Following the process established in previous years, the authors who originally made the predictions in November 2020 They evaluated their predictions individually. The means and standard deviations were used as the basis for the discussion that eventually resulted in the final rating.

The 2021 Scorecard was prepared by mary baker (HP Inc.), Thomas Coughlin (Coughlin Associates), Paolo Faraboschi (Hewlett Packard Labs), eitan frachtenberg (Reed College), Hironori Kasahara (Waseda University), Kim Keeton (Google), danny lange (unit technologies), Phil Laplanta (State of Pennsylvania), Andrea Matwysyn (Pennsylvania State Law), Avi Mendelson (Technion), Dejan Milojicic (Hewlett-Packard Laboratories), Cecilia Metra (University of Bologna), and roberto saraco (IEEE FDC).

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