When the cloud moves inside the chipSunday, December 13th, 2009 by Roberto Saracco
One of the hot topic in this last year, and probably for two more years, is the cloud, an architecture making the performance of hundreds of computers (and more) available to anybody. From a user perception the user is connected via Internet to whatever computer processing power he requires.
Someone is going as far as to say that in the future all computation will be in a cloud, with users at the edges able to access via the Internet what they want.
I beg to differ in this vision. In my view we are going towards a “cloud world” but “we” are the cloud. The Internet to me will be there to connect the continuously growing functional processing capability provided by each and all of our devices, that we will continue to buy, relentlessly. Clearly, enterprises may see the cloud as a way to dramatically cut their cost, but also in that area I see more a commoditization of applications (many biz applications) more important than the commoditization of processing (or storage).
Now Intel is announcing the cloud on a chip. A concept chip having 48 cores, running at a power comparable to two bulbs (125 W) and flexible enough to be able to activate just those parts of the chip that are needed at any particular time, thus cutting down even more on power consumption. It is made up by 1,3 billion transistors.
My feeling is that this announcement, as the many that I bet will follow in the next decade, will just bring more processing power to the edges, not to the core.
Another interesting aspect that Intel has been quick to point out is that devices embedding chips of this kind will have enough processing power to interact visually with their environment (and we are part of such environment). This will be changing many rules of the game, and our perception on what it means to interact with objects.
Take a look at the clip with interviews with Intel researchers explaining the chip and their vision of the future.