Improving energy efficiency in ICT? Limit is the sky

M. Lopez-Suarez, I. Neri, L. Gammaitoni                                   - Photo by E. Mariani


Perugia, Aug. 15th - 2016

Research recently published on Nature Communications shows that traditional logic gates, used in present computers, could be operated without minimum energy dissipation.

Reducing energy consumption in Information and Communication Technology (ICT) devices has nowadays become a strategic task to further improve performances and diffusion of such technology. Both the future of supercomputing and the dawn of the Internet-of-Things scenario are at risk if the power consumption problem is not solved: too much electric energy is required by ICT devices. On the other hand: aren’t we tired enough of continuously recharging the battery of mobile phones?

To complicate things, the continuous improvement in the efficiency (number of operation per Watt) of computing devices over the years has finally brought the technology close to what was supposed to be a fundamental limit of physics: the so-called Landauer’s limit.

An experiment at NiPS Lab, in Perugia (Italy) shows that a traditional logic gate could, in principle, be operated below the Landauer’s limit and thus the supposed minimum energy expenditure for operating traditional logic gates, does not exist. A good news for those interested in further improving energy efficiency in ICT.

The results of this experiment made by the scientists of NiPS Laboratory, led by Prof. Luca Gammaitoni, at the University of Perugia, published on Nature Communications on 28th June 2016, will be presented in the next few weeks at two international conferences: the ICT-Energy Science conference in Aalborg (DK) on Aug. 17th by Miquel Lopez-Suarez and the ICAND 2016 conference in Denver (CO) on Aug. 29 by L. Gammaitoni. 


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