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What’s Better Than 40 GPU-based Computers? A Computer With 40 GPUs

Engineers aim to use “silicon interconnect fabric” to build a computer with 40 GPUs on a single silicon wafer

4 min read
Silicon wafers
Photo: iStockphoto

Back in the 1980s, parallel computing pioneer Gene Amdahl hatched a plan to speed mainframe computing: a silicon-wafer-sized processor. By keeping most of the data on the processor itself instead of pushing it through a circuit board to memory and other chips, computing would be faster and more energy efficient.

With US $230 million from venture capitalists, the most ever at the time, Amdahl founded Trilogy Systems to make his vision a reality. This first commercial attempt at “wafer-scale integration” was such a disaster that it reportedly introduced the verb “to crater” into the financial press lexicon. Engineers at University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign and at University of California Los Angeles think it’s time for another go.

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The Transistor at 75

The past, present, and future of the modern world’s most important invention

2 min read
A photo of a birthday cake with 75 written on it.
Lisa Sheehan

Seventy-five years is a long time. It’s so long that most of us don’t remember a time before the transistor, and long enough for many engineers to have devoted entire careers to its use and development. In honor of this most important of technological achievements, this issue’s package of articles explores the transistor’s historical journey and potential future.

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