Monday, July 11, 2011

Magnetic Microprocessors Could Enable Most Efficient Computers Possible

Electron-free magnetic microprocessors would use 1 million times less energy per flop than today’s computers, according to researchers. They would be so efficient they would consume the least amount of energy allowed by the second law of thermodynamics. For now, computers run on electricity, which means electrons moving around and generating waste heat. But a magnetic microprocessor would not need any electrons. Berkeley Lab materials scientist Jeffrey Bokor and his UC Berkeley grad students are trying to develop these magnetic computers. Their goal is a computer that operates at the Landauer limit, which at room temperature equates to a loss of 18 millielectron volts of energy per operation. More>