Europe Wants a Supercomputer Made From Smartphones

An international consortium hopes to build exaflop supercomputers from mobile CPUs

3 min read
Europe Wants a Supercomputer Made From Smartphones
Photo: Mont-Blanc

Mont-blanc Blades of Glory: Mont-Blanc’s prototype contains 15 nodes made up of ARM-core processors. Photo: Mont-Blanc

A European private-public consortium wants to make supercomputers using smartphone and tablet CPUs. And not just any supercomputers. They’re shooting for the moon—aiming for exaflops (1018 or quintillions of floating-point operations per second), some thousandfold faster than the top of today’s high-performance heap.

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The Future of Deep Learning Is Photonic

Computing with light could slash the energy needs of neural networks

10 min read

This computer rendering depicts the pattern on a photonic chip that the author and his colleagues have devised for performing neural-network calculations using light.

Alexander Sludds

Think of the many tasks to which computers are being applied that in the not-so-distant past required human intuition. Computers routinely identify objects in images, transcribe speech, translate between languages, diagnose medical conditions, play complex games, and drive cars.

The technique that has empowered these stunning developments is called deep learning, a term that refers to mathematical models known as artificial neural networks. Deep learning is a subfield of machine learning, a branch of computer science based on fitting complex models to data.

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