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  1. #1
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    Ballistic computer chip a real possibility, speed in terahertz!

    "Everyone has been trying to make better transistors by modifying current designs, but what we really need is the next paradigm," says Quentin Diduck, a graduate student at the University who thought up the radical new design. "We've gone from the relay, to the tube, to semiconductor physics. Now we're taking the next step on the evolutionary track."

    That next step goes by the imposing name of "Ballistic Deflection Transistor," and it's as far from traditional transistors as tubes. Instead of running electrons through a transistor as if they were a current of water, the ballistic design bounces individual electrons off deflectors as if playing a game of atomic billiards.

    Though today's transistor design has many years of viability left, the amount of heat these transistors generate and the electrical "leaks" in their ultra-thin barriers have already begun to limit their speed. Research groups around the world are investigating strange new designs to generate ways of computing at speeds unthinkable with today's chips. Some of these groups are working on similar single-electron transistors, but these designs still compute by starting and stopping the flow of electrons just like conventional designs. But the Ballistic Deflection Transistor adds a new twist by bouncing the electrons into their chosen trajectories--using inertia to redirect for "free," instead of wrestling the electrons into place with brute energy.

    Such a chip would use very little power, create very little heat, be highly resistant to "noise" inherent in electronic systems, and should be easy to manufacture with current technologies. All that would make it incredibly fast. The National Science Foundation is so impressed with the idea that it just granted the University of Rochester team $1.1 million to develop a prototype.

    "We've assembled a unique team to take on this chip," says Marc Feldman, professor of computer engineering at the University. "In addition to myself and Quentin, we have a theoretical physicist, a circuit designer, and an expert in computer architecture. We're not just designing a new transistor, but a new archetype as well, and as far as I know, this is the first time an architect has been involved in the actual design of the transistor on which the entire architecture is built."

    The team has already had some luck in fabricating a prototype. The ballistic transistor is a nano-scale structure, and so all but impossible to engineer just a few years ago. Its very design means that this "large" prototype is already nearly as small as the best conventional transistor designs coming out of Silicon Valley today. Feldman and Diduck are confident that the design will readily scale to much smaller dimensions.

    There's one hurdle the team isn't quite as confident about: "We're talking about a chip speed measured in terahertz, a thousand times faster than today's desktop transistors" Diduck says. "We have to figure out how to test it because there's no such thing as a terahertz oscilloscope!"

    The Science Behind the Ballistics
    The Ballistic Deflection Transistor (BDT) should produce far less heat and run far faster than standard transistors because it does not start and stop the flow of its electrons the way conventional designs do. It resembles a roadway intersection, except in the middle of the intersection sits a triangular block. From the "south" an electron is fired, as it approaches the crossroads, it passes through an electrical field that pushes the electron slightly east or west. When the electron reaches the middle of the intersection, it bounces off one side of the triangle block and is deflected straight along either the east or west roads. In this way, if the electron current travels along the east road, it may be counted as a zero, and as a one if it travels down the west road.

    A traditional transistor registers a "one" as a collection of electrons on a capacitor, and a "zero" when those electrons are removed. Moving electrons on and off the capacitor is akin to filling and emptying a bucket of water. The drawback to this method is that it takes time to fill and empty that bucket. That refill time limits the speed of the transistor--the transistors in today's laptops run at perhaps two gigahertz, meaning two billion refills every second. A second drawback is that these transistors produce immense amounts of heat when that energy is emptied.

    The BDT design should also be able to resist much of the electrical noise present in all electronic devices because the noise would only be present in the electrical "steering" field, and calculations show the variations of the noise would cancel themselves out as the electron passes through.

    The BDT is "ballistic" because it is made from a sheet of semiconductor material called a "2D electron gas," which allows the electrons to travel without hitting impurities, which would impede the transistor's performance.

    The $1.1 million is an NSF Nanotechnology Integrated Research Team grant, which is only awarded to promising research. The team is comprised of Marc Feldman, professor of electrical and computer engineering, Martin Margala and Paul Ampadu, assistant professors of electrical and computer engineering, and Yonathan Shapir, professor of physics and astronomy.

  2. #2
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    Re: Ballistic computer chip a real possibility, speed in terahertz!

    Okay so my CPU is pretty fast. It's an FX-60, which aside from the recently released FX-62 is AMD's fastest dual-core processor.
    It's 2.6GHz stock, and the FX-62 is 2.8GHz.
    This new technology could allow easy and cheap manufacture of THz processors.
    Even 1 THz is just crazy. Let alone with no overheating and using little power.

    I think the human mind is thought to be as fast as 4 THz, can anyone confirm that? Obviously we can't actually think that fast, most of that processing power goes to processing our surroundings, making the body work properly, etc.

  3. #3
    Johnny Angel Guest

    Re: Ballistic computer chip a real possibility, speed in terahertz!

    what's particularly scary is that 2 more steps up that chain and you have viability for 'brute force' AI.

  4. #4
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    Re: Ballistic computer chip a real possibility, speed in terahertz!

    Hey SJ, do you have a link for that. I'm doing a research project on a particular proposal for quantum computers, that could be interesting to use in the introduction.

    Quantum computers will be interesting, once a useable computer is available (if ever) the prime number algorithm we base all our security methods on will be breakable in seconds. To crack the code now would take a normal computer many times longer than the age of the universe.

  5. #5
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    Re: Ballistic computer chip a real possibility, speed in terahertz!

    Quote Originally Posted by kazza
    Hey SJ, do you have a link for that. I'm doing a research project on a particular proposal for quantum computers, that could be interesting to use in the introduction.

    Quantum computers will be interesting, once a useable computer is available (if ever) the prime number algorithm we base all our security methods on will be breakable in seconds. To crack the code now would take a normal computer many times longer than the age of the universe.
    Yeah man here ya go http://www.physorg.com/news74966638.html The diagram is awesome too. I showed it to one of my physics friends who is fully into inventing things and he nearly kicked himself, said "arrgg of course why didn't I ****ing think of that?!" :p

    Well you know there are plenty of supercomputers that can crack any code using brute force in a couple of days, I was looking at a CPU board from Intel the other day that has 20 3.6MHz CPUs on it, rig up a few of them and you're away. I think it's about 10 grand for one of them which is pretty cheap considering the price of the single CPUs. But yeah it will be crazy when home computer can do it, and I definitely think it's a question of when, not if. I hope so anyway!
    What a nightmare for encryption specialists, but I'm sure something will be figured out.

  6. #6
    coontie is offline Vashudeva; Ferryman - doing the work... User Rank
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    Re: Ballistic computer chip a real possibility, speed in terahertz!

    What??? something happens before it actually does? :rolleyes:

    P.S. I watched "Milleniumn" last night. Interesting; about time travel.

    The idea was "the Paradox"; the time-traveler would be detected only

    by interferring with the timep space into which they intruded. This

    mostly meant changing the arrangement of something while there, leaving

    a conspicious object, not of the time or assisainating or killing someone.

    The entire hostry would then be altered and would not be the same as

    otherwise [presently] known, from ther time space where the time-

    traveler departed.

  7. #7
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    Re: Ballistic computer chip a real possibility, speed in terahertz!

    Quote Originally Posted by coontie
    What??? something happens before it actually does? :rolleyes:

    P.S. I watched "Milleniumn" last night. Interesting; about time travel.

    The idea was "the Paradox"; the time-traveler would be detected only

    by interferring with the timep space into which they intruded. This

    mostly meant changing the arrangement of something while there, leaving

    a conspicious object, not of the time or assisainating or killing someone.

    The entire hostry would then be altered and would not be the same as

    otherwise [presently] known, from ther time space where the time-

    traveler departed.

    the GIST is SUNKISSED!?hehe!?and clockwork orange does not!?make a better banana...YANNA YANNA YANNA!?as STRICTLY applied to 1's self i assume!?or to put it the WAY i SEE what YOU'VE pointed OUT>,it's REALLY....ALL....PERSONAL!?so for gods sake,and yours,KNOW the RIGHT PEOPLE!?(like you!?)or is it....KNOW the PEOPLE RIGHT!?(by you!?)fine lines are the HARDEST to cross,since they are NEVER OBVIOUS!?hehe!!just askin.....

  8. #8
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    Re: Ballistic computer chip a real possibility, speed in terahertz!

    Quote Originally Posted by SubJunk
    Okay so my CPU is pretty fast. It's an FX-60, which aside from the recently released FX-62 is AMD's fastest dual-core processor.
    It's 2.6GHz stock, and the FX-62 is 2.8GHz.
    This new technology could allow easy and cheap manufacture of THz processors.
    Even 1 THz is just crazy. Let alone with no overheating and using little power.

    I think the human mind is thought to be as fast as 4 THz, can anyone confirm that? Obviously we can't actually think that fast, most of that processing power goes to processing our surroundings, making the body work properly, etc.
    we must some day consider the implications of misconceptions.not only in the hype now,tottaly different later case.but also in the reasons behind them.or the reason behind reason if you will!?take kung fu training if you will!?no amount of science will change anyones ability to be a master of the martial arts!?hehe!!it may refine their abilitys(real or imagined) but cannot MAKE up(create) those abilities!?and surely it points to another way of the body OUTSIDE of thinking!?hehe!!like i said in an ancient post.the human machine(material body) has 4 minds.emotional,moving,instinctive,and intellectual.and all are designed to function as a whole.if properly trained!?(raised,guided)hehe!!and the result of insufficent training or experience results in what is known as.....alive,but dysfunctional!?and of course,this is readily apparent in our everyday interactions with others!?and of course,is also the leading CAUSE of misconceptions!?and with the term dysfunctional,it's not only related to the WORSE cases,but has snuck into the general populace for the SAME reason i am pointing OUT!?MISCONCEPTION of HOW it ALL WORKS!?or at least ATTRIBUTING it to NOTHING SPECIAL!?hehe!!speed may be a TRIP(of salvation!?i'm gettin away!?from!?)to the RIDER but as we all know.....SPEED KILLS!?(eventually!?)hehe!!and anyhow,we all MAKE our FACE anyway we can!?face is EVERYTHING these days!?(always has been!?)just askin....
    Last edited by lexx; 08-19-2006 at 10:12 AM.

  9. #9
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    Re: Ballistic computer chip a real possibility, speed in terahertz!

    Quote Originally Posted by SubJunk
    Yeah man here ya go http://www.physorg.com/news74966638.html The diagram is awesome too. I showed it to one of my physics friends who is fully into inventing things and he nearly kicked himself, said "arrgg of course why didn't I ****ing think of that?!" :p

    Well you know there are plenty of supercomputers that can crack any code using brute force in a couple of days, I was looking at a CPU board from Intel the other day that has 20 3.6MHz CPUs on it, rig up a few of them and you're away. I think it's about 10 grand for one of them which is pretty cheap considering the price of the single CPUs. But yeah it will be crazy when home computer can do it, and I definitely think it's a question of when, not if. I hope so anyway!
    What a nightmare for encryption specialists, but I'm sure something will be figured out.
    They can't break the RSA code that is used for most encryption purposes. The largest number that I can find that has been factored is 193 digits.

    The factoring research team of F. Bahr, M. Boehm, J. Franke, T. Kleinjung continued its productivity with a successful factorization of the challenge number RSA-640, reported on November 2, 2005. The factors [verified by RSA Laboratories] are:

    16347336458092538484431338838650908598417836700330
    92312181110852389333100104508151212118167511579

    and

    1900871281664822113126851573935413975471896789968
    515493666638539088027103802104498957191261465571

    The effort took approximately 30 2.2GHz-Opteron-CPU years according to the submitters, over five months of calendar time. (This is about half the effort for RSA-200, the 663-bit number that the team factored in 2004.)
    http://www.rsasecurity.com/rsalabs/c...ges/factoring/

    Quantum computers will be able to do this almost instantly. This is because rather than storing information in two-state (0 & 1) bits, they use qubits. A qubit can be 0, 1, or a superposition of 0 & 1, so effectively any number between 0 & 1 at the same time. We can perform operations on the qubit, and the operation is applied to the whole superposition of states.

    The problem is finding ways to read the state without altering the wave function. The proposal I am researching at the moment (Bruce Kane) would use pairs of 31Phosphorous as the qubit, with an outershell electron coupled to the nuclear spin. We can then perform measurements on the electron without disturbing the nucleus.

  10. #10
    coontie is offline Vashudeva; Ferryman - doing the work... User Rank
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    Re: Ballistic computer chip a real possibility, speed in terahertz!

    Quote Originally Posted by lexx
    the GIST is SUNKISSED!?hehe!?and clockwork orange does not!?make a better banana...YANNA YANNA YANNA!?as STRICTLY applied to 1's self i assume!?or to put it the WAY i SEE what YOU'VE pointed OUT>,it's REALLY....ALL....PERSONAL!?so for gods sake,and yours,KNOW the RIGHT PEOPLE!?(like you!?)or is it....KNOW the PEOPLE RIGHT!?(by you!?)fine lines are the HARDEST to cross,since they are NEVER OBVIOUS!?hehe!!just askin.....
    Gibberish as usual... I see you as a possible 11 year old adolescent person

    that has been restricted to your room and in your isolation hammer out

    your personal frustation in your monkey chattering dialogue on your computer.

    You're like a pesky fly, buzing around someone, annoingly... shoooo, go

    away.

    And, I think it would be nice if you would a least. SOME TIME, have something

    sane and original to say, instead of spieling out the same tire old

    gibberish.

    LEXX= "JUST ASKIN'", as you really don't ever have a clue! :p

  11. #11
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    Re: Ballistic computer chip a real possibility, speed in terahertz!

    Quote Originally Posted by coontie
    What??? something happens before it actually does? :rolleyes:

    P.S. I watched "Milleniumn" last night. Interesting; about time travel.

    The idea was "the Paradox"; the time-traveler would be detected only

    by interferring with the timep space into which they intruded. This

    mostly meant changing the arrangement of something while there, leaving

    a conspicious object, not of the time or assisainating or killing someone.

    The entire hostry would then be altered and would not be the same as

    otherwise [presently] known, from ther time space where the time-

    traveler departed.
    actually,i really liked your appraisal of what you saw and thus interpreted and i just expressed it in a NON conformist way!?but you do bring to the fore a common problem with all humanity.the need for understanding(common!?)especially when 1 goes OUT on a LIMB so to speak!?hehe!!just askin....
    Last edited by lexx; 08-20-2006 at 10:10 AM.

  12. #12
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    Re: Ballistic computer chip a real possibility, speed in terahertz!

    I wonder how long the computer companies will sit on the technology once they've made it work. Heck, I wonder what technologies they're sitting on at this very moment while they wait for their current products' life cycles to mature. It could be a long time before we see the first of them introduced.

  13. #13
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    Re: Ballistic computer chip a real possibility, speed in terahertz!

    Quote Originally Posted by coontie
    Gibberish as usual... I see you as a possible 11 year old adolescent person

    that has been restricted to your room and in your isolation hammer out

    your personal frustation in your monkey chattering dialogue on your computer.

    You're like a pesky fly, buzing around someone, annoingly... shoooo, go

    away.

    And, I think it would be nice if you would a least. SOME TIME, have something

    sane and original to say, instead of spieling out the same tire old

    gibberish.

    LEXX= "JUST ASKIN'", as you really don't ever have a clue! :p

    clues are for jews.....they need all they can get!?hehe!!just askin....

  14. #14
    coontie is offline Vashudeva; Ferryman - doing the work... User Rank
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    Re: Ballistic computer chip a real possibility, speed in terahertz!

    Quote Originally Posted by lexx
    clues are for jews.....they need all they can get!?hehe!!just askin....
    GO TO YOUR ROOM RIGHT NOW!!! YOU"RE BEING BAD, BAD, BAD, AGAIN...

    I know, I know, you cannot help yourself. you just have gotta be your

    weird 'ol self. Old habits are hard to break! :p

  15. #15
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    Re: Ballistic computer chip a real possibility, speed in terahertz!

    Quote Originally Posted by coontie
    GO TO YOUR ROOM RIGHT NOW!!! YOU"RE BEING BAD, BAD, BAD, AGAIN...

    I know, I know, you cannot help yourself. you just have gotta be your

    weird 'ol self. Old habits are hard to break! :p
    maybe the ANSWER is not in BREAKING but in SEEING a BETTER way!?(LEAVING!?,leaven!?)then old habits become TOOLS instead of SLAVEDRIVERS!?cause i'm only as SMART/wise as you ALLOW me and that's the story of LOVE!?an ISRAEL jesus can be PROUD OF!?hehe!!just askin....
    Last edited by lexx; 08-21-2006 at 09:15 AM.

  16. #16
    coontie is offline Vashudeva; Ferryman - doing the work... User Rank
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    Re: Ballistic computer chip a real possibility, speed in terahertz!

    :confused:

    why are you talking politics here? This thread is something about a

    "ballistic computer chip".


    I noticed the Semite insult previously. Nothing other than noticed, as

    that sort of stuff doesn't phase me in the least, or slurrs against Israel.

    However, I will have to say that this is really the first time I have

    heard you expressing yourself like a bigot and radical, alikened to dechristie

    and friends...

    Somebody spike your Kol-Aid? :rolleyes:

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