HP is set to revolutionise the computing world, according to the Discover 2014 conference, with a presentation on their new mega-processing unit, The Machine.
This boldly named unit is a processing system that, it is claimed, can handle never before seen amounts of date at never before seen speeds, with never before seen energy efficiency.
It combines clusters of specialised cores, as opposed to larger, general purpose cores, which feed ‘memristors’ (memory-resistors) that do the jobs of classic transistors but also stores data permanently, even without a constant energy supply.
In addition, when making The Machine, HP did away with the conventional copper wiring and has instead turned to photonics, or light based data systems, much like optical fibres. These are much more efficient; they require less energy than their copper alternative and of course work faster, seeing as light is the fastest travelling thing around.
The result is a Machine server could apparently handle 160 petabytes of data in 250 nanoseconds, simultaneously being six times more powerful but consuming 80 times less energy than a modern server.
Whether these claims are accurate or not remains to be seen, but nevertheless, this is an intriguing step forward and an alternative to simply trying to minimise current technology to cram more memory into smaller spaces, which is the usual approach to creating higher powered devices at the moment.
Having said that, the design of The Machine has left possibilities to reduce it in size in the future, meaning that it is going to be minimised and it may not be too long before this kind of technology ends up in our pockets in mobile phones.
The design isn’t near the implementing stage as of yet, so we will have to wait a few more years before this technology breaks out onto the market, but the potential is there.