Long back, almost half a century back, Richard Feynman spoke about future machines that small miniature ones will be capable of performing some of the biggest tasks. Just like most of his other concepts, this one too remained a science fiction for years and then came the nanotechnology that brought forth the concept of turning these dreams into reality. To celebrate the deep insight of Feynman, a team of computer and electrical engineers working at UC Santa Barbara recently developed a new design for a nanoscale computing device.
The concept mainly includes a dense, three-dimensional circuit opening over an innovative logic that can be packed into a block smaller than 50 nanometer in size, theoretically. Gina Adam, the postdoc researcher at UCSB’s computer science department and the lead author of this paper adds, “Novel computing paradigms are needed to keep up with the demand for faster, smaller and more energy-efficient devices. In a regular computer, data processing and memory storage are separated, which slows down computation. Processing data directly inside a three-dimensional memory structure would allow more data to be stored and processed much faster.”
Though efforts to bring down the dimensions of computing devices have been rampant for years. But the main challenges that were presented by Feynman in 1959 have been accomplished successfully. Scientists and engineers are trying to move a step ahead of those and create better technologies. Just think of a 8-bit adder working at 50-by-50 nanometer dimension is yet to be achieved. But as the development in technology is moving ahead in leaps and bounds, we are closer to this reality. Dmitri Strukov, a UCSB based computer science professor says, “Our contribution is that we improved the specific features of that logic and designed it so it could be built in three dimensions.”
The fundamental key to this development is the inculcation of a logic system known as material implication logic integrated with memristors – specific circuit elements that have resistance depending on direction of current flow and recent charges that passed through them.
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