The December 2022 issue of IEEE Spectrum is here!

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3D Electronic Nose Demostrates Advantages of Carbon Nanotubes

A 3D stack of silicon logic, resistive RAM, nanotube circuits, and sensors uses new architecture and devices to save energy

3 min read
A 3D cut away of a four-level  chip.
llustration: Max Shulaker/Nature

You’d think computers spend most of their time and energy doing, well, computation. But that’s not the case: about 90 percent of a computer’s execution time and electrical energy is spent transferring data between the processor and the memory banks, says Subhasish Mitra, a computer scientist at Stanford University. Even if Moore’s law continued on indefinitely, computers would still be limited by this memory bottleneck.

This week in the journal Nature, Mitra and collaborators describe a new computer architecture they say addresses this problem—and that Mitra believes will improve both the energy efficiency and speed of computers by a factor of 1000.

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The Transistor at 75

The past, present, and future of the modern world’s most important invention

2 min read
A photo of a birthday cake with 75 written on it.
Lisa Sheehan
LightGreen

Seventy-five years is a long time. It’s so long that most of us don’t remember a time before the transistor, and long enough for many engineers to have devoted entire careers to its use and development. In honor of this most important of technological achievements, this issue’s package of articles explores the transistor’s historical journey and potential future.

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