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IBM researchers build supercomputer-on-a-chip
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Written by Daniel   
Thursday, 06 December 2007 10:46
 IBM's high-bandwidth, low-power, silicon nanophotonics technology could make supercomputers the size of a laptop a reality

By Agam Shah, IDG News Service
December 06, 2007
InfoWorld

Supercomputers may soon be the same size as a laptop if IBM brings to market research detailed on Thursday, in which pulses of light replace electricity to make data transfer between processor cores on a chip up to one-hundred times faster. The technology, called silicon nanophotonics, replaces some of the wires on a chip with pulses of light on tiny optical fibers for quicker and more power-efficient data transfers between cores on a chip, said Will Green, research scientist at IBM.

The technology, which can transfers data up to a distance of a few centimeters, is about 100 times faster than wires and consumes one-tenth as much power, Green said. The lower power requirement should reduce operational costs for supercomputers, he said.

"The silicon nanophotonic effort is a high-bandwidth, low-power technology for cores to communicate," Green said.

The technical basis of this research is the same science that led to the development of optical fiber and Internet communications. Silicon nanophotonics brings similar optical communication on chips for centimeters instead of miles, Green said.

The improved data bandwidth and power efficiency of silicon nanophotonics will bring massive computing power to desks, Green said. "We'll be able to have hundreds or thousands of cores on a chip," Green said. Users will be able to render virtual worlds in real-time and have a better gaming experience, he said.... More    Comment in the Forum
 

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