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The Future of Computing

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Essay title: The Future of Computing

Life goes in circles, or in spirals to be more precise. Thus to get a glimpse of the future you perhaps should look in the past. Computing has become an inseparable component of our lives and therefore is a subject to the same law of cycles and spirals. So let's start in the 1940s, at the dawn of electronic computing when ENIAC was a pinnacle of scientific engineering.

Initially occupying whole buildings, then scaling down to individual rooms and towering boxes computers of 1950s, '60s, and '70s were essentially mainframes: Large and powerful, special-purpose, accessible to few. This centralized approach to computing changed dramatically in the late '70s and early '80s with the introduction of microcomputers such as Apple II and IBM PC. All of a sudden computers ceased to be shared resources built for a particular purpose and instead became personal tools for facilitating general-purpose tasks and throughout '80s and '90s began to occupy our desktops, bedrooms and closets.

This trend of decentralized computing met a subtle reverse in '90s when the Internet and World Wide Web provided a means for integrating decentralized computational resources into a unified client-server environment. In reality, what seems like 60 years of technological advancement represents a full evolutionary cycle: We started with shared computational resources occupying rooms of equipment and through brief desktop detour arrived at shared computational resource model built on the backbone of intranet/Internet. There is unquestionable numerical difference between what we 30 years ago and what we have now in the sense that computers now are used by much larger population and for a far wider range

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