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HP Labs at Discover Barcelona: Rob Schreiber on what happens when Big Data and energy limits collide


Contributed by Simon Firth, freelance technology journalist




schreiber_web.jpg“By 2020, some 40 billion connected devices on the planet will be generating around 44 zetabytes of information annually,” notes HP Labs Senior Research Scientist Rob Schreiber.


“But we don’t need that raw data,” Schreiber adds. “We need information of value that is extracted from that data, and that poses a problem, because computers turn data into insight by using electricity as their fuel, and we’re running out of fuel.”


How we can best resolve this challenge is the subject of a talk Schreiber is presenting at HP Discover 2014 in Barcelona on Dec 3rd, titled “What happens when Big Data and energy limits collide?”


He’ll open by exploring the regulatory, economic, and environmental forces likely to keep power generation at current levels across developed economies for the foreseeable future – a trend that suggests the only way to process more data will be to do more computing per unit of power.


“The problem there is that our current strategies for increasing compute-per-joule are losing their effectiveness,” Schreiber explains. “Computers are nearing their theoretical maximum efficiency, we’re nearing the limits of how far we can shrink transistors, and the power efficiencies we gain from that shrinkage are rapidly declining. Data communication is also growing as a source of consumption.”


The solution, Schreiber will suggest, needs to come from an entirely fresh approach to computing – one that combines new System on Chip processors, new non-volatile memory and storage technologies, and new network technologies, all of which are being researched at HP Labs.


“Essentially, we need to develop some new Moore’s Laws related to computation, data storage and communication,” says Schreiber, who will describe HP’s vision for a synergistic combination of these technologies in what the company is calling The Machine.


“We need affordable, massive storage combined with both high performance processing and manageable power consumption,” he adds. “What I’ll be laying out is the only way we know of to get all three.”


Discover attendees can attend Rob Schreiber’s talk on Wednesday, December 3rd from 11:00 AM to 11:30 AM in the Discover Theater.

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