Timeline of computing 2020–present

This article presents a detailed timeline of events in the history of computing from 2020 to the present. For narratives explaining the overall developments, see the history of computing.

2020Edit

2021Edit

 
A study finds that carbon emissions from Bitcoin mining in China – where a majority of the proof-of-work algorithm that generates current economic value is computed, largely fueled by nonrenewable sources – have accelerated rapidly and would soon exceed total annual emissions of countries like Italy, interfering with climate change mitigation commitments.
 
Researchers publish the first in-depth study of Web browser tab interfaces.
  • Researchers publish the first in-depth study of Web browser tab interfaces. They found that many people struggle with tab overload and conducted surveys and interviews about people's tab use. Thereby they formalized pressures for closing tabs and for keeping tabs open. The authors then developed related UI design considerations which could enable better tools and changes to the code of Web browsers – like Firefox – that allow knowledge workers and other users to better manage their tabs.[37][38]
  • A new record for the smallest single-chip system is achieved, occupying a total volume of less than 0.1 mm³.[40][41]
 
Scientists demonstrate the first brain–computer interface that decodes neural signals for handwriting and has a record output speed of up to 90 characters per minute – more than double the previous record.
  • Scientists demonstrate the first brain–computer interface that decodes neural signals for handwriting. The character output speed of a patient with a paralyzed hand was up to 90 characters per minute – more than double the previous record. Each letter is associated with a highly distinctive pattern of activity in the brain, making it relatively easy for the algorithm to distinguish them.[42][43]
  • Archivists initiate a rescue mission to secure enduring access to humanity's largest public library of scientific articles, Sci-Hub, due to the site's increased legal troubles, using Web and BitTorrent technologies.[44]
 
Scientists debate and research cognitive impacts of smartphones and digital technology in general and by prevalent forms of use.
  • In the debate the cognitive impacts of smartphones and digital technology a group reports that, contrary to widespread belief, scientific evidence doesn't show that these technologies harm biological cognitive abilities and that they instead change predominant ways of cognition – such as a reduced need to remember facts or conduct mathematical calculations by pen and paper outside contemporary schools. However, some activities – like reading novels – that require long attention-spans and don't feature ongoing rewarding stimulation may become more challenging in general.[49][50]
  • Researchers used a brain-computer interface to enable a man who was paralyzed since 2003 to produce comprehensible words and sentences by decoding signals from electrodes in the speech areas of his brain.[51][52]
 
DeepMind's AlphaFold AI predicts the structures of over 350,000 proteins, including 98.5% of the ~20,000 proteins in the human body, along with degrees of confidence for accuracy.
  • DeepMind announces that its AlphaFold AI has predicted the structures of over 350,000 proteins, including 98.5% of the ~20,000 proteins in the human body. The 3D data along with their degrees of confidence for accuracy is made freely available with a new database, doubling the previous number of protein structures in the public domain.[57]
 
A researcher reports that solar superstorms would cause large-scale global months-long Internet outages.
 
Researchers develop machine learning models for genome-based early detection and prioritization of high-risk potential zoonotic viruses.
  • Scientists conclude that personal carbon allowances (PCAs) could be a component of climate change mitigation. They find that the economic recovery from COVID-19 and novel digital technology capacities open a window of opportunity for first implementations. PCAs would consist of – e.g. monetary – credit-feedbacks and decreasing default levels of per capita emissions concessions. The researchers find that recent advances in machine learning technology and "smarter home and transport options make it possible to easily track and manage a large share of individuals' emissions" and that feedback effective in engaging individuals to reduce their energy-related emissions and relevant new personalized apps could be designed.[63][64][65] Issues may include privacy, evaluating emissions from individuals co-running multinational companies and the availability and prices of products and services.
  • Pathogen researchers report the development of machine learning models for genome-based early detection and prioritization of high-risk potential zoonotic viruses in animals prior to spillover to humans. They conclude that their tool could be used for virus surveillance for pandemic prevention via (i.a.) measures of "early investigation and outbreak preparedness" and would have been capable of predicting SARS-CoV-2 as a high-risk strain.[67][68]
  • A loss of public IP routes to the Facebook DNS servers due to malfunctioning capacity-assessment code, routinely triggered after configuration changes of routers of the company's data centers, that resulted in stoppage of BGP routing information broadcasts causes the 2021 Facebook outage.[69][70]
  • A study of data traffic by popular smartphones running variants of the Android software finds substantial by-default data collection and sharing with no opt-out (i.e. even the NetGuard firewall, which is not installed by default, may not reliably and completely prevent such data traffic) and implications for users' privacy, control and security.[71][72]
  • Scientists demonstrate that grown brain cells integrated into digital systems can carry out goal-directed tasks with performance-scores. In particular, playing a simulated (via electrophysiological stimulation) Pong which the cells learned to play faster than known machine intelligence systems, albeit to a lower skill-level than both AI and humans. Moreover, the study suggests it provides "first empirical evidence" of information-processing capacity differences between neurons from different species.[76][77]
  • A scientific review summarizes research and data about telemedicine. Its results indicate that, in general, outcomes of such ICT-use are as good as in-person care with health care use staying similar.[81][82]
  • The Log4Shell security vulnerability in a Java logging framework is publicly disclosed two weeks after its discovery. Because of the ubiquity of the affected software, experts have described it as a most serious computer vulnerability.[83] In a high-level meeting, the importance of security maintenance of open-source software – often also carried out largely by few volunteers – to national security was clarified.[84][85]
  • Researchers report the development of a database and analysis tool about perovskite solar cells which systematically integrates over 15,000 publications, in particular device-data about over 42,400 of such photovoltaic devices. Authors described the site – which requires signing up to access the data and uses software that is partly open source but to date not free software[86] – as a participative "Wikipedia for perovskite solar cell research" and suggest that extensively capturing the progress of an entire field including interactive data exploration functionalities could also be applicable to many fields in materials science, engineering and biosciences.[87][88]

2022Edit

  • Computational biologists report the largest detailed human genetic genealogy, unifying human genomes from many sources for insights about human history, ancestry and evolution. It demonstrates a novel computational method for estimating how human DNA is related, in specific as a series of 13 million linked trees along the genome, a tree-sequence, which has also been called "the largest human family tree".[97][98][99]
 
The overall process of testing the reproducibility and robustness of the cancer biology literature via Eve[100]
 
Measured results of the study[111]
  • Computing and the 2022 Russian invasion of Ukraine:
    An editorial published in a journal notes that remote surgery and types of videoconferencing for sharing expertise (e.g. ad hoc assistance) have been and could be used to support doctors in Ukraine.[115] A forum contribution analyzes Russian users' reactions to the Bucha massacre on social media – on nationalist Telegram channels.[116] Computer science and technology is also used to defend against the 2022 Russian invasion such as with military technology,[117][118] to document and communicate war events including via facial recognition of dead Russian soldiers and Russian war crimes,[119][120] and for aggregated information about support opportunities for Ukrainian scientists.[121][122]
  • [relevant?]Samsung announces the first mass production of computer chips using a 3 nm process. These feature a gate-all-around transistor architecture that reduces power consumption by up to 45%, improves performance by 23% and reduces area by 16% compared to 5 nm.[140] ????


DeathsEdit

2020Edit

2021Edit

2022Edit

See alsoEdit

COVID-19

ReferencesEdit

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