At the Optical Fiber Conference on Monday, IBM
The new chip's clock speed has been estimated at 160 gigabits, or 160 billion bits of information. Beyond allowing users to download Will Ferrell's latest movie in a blink of an eye, the technology also offers a peek into an exciting new era of high-speed connectivity.
Everything from communications and computing to entertainment and modern medicine could be radically transformed. Digital data would no longer hit the bottleneck of copper wires. Among other things, this means digital X-rays could be zapped directly to a doctor's hand-held screen; oil engineers could review seismic analysis of promising oilfields on a real-time basis; and home entertainment networks would seamlessly and efficiently transfer movies and music among televisions, computers, and hand-held devices.
In the short term, these optical chipsets are likely to find a home in supercomputers, as well as the thousands of microprocessors that companies such as Google
IBM is not alone in the field. I have written about Intel's
Such a timeline may be a little long for short-term investors, but for those with a more patient outlook, today's news offers further evidence that IBM's prospects are not an optical illusion: The company is a solid, long-term investment.
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