Researchers invent energy-saving computer chip

Dec 08, 2004

New microchip is 10 times smaller and 100 times more energy efficient than currently used chips

University of Alberta researchers have designed a computer chip that uses about 100 times less energy than current state-of-the-art digital chips.
The greatly reduced energy consumption of this novel technology offers promise for many small devices with relatively low power needs. This technology could one day eliminate the need to recharge cellphones, help introduce smaller, ultra-high-speed communications systems, and advance the use of implantable health care devices, such as drug delivery chips. Research and development is ongoing before this technology can be implemented in products.

The team at the iCORE High-Capacity Digital Communications Laboratory, including Dr. Vincent Gaudet, Dr. Christian Schlegel, and former graduate students Dave Nguyen and Chris Winstead, created the microchip while working in the University of Alberta Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering. The communications chip was designed by Nguyen, manufactured by CMC (the Canadian Microelectronics Corporation) and tested at the University of Alberta.

This new analog processing technology has been used by Winstead to build the largest analog decoder chip fabricated to date, also built at iCORE's High-Capacity Digital Communications Laboratory at the University of Alberta. The iCORE HCDC Laboratory is a recognized world leader in this novel and promising technology.

"It is well known that there is a power barrier for future increases in process speeds and device sizes, and to overcome this, the world needs a new, disruptive technology," said Dr. Schlegel. "A fundamental new idea gave our team the edge, and we have been fortunate to have maintained a strong group here working on this technology for the last few years."

The invention employs a new method of processing digital data, known as analog decoding, which uses extremely low levels of power to execute its detection algorithm. The team's research shows no other reported chip uses a lower amount of energy consumed per decoded information bit.

The team has published two conference papers based on this project this year: one for the International Symposium on Turbo Codes in Brest, France, and another for the International Symposium on Circuits and Systems (ISCAS) in Vancouver.

The team's research is supported by iCORE, Science and Engineering Research Canada (more commonly known as NSERC), CMC (Canadian Microelectronics Corporation), the Canada Foundation for Innovation (CFI), and the Alberta Science and Research Authority (ASRA).

Source: University of Alberta

Explore further: BofA to refund Apple Pay customers charged twice

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Hitchhiking robot charms its way across Canada

Aug 15, 2014

He has dipped his boots in Lake Superior, crashed a wedding and attended an Aboriginal powwow. A talking, bucket-bodied robot has enthralled Canadians since it departed from Halifax last month on a hitchhiking ...

Bright ideas chase investor dollars at forum

Dec 24, 2013

A company that can generate electricity using low-temperature waste heat was the big winner at the recent 26th annual Industry Growth Forum in downtown Denver, a gathering of people who have no qualms about ...

Recommended for you

Tablets, cars drive AT&T wireless gains—not phones

1 hour ago

AT&T says it gained 2 million wireless subscribers in the latest quarter, but most were from non-phone services such as tablets and Internet-connected cars. The company is facing pricing pressure from smaller rivals T-Mobile ...

Twitter looks to weave into more mobile apps

2 hours ago

Twitter on Wednesday set out to weave itself into mobile applications with a free "Fabric" platform to help developers build better programs and make more money.

Blink, point, solve an equation: Introducing PhotoMath

3 hours ago

"Ma, can I go now? My phone did my homework." PhotoMath, from the software development company MicroBlink, will make the student's phone do math homework. Just point the camera towards the mathematical expression, ...

Google unveils app for managing Gmail inboxes

3 hours ago

Google is introducing an application designed to make it easier for its Gmail users to find and manage important information that can often become buried in their inboxes.

User comments : 0