Language Selection

English French German Italian Portuguese Spanish

Mighty Morphing Power Processors

Filed under
Hardware

Even by the standards of the Lone Star State, the claim by two Texas researchers -- Douglas C. Burger and Stephen W. Keckler -- can seem a trifle grandiose. "We're reinventing the computer," asserts Keckler.

A glance at their backers, though, dispels some of the skepticism. IBM is working closely with the two University of Texas computer scientists. And the Pentagon's Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency in 2001 handed them $11 million in development funds. Now, IBM is gearing up to manufacture the first prototype of their concept for a radically new computer-brain chip. If it delivers what Burger and Keckler promise, high-tech gurus are betting it will spawn a new family of superchips from Big Blue -- chips capable of crunching a trillion calculations every second.

Such blistering speed would itself be amazing; it's roughly the oomph of a $50 million supercomputer in 1997. But more impressive, the chip can rewire itself on the fly -- a feat known as reconfigurable computing. With this technology, a future Macintosh from Apple Computer Inc might rejigger the circuitry on its PowerPC chip and then run software written for Intel Corp.'s microprocessors. Or an iPod music player could turn into a handheld computer -- or detect an incoming call and convert itself into a cell phone.

Laying a new foundation for processors is crucial because the usual way of boosting performance, by adding more transistors, is running out of steam. Or rather, it's running into steam -- in the form of too much heat. The chips coming by 2008 will have circuit lines so skinny that an advanced microprocessor could sport roughly 20 miles of tiny wires. The juice needed to push signals through circuitry that long could generate enough heat to melt the wires.

Full Article.

More in Tux Machines

Tiny, stackable, Linux-based IoT module hits Kickstarter

On Kickstarter, Onion launched a tiny, Linux-based “Omega” IoT module, along with a dock, stackable expansion modules, a cloud service, and web app tools. Onion’s Omega joins a growing number of single board computers and computer-on-modules for Internet of Things applications that have tapped Qualcomm’s MIPS-based, WiFi-enabled Atheros AR9331 system-on-chip. For a pledge of $25, Onion’s Kickstarter campaign offers the Omega computer-on-module combined with a “dock” that turns it into an sandwich-style single board computer. Read more

Development activity in LibreOffice and OpenOffice

The LibreOffice project was announced with great fanfare in September 2010. Nearly one year later, the OpenOffice.org project (from which LibreOffice was forked) was cut loose from Oracle and found a new home as an Apache project. It is fair to say that the rivalry between the two projects in the time since then has been strong. Predictions that one project or the other would fail have not been borne out, but that does not mean that the two projects are equally successful. A look at the two projects' development communities reveals some interesting differences. Read more

11 Ways That Linux Contributes to Tech Innovation

Over the past six months I've asked new Linux Foundation corporate members on the cutting edge of technology to weigh in on what interesting or innovative trends they're witnessing and the role that Linux plays in them. Here's what engineers, CTOs, and other business leaders from companies including CoreOS, Rackspace, SanDisk, and more had to say. Read more