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Light to shrink computer clusters

50°
367w ago - Supercomputers may one day be the size of a laptop thanks to research by IBM.

Scientists at IBM have completed work that may make it possible to do away with the copper wires used to couple processing cores to each other.

The connector created by the team uses light to pass data between the computational cores that is faster and uses less power than copper wires.

The device is smaller than previously demonstrated connectors promising to shrink future computational clusters.

The IBM development, reported in the journal Optics Express, could replace the copper wires that connect cores with a device that converts electrical signals to pulses of light.

The device, called a silicon Mach-Zehnder electro-optic modulator, is many times smaller than previously produced convertors.

"What we have done is a significant step toward building a vastly smaller and more power-efficient way to connect those cores, in a way nobody has done before," said Dr Tze-chiang Chen, a spokesman for IBM's science and technology research division.

It could also boost the power of coupled computational cores because by using light, the speed at which data travels between the cores would be accelerated.

With light the researchers, led by Dr Will Green,...
 

India enters supercomputing race

50°
370w ago - A computer system designed in India has made it into a top ten of the world's fastest supercomputers.

Computer giant IBM continues to dominate the list - which is compiled twice a year - with a total of 232 out of the top 500 supercomputers.

Its Blue Gene/L supercomputer - used to ensure the US nuclear weapons stockpile remains safe and reliable - comes out at number one.

The Indian system - known as EKA - made it into fourth place.

The world's fastest supercomputer - BlueGene/L - has been significantly upgraded in the last six months.

It can now deliver a sustained performance of 478 trillion calculations per second (478 teraflops), nearly three times faster than any other machine on the list.

Petaflop barrier

Second place went to another IBM system - a newer version of BlueGene/L known as BlueGene/P. The system, introduced this June is the first in a batch of IBM machines designed to operate at a petaflop and beyond.

Breaking the petaflop barrier - the ability to process 1,000 trillion calculations every second - has long been a key milestone in supercomputing and would allow highly detailed simulations.

For example in earthquake simulations it could show building-by-building movements of regions in earthquake zones,...
 

Universal avatars bestride worlds

50°
375w ago - A virtual character, or avatar, for all the virtual worlds in which people play is the goal of a joint project between IBM and Linden Lab.

The computer giant and the creator of Second Life are working on universal avatars that can travel between worlds.

The project aims to open up virtual worlds by introducing open tools that work with any online environment.

The companies hope to boost interest in virtual worlds as well as make them easier to navigate.
 

Technique links words to signing

50°
379w ago - Technology that translates spoken or written words into British Sign Language (BSL) has been developed by researchers at IBM.

The system, called SiSi (Say It Sign It) was created by a group of students in the UK.

SiSi will enable deaf people to have simultaneous sign language interpretations of meetings and presentations.
 
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