Today I saw a short video that shows how powerful the mobile handset continues to become, in this case solving a Rubik’s Cube in seconds by using image capture, advanced algorithms and a powerful mobile platform, a Motorola Droid. The Droid is based on the TI OMAP 3430 application processor which is based on the ARM Cortex A8 processor.
This video triggered some thoughts about the future of the mobile handset as a platform to solve complex computational problems…
Imagine a future where battery consumption and/or network coverage were not an issue as today, and where sets of mobile handsets can be federated in real-time; hundreds, thousands or millions of handsets, as they become available or not (on the network), all working “together” to solve specific complex computational problems, in a similar fashion to how SETI @ Home uses millions and millions of idle CPU cycles from thousands (millions?) of PCs from around the world.
Let’s look at a relevant scenario. While there are millions of Facebook users there are billions of mobile handsets/users; now imagine a time in the future where most of the handsets are powerful-enough to solve the relevant parts of “their” social graph; millions of individual handsets solving their owner’s social graphs in real-time as it changes, then all stitched together somehow on the edge (the handset) or centrally on the network.
“Availability” is what precludes this vision of mobile-based distributed computing from happening; either because the handsets are not powerful-enough today or because of lack of connectivity due to issues related to battery, network coverage or IP visibility; but these limiting factors will go away, in the future.
The mobile handset is becoming so powerful that what I described above might be closer to reality than what we think.
The OMAP 3430