John Sontag has seen the future—or at least Hewlett-Packard’s version of it. Sontag, vice president and director of Systems Research at HP Labs, has been in charge of the team developing “The Machine,” an experimental piece of computing hardware that HP executives hope will be the template upon which the future of networked computing is built. In an interview with Ars, Sontag explained how the core technologies of The Machine—memristor-based memory and low-cost silicon-to-optic interfaces—will change the shape of computing.
The Machine is a hyper-dense collection of computing hardware that could be used in anything from a data center to a mobile device. It has terabytes of storage and a much smaller power draw than today’s computing devices—all because of memristor-based memory and optical interconnects.