Back in college, I had to take some introductory courses in electronics and electrical engineering. I was confused by what I was learning — and ever since, electronics have seemed like a cross between magic and a mystery to me. I’m not sure whether it’s good news or bad, but a large number of other software developers seem to feel the same way as I do. But of course, it would be really nice to know how our computers work, and what the basic principles are of the electronics within. In this talk, Dror Helper comes to the rescue, offering a crash course in electronics for people with a software background. He starts from the beginning, describing such concepts as voltage, resistance, and current, and quickly moves onto more advanced topics.
For years, we’ve heard that in the future, our computers will be built from subatomic particles, using the rules of quantum mechanics. Things will run faster, in parallel, at lower cost… but to be honest, I’ve usually chalked this discussion up as fantasy, or something that we might, one day, see happen, but that I won’t see in the near future. However, it turns out that quantum computing is an active area of research, one in which there have been some promising results. In this talk, William Oliver tells us about the state of quantum computing, what sorts of problems it can (or might) be used to solve, and what the challenges are moving forward.
Computing architecture, while improved over the last few decades, hasn’t fundamentally changed. What would happen if we took all of our modern advances, and used them to create a new type of architecture? Well, some engineers have done that; “the machine” is a project from Hewlett Packard Enterprise, which aims to demonstrate just that sort of thing. How does it work, and how is it different from other computer architectures? In this talk, Keith Packard introduces The Machine, and describes how it differs from other computer architectures in hardware and software.