It's unavoidable -- mention HP and images of the TouchPad come floating to the surface. What most geek folk don't realize, however, is that the company recently famous for open sourcing webOS has been hard at work behind-the-scenes prepping for the next stage in computing: integrated photonics. The project, codenamed Corona, aims to create stackable 3D chips that communicate using inbuilt, microscopic lasers made from gallium. This new breed of CPUs is on track to combine "256 general purpose cores organized in 64 four-core clusters" created using a 16nm process for a performance boost of up to six times faster than traditional circuitry. Why do this? Well, the nature of optical communication would not only speed up the rate at which the various cores could relay data (a theoretical 20 terabytes per second), but would also drastically lower power requirements from a current 160 watts to 6.4 watts. Sounds like the future, indeed, but as with all things forward-facing, many of the necessary components are still being developed, so take that 2015 target date with a heady amount of sodium chloride.

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HP eyes 2015 release for 3D integrated photonic chips