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IBM creates a chip-sized supercomputer

Joshua Topolsky
December 6, 2007
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Good news, everybody! Those super-geniuses over at IBM have whipped up a new form of CPU transfer which utilizes pulses of light instead of electricity to move data between cores on a chip. The new technology -- which is one-hundred times faster than current speeds -- is called silicon nanophotonics, and if implemented, could downsize supercomputers to laptop stature. The invention is unhindered by common problems with electrical chips, such as overheating and breakdown of data on short trips, allowing signals to pass unmolested over greater distances. Using this process, data can be moved a few centimeters, while requiring one-tenth as much power, resulting in lower operational costs for supercomputers. Will Green, a researcher at IBM, says that the company's creation will, "Be able to have hundreds or thousands of cores on a chip," and will result in huge speed boosts. Unfortunately, the project is on track to be carried out in 10 to 12 years, which leaves a lot of time to ponder if the chips will play Doom.

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