Computers, personal or otherwise, have been evolving at the expected rate so far, by gaining better components while not changing their overall composition that much. HP says it can offer enough incentive for the world to depart from the current convention though.
HP has introduced “The Machine,” a new sort of computer that uses a new type of memory, called memristors, plus super-fast buses/peripheral interconnects (photonics). Driving everything is a totally new operating system.
It kind of sounds like HP figured out how to drive Microsoft out of business, unless the latter is the one that helped make the OS. Not that the corporation will go down without at least trying to make its own OS, if it hasn't contributed yet.
It also sounds like a much-awaited breath of fresh air after so many decades of what has mostly been a duopoly divided between Intel (on the hardware side) and Microsoft (on the software side).
Not that HP intends to turn The Machine into a consumer product, at least not at this time. It would need the public to make a paradigm shift in their perception, one that probably won't come about as fast as HP hopes.
After all, the corporation hopes to commercialize The Machine in a few years or shoot itself in the foot while trying. It sounds like HP has allocated lots of resources to it, right? It is true. 75% of the R&D division is working on The Machine at the moment.
There aren't many details on what The Machine is, it would appear. Or how well it runs in comparison to standard setups for that matter. Understandable, since it's only been developing the thing for two years, and it doesn't want to blow the whistle on its ideas so soon.
At the core of it, however, there is this concept: current RAM, storage and interconnect technologies can't keep up with modern Big Data processing requirements. So memristors and silicon photonics have to be used instead.
Memristors combine the best assets of DRAM and flash storage, as amazing as it sounds. It's like having a storage device made of the same memory as RAM modules, but without the issue of data loss upon power cut.
Meanwhile, silicon photonics reduce optical transmission and reception to a scale small enough that it can be integrated into CPUs and other silicon chips. Basically, data use transferred via light instead of electrical charges.
And the best part? Both memristors and silicon photonics-based chips can be produced with normal fabrication technologies. If nothing else, The Machine, or at least its underlying principles, will throw a wrench in whatever plans Toshiba has that involve MRAM.