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Quick-change materials break the silicon speed limit for computers

Quick-change materials break the silicon speed limit for computers | Science, Technology, and Current Futurism | Scoop.it
An alternative for increasing processing speed without increasing the number of logic devices is to increase the number of calculations which each device can perform, which is not possible using silicon, but the researchers have demonstrated that multiple calculations are possible for PCM logic/memory devices.
Sharrock's insight:

excerpt: "The intrinsic switching, or crystallization, speed of existing PCMs is about ten nanoseconds, making them suitable for replacing flash memory. By increasing speeds even further, to less than one nanosecond (as demonstrated by the Cambridge and Singapore researchers in 2012), they could one day replace computer dynamic random-access memory (DRAM), which needs to be continually refreshed, by a non-volatile PCM replacement."

 



Read more at: http://phys.org/news/2014-09-quick-change-materials-silicon-limit.html#jCp

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33rd Square: Silicon Photonics Breakthrough Promises To Extend Moore's Law

33rd Square: Silicon Photonics Breakthrough Promises To Extend Moore's Law | Science, Technology, and Current Futurism | Scoop.it
Researchers have developed a new technique in silicon photonics that could allow for exponential improvement in microprocessors to continue well into the future.
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High Energy Silicon Batteries Edge Closer to Market | MIT Technology Review

High Energy Silicon Batteries Edge Closer to Market | MIT Technology Review | Science, Technology, and Current Futurism | Scoop.it
Amprius’s silicon-based batteries are starting to appear in electronics.
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A pair of breakthroughs in photonics could allow for faster and faster electronics

A pair of breakthroughs in photonics could allow for faster and faster electronics | Science, Technology, and Current Futurism | Scoop.it

A pair of breakthroughs in the field of silicon photonics by researchers at the University of Colorado Boulder, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Micron Technology Inc. could allow for the trajectory of exponential improvement in microprocessors that began nearly half a century ago—known as Moore's Law—to continue well into the future, allowing for increasingly faster electronics, from supercomputers to laptops to smartphones.

The research team, led by CU-Boulder researcher Milos Popovic, an assistant professor of electrical, computer and energy engineering, developed a new technique that allows microprocessors to use light, instead of electrical wires, to communicate with transistors on a single chip, a system that could lead to extremely energy-efficient computing and a continued skyrocketing of computing speed into the future.

 

Popovic and his colleagues created two different optical modulators—structures that detect electrical signals and translate them into optical waves—that can be fabricated within the same processes already used in industry to create today's state-of-the-art electronic microprocessors. The modulators are described in a recent issue of the journal Optics Letters.

 

First laid out in 1965, Moore's Law predicted that the size of the transistors used in microprocessors could be shrunk by half about every two years for the same production cost, allowing twice as many transistors to be placed on the same-sized silicon chip. The net effect would be a doubling of computing speed every couple of years.

 

The projection has held true until relatively recently. While transistors continue to get smaller, halving their size today no longer leads to a doubling of computing speed. That's because the limiting factor in microelectronics is now the power that's needed to keep the microprocessors running. The vast amount of electricity required to flip on and off tiny, densely packed transistors causes excessive heat buildup.

 

"The transistors will keep shrinking and they'll be able to continue giving you more and more computing performance," Popovic said. "But in order to be able to actually take advantage of that you need to enable energy-efficient communication links."


Via Dr. Stefan Gruenwald
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Rob Hatfield, M.Ed.'s curator insight, October 3, 2013 9:40 PM

This is a STEM trend in the making.