The Tech Herald (Link) - Stevie Smith (December 3, 2009)
Intel Corporation, the world’s largest manufacturer of computer processors, has this week whipped the covers off an experimental single-chip Cloud Computer platform intended for scaling on-chip performance, communication and power consumption for decades to come.
The chip is particularly noteworthy for carrying the most Intel Architecture (IA) computing engines ever integrated onto a single CPU by the Santa Clara-based giant. And, while it boasts 48 cores – up to 20 times more than inside current Intel Core processors – the Cloud Computing chip only consumes as much electricity as two standard household light bulbs.
According to Intel, the long-term research goal connected to its experimental chip “is to add incredible scaling features to future computers that spur entirely new software applications and human-machine interfaces.”
In terms of the technology’s scheduled arrival in the mass market, Intel has said the company plans to engage both industry and academia in 2010 when it shares more than 100 of the forward-looking processors in order to enable more widespread “hands-on research” in developing software applications and programming models.
Possible hardware and user benefits that could emerge from the chip’s eventual integration include notebook computers equipped with “vision” in much the same way a human is able to see objects and motion as it happens and with high accuracy.
“Imagine, for example, someday interacting with a computer for a virtual dance lesson or on-line shopping that uses a future laptop’s 3-D camera and display to show you a “mirror” of yourself wearing the clothes you are interested in,” explained Intel in an official release.
“This kind of interaction could eliminate the need for keyboard, remote controls or joysticks for gaming,” it added. “Some researchers believe computers may even be able to read brain waves, so simply thinking about a command, such as dictating words, would happen without speaking.”
Intel has labelled its new platform a “single-chip cloud computer” because it resembles the organisation of datacenters used to create a “cloud” of computing resources over the Internet, a notion of delivering such services as online banking, social networking and online stores to millions of users.