IBM Opens Its Power Line To A Future Of Customizable Processors

In the future, you may see widespread use of Power-based CPUs, but they wonit all be the same chip. According to IBM, future chips from the company will have the ability to be configured based on the needs of the customer. One processor could be optimized for use in anything from a supercomputer to a video game console or an embedded device.

IBM today also demonstrated its POWER5 microprocessor, which has the ability to run different operating systems in so-called "virtual micropartitions." From IBM:

IBM today outlined plans to openly collaborate and build a community of innovation around its Power microprocessor architecture used in a vast range of products from the worldis most powerful enterprise systems and supercomputers to games and embedded devices. The move could have major implications for computers and the electronics industry at large.

This unprecedented step by IBM is designed to create a platform for innovation that enables researchers and electronics makers to add the features and capabilities that will drive new devices and applications. The move recognizes the fact that it is the final chip designs ? more than the underlying architecture ? where innovation is taking place to create entire systems in silicon, not just electronics components.

Also, for the first time, IBM demonstrated its upcoming POWER5 microprocessor running multiple operating systems in virtual micropartitions. POWER5, which is IBMis own high-end design using the Power Architecture, will drive future versions of IBMis industry-leading server and storage systems. The PowerPC implementation of Power Architecture will continue to serve the OEM community.

At an event called Power Everywhere held here today, IBM described how the Power Architecture is gaining momentum, including several major new licensing agreements, customers, products and technology demonstrations. Most notable were new IBM programs that incent other companies, business partners and university researchers to use the technology to create a wide variety of chips that can power a diverse set of electronics products.

You can read the full announcement at IBMis Web site. If youire interested in more information about IBMis chipmaking history, Slashdot points out a long, indepth article on the subject posted at IBMis site.