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Dee Yun: (contact-deleteme[at]-deleteme-direman [dot] com) 2006-02-17 00:11:22
That First Processor's Name Is Ashley
I just noticed that I neglected to work that into the dialogue somewhere. Dual processors...Mary-Kate and Ashley...they're twins, you see.
Dual-core Athlons are all the rage, the Xbox 360 has three cores, the PS3's Cell has nine, Dell has a gaming rig with four GPUs! What's going on here? What happened to the days of simply making a better microchip? Not too long ago, developers shunned the dual-core Sega Saturn as too troublesome to program for. Despite these difficulties, multi-core machines are becoming the norm.
I can only assume that, after forty years of existence, the microprocessor is finally reaching its technical limitations. Today's chips are more intricate and run hotter than ever before, and it would appear that research and development of more advanced chips is running into the issue of diminishing returns. (Is my inference correct? Anyone with hard factual information please post in the forums.)
So instead of developing a better processor to meet increasing computing demands, we're beginning to slap additional chips in there, like hitching more and more horses to an increasingly heavy wagon. We need the locomotive.
It may almost be here. Researchers at the University of Michigan have developed a new chip based on quantum mechanics. Rather than me botching the explanation, check it out here.
My favorite part is the quote from physicist Christopher Monroe, "With quantum mechanics, an object can be in two places at the same time, as long as you don't look at it." Schrodinger's cat gets the last laugh!