The New York Times writes about a new machine being introduced by Andy Bechtolsteim of Sun:
At a high-performance computing conference in Dresden, Germany, he plans to introduce his newest machine: a supercomputer to be named the Sun Constellation System that will compete for the title as the worlds fastest when installation is complete this year.
A lot of these high-end systems are superego machines, he said, referring to the industry practice of competing for the ranking of the worlds fastest computing mcahine based on a single type of mathematical calculation. Indeed, some of the fastest supercomputers slow to a crawl when they are given types of problems that require the movement of significant amounts of data between processors.
Mr. Bechtolsheim thought he had found a solution to that problem by modifying an industry standard data switch, making it possible for any of the 13,000-plus Advanced Micro Devices Barcelona microprocessors to communicate with each other more than 10 times as fast as with existing switches.
Suhit Anantula lists out the companies and writes: “The best part of the above list is not even the sheer scale of his investments. It is his understanding of the big picture in energy options and dividing all his investments based on specific area including energy efficiency. He is betting wide in this area which may suggest that one, he is not yet decided on the best combination of alternative energy options that will be needed or two, we can interpret that it is a combination of sources combined with energy efficiency measures that will make the difference.”
The Economist writes: “What physics was to the 20th century, biology will be to the 21stand RNA will be a vital part of it.”
t is too early to be sure if the distinguishing feature of the 21st century will be biological technology, but there is a good chance that it will be. Simple genetic engineering is now routine; indeed, the first patent application for an artificial living organism has recently been filed. Both the idea of such an organism and the idea that someone might own the rights to it would have been science fiction even a decade ago. And it is not merely that such things are now possible. The other driving force of technological changenecessityis also there. Many of the big problems facing humanity are biological, or are susceptible to biological intervention. The question of how to deal with an ageing population is one example. Climate change, too, is intimately bound up with biology since it is the result of carbon dioxide going into the air faster than plants can remove it. And the risk of a new, lethal infection suddenly becoming pandemic as a result of modern transport links is as biological as it gets. Even the fact that such an infection might itself be the result of synthetic biology only emphasises the biological nature of future risks.
[via Anish Sankhalia] From Charlie’s Diary:
Let’s look at our notional end-point where the bandwidth and information processing revolutions are taking us as far ahead as we can see without positing real breakthroughs and new technologies, such as cheap quantum computing, pocket fusion reactors, and an artificial intelligence that is as flexible and unpredictable as ourselves. It’s about 25-50 years away.
Firstly, storage. I like to look at the trailing edge; how much non-volatile solid-state storage can you buy for, say, ten euros? (I don’t like rotating media; they tend to be fragile, slow, and subject to amnesia after a few years. So this isn’t the cheapest storage you can buy just the cheapest reasonably robust solid-state storage.)
Today, I can pick up about 1Gb of FLASH memory in a postage stamp sized card for that much money. fast-forward a decade and that’ll be 100Gb. Two decades and we’ll be up to 10Tb.
10Tb is an interesting number. That’s a megabit for every second in a year there are roughly 10 million seconds per year. That’s enough to store a live DivX video stream compressed a lot relative to a DVD, but the same overall resolution of everything I look at for a year.
Pip Coburn writes about a comment by Arnie Berman: “Replacement time frames for personal computers grow longer While simultaneously Replacement time frames for televisions shrink.”
VentureBeat writes about a talk given by Vinod Khosla:
Speaking at the Cleantech 2007 conference in Santa Clara, Khosla targeted the two primary carbon-emitting culprits oil and coal which he said collectively account for 70 percent of all greenhouse gas emissions.
He believes biomass and solar thermal offer the greatest potential to signifantly reduce the worlds dependence on fossil fuels.
Jon Udell envisions life in the future:
Your teacher assigns a report that will be published in your e-portfolio, which is a website managed by the school. Your parents tell you to write the report, and publish it into your space. Then they release it to the schools content management system. A couple of years later the school switches to a new system and breaks all the old URLs. But the original version remains accessible throughout your parents lives, and yours, and even your kids.