iRaq: 10,000 Volts in your pocket

Moore's Law continues... now Teraflops chip points to a faster future

Moore's Law suggests that computers double in power every 18 months or so.

But then the BBC report this:

A chip with 80 processing cores and capable of more than a trillion calculations per second (teraflops) has been unveiled by Intel.

The Teraflops chip is not a commercial release but could point the way to more powerful processors, said the firm. The chip achieves performance on a piece of silicon no bigger than a fingernail that 11 years ago required a machine with 10,000 chips inside it.


The first time teraflop performance was achieved was 11 years ago on the ASCI Red Supercomputer built by Intel for the Sandia National Laboratory. That machine took up more than 2,000 square feet, was powered by almost 10,000 Pentium Pro processors, and consumed more than 500 kilowatts of electricity.

The new Teraflops chip uses less electricity than many current high-end processors, making the design attractive for use in home computers. It consumes 62 watts, and the cores can power on and off independently, making it more energy efficient.

I'll leave you do the sums yourself - but Moore's Law suggests that computers improve by a factor of 10 every 5 years. In educational terms that is pretty significant because it tends to be the length of time that a student stays in each stage of their education...

So it should take approximately 20 years to get an improvement of 10,000 times baseline. Yet here are Intel suggesting that they have workable technology that is 10,000 times better than hardware they were producing 11 years ago.

Even allowing for a couple of years to get this off the workbench and into a workstation it looks as if technology is running ahead of Moore's Law.

Stand by for some seriously smart machines. And ask how your local school is even beginning to prepare for the implications...

Link: BBC Technology.

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