Speedy desktops on the way

University of Maryland (UM) researchers have developed a computer that is capable of computing speeds 100 times faster than current desktop models.

The computer is able to perform different tasks simultaneously thanks to a parallel processing system on a single chip.

The prototype contains a circuit board, the size of a car license plate, on which 64 parallel processors are mounted. Future developments could result in 1,000 processors fitted on a chip the size of a fingernail.

Uzi Vishkin, UM professor and developer of the prototype, explained the advantage of parallel processing: ‘Suppose you hire one person to clean your home, and it takes five hours, or 300 minutes, for the person to perform each task, one after the other. That’s analogous to the current serial processing method. Now imagine that you have 100 cleaning people who can work on your home at the same time! That’s the parallel processing method.’