Low-power chips to get more focus at Intel

Low-power chips to get more focus at Intel: "Intel plans to announce today that it has created a new manufacturing process for making semiconductor chips that run on low power, a major departure from its long-term focus on making ever-faster chips.

The world's largest chip maker has created a process to reduce power consumption for some of its chips up to 1,000 times. Such low-power chips are more suitable for smaller, portable electronics such as handheld computers and cell phones."

How smart do things have to be? Are we talking about putting pentium 4's in washing machines?
Low power usage per chip is crucial since we are going to be moving to vastly parallel architectures in the next decade or so. I'd love to see a modern 64 bit chip running at 1 GHz but using only 0.1 watt - you could have a thousand of these in a desktop. Not all types of programs can be made to run efficiently on a parallel machine - but many of the hard, computing intensive ones can be. In particular, neural nets, genetic algorithms, and physical system modeling are all highly parallelizable...
Part of the point is that you can do a great deal with 1GHz, but you can't do it for very long on a portable system because batteries are universally ackowledged to be horrible.

Low power chips means today's robots have effectively higher functionality and can operate in more domains because high speed processors draw less power.

Too bad motors also require lots of power. The solution is probably something closer to real world biology, where springs (tendons) are used all the time to conserve energy.
Mmmmm... chips....
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