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Global Vision

Our society, as we know it today, would not exist without two key pillars: The widespread availability of many sources of energy and information. Most of the services and equipment we use on a daily basis directly derive from the existence of those sources:

  • Fast transportation (planes, trains, cars) of people and goods (food, drugs)
  • Immediate access to information for general use, teaching and research
  • Communication with everybody within seconds
  • High-tech devices for health care, work, and spare time

Both energy and information have been crucial in the rapid evolution of the human society. In particular, information and the devices to access and process it have become so important during the last couple of decades that the term "Information Society" has been coined to designate our contemporary society.

Current desktop and laptop computers, and even PDAs, are powerful enough for most of our needs, but most of the information we need is not locally available. Most of our computer use involves communication with other people (E-mail, chat, forum, blog, IP phone, massive multiplayer on-line games). So, we need continuous access to the computers where the information is stored and processed: the servers. This includes Web servers, database and search engines, virtualized datacenters, and supercomputers. Hence, their strategic role.

Servers are installed all over the world and provide most of the required services. But we need to make sure that servers will continue to deliver services reliably, cost-effectively, and with short response time in the future, when the number of concurrent users all over the world increase by orders of magnitude, when more sophisticated services become available, and when we move from local computing devices to remote virtualized computers (e.g. cloud computing).

This is a key challenge for the future of our society. In this project, we take on this challenge, aiming at developing faster, more scalable, reliable, cost-effective, and power-efficient servers. And we do so by defining a novel system architecture that will be easier to program and will provide support for significantly more efficient device sharing, while remaining cost effective. Together with the research tasks, we also define a strategy to guarantee that the outcome of this project will be transferred to industry, thus making sure that the project results will benefit our society.