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Netbook Processors Create Huge Efficiency Boost In Supercomputers

Researchers from Goethe University and the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT) have used relatively cheap components to create a vastly more efficient method of processing data.

The teams, led by Professors Ulrich Meyer at Goethe and and Peter Sanders from KIT, used netbook processors developed by Intel and solid-state disks to process three to four times as much data per kilowatt hour of electricity as previous recordholders.

The records will be listed in the Sort Benchmark an online record book for data sorting processes published by a committee made up of tech leaders from firms including Hewlett-Packard, Microsoft and Ordinal Technology.

The researchers approached the high-level computing challenge in a backwards fashion: In order to get highly energy efficient processing of huge amounts of data, the team used cheap materials in large numbers.

In announcing the record, Peter Sanders said in a statement that, "In the long run, many small, power-efficient and cooperating systems are going to replace the so far used, heavy weighted ones."

While the method won't lead to a ranking in the list of greenest supercomputers, it may mean that as more and more affordable electronics hit the market, the overall energy used by gadgets could decline.

Microchip photo CC-licensed by Flick user nDevilTV.

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