The future challenges facing computing and its evolution are addressed in a new report from the British Computer Society following a Grand Challenges conference attended by the country's top computer academics. Two of the big computing issues - developing systems that never fail and getting computers to act like humans - were proposed as long-term research projects by the UK's leading university professors.

These projects, plus four other proposals in areas ranging from distributed systems to the modelling of the plant and animal behaviour, all resulted from a grand challenges workshop sponsored by the UK Computing Research Committee, a BCS expert panel, with support from the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council. "Grand challenges" is the name given by the scientific community to long-term initiatives involving separate projects which might need national or international co-ordination.

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