HP never shied away from big names for its computers. There are high-performance servers named Apollo and optimized computing systems called Moonshot. And then there’s The Machine.
When Hewlett-Packard Co.—now split in two—announced The Machine in Las Vegas in 2014, it presented the project as a near-complete overhaul of traditional computer architecture. Gone were the CPU-centric architecture, the slow copper communications, and the messy hierarchy of traditional memory. In their place, specialized computing cores, speedy light-carrying photonic connections, and a massive store of dense, energy-efficient memristor memory. The resulting computer, its designers say, will be efficient enough to manipulate petabyte-scale data sets in an unprecedented fashion, expanding what companies and scientists can accomplish in areas such as graph theory, predictive analytics, and deep learning in a way that could improve our daily lives.
There is nothing small about what HP promised. Now the question is what will come of the initial claims. It seems we’ll soon get a glimpse of the vision, realized in hardware; Hewlett Packard Labs (formerly HP Labs) says it hopes to unveil its first large-scale prototype of The Machine in 2016. The
A quick glance at the new ranking of top supercomputers reveals a surprising showing by one of the world’s technological powerhouses: Taiwan does not possess a single machine powerful enough to make the Top500.org list. While there are many nations that don’t make the list, Taiwan is peculiar in that it has such an outsized grip on the computer chip industry. What’s more, its political rival, China, not only has the world’s top machine, it now has more ranking supercomputers than any nation except the United States.
It has been a long decline. Taiwan’s most powerful supercomputer, the Advanced Large-scale Parallel Supercluster, also known as ALPS or Windrider, ranked 42nd in June 2011, shortly after its launch.
But the process of upgrading Taiwan’s supercomputing infrastructure has been slowed by ineffective government budget allocation. Since 2013, the National Center for High-performance Computing (NCHC), located in Hsinchu City, which operates Windrider, has failed twice to get enough of a budget boost to strengthen its supercomputing ability. While other countries poured money into the installation of powerful supercomputers as a way to show national power, Windrider fell to 303rd and then 445th in June 2014 and June