"Surely, it is the world's faster CPU"
"Researchers from IBM and Georgia Institute of Technology designed and built a computer processor that broke the world speed record reaching an astonishing 500GHz speed, more than one hundred times faster than the fastest commonly available computer chip.
Most processors are made from silicon, but in recent years several discoveries were made that revealed that there are other materials better suited for high processing speeds than silicon. There are a number of time critical systems, like collision-warning systems, where the silicon based processor is already being replaced by CPUs made from a layer of gallium arsenide, even if the materials needed are expensive and more difficult to produce. Because an extensive transition to another base material would be very costly and would take huge amount of time to complete, the computer hardware industry is searching for ways to improve existing silicon based CPUs. Such a way is to add small amount of germanium inside the silicon-based chips that are designed for mobile phones in order to make them more efficient.
Germanium allows chips to reach higher clock speeds and use less power and such processors can be fabricated using the existing production lines. Even so, reaching the 500GHz frequency was no easy feat, as the IBM researchers super cooled the processor prototype to -268.5 degrees Celsius, using liquid helium. The extremely low temperature, just above the minimum theoretical possible one known as "absolute zero", enabled the processor perform half a trillion calculations every second, which translates into a speed of 500GHz. "A decade ago we couldn't even envisage being able to run at these speeds," said Professor David Ahlgren of IBM.
The extreme speed of the prototype processor was greater than the conventional design even at room temperature where it reached 350 billion calculations per second and there are hopes that the mark can be pushed further. "We observe effects in these devices at cryogenic temperatures which potentially make them faster than simple theory would suggest," said Professor John Cressler of the Georgia Institute of Technology, who was cited by the news site related to BBC."
Related: Intel Cranks Xeon Quad-core Processor up to 3GHz (sorta )