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'Momentum Computing' Pushes Technology's Thermodynamic Limits

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Radical reimagining of information processing could greatly reduce the energy use, as well as greenhouse-gas emissions and waste heat, of computers.

Credit: vchal/Getty Images

The University of California, Davis' James Crutchfield and Kyle Ray have proposed a computational method for dissipating a small fraction of the heat generated by conventional computer circuitry.

The researchers say encoding information in electric currents within the momentum of moving particles, rather than as pulses of charge, could push heat dissipation below computer technology's theoretical thermodynamic minimum.

The concept is that a bit-encoding particle's momentum can supply a form of memory "for free" because it conveys data about the particle's past and future motion, not just its instantaneous state.

The additional data can be harnessed for reversible computing, and logical operations must occur much faster than the duration of the bit entering thermal equilibrium with its surroundings.

From Scientific American
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Abstracts Copyright © 2022 SmithBucklin, Washington, DC, USA


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