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World of super computing

Computing after this would never be the same again. Gaming, real time processing, artificial intelligence just name it and it would be a fantasy come true, writes Puneet Mehrotra.

india Updated: Feb 18, 2007 11:45 IST

Super Computer in your hands

Imagine a processor that delivers supercomputer-like performance. If that isn't enough imagine all this from a single, 80-core chip not much larger than the size of a finger nail. Wait there is more. All this while using less electricity than most of today's home appliances. There is yet more. It can perform about a trillion calculations per second, or deliver a performance of 1.01 teraflops. Now that was some super performance.

Intel - the wonder company

The credit for the innovation of such a wonder processor goes to the world's largest chip maker Intel. According to Intel this is the result of the company's innovative 'Tera -scale computing' research aimed at delivering Teraflop -- or trillions of calculations per second --performance for future PCs and servers. Technical details of the Teraflop research chip are being presented at the annual Integrated Solid State Circuits Conference (ISSCC) this week in San Francisco.

Into the world of Star Trek -

Tera Scale Computing

As we move deeper into the electronic civilization the need for speed and for better computing is on the rise. The future lies in tera scale performance i.e. the ability to move terabytes of data. According to Intel tera scale performance will play a pivotal role in future computers with ubiquitous access to the Internet by powering new applications for education and collaboration, as well as enabling the rise of high-definition entertainment on PCs, servers and handheld devices. For example, artificial intelligence, instant video communications, photo-realistic games, multimedia data mining and real-time speech recognition - once deemed as science fiction in Star Trek shows - could become everyday realities.

According to Justin R. Rattner, Intel's chief technology officer "Our researchers have achieved a wonderful and key milestone in terms of being able to drive multi-core and parallel computing performance forward. It points the way to the near future when Teraflop-capable designs will be commonplace and will reshape what we can all expect from our computers and the Internet at home and in the office."

I guess Justin is being rather modest when he says that. This new innovation can open up possibilities man only dreamt of till now.

A Prelude to mini super computer

2000 sq feet versus the tip of your finger:

In 1996 the first time Teraflop performance was achieved. It was on the ASCI Red Supercomputer built by Intel for the Sandia National Laboratory. Consider the difference between that computer and this one. That computer took up more than 2000 square feet, was powered by nearly 10,000 Pentium Pro processors, and consumed over 500 kilowatts of electricity. The present Intel's research chip achieves this same performance on a multi-core chip that could rest on the tip of a finger.

The World of Super Computing

Computing after this would never be the same again. Gaming, real time processing, artificial intelligence just name it and it would be a fantasy come true.

The Last Word

Well done Intel. It feels so good to be an era in which information can process as fast as thoughts (well almost). Maybe someday soon we will read a story saying ....and once upon a time there was a megahertz era.

Puneet Mehrotra is a web strategist atwww.cyberzest.comand editswww.thebusinessedition.comyou can email him

First Published: Feb 16, 2007 18:30 IST