In an effort to emulate the human brain, IBM has created a computer that delivers power and cooling through the same liquid system.
IBM has announced a new prototype computer that is cooled and powered via an electrolyte liquid, a kind of electronic blood. The system, called “redox flow” aims to emulate the human brain and make computers more efficient. IBM’s ultimate goal with the system is to put a Petaflop computer, currently the size of half a football field, into a desktop PC by the year 2060.
Dr. Bruno Michel,who with Dr. Patrick Ruch demoed the system in Zurich, puts forth a lofty goal: “We want to fit a supercomputer inside a sugar cube. To do that, we need a paradigm shift in electronics; we need to be motivated by our brain. The human brain is 10,000 times more dense and efficient than any computer today.”
Dr. Patrick Ruch with the Redox Flow prototype
For perspective, consider IBM’s Watson super computer. It took part in a game of Jeopardy and while it used 85,000 watts to take part in the game show, its human competitors made do with 20 watts.
How is the human brain so efficient? Michel explains: “The human brain is 10,000 times more dense and efficient than any computer today. That’s possible because it uses only one – extremely efficient – network of capillaries and blood vessels to transport heat and energy – all at the same time.”