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Supercomputers 'will Fit in a Sugar Cube,' Ibm Says


prototype chip stacks

IBM's prototype chip stacks are cooled by water that flows between layers.

Credit: IBM Research Zurich

IBM researchers led by Bruno Michel have developed a water-cooling method for creating supercomputer processors that could shrink them to the size of a sugar cube. The approach, called Aquasar, involves stacking many computer processors on top of one another and cooling them with water flowing between each one. Aquasar is almost 50 percent more energy efficient than the world's leading supercomputers, according to IBM.

"In the future, the 'Green 500' will be the important list, where computers are listed according to their efficiency," Michel says. The water-cooling system is based on a slimmed-down, more efficient circulation of water that borrows ideas from the human body's circulatory system. "But several challenges remain before this technology can be implemented—issues concerning thermal dissipation are among the most critical engineering challenges facing [three-dimensional] semiconductor technology," Michel says.

From BBC News
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