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Multiplicity : The new kid(s) in town

Some of you might remember the film "Multiplicity" which was screened a decade ago (opens in new tab), 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.

Désiré has been musing and writing about technology during a career spanning four decades. He dabbled in website building and web hosting when DHTML and frames were en vogue and started writing about the impact of technology on society just before the start of the Y2K hysteria at the turn of the last millennium. Following an eight-year stint at ITProPortal.com where he discovered the joys of global tech-fests, Désiré now heads up TechRadar Pro. Previously he was a freelance technology journalist at Incisive Media, Breakthrough Publishing and Vnunet, and Business Magazine. He also launched and hosted the first Tech Radio Show on Radio Plus.