80 Times More Energy Prototype Superconducting Chips that Will Soon Reach 10 Ghz

Researchers from Yokohama National University in Japan have developed a prototype microprocessor using superconductor devices that are about 80 times more energy-efficient than CMOS semiconductor devices. Computers currently use 10% of global electricity.

The adiabatic quantum-flux-parametron (AQFP) is a building block for ultra-low-power, high-performance microprocessors, and other computing hardware for the next generation of data centers and communication networks. They made a four bit AQFP that proves practical energy-efficient high-speed computing is possible. The prototype 4-bit AQFP microprocessor called MANA (Monolithic Adiabatic iNtegration Architecture) is the world’s first adiabatic superconductor microprocessor.

A separate chip shows data processing part of the microprocessor can operate up to a clock frequency of 2.5 GHz which is around the level of 2-4 Ghz par for current CMOS computing technologies. They expect this to increase the AQFP chip clockspeeds to 5-10 GHz with some modifications.

The devices have to be cooled 4.2 Kelvin to allow the AQFPs to go into the superconducting state.

IEEE Journal of Solid State Circuits – MANA: A Monolithic Adiabatic iNtegration Architecture Microprocessor Using 1.4-zJ/op Unshunted Superconductor Josephson Junction Devices

We conducted the first successful demonstration of an adiabatic microprocessor based on unshunted Josephson junction (JJ) devices manufactured using a Nb/AlOLₓ/Nb superconductor IC fabrication process. It is a hybrid of RISC and dataflow architectures operating on 4-b data words. We demonstrate register file R/W access, ALU execution, hardware stalling, and program branching performed at 100 kHz under the cryogenic temperature of 4.2 K. We also successfully demonstrated a high-speed breakout chip of the microprocessor execution units up to 2.5 GHz. We use a logic primitive called the adiabatic quantum-flux-parametron (AQFP), which has a switching energy of 1.4 zJ per JJ when driven by a four-phase 5-GHz sinusoidal ac-clock at 4.2 K. These demonstrations show that AQFP logic is capable of both processing and memory operations and that we have a path toward practical adiabatic computing operating at high-clock rates while dissipating very little energy.

SOURCES- Eurekalert, Yokohama National University,IEEE Journal of Solid State Circuit
Written By Brian Wang, Nextbigfuture.com

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