Multiplicity : The new kid(s) in town

Some of you might remember the film "Multiplicity" which was screened a decade ago, starring Michael Keaton in the lead role or lead roles.

Multiplicity was centred around Michael Keaton and his clones - real ones. They helped him in the beginning, but things went from bad to worse fairly quickly. One has to wonder whether the same thing is not going to happen in contemporary computing.

Multiplicity is the name of the game in the world of technology, circa 2006. Processors are cramming more and more cores on one chip, computers have now four video cards and new graphic cards now have two Graphic Processing Units. Of course, Operating systems are not forgotten; Virtualisation will allow several operating systems or instances of one operating system to cohabitate and spawn or disappear on demand. Storagewise, Redundant Array of Inexpensive Disks (RAID - combining two or more hard disk drives to maintain redundancy) is a common feature of most computers on sale nowadays.

Whether multiplicity is the right way to go is something that cannot be eluded. Actually, for the time being, it is the only way of actually improving technology and this is where the problem lies. Two heads are better than one and four heads are better than two. But multiplying the number of elements does not increase performance linearly.

Worse, precious resources are actually devoted to ways of cramming more of the same thing into a finite space rather than chasing innovation.

Multiplicity is bound to hit the performance/capacity wall even faster than most would expect.