Researchers invent energy-saving computer chip

December 8, 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: How patient stories can improve intensive care

Related Stories

How patient stories can improve intensive care

January 24, 2018

"Fighting to stay alive, I did the only thing I could do. I prayed. I couldn't bear to leave my baby motherless. I opened my eyes one last time to tell my husband I would be OK, and then lost consciousness, not to wake up ...

Recommended for you

Urban heat island effects depend on a city's layout

February 22, 2018

The arrangement of a city's streets and buildings plays a crucial role in the local urban heat island effect, which causes cities to be hotter than their surroundings, researchers have found. The new finding could provide ...

Hauling antiprotons around in a van

February 22, 2018

A team of researchers working on the antiProton Unstable Matter Annihilation (PUMA) project near CERN's particle laboratory, according to a report in Nature, plans to capture a billion antiprotons, put them in a shipping ...

A statistical look at the probability of future major wars

February 22, 2018

Aaron Clauset, an assistant professor and computer scientist at the University of Colorado, has taken a calculating look at the likelihood of a major war breaking out in the near future. In an article published on the open ...

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.