HP Chief Technology Officer Martin Fink has recently announced the Machine, which he claims will radically change the state of current computing architecture. If it ever see the day of light, the Machine will boast of memristors for storage, and photonics-driven interconnect technology.
Already two years in development, the Machine is HP’s answer to the inadequacies of current computing architecture. One of the major bottlenecks is the need for data to be “shuttled” from the processor to three levels of data storage. This inadvertently leads to hardware design constraints where memory banks and storage devices are purposely placed close to processors to reduce latency.
However, the Machine isn’t limited by this as it can access a “unified memory space” with an interconnect technology, based on silicon photonics, where data is transferred at the speed of light. In addition, the unified memory space will feature memristors that store data using ions. The Machine’s processors will be a cluster of specialized chips built for specific applications. The ultimate game plan of HP is to permeate the design DNA of the Machine's computing architecture to a variety of devices, ranging from data center servers to your humble smartphone. In terms of performance, the Machine is capable of processing 640TB of data in 250 nanoseconds, with 80 times less energy requirements of current servers.
In order to support the Machine, HP will also embark on a mission to build an open source operating system from ground up. According to CTO Fink, the company has already initiated partnerships with education institutions worldwide to develop this OS. For now, the Machine may sound like some ethereal ware; however, if things according to plan, it may see the light of day in 2016.