It would seem that the electronics PR and media world has gone a little bit vampiric this week, with New Electronics to the Beeb to Gizmodo everybody is talking about the IBM prototype computer which runs on what it calls ‘electronic blood’. Imagine how easy this story is to pitch to media!
The ‘blood’ is effectively an electrolyte liquid to carry power in and take heat out. The solution, called the ‘redox flow’ system, involves chips interlayered with tiny pipes. First a liquid – the electrolyte – is charged via electrodes. It is then pumped into the computer, where it discharges energy to the chip.
The technology is ultimately inspired by the human brain, which is such a massively more dense and efficient computing device than current computers… 10,000 times more IBM informs us. Apparently 99% of a computer’s volume is devoted to cooling and powering, and only 1% is used to process information. In contrast the brain uses 40% of its volume for functional performance – and only 10% for energy and cooling. That’s possible because it uses only one – extremely efficient – network of capillaries and blood vessels to transport heat and energy – all at the same time…. and there lies the inspiration for the ‘electronic blood’. Genius.
IBM’s prototype is part of its ultimate goal to put a petaflop computer – currently the size of half a football pitch – into a desktop PC by 2060.
That’s pretty cool, but who has got the heart to tell them about the tablet and smartphone revolution and the fact that nobody is going to be using a desktop PC in 2060?
photo credit: twm1340