Supercomputers are the future, and that is exactly what HP is capitalizing on. Recently, the company unveiled a functional prototype of the ‘Machine’, which they claim is the world’s first system using memory-driven computing. Originally announced in 2014, this innovative contraption is believed to be nearly 8,000 times faster and more efficient than today’s PCs.
Unlike currently-available computers that use processors for most functions, memory-driven computing relies on memory to perform a variety of tasks, including calculations, thereby improving the machine’s efficiency and speed. According to the developers at Hewlett Packard Enterprise, simulation attempts have shown that the technique could enhance execution speeds to over 8,000 times that of traditional computers. Speaking about the project, Antonio Neri of HP Enterprise said:
We have achieved a major milestone with The Machine research project — one of the largest and most complex research projects in our company’s history.
Although it might take a while to build the Machine, its potential applications include high-end servers that are used to bring Facebook and YouTube to us. The team at HP believes that memory-driven computing could also be integrated into personal computers as well as smart gadgets, such as intuitive lighting systems and internet-enabled cameras.
For performing its various tasks, the Machine uses the power of photonics, which basically refers to the transmission of information via light and not electrons, in order to assist the processors in sorting data from an enormous memory pool. In case of conventional computers, large calculations require huge amounts of data to be transferred from one processor to another, thus reducing the device’s overall efficiency.
By contrast, the Machine comes with powerful processors that are capable of simultaneously accessing the resource pool. The newly-built prototype is said to use around 8 terabytes of memory, which is approximately 30 times the memory of today’s high-end servers and several hundred times greater than the amount a conventional computer’s RAM holds. The aim, according to the company, is to one day develop a system that boasts hundreds of terabytes of memory.
To that end, HP is also designing a special and incredibly powerful memory chip, known as memristor. If everything goes according to plan, the Machine will be available commercially by 2018 or 2019.
Source: Hewlett Packard Enterprise