Hewlett-Packard has kicked off an ambitious project that aims at nothing less than reinventing the basic architecture of computers. It looks like servers are its initial target, but HP is also working on an Android version that it says could lead to smartphones with 100TB of storage.
HP said Wednesday it was working on a new computer architecture, dubbed The Machine, based on a type of memory called memristors and a communications technology called silicon photonics, which uses light beams to move data around at high speeds.
It’s still a research project in HP’s labs, and its not certain when — if ever — The Machine will make it to market. But HP is throwing a lot of resources at the problem — as many as three-quarters of its labs staff are working on it — and its estimates for delivery range from three years to the end of the decade.
HP believes the current computing architecture – used in smartphones, PCs and just about every other type of computer you can think of — can’t keep pace with expanding compute and storage needs. So it embarked on a project about two years ago to rethink computing from the ground up, CTO Martin Fink said at an HP conference in Las Vegas.
A key goal for The Machine is to replace the different storage technologies in use today with a single “universal memory” pool made from memristors, he said. That’s a new type of memory, still at the research stage, that uses ions instead of electrons to represent the 1s and 0s of computer code.
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