How ironic is it that we want our smartphones to increase in size while computers are desired to be smaller?
Three years ago, the University of Michigan had presented the Michigan Micro Mote (M3), which is the smallest computer up till the impending IBM’s production. M3 was estimated to be at the microscopic size of 2mm x 2mm – which is exactly double that of IBM’s version.
The International Business Machines Corporation (IBM) is introducing new ideas at the IBM Think 2018 conference this week. They are presenting the series “5 in 5” from the IBM Research inventions and technologies. The name “5 in 5” is likely to have generated from the fact that these inventions are expected to make a difference in our lives within the following five years, as mentioned at the conference, “that could change our lives in the next five years”. The conference is centered on matters such as Artificial Intelligence, block chain and quantum computing. Amidst these subjects, Mashable has pointed out the single main selling point.
IBM is coming up with the smallest computer that has yet to exist on earth.
Nonetheless, they have not debuted the actual product as of now. Still, they have provided ample information to keep us interested. Here’s what we know so far. The dimension of said computer will be 1mm x 1mm – this is tinier than a pinch of salt. What’s more, is that the cost of production is presumably less than one dime.
Click here for a visual comparison of one such computer with a grain of salt to get a sense of its size.
Of course, tech-geniuses are no doubt more concerned over the features that it entails. To begin with, the processor in the IBM’s smallest computers include “several hundred thousand” transistors. They also consist of an SRAM memory and a photovoltaic cell for power. In addition, the communications unit apparently make use of an LED and a photo-detector to connect to the external world. Rumor has it that these IBM computers devise the power of an x86 chip, presumably from the 1990. This amount of power is almost sufficient to process the original DOOM, a gaming application. According to the coding file (README.TXT) for DOOM, a 386 processor and a RAM (random access memory) of 4 megabytes is required as the benchmark to run the system.
The Verge has expressed optimism and hope for IBM to repurpose the chip’s LED as a one-pixel display as well as providing the public with more information on the product’s performance metrics, preferably within the next five years.
Here’s a detailed video of the transistors.
As of now, the IBM has not even disclosed, or perhaps come up, with an actual name for the tiniest computers in the world.
There was a time when computers were so big in size that we had to make room for them, and they were quite expensive, too. Now, with such tiny exterior, they are able to be located conveniently anywhere, ranging from the back of a monitor to simply placing it by an entertainment center. Needless to say, the features and capacity far exceeds the dimensions in terms of importance to users. The low cost of manufacture is undeniably a desirable element, assuming that as a result, the price will also be low. However, that is often not the case, as producers will mark up the costs in order to increase profits.
Conversely, in a relatively free market system like ours, producers are not the only decisive factor of the price of goods and services. Consumers, too, play a large part in the law of demand and supply. However, none of this matters until IBM actually announces and debuts the product, which is why we can only wait and be in awe of this breakthrough.