HPE will be releasing the initial version of “the machine” in 2016. It’s expected to be about the size of a server rack, with 320 terabytes of memory and more than 2,500 CPU cores. But one key Machine component will be missing: the memristor.
Although HP previously showed off wafers containing memristors, a commercial offering has yet to emerge.
Hewlett Packard Enterprise. Machine prototype at Hewlett Packard Labs in Palo Alto.
When The Machine’s first prototype arrives, it will carry energy-hungry DRAM in their place. The memory will be a stand-in, the team says, that can be used to emulate later hardware and move development forward. “Everything the Machine team is doing is designed to get us to working, useful Machine prototypes as quickly as possible,” the group wrote to IEEE Spectrum. “We still believe memristors are the best candidate, but rather than waiting until memristors are ready before making prototype Machines, we’ll use more conventional memory to learn about memory fabrics and how operating systems, analytics, and applications should change now rather than waiting.” Memristors, in principle, will be slotted in later, although no time frame has been given for when that might occur.
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