New error correction in chips will allow 32 percent more performance or 35% less power

New error correction circuitry will enable 32% more performance or 35% less power usage or a mix of those gains in new computer processors within 3 years. Basically the new circuits make overclocking safe and reliable.

On the chip, next to certain ubiquitous circuits called flip-flops, they placed similar circuits called latches. Though both the flip-flops and the latches had the same input, the data reached the latches a quarter or a half cycle later. Data is supposed to come into the flip-flop at a particular phase of the clock signal, but if there’s an error, it comes in late and the latch catches it instead. If the bits measured by the flip-flop and the latch don’t match, a controller knows there was an error and tells the processor to rerun whatever instruction was affected.

Of course it takes time to detect the error and rerun the instruction. But that minor drop in performance is more than compensated for by the performance gained when all the error-free circuits do their work so much faster. Blaauw says in his setup, which is known as Razor II and is a simplified version of a similar scheme he presented three years ago, detecting and correcting errors costs about 2.5 percent of the chip’s total power consumption. But by using Razor II, he can run it at so much lower a voltage that he’s putting 35 percent less power into the chip overall and getting the same performance. Intel, on the other hand, kept the power consumption the same and reported a gain in performance of between 25 percent and 32 percent. “We work hard for a few percentage points of improvement, so getting this much is a lot,” Mooney says.

It could take about three years to develop the setup for commercial use, although Mooney says that Intel has no plans for a product based on the technology at the moment. Intel researchers are trying to implement the technology using fewer, smaller transistors and reducing the clock power to make the whole thing more efficient.

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Thorp owners propose sending material from existing stockpiles of uranium, plutonium and vitrified waste ahead of completing reprocessing

The owners of THORP, the reprocessing plant in Cumbria, UK, are proposing to send back materials equivalent to products that would be formed from the reprocessing of their customers used fuel, prior to them actually carrying out the reprocessing. THORP takes used nuclear fuel and separates out the plutonium and uranium (which can be used as fuel again) from the nuclear waste products that have built up in the fuel.

THORP has been closed for two years while owners dealt with a small fracture in a pipe that lead to a leak of material into a highly radioactive part of the plant. It would have been very hard to repair the pipe so instead operations at THORP will be changed, and the owners (the Nuclear Decommissiong Authority - NDA) have been working to get approval for these changes from the Nuclear Installations Inspectorate, the UK's regulators.

This has meant THORP has fallen behind in its schedule of reprocessing, some of its customers may have already made arrangements for handling the reprocessed fuel and wastes that THORP was meant to supply. So the NDA are proposing to send uranium, plutonium and waste products from their stockpiles of material back to their customers, if they want it this early, even if they haven't actually reprocessed that customer's fuel.

The NDA have had to ask the Government's Department of Trade and Industry for approval for this, as approval has to be given for any change in THORP's contracts." REL="nofollow">more