29 Nov 2022

The Emergence of 21st Century Technologies – A Revolution is Coming

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Author: Jim Scott, Head of Strategic Engagement at Lockheed Martin UK 

The next step in civilisation's roadmap beyond the Digital Age is the leap into the Quantum Age, with the associated convergence of technologies that will accelerate scientific discovery.

This will occur across many sectors, including Pharmaceuticals, Aerospace, Defence, Data, Autonomy and Finance – so “everywhere”  

There is enormous potential, extraordinary challenges, but a revolution is coming! Government, Industry and Academia “Working as One” to deliver 21st Century Technologies.

Artificial Intelligence (AI)

AI is real now, with plenty of challenges, but it is adding value. It can be utilised to discover and find patterns in large data sets, it understands how a complex system is affected by many different inputs, where a critical element is the quality and format of the information.

It is rapidly transforming our lives, it can hunt for and exploit data to create advantages and enhancements - It is a critical enabler which is attracting a strategic focus on the journey to accelerate the emergence of 21st technologies.

High Performance Computer

The aggregation of compute power by developing a capability where an HPC is created, utilising thousands of computer nodes working in parallel allows complex problems to be solved quickly. This is particularly true as more organisations transition to data-driven environments.

As new technologies emerge HPC will still be required to perform complex calculations and indeed its capabilities will be extended not diminished; and the reason for this is “Quantum”.


Classical computers operate in a binary mode, utilising “bit’s” - which can be 1 or 0, quantum utilises “qubits” –  they have a value that is either 0, 1 or something in-between; crucially their processing power as the number of qubits is added increases exponentially, classical systems increase linearly.

Quantum will enhance the performance of computers, sensors, and communications beyond what is possible with current classical systems, but it will not replace them as there are many situations where the binary characteristics of a classical system are more suitable than a quantum solution.

Quantum processing, supplemented by neural networks will deliver enhanced compute for very specific problems. These neural networks are inspired by the human brain, imitating the way that biological neurons communicate, they know how to learn from data - qubits works like nature.

5G Wireless Networks

5G networks will deliver robust, higher throughput with very low-latency that is required for the emergent technology platforms, it’s an enabler to fully harness the power of AI and Data.

5G will also accommodate more devices, with secure connectivity to the hyper-scale cloud environment – Every device becomes a sensor for gathering data – which can then be exploited centrally.

A Final Observation

It’s clear that the emergence of these new technologies has become an essential and pervasive element of our lives, not only the technology, but an element that is key to the United Kingdom (UK) becoming a global centre of excellence is the – “upskilling of its people”.

Without the appropriate skills the utilisation and development of new technologies to drive compute enhancements will remain truncated and ultimately disappointing.

Government, Industry and Academia have recognised this fact as a significant risk and there are numerous investment programmes on-going to mitigate the lack of skills and to ensure the UK is at the forefront of enhancing compute expertise.

The National AI Strategy National AI Strategy, National Quantum Computer Centre NQCC, the Hartree National Centre for Digital Innovation Hartree Centre and the Newcastle National Innovation Centre for Data NICD to name a few, illustrate the importance of these technologies to the UK.

It is a challenge, but also a fantastic opportunity to demonstrate leadership in a wonderful technological age, where we can augment the reputation of the UK to a global audience.

Everyone is doing it! – lets be sure we do it - innovatively, at pace, and better!

Future of Compute Week 2022

During this week we will deep-dive into a number of themes that if addressed could develop our large scale compute infrastructure to support the UK’s ambitions as a science and technology superpower. To find out more, including how to get involved, click the link below

Find out more

Laura Foster

Laura Foster

Head of Technology and Innovation, techUK

Laura is techUK’s Head of Programme for Technology and Innovation.

She supports the application and expansion of emerging technologies, including Quantum Computing, High-Performance Computing, AR/VR/XR and Edge technologies, across the UK. As part of this, she works alongside techUK members and UK Government to champion long-term and sustainable innovation policy that will ensure the UK is a pioneer in science and technology

Before joining techUK, Laura worked internationally as a conference researcher and producer covering enterprise adoption of emerging technologies. This included being part of the strategic team at London Tech Week.

Laura has a degree in History (BA Hons) from Durham University, focussing on regional social history. Outside of work she loves reading, travelling and supporting rugby team St. Helens, where she is from.

[email protected]

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Rory Daniels

Rory Daniels

Programme Manager, Emerging Technologies

Rory joined techUK in June 2023 after three years in the Civil Service on its Fast Stream leadership development programme.

During this time, Rory worked on the Government's response to Covid-19 (NHS Test & Trace), school funding strategy (Department for Education) and international climate and nature policy (Cabinet Office). He also tackled the social care crisis whilst on secondment to techUK's Health and Social Care programme in 2022.

Before this, Rory worked in the House of Commons and House of Lords alongside completing degrees in Political Economy and Global Politics.

Today, he is techUK's Programme Manager for Emerging Technologies, covering dozens of technologies including metaverse, drones, future materials, robotics, blockchain, space technologies, nanotechnology, gaming tech and Web3.0.

[email protected]

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Elis Thomas

Elis Thomas

Programme Manager, Tech and Innovation, techUK

Elis joined techUK in December 2023 as a Programme Manager for Tech and Innovation, focusing on AI, Semiconductors and Digital ID.

He previously worked at an advocacy group for tech startups, with a regional focus on Wales. This involved policy research on innovation, skills and access to finance.

Elis has a Degree in History, and a Masters in Politics and International Relations from the University of Winchester, with a focus on the digitalisation and gamification of armed conflicts.

[email protected]

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