The new computer was the highlight of a keynote speech by CEO Meg Whitman and CTO Martin Fink, the head of HP Labs, at the company's HP Discover customer conference being held this week in Las Vegas.
The Machine is a project that, if successful, could replace a giant data center worth of gear with a computer the size of a refrigerator, reports Businessweek's Ashlee Vance
More importantly, it will instantly process mind-boggling amounts of data while sipping only a tiny bit of energy. Whitman says the machine will mean "energy consumption problems will virtually disappear" for data centers.
That compares to today, where if cloud computing were a country, in terms of energy consumption, it would rank fifth in the world, Whitman says.
Basically, the machine uses a new homegrown operating system, a new superfast way to transfer data that uses light (i.e. photonics) instead of the copper wiring traditionally used by Ethernet cables and a whole new kind of memory called "memristors."
A memristor is a type of memory that HP says is faster and more efficient than flash memory. Its claim to fame is that it doesn't lose data even when a device loses power or runs out of battery. HP isn't the only company working on these technologies, although it is a particular pioneer on the science of memristors.