Welcome to The Machine. HP Labs dreamed of a big star...


Welcome, my son.

Welcome to The Machine, says HP (NYSE:HPQ). It's connecting the dots in its research labs: Memristers and silicon photonics are the way forward, says HPLabs. It's also changing the assumptions that the operating systems make.

Where have you been? This "changes everything" -- er, Real Soon Now.

It's all right: In IT Blogwatch, bloggers know where you've been.

Your humble blogwatcher curated these bloggy bits for your entertainment.


Ashlee Vance has been in the pipeline (filling in time):

HP May Have Invented a New Kind of Computer. ... At the simplest level, the memristor consists of a grid of wires with a stack of thin layers of material...at each intersection. ... When a current is applied [the] resistance is altered, and this state can hold after the current is removed. ... In theory, that would remove the need for a conventional slow disk/fast memory system.

HP’s proposed silicon photonics would also be a big deal. [It would] shrink speedy fiber-optic equipment enough to replace cheap, proven copper wiring inside a computer.

New memory and networking technology requires a new operating system...which will assume the availability of a high-speed, constant memory store.  MORE


James Niccolai was provided with toys (and Scouting For Boys):

Hewlett-Packard has kicked off an ambitious project that aims at nothing less than reinventing the basic architecture of computers. ... Dubbed The Machine, based on a type of memory called memristors and a communications technology called silicon photonics. ... Its not certain when -- if ever -- The Machine will make it to market. But HP is throwing a lot of resources at the problem.

[HP's] estimates for delivery range from three years to the end of the decade. ... A key goal for The Machine is to replace the different storage technologies in use today with a single "universal memory" pool made from memristors. ... "Think of 100 terabytes on your smartphone," [CTO Martin] Fink said.

HP is building a Machine OS from scratch, but it's also developing a version based on Linux and another with Google's mobile OS.  MORE


Julie Bort brought a guitar (to punish Meg Whitman):

Notice any operating systems not mentioned? Microsoft Windows.

You might argue that it would be difficult for HP to build an operating system based on Windows since Microsoft doesn't freely share that code. [But] HP could be doing a joint development project with Microsoft if it wanted to.

It's not wholly surprising that HP is building a new computer that will extricate itself from Microsoft, and potentially from Intel, too.  MORE


And Madeline Bennett didn't like school (and you know she's nobody's fool):

HP was not shy of making some pretty impressive claims about the potential for the technology, alluding to firms being able to analyse a trillion CRM records in a split second [or] running an entire data centre out of one box.

And the reason for this potentially game-changing piece of technology being awarded such a basic yet foreboding name? ... The team went with the working title of The Machine while waiting for the HP marketing whizzes to come up with something more apt and catchy - a feat that's proved beyond them as yet.

[It] will begin sampling...in 2015. By 2017, HP expects the OS to enter public beta...and by 2019 The Machine will be officially available as a product and a service.  MORE


It's all Bright: Peter told you (what to dream):

In 2008, scientists at HP invented a fourth fundamental component to join the resistor, capacitor, and inductor: the memristor. Theorized back in 1971, memristors showed promise...as they can be used to both build logic gates [and] act as long-term storage.

It may prove revolutionary. The memory hierarchy is, for many computing applications, the fundamental performance bottleneck. ... High-speed optical interconnects combined with memristor memory could [fix] that size/performance trade-off.

HP is also working on a new operating system that'll be designed for machines that have vast amounts of near-instantly accessible persistent storage [not] the hierarchy of memory technologies that are found in current computers.  MORE

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