New IBM Chip Technology Battles Data Deluge

By Cindy Waxer November 09, 2010

Studies indicate that the human race created 150 exabytes (billion gigabytes) of data in 2005. This year, it will create 1,200 exabytes – a veritable data deluge that threatens to gobble precious bandwidth and slow networks to a grinding halt.

However, IBM is banking on a new chip-making process the company designed to create advanced semiconductors capable of keeping pace with the exploding number of Internet-connected devices and the tidal wave of data they are generating.

“We finally decided we would address the coming data tsunami,” IBM’s vice president of innovation Bernie Meyerson told “There’s a flood of data just chewing up the bandwidth of the Internet. As that flood grows, we needed to address this issue because the whole structure of the Internet needs to change.”

In fact, IBM estimates that there are one billion Internet users – two billion by next year, with billions of devices already connected. Smartphones, game consoles, digital TVS, GPS devices, MP3 players – they are all consumer gadgets transmitting data back and forth and consuming bandwidth. However, by introducing breakthrough semiconductor technologies such as Cu-32, IBM plans to help support next-generation networks that can perform feats such as moving six trillion text messages in less than ten seconds and downloading a feature-length film in less than ten seconds.

“CU-32 is designed to use some of our most advanced technologies that we’ve never before made available to the public,” said Meyerson. “This technology is about emphasizing the need for real-time processing of data, making decisions as to what you want to do with the data, and doing it all at an extremely low power level.”

The Cu-32 process works by employing unique IBM technology to increase the memory capacity and processing speeds of chips used in fiber-optic and wireless networks, and in such gear as routers and switches.

Because as the world’s infrastructure gets further digitized, now more than ever, there needs to be a more intelligent way to transmit data. After all, warns Meyerson, “without Cu-32, networks bog down and they become slow to respond. If you don’t have some way of dealing with the data deluge, you simply overload the network. The data networks we rely on are simply highways. They’re no different than any other highway. If you put too much traffic on them, they slow down and stop. So we need to find a way to deal with that highway more efficiently.”

Edited by Tammy Wolf

TechZone360 Contributing Editor

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