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IEEE lists its top 9 tech trends, including NVM




By Curt Hopkins, Managing Editor, Hewlett Packard Labs

Last month, IEEE’s Computer Society released its Top 9 Technology Trends for 2016, most of which are trends Hewlett Packard Labs is deeply involved with.

Of particular note to Labs is #3, non-volatile memory (NVM); and #8, network function virtualization (NFV). Labs has spent a lot of time and energy into developing NVM, including – but not limited to – the development of the Memristor. Puneet Sharma’s team has developed NFV-VITAL, a “framework for characterizing the performance of virtual network functions.”

Non-volatile memory

In its statement, the Society praised NVM for the same reasons we have prioritized it.

As we become exponentially more connected, people need and use more and more memory. Nonvolatile memory, which is computer memory that retrieves information even after (the device has been) turned off and back on, has been used for secondary storage due to issues of cost, performance, and write endurance, as compared to volatile RAM memory that has been used as primary storage. In 2016, huge strides will be made in the development of new forms of nonvolatile memory, which promise to let a hungry world store more data at less cost, using significantly less power. This will literally change the landscape of computing, allowing smaller devices to store more data and large devices to store huge amounts of information.

We couldn’t have said it better ourselves.

Dejan Milojicic, Senior Researcher and Senior Manager in Systems Research at Hewlett Packard Labs, and past president of IEEE Computer Society, was quoted in the statement.

"Some of these trends will come to fruition in 2016, while others reach critical points in development during this year,” said Milojicic. “You'll notice that all of the trends interlock, many of them depending on the advancement of other technologies in order to move forward. Cloud needs network functional virtualization, 5G requires cloud, containers can't thrive without advances in security, everything depends on data science, and so on. It's an exciting time for technology and IEEE Computer Society is on the leading edge of the most important and potentially disruptive technology trends."

Network function vitualization

Sharma, principal research scientist for Networking and Mobility at Hewlett Packard Labs, and IEEE Fellow, and his colleagues have received the first Best Paper Award from the Conference on Network Function Virtualization and Software Defined Networks.

The paper was co-authored by Sharma and Sonia Fahmy of Purdue University, Vinay Saxena of CSB, and Lianjie Cao, former HPE Labs intern and graduate student at Purdue.

In the paper, Sharma’s team develops the idea of “Play-Doh networking,” an architecture for virtual network functionality using “characterization” instead of benchmarking.

Joe McKendrick, writing in ZDNet, called NFV a “trend that will see uptake in the year ahead -- and may drive down the costs of cloud even further. To date, NFV adoption has been hamstrung by limitations in technology security, and thus not widely provided by telecommunications companies.” It has also been limited by the difficulty in assembling a custom solution from independent parts that function elegantly and reliably

Sharma, and other Labs researchers, are contributing solution to the heretofore limited appeal of NFV to telecoms, slowly freeing them from vendor lock (an issue we’ve addressed elsewhere).


Labs’ participation in the technologies that IEEE has identified does not end there. We are also deeply involved in the Internet of Things, data science, hardware-based security, machine learning, and containers.

This year looks to be a big one for profound technological developments. It also looks like a year in which Labs is likely to contribute materially to those developments. Stay tuned. We will cover all of them here on the Labs blog.

About the Author


Managing Editor, Hewlett Packard Labs