While Field Programmable Gate Arrays (FPGA) haven't benefited from a good deal of buzz just yet, things could be taking a turn, as both Xilinx and Altera caught a few eyes at IDF. We've already seen the unique, albeit highly specific chips in a supercomputer, but the dedicated coprocessor / accelerator modules could be landing beside your Intel Xeon CPU. Essentially, the devices plug "directly into the processor socket of dual- or quad-socket servers" in order to provide "high performance application acceleration ranging from 10x to 100x compared to processors alone, while simultaneously reducing overall system power consumption." The modules act as targeted CPUs, effectively computing very specific tasks in a much more efficient fashion than a general microprocessor can alone, which could boost the speed of scientific, financial, and life science applications that rely on very particular calculations. Of course, mainstream adoption still has quite a ways to go, but the quicker we get dedicated physics and AI coprocessors to go along with these snazzy new GPUs, the happier (and poorer) we'll be.
Read - Altera demonstrates FPGA at IDF
Read - Xilinx demonstrates FPGA at IDF