January/February 2013 (Vol. 15, No. 1) pp. 2-3
1520-9202/13/$31.00 © 2013 IEEE

Published by the IEEE Computer Society
Exploring the Future of Computing
Simon Liu, US National Agricultural Library

Now more than ever, IT professionals must embrace what Simon Liu refers to as the "future-computing" paradigm, anticipating and adopting new concepts, strategies, approaches, and skills. In 2013, IT Pro will cover many aspects of what matters most to IT professionals.

The featured Web extra is a listing of all the people who contributed as peer reviewers to this publication in 2012.

First, happy new year to all of our readers! IT Professional is entering its 15th year of publication, and I'm pleased to report that it's now being included in the Science Citation Index. Furthermore, we've expanded the advisory and editorial boards to include members from nine countries in Asia, Australia, Europe, North America, and South America, and author participation has grown tremendously. We're regularly receiving submissions and comments from across academia and industry and from all around the world. The high stature of the magazine is attributable to a collective and coherent effort of readers, authors, reviewers, Computer Society staff, and board members. (For a list of 2012 reviewers, please see http://doi.ieeecomputersociety.org/10.1109/MITP.2012.120.)
The year 2012 marked the convergence of four major evolving technologies: information, social, mobile, and cloud technology. Information is the center of our modern knowledge-based economy, and social technology connects people to their work and each other in boundless and unprecedented ways. Mobile devices serve as platforms for timely information delivery and effective social networking, and the cloud enables reliable delivery of information and enhanced social and mobile experiences. These four technologies have intertwined to create a user-driven ecosystem that I refer to as "future computing." This new computing paradigm transforms user behavior while creating business opportunities and presenting new technical challenges.
Now more than ever, IT professionals must embrace this future-computing paradigm, anticipating and adopting new concepts, strategies, approaches, and skills. In 2013, IT Pro will cover many aspects of what matters most to IT professionals. In particular, our special issues will cover the following topics.
Green IT
Green IT addresses the design, manufacture, provision, use, and disposition of IT products and services. It extends beyond just achieving energy efficiency in cloud computing centers and mobile devices. It also covers software, processes, and practices that enable social networking and facilitate information delivery. It includes solutions that align processes and practices with the core principles of sustainability to reduce, reuse, and recycle during product development and service delivery.
According to the European Commission, green IT can reduce the 2 percent of global CO 2 emissions it's responsible for and can play a bigger role in reducing the remaining 98 percent of emissions. 1 During the next decade, developing a green economy will be an urgent but formidable challenge. IT professionals should actively embrace green IT technologies and skills, which is why this issue looks at related technologies, strategies, opportunities, and case studies.
Cloud Computing and Sourcing
Cloud computing is a utility model of computing—computing resources and services delivered over the network in much the same way that electricity or telephone service reaches our homes and offices today. Without cloud computing, we couldn't have large-scale social networking, mobile devices would fail to access necessary functions for information delivery, and information would remain stuck inside stove-piped systems.
With many enterprises either having moved or planning to move their services, applications, and infrastructure to the cloud over the next few years, and with the rapid rise of social media, mobile technologies, and importance of information, IT professionals need to know how to harness the power of the future-computing paradigm. The March/April issue will cover cloud technology, cloud-sourcing practices, and actions IT professionals must take to succeed in the future-computing environment.
Innovative and Disruptive Technologies
Innovative and disruptive technologies include wild and unexpected technological breakthroughs that require enterprises to radically rethink their existence and competitive edge. Technological disruption occurs when faster, simpler, cheaper inventions threaten the traditional paradigm. From social networks to mobile computing and information provision, the speed of technological change has never been greater. Rapid technological advances converge to form the future-computing environment.
Harnessing the power of innovative and disruptive technologies for a competitive advantage becomes critical for IT professionals to succeed. The May/June issue will show you how to exploit the next technological revolution. It will also explain how to quickly discover innovative and disruptive technologies, accurately evaluate them, and profitably implement them.
IT Security and Critical-Infrastructure Protection
The growing number of attacks on our cybernetworks has become a serious economic and security threat to the world community. Cyberspace touches nearly every part of our daily lives through social networks, mobile computing, and the information provisions that power our economy and connect our society. In 2012, President Obama declared that the "cyberthreat is one of the most serious economic and national security challenges we face as a nation" and that "America's economic prosperity in the 21st century will depend on cybersecurity" ( www.whitehouse.gov/administration/eop/nsc/cybersecurity).
Defending against and defeating cyberattacks will require the combined efforts of public sectors, private industries, academia, and individual users working to develop new technologies and new approaches, for maintaining real-time protection of cyberspace. The July/August issue will discuss cybersecurity technologies, architectures, techniques, processes, and practices.
Practical IT Frameworks
A practical IT framework is a conceptual blueprint for building IT products and services. It ties together a collection of discrete components into final products and services and makes it easier to work with complex technologies and processes. It also provides a consistent structure and serves as a reference point for product and service development and analysis. A practical framework also enables a team to work together effectively, promote consistency, reduce errors, and improve the quality of products and services.
There are many existing IT frameworks. Some examples include the Resource Description Framework of the World Wide Web Consortium, the Zachman framework, the .NET Framework of Micro-soft, and the Internet Business Framework of SAP. The September/October issue will cover some popular and widely used frameworks, discuss the main characteristics and value of an IT framework, offer techniques and practices on how to effectively use an IT framework, and share tips and lessons learned from adopting and integrating IT frameworks into business processes and system development.
Leveraging Big Data
In 2012, the White House announced a national Big Data Initiative that comprises six federal departments and agencies committing more than $200 million to big-data research projects. 2 Big data is data of extreme volume, variety, and complexity in need of rapid processing. Examples include Web logs; sensor networks; social networks; social data; and research data in astronomy, atmospheric science, ecology, genomics, biogeochemical, biological, and other complex and often interdisciplinary scientific subjects.
The modern business landscape is being shaped by big data, which presents a major opportunity for enterprises to add value to their business by deriving insights and identifying patterns from the huge amounts of available data. However, big data presents big challenges in terms of capturing, curating, storing, searching, sharing, analyzing, and visualizing information. The November/December issue will address these technical challenges and explore how we might use big data to address important problems facing corporations.
To take advantage of future computing, IT professionals must actively pursue new opportunities and embrace the challenges of changing strategies, approaches, skills and mindsets. It will be exciting to see how IT professionals respond to the many opportunities and challenges presented over the next decade. There's no doubt that the journey will be interesting. I hope you find IT Pro a welcome and useful companion along the way. I welcome your suggestions as we continuously strive to improve IT Pro.