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

Ubuntu vs. Fedora Linux On Lenovo's X1 Carbon With Core i7 Broadwell

The latest distribution I tried on the X1 Carbon (and the OS I'll ultimately use for running the X1 Carbon in a production capacity as my main system) is Fedora 21. Fedora 21 booted up on the X1 Carbon wonderfully without any issues aside from the trackpoint button clicks being wonky (though the button clicks in the corner of the trackpad works fine). Fedora 21 with Wayland also ran fine on this system with Intel HD Graphics 5500. Overall, it was a pleasant experience without any major problems. Read more

Plex Media Server Review – The Ultimate Steaming Server

Plex Media Server is a media center application that allows users to stream video and audio content to local and remote clients, such as mobile devices or smart TVs. We now take a closer look at this powerful server and client and see what's the fuss all about. Read more

CoreOS Co-Founder Alex Polvi Talks Containers, Rocket vs. Docker, and More

CoreOS has gained notoriety over the past few years as the creator of a new Linux distribution designed for massive, Google-scale server deployments. The company's star has risen along with the popularity of Linux containers -- a key component of CoreOS -- and their open source components are being widely incorporated by companies on the bleeding edge of distributed computing. Read more

Linux vs Windows

I've been working with both Linux and MS Windows 7 lately. Yes, I have a good excuse for using MS Windows: I have started working on Ruby video tutorials, and I needed to demonstrate installation of ruby, notepad++, and configuration thereof in the MS Windows environment. Well, it's been illuminating, switching back and forth between Kubuntu 14.10 and Microsoft Windows 7. The desktops are pretty much equal. However, Linux KDE has stolen a march on the Windows 7 desktop regarding configurability of the desktop experience--of course, I'm vastly more experienced with Linux and the KDE desktop. Also, Linux is better on multitasking. Often, MS Windows 7 would almost freeze a few moments when working on several tasks. I also had some issues getting my sound card working well with Windows 7--which is an older sound-blaster (5.1) card. But, I've had similar problems with getting audio in the Linux environment working too. However, the online help and assistance you can get with Linux seems much better. Purchasing a screen recorder and a basic video editor with MS Windows 7 was also interesting. Although reading countless reviews, I had a difficult time getting a cheap screen recorder that was good on both the video and audio portions of screen recording, and would work properly on 1920x1080 recordings. And all the "free stuff" you download for Microsoft Windows is cripple ware. The Windows software environment is based on deception: "It's Free!". After downloading and installing, you find it won't do nearly what you wanted until you send them $xx.xx! I almost bought "Camtasia Studio", which, by all accounts, is good screen recording and editing software. But I couldn't justify spending $299.99 on software I was only going to use for producing 10 minutes of video demonstration. I know the preceding paragraph seems somewhat naive, but after using only Linux for so long, I haven't faced anything like this for many years. The one good thing to say about MS Windows 7 is that Notepad++ is a good "totally freeware" text editor. The remainder of the video tutorial series will be done solely in Linux--with Kdenlive 0.9.10 (where I finally learned to do "Pan and Zoom") and SimpleScreenRecorder 0.3.3. I'm going to send both of them a few $$. It's good to be back.