According to, here are the top trends in computing that will be highlighted this year:

1) Internet of Things

The Internet of Things is more than just the newest buzzword. The IoT promises to be the most disruptive technological revolution since the advent of the World Wide Web. Projections indicate that up to 100 billion uniquely identifiable objects will be connected to the Internet by 2020, but human understanding of the underlying technologies has not kept pace. This creates a fundamental challenge to researchers, with enormous technical, socioeconomic, political, and even spiritual consequences.

2) Cybersecurity

Recent technological advances in computing, communications, software, and hardware have enabled the significant growth of cyberspace, an important aspect of modern life that continues to transform the way citizens, business, and governments interact, collaborate, and conduct business. Our heavy dependence on various digital infrastructures has made them strategic national assets that must be protected to ensure economic growth, prosperity, and safety in the future.

3) Big Data Visualization

We’ve entered a data-driven era, in which data are continuously acquired for a variety of purposes. The ability to make timely decisions based on available data is crucial to business success, clinical treatments, cyber and national security, and disaster management. Additionally, the data generated from large-scale simulations, astronomical observatories, high-throughput experiments, or high-resolution sensors will help lead to new discoveries if scientists have adequate tools to extract knowledge from them.

4) Cloud Computing in Science and Engineering

Cloud computing has emerged as a dominant paradigm, widely adopted by enterprises. Clouds provide on-demand access to computing utilities, an abstraction of unlimited computing resources, and support for on-demand scale-up, scale-down, and scale-out. Cloud platforms are also rapidly becoming viable for scientific exploration and discovery, as well as education. As a result, it is critical to understand application formulations and usage modes that are meaningful in such a hybrid infrastructure, the fundamental conceptual and technological challenges, and ways that applications can effectively utilize clouds.

5) Mobile Computing Meets the Cloud

It could be argued that two of the most important technological developments of the last few years are the emergence of mobile and cloud computing. By shifting the hardware and staffing costs of managing computational infrastructure to third parties such as Google, Microsoft, or Amazon, cloud computing has made it possible for small organizations and individuals to deploy world-scale services; all they need to pay is the marginal cost of actual resource usage. At the same time, the deployment of 3G and 4G networks, the rapid adoption of feature-rich smartphones, and the growing integration of computation into consumer products such as cars and home appliances, have brought mobile and pervasive computing into the mainstream.

6) Internet Censorship and Control

The Internet is a battleground where fights for technical, social, and political control are waged, including between governments and their citizens, separate governments, and competing commercial interests. These fights take many forms, including Internet filtering versus circumvention, surveillance versus anonymization, denial of service attacks and intrusion attempts versus protection mechanisms, and on- and offline persecution and defense of online activists. These battles impact and are impacted by the Internet’s technical structure. As the Internet continues to embed itself into our world, its structural changes will have an increasing effect on our social and political structures, and our social and political structures will have increasing impact on the Internet’s technical structure.

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The intense love affair between Americans and their tablets and smartphones shows no sign of diminishing.

More than four out of 10 (44 percent) now own a tablet computer, up from 30 percent last year, according to a new survey from Frank N. Magid Associates. Among those ages 18 to 34, ownership is even higher, at 54 percent. The research firm last month surveyed more than 2,400 Americans with Internet access, ages 8 to 64, about tablet and smartphone ownership.

As Apple heads into its annual Worldwide Developers Conference, the tablet competition has caught up. Android-based devices are owned by 59 percent of tablet owners — matching the penetration of Apple’s iPad and iPad Mini. Both platforms can realistically exceed 50 percent, because some homes have more than one type of tablet.

“When people get a tablet, they love it,” says Mike Vorhaus, head of the company’s Magid Advisors unit. “It does basically everything. You can play games. You can watch video. You can do business e-mail, and you can stay in touch with your social network. It’s pretty powerful.”

When it comes to smartphones, the iPhone remains the most popular, owned by 41 percent of smartphone owners. But, when combined, Android phones from multiple makers, including Samsung and LG, outnumber iPhones, with 53 percent of smartphone owners using them. As they do with tablets, some smartphone owners (8 percent) have more than one.

Overall smartphone ownership rose, too, with more than six out of 10 (61 percent) having one, up from 46 percent last year. More than 79 percent of those ages 18 to 34 own one.

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