HP has rocked the IT community with the announcement of The Machine: a new method of computer architecture design that relies on photonics (light) instead of copper, and discards the traditional processing hierarchy to create what it calls ‘Universal Memory’. The system itself will be extremely energy efficient, and even scalable down to the size of smartphones.
The keynote address given by HP CTO Martin Fink leaned towards the more technical side of things, but the general gist was that with this new system things would be much, much faster and a whole lot more storage to play with.
“We want you to be able to store your entire life. Think of 100TB on your smartphone.” That would effectively be 6400x more capacity than the standard 16GB on-board storage in the current market. Not only that, it would be accessible at 6x the speed with 80% less energy.
Fink wasn’t kidding around when he mentioned that the chip is scalable for use in smartphones, either. “What do you think if we actually built a version of Android that was tuned and optimised for non-volatile memory systems? We have a team that’s doing that too.” Even better, HP is committed to making all of its new software based on this technology open-source, so anyone can come along for the ride.
The time-frame for mainstream application isn’t even that far away. HP expects edge devices to ship in 2018, followed by core devices in 2019. If everything goes swimmingly, we could have phones in our pockets based on Machine architecture well within the next decade.