performance via parallelism creates opportunities for new ecosystems to emerge and evolve. With licensable components and global access to fabrication facilities, it is possible for this innovation to occur almost anywhere. In addition to performance as measured by computing speed (clock speed, bandwidth, interconnect, and so on), it may be that other measures—such as reliability and resilience, programmability, security, and efficiency—become equally, or potentially more, important. For example, efforts to improve programmability and efficiency of base processors might yield significant improvements in software quality, software development times, and (ultimately) application performance.
Fourth, global policy makers see information technology in general and consumer computing in particular as major economic forces to be harnessed for local and regional benefit. They are investing in the future, hoping to position their region for success. Which of the myriad approaches being pursued will be most successful is difficult to predict.
Today is an inflection point, when the virtuous cycle of faster sequential processors has broken down and when new devices and services are emerging to reshape the computing landscape. An intense global competition for IT hegemony is under way. No company, country, or region will reap all of the economic benefits, as the global value chain is too intertwined for that. However, there will be economic winners and losers, just as there always are whenever technology shifts occur. U.S. policy makers would be wise to think carefully and deeply about the shifts under way and their implications for economic competitiveness and national security.