What's the Latest Development?

By drilling 48 tiny holes into a standard chip, IBM has created an innovative design capable of transferring one terabit of information per second. Called the Holey Optochip, the chip has the ability to download 500 HD movies per second and could bring optical processing, which until now has been used mostly for long-distance telecommunications, to today's supercomputers, greatly improving the bandwidth between individual processors. IBM Optical Links Group manager Clint Schow said the chip will be used for rack-to-rack interconnects within supercomputers.

What's the Big Idea?

The Holey Optochip is IBM's second big announcement in as many weeks. Previously, the company publicized its creation of a single-atom processor for a quantum computer. While impressive, quantum computers remain theoretical whereas the Holey Optochip was created out of standard chip parts, meaning that it could make its way to market rather quickly. "Although IBM itself won't be mass-producing the chips, Schow said they could become commercially available within a year or two. Price points could be in the $100 to $200 range."

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