Intel’s experimental chip to change the face of processing?

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.