Simulation may be the sincerest form of sweet talk, but it could also be the key to a supple parallel computer structural design that can smash its competitors. Researchers at the NEC Research organization in Princeton, New Jersey, are using a mixture of optics and electronics to construct a system that can be reconfigured to perform as if it were any of today’s conservative parallel computers. The consequence should be a machine that can be right away reconfigured to suit a particular application, thereby making it run as quick as a computer that was specially designed for the job.
While personal computers PCs have a single chip acting as a central processor, parallel computers split up complicated tasks between several processors. In computer graphics, for instance, every processor can work on a dissimilar part of the image concurrently to generate the final image very quickly. But to assist properly, the processors must “converse”.