Researchers are engaged on water-based microprocessors that might sooner or later be used as a extra various various to the present wafer structure of right this moment, with purposes starting from AI to DNA synthesis and sure past.
The chips in query are nonetheless within the prototype stage, so do not anticipate processors with in-built water cooling simply but, however the way in which they work is de facto thrilling. They use a way referred to as ionics, which includes manipulating completely different ion species in liquid, versus the usual electrons taking pictures by way of our semiconductors right this moment.
It is extra akin to how the human mind handles information processing, and though the method could also be slower than present semiconductor architectures, scientists consider “the variety of ionic species with completely different bodily and chemical properties may very well be harnessed for richer and extra various info processing.”
That is in response to a publish (opens in new tab) from the Harvard John A. Paulson College of Engineering and Utilized Sciences (SEAS). Collaborating with startup DNA Script (opens in new tab), researchers from SEAS lately revealed findings describing how they mixed ionic diodes and transistors—one thing no analysis staff had finished earlier than—to develop an ionic circuit.
Though the straightforward 16 x 16 array is a good distance from matching the facility of the 100 billion transistors present in Intel’s twelfth Gen wafers, or the Apple M1 Extremely’s 114 billion transistors, the researchers did handle to carry out a neural internet computing core course of.
They used stated array to “broaden the analog arithmetic multiplication of particular person transistors into an analog matrix multiplication.” Yeah I am fairly misplaced right here, too. Fortunately SEAS postdoctoral fellow Woo-Bin Jung explains that “Matrix multiplication is probably the most prevalent calculation in neural networks for synthetic intelligence.” He says their “ionic circuit performs the matrix multiplication in water in an analog method that’s primarily based totally on electrochemical equipment.”
The transistors work by way of manipulation of native PH values, which permits the researchers to regulate the chips’ weight matrix, equally to that of a neural community.
Not solely may there be potential for purposes similar to accelerating DNA synthesis (opens in new tab) and different neural networking processes, Professor of Electrical Engineering and Utilized Physics at SEAS Donhee Ham says “the electrochemical matrix multiplication in water is charming in its personal proper, and has a possible to be power environment friendly.”
Up to now, Jung notes that solely “3 to 4 ionic species, similar to hydrogen and quinone ions” have been examined, however because the researchers transfer on to testing different ionic species, the data processing is simply going to grow to be richer and extra various.
Perhaps sooner or later we’ll see neural networks working off water-based ionic chips. They’re going to be way more power environment friendly, however possible a lot slower.