Chief Research and Strategy Officer Craig Mundie: Computing, Naturally

Posted by bink on March 5 2010, 2:57 AM. Posted in Research.

Chief Research and Strategy Officer Craig Mundie sees technologies converging to transform how humans and computers work together.

It’s safe to say that computers have become a bit more powerful over the past 15 years.

Cellular technology untethered our phones. The Internet brought the world into our homes and offices. And the power of microprocessors has kept leaping forward. Now we’re embarking on a new era, where all kinds of powerful computers, in all shapes and sizes, will work hand in hand with vast online databases. Craig Mundie, Microsoft’s chief research and strategy officer, calls this the “client plus cloud” era.

Mundie, whose job is to interpret the impact of emerging technology trends, says that changes under way in the tech industry today have the potential to completely change the technology world as we know it.

“We’re approaching an imminent sea change in technology that will transform everything we know today,” Mundie says. “A combination of the cloud plus very powerful client machines, along with a revolution in how people interact with computers, will define the next era of technology — and have a vast impact on society.”

Recent, significant advances in microprocessors, up to 100 times as powerful as the machines we’re using today, are emerging at every level — chip, device and data center — and are enabling our everyday client devices including PCs, phones, e-books, game systems and more to take on very complex computing tasks. At the same time, the cloud is scaling up its service capacity thanks to massive data centers. Taken together, they form a new programming paradigm, the seamless client-plus-cloud platform.

And if that’s not enough, we’re also seeing new ways to interact with computers, via a natural user interface or “NUI” that embraces gestures, anticipatory computing, expressive response, contextual and environmental awareness, and 3-D or even immersive experiences. These new forms of input, Mundie says, will create a startling transformation in how humans and computers interact.

“The transition to a natural user interface will change everything from the way students write term papers and play computer games to how scientists study global population growth and its impact on our natural resources,” Mundie says. “In the healthcare field, physicians and patients alike will also benefit from simpler and more effective tools with which to communicate and share information.”

The NUI Revolution

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