03 January 2017
HP has unveiled a working prototype of the next generation computer system intended to boost calculating speed. Dubbed as 'the Machine', it relies on memory-driven computing which can achieve improved execution speeds up to 8,000 times faster than conventional computers.
The Machine which was first announced back in 2014 will massively outperform existing technology, by placing extra reliance on memory to perform calculations, with less dependence on computer processors. The company, however, has not given a tentative date or even a timeline for the release of the commercial version of The Machine. The research project still needs novel memory chips that are not expected to be widely available until 2018. The Machine is still likely to be years away from a commercial release.
HP’s new supercomputer can store huge amounts of data in smaller spaces as it dramatically reduces the space required by an entire data center.
The Machine uses photonics to transmit data using light so that the processors can access data from a very huge memory pool at super-fast speeds. In conventional computers, the transfer of data between different processors sometimes lead to slowing down of calculations, but in the Machine, numerous processors can all access the same memory pool simultaneously. And the speed is improved further by loading the device with extra memory.
HP’s current prototype of The Machine has 8TB of RAM, which is around 30 times what a traditional server is typically equipped with. HP plans to add anywhere between 8TB and hundreds of terabytes of RAM in its supercomputer. The company is also developing a memristor, which is a new kind of experimental memory chip, that can retain data even when powered down. HP is hoping that memristors will be ready for when The Machine is expected to launch in 2018 or 2019.
Antonio Neri, Executive Vice President and General Manager of the Enterprise Group at HP stated:
“With this prototype, we have demonstrated the potential of Memory-Driven Computing and also opened the door to immediate innovation"