HP Discover: Memrister and photonics and hype, oh my?

HP Discover is in full force, and we've been talking to industry experts to learn more about the future of technology, not only in the near term but also a few years in the future. During yesterday's keynote presentation, HP CEO Meg Whitman spent some time talking about the future and brought up some interesting technologies that HP Labs is working on

The first technology she discussed was the ever elusive memrister. We've been hearing about this for years, and Neowin even wrote about it back in 2008, but nobody's seen it in action and there's question on whether it even exists. Does the fact that Whitman brought it up during the keynote mean we're close to seeing this technology in use? If so, it promises to not only exponentially increase speed, but to also reduce power consumption and increase storage capacity, another topic Whitman hammered home throughout the keynote.

The second technology is called photonics, a topic HP brought up back in 2008. Data is currently passed between the CPU, memory, and storage over copper wires and that process consumes 90% of the power that computing uses and is extremely slow. With photonics, HP plans on putting lasers in their chips so that data is converted from electric signals to light and back again, and expects to see 6TB/second bandwidth with the new architecture. Meg Whitman explained that computing architectures haven't changed much in decades and we need to continue to improve:

The fundamental architecture of computing hasn’t changed very much in 60 years. As the new style of IT takes hold, we are quickly reaching the limits of the architecture. We need a computing architecture for the Big Data age. What’s coming next is a new architecture.

To be fair, these technologies have been talked about for years and we keep hearing that they're in the pipeline. We're not sure if the fact that Whitman brought them up during the keynote signifies that they're finally close to being turned into full products or if it's simply more hype, but we hope the former to be true. Do you think we'll start seeing these in products in the next year or two, or is this simply more marketing hype?

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