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 State of the Transistor in 3 Charts

In 75 years, it’s become tiny, mighty, ubiquitous, and just plain weird

3 min read
A photo of 3 different transistors.
iStockphoto
LightGreen

The most obvious change in transistor technology in the last 75 years has been just how many we can make. Reducing the size of the device has been a titanic effort and a fantastically successful one, as these charts show. But size isn’t the only feature engineers have been improving.

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