[TUHS] Faster cpus at any cost

Bakul Shah bakul at bitblocks.com
Sat Jun 30 03:14:30 AEST 2018

On Fri, 29 Jun 2018 09:51:55 +0100 "Steve Simon" <steve at quintile.net> wrote:
> I know this is a dangerous game to play, but what of the future?

[In the same spirit :-)]
The spin orbit torque (SOT) MRAM devices seem very promising.

Spin tranfer torque (STT) MRAM are both seen as persistent
memories that will work beyond the feature sizes where 
current flash based CMOS devices won't work as they rely on
retaining charge, while STT/SOT decives depend on magnetism
(the spin direction is switched with a tiny bit of electrical
energy). What is more, they don't have number of write limits
of flash memory, nor the very long write times (STT/SOT writes
are on the order of 100ps to 10ns as opposed to 1us to 1ms for
flhas and takes million times less energy to write).

STT-MRAMs are already being used in small sizes (given no
write limits & high speed, it makes a good cache layer for
SSDs).  But STT devices have a number of limits that SOT don't
have.  SOTs can be written about 10 times faster and they can
be used at even smaller feaure sizes.

The really intersting part is logic gates have been constructed
using the same technologu. Unlike tradition charge based
devices where CPU and massive memory are kept separate, here
logic and memory can be on the same chip. In fact the same
device can perform logic and retain the results and the logic
can be electrically reconfigured.  These gates can be an order
of magnitude smaller (compared to 14nm FinFET CMOS) and are
ultra energy efficient => much less heat. And massive

Too early to tell whether this actually pans out or scales up
to billions of gates.

And of course, if we are to believe the crowd here, this will
be an utter failure since it won't really help us C programs
faster :-)

Also, I just read this stuff; I have no insight and I may have
misconstrued everything!

A reference that may be of interest:

> I am intrigued by the idea of true optical computers,
> perhaps the $10M super-computer will return?

Optics will more likely be used for a communication layer.

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