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A new dimension for integrated circuits: 3-D nanomagnetic logic

September 30, 2014 1:39 pm | News | Comments

Electrical engineers in Germany have demonstrated a new kind of building block for digital integrated circuits. Their experiments show that future computer chips could be based on 3-D arrangements of nanometer-scale magnets instead of transistors. In a 3-D stack of nanomagnets, the researchers have implemented a so-called “majority” logic gate, which could serve as a programmable switch in a digital circuit.

Can our computers continue to get smaller and more powerful?

August 14, 2014 9:09 am | News | Comments

Chip designers are facing both engineering and...

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Researchers unveil experimental 36-core chip

June 23, 2014 7:38 am | by Larry Hardesty, MIT News Office | News | Comments

The more cores a computer chip has, the bigger the problem of communication between cores becomes. For years, Li-Shiuan Peh, a professor of electrical engineering and computer science at Massachusetts Institute of Technology, has argued that the massively multicore chips of the future will need to resemble little Internets, where each core has an associated router, and data travels between cores in packets of fixed size.

New prototype transistor consumes little power

June 4, 2014 7:37 am | News | Comments

The basic element of modern electronics, namely the transistor, suffers from significant current leakage. By enveloping a transistor with a shell of piezoelectric material, which distorts when voltage is applied, researchers in the Netherlands were able to reduce this leakage by a factor of five compared to a transistor without this material.

Hybrid technology could make Star Trek-style tricorder a reality

April 8, 2014 11:29 am | News | Comments

In the fictional Star-Trek universe, the tricorder was used to remotely scan patients for a diagnosis. A new device under development in the U.K. could perform that function through the use of chemical sensors on printed circuit boards. This would replace the current conventional diagnostic method, which is lengthy and is limited to single point measurements.

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Chips inspired by human brain process optical information

March 28, 2014 12:21 pm | News | Comments

Although neural networks have been used in the past to solve pattern recognition problems such as speech and image recognition, it was usually in software on a conventional computer. Researchers in Belgium have manufactured such a small neural network in hardware, using a silicon photonics chip. This chip is made ​​using the same technology as traditional computer chips but uses light instead of electricity as information carrier.

Assembling a colossus

March 20, 2014 9:19 am | News | Comments

Geneticists at the Univ. of California, Davis have decoded the genome sequence for the loblolly pine. The accomplishment is a milestone for genetics because this pine’s genome is massive. Bloated with repetitive sequences, it is seven times larger than the human genome and easily big enough to overwhelm standard genome assembly methods.

Making sense of big data

March 13, 2014 12:56 pm | by Wallace Ravven, UC Berkeley | News | Comments

Ben Recht, a statistician and electrical engineer at the Univ. of California, Berkeley, looks for problems. He develops mathematical strategies to help researchers, from urban planners to online retailers, cut through blizzards of data to find what they’re after. He resists the “needle in the haystack” metaphor for big data because, he says, people usually don’t know enough about their data to understand the goal.

Seeking quantum-ness: D-Wave chip passes rigorous tests

March 5, 2014 4:59 pm | News | Comments

The USC Viterbi School of Engineering is home to the USC-Lockheed Martin Quantum Computing Center (QCC), a super-cooled, magnetically shielded facility specially built to house the first commercially available quantum computing processors. There are only two in use, and elaborate tests on the quantum processor, called D-Wave, indicate that it does use special laws of quantum mechanics to operate.

Professor invents magnet for fast and cheap data storage

March 3, 2014 12:20 pm | News | Comments

According to recent findings by an international team of computer engineers, optical data storage does not require expensive magnetic materials because synthetic alternatives work just as well. The team’s discovery that synthetic ferrimagnets can be switched optically brings a much cheaper method for storing data using light a step closer.

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Want your computer to go faster? Just add light

February 25, 2014 1:26 pm | by Angela Herring, Northeastern Univ. | News | Comments

Last year, a physicist and a mechanical engineer at Northeastern Univ. com­bined their expertise to integrate electronic and optical properties on a single electronic chip, enabling them to switch electrically using light alone. Now, they have built three new devices that implement this fast technology: an AND-gate, an OR-gate and a camera-like sensor made of 250,000 miniature devices.

How do you build a large-scale quantum computer?

February 25, 2014 1:13 pm | by E. Edwards, Joint Quantum Institute | News | Comments

The physical implementation of a full-scale universal quantum computer remains an extraordinary challenge for physicists, mainly because existing approaches lose their “quantum-ness” as they are scaled up. At the Joint Quantum Institute, a new modular architecture is being explored that offers scalability to large numbers of qubits, and its components have been tested and are available.

Smarter caching

February 19, 2014 7:32 am | by Larry Hardesty, MIT News Office | News | Comments

Computer chips keep getting faster because transistors keep getting smaller. But the chips themselves are as big as ever, so data moving around the chip, and between chips and main memory, has to travel just as far. As transistors get faster, the cost of moving data becomes, proportionally, a more severe limitation. So far, chip designers have circumvented that limitation through the use of “caches”.

NJIT visualizes impact of electrical engineering on society

February 14, 2014 11:37 am | News | Comments

For aspiring electrical engineers, New Jersey Institute of Technology has pulled together in one “tall” infographic a brief history of the breakthroughs and impact of electrical engineering advances since the 1830s, when the telegraph marked the first time that electric currents were used to transmit messages. Since then, electrical devices have a dramatic effect on our daily lives.

3-D-stacked hybrid SRAM cell to be built by European scientists

February 7, 2014 9:49 am | News | Comments

European scientists from both academia and industry have begun an ambitious new research project focused on an alternative approach to extend Moore's Law. The research project, coordinated IBM Research in Zurich and called COMPOSE³, is based on the use of new materials to replace today's silicon, and on taking an innovative design approach where transistors are stacked vertically, known as 3-D stacking.

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Scientists use “voting”, “penalties” to overcome errors in quantum optimization

February 7, 2014 8:26 am | by Robert Perkins, Univ. of Southern California | News | Comments

Seeking a solution to decoherence, scientists have developed a strategy of linking quantum bits together into voting blocks, a strategy that significantly boosts their accuracy. In a recently published paper, the team found that their method results in at least a five-fold increase in the probability of reaching the correct answer when the processor solves the largest problems tested by the researcher, involving hundreds of qubits.

Self-aligning DNA wires have been constructed for nanoelectronics

January 30, 2014 11:46 am | News | Comments

Continuous miniaturization in microelectronics is nearing physical limits, so researchers are seeking new methods for device fabrication. One promising candidate is a DNA origami technique in which individual strands of the biomolecule self-assemble into arbitrarily-shaped nanostructures. A new simpler strategy combines DNA origami with self-organized pattern formation to do away with elaborate procedures for positioning DNA structures.

Integration brings quantum computer a step closer

January 30, 2014 11:29 am | News | Comments

Scientists and engineers from an international collaboration have, for the first time, generated and manipulated single particles of light (photons) on a silicon chip. This accomplishment, which required shrinking down key components and integrating them onto a silicon microchip, is a major step forward in the race to build a quantum computer.

Computing with silicon neurons

January 28, 2014 1:20 pm | News | Comments

Scientists in Germany, inspired by the odor-processing nervous system of insects, have recently refined a new technology that is based on parallel data processing. Called neuromorphic computing, their system is composed of silicon neurons linked together in a similar fashion to the nerve cells in our brains. If the assembly is fed with data, all silicon neurons work in parallel to solve the problem.

Cooling microprocessors with carbon nanotubes

January 23, 2014 7:48 am | News | Comments

“Cool it!” That’s a prime directive for microprocessor chips and a promising new solution to meeting this imperative is in the offing. Researchers with the U.S. Dept. of Energy’s Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory have developed a process-friendly technique that would enable the cooling of microprocessor chips through carbon nanotubes.

Intel says its processors are now "conflict-free"

January 7, 2014 2:08 am | by PETER SVENSSON - AP Technology Writer - Associated Press | News | Comments

Intel Corp., the world's largest maker of computer processors, says its processors are now free of minerals from mines held by armed groups in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. It's the first major U.S. technology company to make such a claim about its products.

Nvidia promotes new chip with crop circle

January 6, 2014 8:24 am | by Peter Svensson, AP Technology Writer | News | Comments

A 310-foot "crop circle" in a California barley field that mystified locals this week was explained Sunday: it was a publicity stunt by Nvidia Corp., a maker of chips for PCs and smartphones. The company has announced the Tegra K1, a new chip for tablets and smartphones that contains 192 computing "cores," or mini-computers, for graphics applications.

RIKEN selected to develop exascale supercomputer

December 27, 2013 10:51 am | News | Comments

The Advanced Institute for Computational Science at RIKEN has been selected by the Japanese government to develop a new exascale supercomputer. The new supercomputer, which is scheduled to begin working in 2020, will compute on the "exaflop" scale and will be about 100 times faster than the K computer which was the world’s fastest in 2011.

High-frequency, low-power tunneling transistor could power high-performance devices

December 12, 2013 5:22 pm | News | Comments

Researchers have proved the feasibility of a new type of transistor that could enable fast and low-power computing devices for energy-constrained applications such as smart sensor networks and implantable medical electronics. Called a near broken-gap tunnel field effect transistor, the new device uses the quantum mechanical tunneling of electrons through an ultra-thin energy barrier to provide high current at low voltage.

Riding an electron wave into the future of microchip fabrication

November 12, 2013 7:11 pm | News | Comments

A recently developed plasma-based chip fabrication technique affords chip makers unprecedented control of plasma thanks to a population of suprathermal electrons. This is critical to modern microchip fabrication, but how the beam electrons transform themselves into this suprathermal population has been a puzzle. New computer simulations reveal how intense plasma waves generate suprathermal electrons.

Synaptic transistor learns while it computes

November 4, 2013 2:07 pm | News | Comments

Our brains have upwards of 86 billion neurons, connected by synapses that not only complete myriad logic circuits; they continuously adapt to stimuli, strengthening some connections while weakening others. Materials scientists have now created a new type of transistor that mimics the behavior of a synapse. The novel device simultaneously modulates the flow of information in a circuit and physically adapts to changing signals.

NSF awards $12 million to deploy Comet supercomputer

October 7, 2013 2:24 am | News | Comments

The San Diego Supercomputer Center at the Univ. of California, San Diego, has been awarded a grant from the National Science Foundation to build Comet, a new petascale supercomputer designed to transform advanced scientific computing by expanding access and capacity among research domains. Comet will be capable of an overall peak performance of nearly two petaflops, or two quadrillion operations per second.

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