Light to shrink computer clusters

Supercomputers may one day be the size of a laptop thanks to research by IBM. Scientists at IBM have completed work that may make it possible to do away with the copper wires used to couple processing cores to each other. The connector created by the team uses light to pass data between the computational cores that is faster and uses less power than copper wires. The device is smaller than previously demonstrated connectors promising to shrink future computational clusters.

The IBM development, reported in the journal Optics Express, could replace the copper wires that connect cores with a device that converts electrical signals to pulses of light. The device, called a silicon Mach-Zehnder electro-optic modulator, is many times smaller than previously produced convertors. "What we have done is a significant step toward building a vastly smaller and more power-efficient way to connect those cores, in a way nobody has done before," said Dr Tze-chiang Chen, a spokesman for IBM's science and technology research division.

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News source: BBC News

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wow, 1100 computers smashed into 1 laptop? more precious than gold! after that, you wouldn't need a hardware upgrade for a million years... just give it a firmware that is upgradable which would allow you to update things like pixel shading, DX functions etc... etc... etc... SPAGHETTI! Yeah, would seriously rip apart the market if they sold it the same price as regular computers. (Stomps on my ASUS) I hate you!!!

Supercomputers may one day be the size of a laptop thanks to research by IBM.

No they won't. By the time current day "supercomputers" are laptops, that kind of performance will no longer be considered "supercomputer" performance. I'm sure the laptop I'm using right now out-performs yesteryears "supercomputers."

Shadrack said,

No they won't. By the time current day "supercomputers" are laptops, that kind of performance will no longer be considered "supercomputer" performance. I'm sure the laptop I'm using right now out-performs yesteryears "supercomputers."

Actually even supercomputers from 30 years ago are still alot more powerful than our personal computers.

turtledude23 said,

Actually even supercomputers from 30 years ago are still alot more powerful than our personal computers.

In what way? Can you please point to any real examples to back up your claim...

Your typical Core 2 Duo performs at somewhere around 15 gigaflops.

By comparison the earliest supercomputers capable of such speeds didn't appear until the early 90's.