Thursday, December 6, 2007

IBM chip "breakthrough" places Supercomputer on a chip

Today IBM made a breakthrough that could essentially one day place a whole supercomputer onto one chip.

The breakthrough has been made in converting electrical signals into light pulses. In research published in the Optics Express Journal, IBM said it had produced electro-optic modulators 100 to 1,000 times smaller than the comparable silicon photonic modulators. These are small enough to fit onto one chip.

Processors use wires to connect cores on their chips. One of the major issues with this is high energy consumption and heat. With this major breakthrough cores can be connected with light instead of wires. This can make any computer a supercomputer with a single processor.

IBM can now connect hundreds of thousands of processing cores on a single chip. Compared to the nine cores on the Playstation 3's highly complex processor.

This light technology is 100 times faster and uses 10 times less power than wires.

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