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

Linux Turns 25 Exactly Today. More LinuxCon and Anniversary Coverage. Plus Microsoft Interjection PR.

Red Hat Virtualization 4

  • Red Hat’s gunning for VMware with virtualization platform update
    Open-source Linux vendor Red Hat Inc. has thrown in support for OpenStack Neutron and other new technologies with the latest release of its software virtualization package, in what looks like a bid to steal customers away from VMware Inc.’s more widely-used solution. Targeted at convergence, Red Hat Virtualization 4 is the first version of the platform that doesn’t include the word “enterprise,” in a move that suggests the company is hoping its virtualized stack will become the platform for convergence, rather than a server density product. OpenStack Neutron is the open-source networking project used by Software-Defined Networks (SDNs), which up until now has only been available as a preview. Many have criticized Neutron’s development for lagging behind the rest of OpenStack’s code base, and Red Hat was one of several vendors to concede that things could be sped up a bit. With the inclusion of the software in Red Hat Virtualization, the company says its Linux platform can be used to run both cloud-enabled and “traditional” workloads in concert.
  • Red Hat Virtualization 4 woos VMware faithful
    It's easy for a virtual machine user to feel left out these days, what with containers dominating the discussion of how to run applications at scale. But take heart, VM fans: Red Hat hasn't forgotten about you. RHV (Red Hat Virtualization) 4.0, released today, refreshes Red Hat's open source virtualization platform with new technologies from the rest of Red Hat's product line. It's a twofold strategy to consolidate Red Hat's virtualization efforts across its various products and to ramp up the company's intention to woo VMware customers.

NOAA Breaks Weather Apps, Slackware Updates, Valve @ 20

The LinuxCon headlines continue to dominate but, more importantly, our desktop weather apps are broken thanks to NOAA decommissioning the site. Liam Dawe looked back at 20 years of Valve and Sebastian "sebas" Kügler introduced new KDE kscreen-doctor. Slackware rolled out some updates including a rare kernel upgrade and The VAR Guy wants to hear about your first time. Read more

Android Leftovers