Magnetic Chips Can Increase Computer Energy Efficiency

Posted: Mar 14 2016, 8:56am CDT | by , in News | Latest Science News

Magnetic Chips can Increase Computer Energy Efficiency
Magnetic microscope image of three nanomagnetic computer bits. Each bit is a tiny bar magnet only 90 nanometers long. The microscope shows a bright spot at the "North" end and a dark spot at the "South" end of the magnet. The "H" arrow shows the direction of magnetic field applied to switch the direction of the magnets. Image by Jeongmin Hong and Jeffrey Bokor
  • Magnetic Chips can Sharply Boost Computer Energy Efficacy

Researchers have found that magnetic chips can sharply boost computer energy efficacy.

Energy efficiency in case of computers is the ultimate goal of AI. Engineers from the University of California, Berkeley have demonstrated on a real time basis that computer microchips can work under the lowest of energy dissipation conditions.

The law of thermodynamics seems to come to a halt here and it is indeed quite a surprise. The findings were published in the peer-reviewed journal Science Advances. Great savings in case of power consumption are possible thanks to this scheme of things.

The amount of energy use in transistors could be reduced to a millionth via this brilliant methodology. Such information can be applied in the case of mobile devices which are dependent on tiny featherweight cells.

The processors they need are suction devices for power though. Furthermore, cloud computing also demands tons of energy. The electric network needed for cloud computing requires scads of energy which can cost a hefty amount in dollars.

Energy saving is thus the order of the day. It has scope for the future and by minimizing energy requirements, such computers could be designed in the times to come which will be highly energy efficient.

"We wanted to know how small we could shrink the amount of energy needed for computing," said senior author Jeffrey Bokor, a UC Berkeley professor of electrical engineering and computer sciences and a faculty scientist at the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory.

"The biggest challenge in designing computers and, in fact, all our electronics today is reducing their energy consumption."

This energy reduction in the field of electronics is a recent ploy. It was unknown in the past. Energy efficiency is a challenge that will have to be solved willy nilly if we want our industrial society to progress into a futuristic scenario. Decades of fitting tiny transistors into limited space has led to a huge usage of energy in electronic devices.

"Making transistors go faster was requiring too much energy," said Bokor, who is also the deputy director the Center for Energy Efficient Electronics Science, a Science and Technology Center at UC Berkeley funded by the National Science Foundation. "The chips were getting so hot they'd just melt."

The trend now is not to make transistors run faster and faster. Instead the energy used would have to be lightened as regards its burden. This is because otherwise the circuits would fuse from the great amount of heat generated in the process.

The binary system of 0s and 1s will have to be discarded for the future. The resistance that is encountered in the circuits is simply too much and creates problems of its own. Magnetic bits though can be differentiated in accordance with their direction.

The same amount of energy is needed to turn the magnet left or right. Several nanomagnets were created and used in the experiments conducted by the scientists.

The Landauer Limit was tested. Entropy via wasted heat was the name of the game. Flipping a nanomagnet uses up minimal energy. A mere 15 millielectron volts of energy was used up in the operation. The Landauer Limit was reached and thus the impossible became possible.

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<a href="/latest_stories/all/all/20" rel="author">Sumayah Aamir</a>
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