HP Announces an Imminent Revolution in Computing
HP announced recently in Vegas a completely new computer architecture design called “The Machine” that could maybe possibly be worthy of the word Revolution.
The Machine (yes, I know, totally lame name) is different from any computer for three fundamental reasons.
1) All memory, RAM and Hard-Drive, would be consolidated in The Machine into one Universal Memory with the speed of the former and the capaciousness of the latter (and then some).This will be accomplished by a truly revolutionary (and experimental) form of non-volatile memory called memristors. This removes a tremendous bottleneck found in all conventional computers since shuffling data between these discordant types of memory is as mind-numbingly inefficient as it is ubiquitous.
2) Data transfer will no longer be accomplished using dodgy electrons in copper wire. Electrical interconnects will be replaced by slick optical ones. Using light is not only faster but could hugely reduce costs, perhaps by 80%…or is it 1/80th? It’s hard to say since HP weirdly says it will be “80 times less”expensive. Awkward phrasing to say the least.
3) Finally, specialized cores will be primarily used instead of the general purpose CPUs typically utilized today. They will be optimized to handle massive concurrent loads of data.
So what’s the result? The ability to handle orders of magnitude more data more efficiently, more quickly and more cheaperer than ever before. 😛
The company makes claims that this tech could potentially allow the ability to address any byte of data among a staggering 160 petabytes in just 250 nanoseconds. How about this one, imagine a database being updated hundreds of billions of times per second (umm……wow).
Data proliferation is expanding exponentially. Storing, manipulating, and analyzing this data will simply require a paradigm shift in computing capability. We’re actually approaching the point where we’d have problems even powering the devices needed to deal with all of it especially if the “Internet of Things” takes off in which everything will have an IP Address, even your pikachu plushie.
As awesome as this sounds we need a dose of reality right about now. None of this technology is ready for prime-time, especially memristror technology. HP plans for it (and The Machine) to be ready between 2017 and 2020 but it has seen other self-imposed deadlines for this game-changing memory come and go already. It may not be workable anytime soon for a host of potential reasons. If that’s the case, this revolution is over even before it really started.
BloombergBusinessWeek: With “The Machine”, HP May Invented a New Kind of Computer
HP’s Technical Take: HP Discover General Session Day 2 with Meg Whitman and Martin Fink
Skeptical Take: Hewlett-Packard’s ‘Machine’: Vaporware, meet empty suit