Meg Whitman on stage at Discover.

Innovation at Work: How HPE is Leading the Future of Memory-Driven Computing

By Meg Whitman

President & CEO, Hewlett Packard Enterprise

 

Since the beginning of the computing age, we have come to expect more and more from technology and what it can deliver–faster, more powerful, more connected.

But today’s computing systems – from smartphones to supercomputers – are based on a fundamental platform that hasn’t changed in sixty years. That platform is now approaching a maturation phase that, left unchecked, may limit the possibilities we see for the future. Our ability to process, store, manage and secure information is being challenged at a rate and scale we've never seen before.

 

Computing In a Time of 'Everything Computes'

By 2020, 20 billion connected devices will generate record volumes of data. That number doesn’t even account for the information that we expect will be generated by the growing internet of industrial assets. Even if we could move all that data from the edge to the core, today’s supercomputers would struggle to keep up with our need to derive timely insights from that mass of information. In short, today's computers can't sustain the pace of innovation needed to serve a globally connected market.

To many, this feels like uncharted waters. But at Hewlett Packard Enterprise, we've invented the future over and over again. With a legacy of innovation that stretches over 75 years, from the audio oscillator to the first programmable scientific calculator to the first commercially available RISC chipset to composable infrastructure, we didn’t just seek to address problems – we sought to solve them by rethinking computing.

Today I’m proud to share that our team has successfully achieved a major breakthrough in our work to redefine computing as we know it. We have built the first proof-of-concept prototype that illustrates our Memory-Driven Computing architecture, a significant milestone in The Machine research program we announced just over two years ago. We believe this has the potential to change everything.

 

Introducing Memory-Driven Computing

Even the most advanced computing systems store information in many different layers and spend time shuffling data between them. Memory-Driven Computing enables a massive and essential leap in performance by putting memory, not the processor, at the center of the computing architecture – dramatically increasing the scale of computational power that we can achieve.

In this era of "everything computes” – from smartphones to smart homes, sophisticated supercomputers to intelligent devices at the edge – Memory-Driven Computing has the potential to power innovations that aren’t possible today. And we're working overtime to commercialize this technology throughout our product roadmap—from servers and software for enabling the data center of the future to providing advanced platforms for capturing value from the Internet of Things.

We began research into Memory-Driven technologies to solve a fundamental and emerging challenge. We sought to take that challenge head-on by discovering new ways of increasing computational speed, efficiency and performance. That became The Machine research project. Since that time, we have invented new technologies and made discoveries that have resulted in breakthroughs in the fields of photonics communications, non-volatile memory and systems architecture. In October, we successfully integrated these breakthroughs into a unified Memory-Driven Computing architecture that allowed us to share memory across multiple computing nodes for the first time.

This milestone in The Machine research program demonstrates that Memory-Driven Computing is not just possible, but a reality. Working with this prototype, HPE will be able to evaluate, test and verify the key functional aspects of this new computer architecture and future system designs, setting the industry blueprint for the future of technology.

This is perhaps the largest and most complex research project in our company’s history, and I’m immensely proud of what the team has been able to achieve.

And this is just the first of many milestones to come. As our founders might have said: we aren't waiting to find out what's next, we're inventing what's needed. We are confident that a Memory-Driven future is ahead and that HPE will continue to advance the technologies that will not only take the data deluge head-on but will also enable possibilities we have yet to imagine. 

 

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Behind-The-Scenes of The Machine Research Project