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CIVIL AND STRUCTURAL ENGINEERING COMPUTATIONAL METHODS
Edited by: Y. Tsompanakis, P. Iványi and B.H.V. Topping
Envisioning Engineering Computational Technology in the Coming Intelligence or Convergence Era
Center for Advanced Engineering Environments
A.K. Noor, "Envisioning Engineering Computational Technology in the Coming Intelligence or Convergence Era", in Y. Tsompanakis, P. Iványi and B.H.V. Topping, (Editors), "Civil and Structural Engineering Computational Methods", Saxe-Coburg Publications, Stirlingshire, UK, Chapter 1, pp 1-19, 2013. doi:10.4203/csets.32.1
Keywords: complex adaptive systems, convergence, ecosystems, emergent engineering, intelligence era, smart environment.
A brief review is given of the status of high performance computing. Some of the novel computing paradigms and frontiers of computing technologies are identified. Moving beyond these technologies, an attempt is made to predict the future of computing technology in the coming intelligence / convergence era (the post-information age). The new era is characterized by the prevalence of adaptive, functional and smart environments. The environments will be filled with sensor webs, wearable electronics, ultra-intelligent electronic agents, tele-presence robots, and computers that respond to brain waves. The intelligent tools and facilities in the environment will result in a symbiotic relationship between humans and machines. Devices and machines will be able to learn from, and with, humans in a natural collaborative way.
The synergistic couplings of anticipatory / predictive computing with other technologies will result in the development of virtual cybernetic assistants, which can anticipate the needs of the users before they ask for them. The cybernetic assistants can help in crowdsourcing and collaborative inventions, resulting in pushing the limits of what is possible in engineering systems. Future systems will involve new levels of intelligence and complexity we have yet to imagine, beyond current concepts.
The realization of the aforementioned vision requires the development of a new multidisciplinary framework of emergent engineering for relating innovation, complexity and cybernetics, within the future intelligent environment. Systematic approaches, valid methods and tools are needed for simulating the collective emergent behavior of future complex systems. Also, the preparation of engineers and the workforce will need to keep pace. This can be accomplished, among others, by using complex adaptive system approaches for transforming computational engineering research, education and training.
As a first step towards the realization of the vision, intelligent adaptive cyber-physical ecosystems need to be developed to connect the various stakeholders in computational engineering and related activities. The components of the ecosystems, and some of their potential benefits, are described.
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