A prototype of what may be the next generation of personal computers has been developed by researchers at the University of Maryland. The system is capable of computing speeds 100 times faster than current desktops and is based on parallel processing on a single chip, an approach that allows the computer to perform different tasks simultaneously.

The prototype uses a circuit board about the size of a license plate on which 64 parallel processors are mounted. To control those processors, they have developed the crucial parallel computer organization that allows the processors to work together and make programming simple for developers. In future devices, the technology could include 1,000 processors on a chip the size of a fingernail.

Uzi Vishkin, UM professor and developer of the prototype, explained the advantage of parallel processing: "Suppose you hire one person to clean your home, and it takes five hours, or 300 minutes, for the person to perform each task, one after the other. That's analogous to the current serial processing method. Now imagine that you have 100 cleaning people who can work on your home at the same time! That's the parallel processing method."

For more information on the technology, and to find out how you can submit a name for the technology, visit here .