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IBM: Sugar cube-sized supercomputer in 10 to 15 years

IBM has a new technique that could yield ultra-small supercomputers.On Thursday Dr Bruno Michel said at an event at IBM's Zurich Labs that IBM is using a new technique of processor arrangement to work towards tiny, miniaturised supercomputers.
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Written by Jack Clark on

IBM has a new technique that could yield ultra-small supercomputers.

On Thursday Dr Bruno Michel said at an event at IBM's Zurich Labs that IBM is using a new technique of processor arrangement to work towards tiny, miniaturised supercomputers.

The IBM-developed Aquasar system, which was unveiled at the event, layers multiple processors on top of one another, with small layers of water-cooled threads running between them.

Michel says he and his team have estimated that the Aquasar system is almost 50 percent more energy-efficient than current world-leading supercomputers. The Aquasar system can do 1.1bn operations per watt of power, compared to the current world number one, which can do 770m per watt, he said.

"We currently have built this Aquasar system that's one rack full of processors. We plan that 10 to 15 years from now, we can collapse such a system in to one sugar cube — we're going to have a supercomputer in a sugar cube", Michel said, according to the BBC.

Michel said that stacking processors on top of one another cuts running costs and decreases the amount of heat generated per chip.

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