HP Invented a New Computer That Could Make Data Centers Obsolete

Hewlett-Packard is developing an entirely new kind of computer. But this isn't some cheap laptop, quirky mobile device, or whatever else you assume HP makes these days; this is a snarling industrial-strength beast that could replace an entire data center with a single unit the size of a refrigerator.

Nicknamed "The Machine," the new hardware is still being pieced together at HP Labs—the research division of the company—and it sounds like it's taking it awfully seriously. Businessweek reports that the company "will bring the Machine to market within the next few years or fall on its face trying." Indeed, Martin Fink, the head of HP Labs thinks that they "have no choice" but to.

So what's all the fuss about? Well, precise details are scant, but Businessweek claims that it's a completely new form of computer architecture that could entirely replace the forms of computing we're used to: different memory, super fast data transfer, new operating systems written from the ground up. New everything, and so powerful that a unit the size of refrigerator could replace an entire data center.

According to Businessweek, the Machine was conceived around two years ago when Fink pondered what might happens if he combined all the individual projects that HP Labs was working on. Rolling everything together—from the new form of memory called memristors to data transfer using light instead of copper wires—he pitched the idea to HP's CEO Meg Whitman. She insisted more money be sent the way of the Labs.

Now, the engineers reckon they'll be able to release the system within the next few years, and HP is expected to release more details at a conference later today. That could be the first HP announcement we've been excited about in a very, very long time. [Businessweek]

Image by David under Creative Commons license.