The Hardware Lottery

14 Sep 2020  ·  Sara Hooker ·

Hardware, systems and algorithms research communities have historically had different incentive structures and fluctuating motivation to engage with each other explicitly. This historical treatment is odd given that hardware and software have frequently determined which research ideas succeed (and fail)... This essay introduces the term hardware lottery to describe when a research idea wins because it is suited to the available software and hardware and not because the idea is superior to alternative research directions. Examples from early computer science history illustrate how hardware lotteries can delay research progress by casting successful ideas as failures. These lessons are particularly salient given the advent of domain specialized hardware which make it increasingly costly to stray off of the beaten path of research ideas. This essay posits that the gains from progress in computing are likely to become even more uneven, with certain research directions moving into the fast-lane while progress on others is further obstructed. read more

PDF Abstract

Datasets


  Add Datasets introduced or used in this paper

Results from the Paper


  Submit results from this paper to get state-of-the-art GitHub badges and help the community compare results to other papers.

Methods


No methods listed for this paper. Add relevant methods here