The Next Century of Computing
80 Brief Predictions for the Future

Charles Rosenbauer:

It will become practical for ordinary people to write operating systems from scratch again.

  1. Silicon compilers will become common place. In response, innovative fabs will scale up wafer-sharing services. It will soon be possible to design a custom CPU or ASIC, upload the files to TSMC’s website, pay $500 and have a batch of 10 chips delivered to your door a couple months later. Hardware engineering will become almost as commonplace as software engineering.
  2. In the short term, the inevitable Javascript chip design frameworkswill create massive security problems, baked into unchangeable silicon. Software engineers are not prepared for hardware engineering. The low costs and low volumes around shared wafer prototyping will mitigate problems somewhat, but eventually the powerful formal methods tooling that has already been used by hardware engineers for decades will be forced into the hands of a much wider audience.
  3. The computing industry will get over its irrational fear of Turing. Undecidability is deeply misunderstood; undecideable problems must be solved, and are regularly solved by any useful static analysis tool. Undecidable problems are not incomputable (that’s a separate computability class), but rather are the computational equivalent of irrational numbers; impossible to compute exactly, but rather easy to approximate. A golden age of code analysis and formal methods will follow once this misplaced fear is gone.