Hewlett-Packard chief executive Meg Whitman on Friday gave the audience at a forum here a peek into the research being done by the computing giant.
Her firm wants to change the fundamental structure of computers, she said, to make them more ecologically sound and affordable.
Ms Whitman told New York Times columnist Thomas Friedman, who was moderating the exchange, that photonics technology, which centres on the use of light, can help create new computers that use less energy, emit less heat and cost less.
"The fundamental computing architecture hasn't changed in 60 years. It is becoming inefficient," she added, noting that the electronic components in a laptop are connected by copper wires which get hot.
More power is needed to cool the computer, which in turn drains battery life.
Ms Whitman, a former CEO of eBay and unsuccessful candidate for the governorship of California, said research in HP's labs has already commercialised a technology now used in the tech giant's Moonshot servers.
The servers, which hit the market early this year, use 89 per cent less energy, occupy 80 per cent less space, are 97 per cent less complex and 77 per cent cheaper than existing products.
This is possible partially because the servers use microprocessors that power smartphones, said Ms Whitman, who was speaking at The New York Times Global Forum Asia held at the Four Seasons Hotel.