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The Future of Computing According to HP

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The future of computing has been a long time coming, but HP might actually bring it about-- at its Discover 2014 conference the company unveils "The Machine," an ominously titled processing architecture designed to handle vast amounts of data.

The Machine In a few words, The Machine consists of clusters of special-purpose cores, with silicon photonics (ie lasers) replacing traditional copper wires. Serving as both memory and storage are memristors, a futuristic technology as fast as RAM yet also able to store data permanently, while tying all together is a new free and open source Machine OS.

The result is a computer able to handle vast amounts of data while using much less power. How much so? According to HP a Machine server can crunch 160 petabytes of data in 250 nanoseconds while consuming 80% less energy than the data centers we know and love. In fact, The Machine can crunch so much data it requires the use of new terms, such as "brontobyte" (1000 yottabytes), and will possibly allow for impossibly large-scale computing concepts.

HP speaks of smart cell towers able to react to what is happening in other towers and clouds connecting aircraft and airports, all with the required privacy and data security.

And the technology is not even restricted to servers, as it can shrink down to consumer devices. HP is already working on Machine-optimised versions of Linus and Android, bringing about an interesting question-- is HP taking on Microsoft as well as Intel? The answer might actually be yes, as HP Labs CTO Martin Fink says "[w]e want to reignite in all of our universities around the world operating system research which we think has been dormant or stagnant for decades."

All said and done, when will we actually get Machines? HP's "Future History" timeline says 2018, as the necessary memristors will only enter sampling phase by 2015 before the Machine OS enters beta sometime on 2017. That said revolutions tend to take time, so here's hoping.

Watch HP Labs and the Future of Technology

Go The Future is Now-- The Machine from HP