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Up Topic Rybka Support & Discussion / Rybka Discussion / Spintronic processors
- By jaboo2 (**) Date 2009-10-07 13:09 Edited 2009-10-07 13:11
In the future a microprocessor using spin could handle data thousands of times as fast as the present-day processors that rely only on charge.

”Instead of an electron being there or not there in the gate of a transistor—basically two pieces of information—think about an electron being able to hold a million pieces of information,” says David Awschalom, a physicist at the University of California at Santa Barbara who specializes in the development of magnetic semiconductors. In addition to being much faster, spintronics processors could be much smaller than present-day processors.

To incorporate spin technology into processors, however, researchers need to surmount the problem of making spin-polarized currents flow through semiconductors at room ­temperature. This has proved to be a perennial ­bugaboo because most semiconductor materials that have been tried function ideally at temperatures below -120 °C. But as surrounding temperatures rise, they lose their special magnetic properties, making them impractical for use in electronics and other consumer products.

A team led by Jagadeesh Moodera at MIT’s Francis Bitter Magnet Laboratory has inched closer to this goal by developing a magnetic ­material that can transmit spin currents ­without being chilled [see photograph, ”Ambience”]. Consisting of indium oxide with trace amounts of magnetic chromium, the team's device rests atop a conventional silicon semiconductor and polarizes the spin of incoming electrons, which then flow directly into the chip. After traveling through the doped indium-oxide semiconductor, the spin-polarized electrons are read by a spin detector at the other end of the circuit, which determines the electrons' spin by accelerating them to high energies and scattering them (electrons of opposing spin states always scatter in different directions).

The indium-chromium mixture fulfills its function perfectly because when combined, these substances contain periodic ”gaps” in their molecular arrangement where oxygen atoms are missing. By modifying the character and extent of these gaps at the atomic level, Moodera can fine-tune the material's magnetic behavior to an unprecedented degree.

Stuart Wolf, a physicist at the University of Virginia in Charlottesville who has been involved in spintronics research for over a decade, describes Moodera's results as ”extremely encouraging....There have been similar reports of magnetism in other [semiconductor] substances, but the evidence reported in these earlier papers was not totally convincing,” he says. ”This work presents the most convincing evidence to date of high temperature magnetism in the oxides.” Despite Moodera's recent advances, however, Wolf cautions that considerable obstacles remain before spin-based processors can become a commercial reality.

The most pressing problem is a phenomenon called ”spin scattering,” which Moodera concedes is ”one of our biggest challenges.” Due to physical properties of the metal he used to build his electron-injecting device, the electrons' spin often changes slightly from the time they are injected to the time they are read by the spin detector. Such changes compromise the accuracy of any information that might be transmitted using this technique.

Moodera's quest for a material that will not have this effect is ongoing. Awschalom and other researchers are experimenting with laser-based techniques designed to compensate for this erroneous rotation.

Another problem: the materials used to manufacture spin-based chips and circuits are prohibitively expensive. A 4-megabit magnetoresistive RAM (MRAM) chip, for instance, costs US $25, while nonmagnetic RAM chips with the same capacity typically cost only around $5. ”The only way the cost is going to come down is if the volume of production goes up, and that's a relatively slow process,” Wolf says.

Awschalom likens spintronics to laser research several decades ago—its key players, he says, are on the verge of a breakthrough with future repercussions they can scarcely predict themselves. ”Today's technology is so inarguably successful that it's hard to imagine spintronics could do better,” he says. ”But if you could make computer processors a million times faster, with a hundred million times more memory, then you could make enormous impacts on every field—from pharmaceutical design to weather prediction.”,39042972,62047556,00.htm

I just hope by the time we surpass the 1 nanometer barrier, we won't be making "chips" based off silicon wafers. There are limits of fabrication processes near the 1-10 nm region because quantum mechanical effects like tunneling come into play when the wires are only a few atoms wide. If the wires are too close, electrons can tunnel between them. With such small wires, the whole current is carried by a few electrons. People are no doubt working on these and other related issues right now.

So perhaps by that time we will have moved on to optoelectronic, spintronic, or quantum components which require a non-traditional manufacturing process.
- - By sarciness (***) Date 2009-10-07 19:39
I spent 4 years doing a physics degree. Semiconductor physics like this is just mind-boggling!
Parent - - By jaboo2 (**) Date 2009-10-08 01:00
Spintronic processors promise to be much faster and much smaller than conventional processors. However I'm still waiting for one. I just hope that by 10 years or so the researchers will be able to overcome the major obstacles standing in the way of designing such a processor.
Parent - - By jaboo2 (**) Date 2009-10-08 02:23
My only worry is that in 10 years chess will no longer be interesting at all. In 10 years from now Rybka's cluter combined with a much stronger version of Rybka will be powerful enough to solve chess (or almost completely solve it) so chess as an interesting game will end. It will simply be the end of chess.

I guess the focus will be shifted to more difficult games like Go or Dark Chess (a game with incomplete information) which computers are still bad at.
Parent - - By Razor (****) Date 2009-10-08 05:18
I think you're safe Uri - Chess won't be solved, or nearly solved, in the next 10 years, not by Rybka or anything else for that matter.  Will we all be here in 10 years time, now that's a much more difficult question to answer!  :-)
Parent - - By Jim Walker (***) Date 2009-10-08 11:31
Not really !  The world is scheduled to end on December 21, 2012 !  :)
Parent - By InspectorGadget (*****) Date 2009-10-08 12:43

> Not really !  The world is scheduled to end on December 21, 2012 !  :-)

I have heard of that, but be free, there is no such a thing :)
Parent - By Uly (Gold) Date 2009-10-08 20:08
That the world as we know it ends doesn't mean the world ends!
Parent - - By Nelson Hernandez (Gold) Date 2009-10-10 00:21
That's a different movie!  Rent "Knowing", starring Nicholas Cage, immediately!  The end of the world in that movie is October 19, 2009.  That's right, a week from Monday!  Damn, and we were so close to solving chess!
Parent - By Uly (Gold) Date 2009-10-10 00:37

*Adds "Knowing" to his urgent must watch list*
Parent - - By Roland Rösler (****) Date 2009-10-10 01:05
I don´t know that movie, but "end of the world" means in Hollywood movies only end of (American) human life on earth!
And I´m sure, after there is no human life on earth, after there is no earth, before there is no intelligence in the world (universe): Chess isn´t solved!
Parent - - By Banned for Life (Gold) Date 2009-10-10 01:20
I don´t know that movie, but "end of the world" means in Hollywood movies only end of (American) human life on earth!

This movie is very unrealistic. If something was threatening life in America, Obama would give a speech and the problem would be solved. Of course chess is much too trivial a problem for a guy who has received one and a half million dollars for fixing the world's economy, providing world peace, saving the planet from global warming, and providing all Americans with high quality, affordable health coverage.
Parent - - By Roland Rösler (****) Date 2009-10-10 02:17
:-) :-) :-)

You speak about million (10^6) dollars! I think, it´s trillion (10^12) dollars! The difference isn´t that small like many people think! :-)

Btw: You and Nelson tell us: Forward, Mr. Putin! Is Putin the last help for American Republicans? You need an (your old) enemy? What´s about: Forward, Mr. Hu Jintao (or Wen Jiabao)?
Parent - - By Nelson Hernandez (Gold) Date 2009-10-10 02:37
If only we had a real macho guy like Mr. Putin running the U.S. again!  Tough talking, no bullshit, send in tanks when somebody pisses you off, cut people's power off if they don't get with the program, eh?  The Russians may not realize it, but right now they are living in a golden age.  Putin is Pericles compared to wimpy-ass Obama!  Putin is the greatest Russian leader since Peter the Great and maybe even Ivan the Terrible!  We desperately need Russian advisors running our foreign policy these days, and for that matter our economy!  The Russkies are now our natural allies.  Do you realize the Russians have a flat tax?  Tell you what, if we can't have Putin as president, can we at least swap our Congress for their Duma?
Parent - - By Roland Rösler (****) Date 2009-10-10 03:21
I can follow your thinking!
But the thinking is dangerous. With Reagan USA becomes an overwhelming armed state! Reagan hasn´t to show his strength, everybody was awed! After Reagan some think tanks thought, we have to make more profit with our overhelming army! And the pressure becomes greater and when there was a good reason (2001/09/11), Bush junior made it! Iraq!!?? This wasn´t wise! You know it from chess: a threat is better than to do it!
And Mr. Putin has to fight at his national borders! All border states of Russia are interested in NATO!? Are the NATO states interested in this states? Yes!! You see it in Georgia (and Ukraine)! Putin has a good legitimation to fight! And NATO states wash their hands!! Okay, some trouble, but maybe next time at an other place!
Where is the American President, who has to fight at his border? Cuba? Mexico? Canada?
Parent - - By Nelson Hernandez (Gold) Date 2009-10-10 11:49
What I know from chess is that to do it is better than a threat.
Parent - - By Banned for Life (Gold) Date 2009-10-10 18:54
Of course the Peace Through Strength concept is based on the reality that if you are capable enough, your reputation alone will get you through most situations. Case in point was the release of the 52 hostages from the Iranian Embassy on Reagan's inauguration day. The only change from the previous 444 days was that the Iranians were convinced that Reagan was less patient than Carter and maybe a little bit crazy.
Parent - - By Nelson Hernandez (Gold) Date 2009-10-10 23:40
So capability is not hardware as much as attitude.  Of course.  Obama is a lot like Carter, only even less effective in foreign policy and catastrophic in economics.  It's really hard to top Carter's incompetence but this guy is running at a world-record pace so far.  It is going to be a very long three-plus years.  Hopefully the mid-term elections will be a massive repudiation.  With a double-dip recession almost certain (given the major tax hikes that are going to slam into the economy) I think the prospects are good for a wipe-out election like 1994.
Parent - By Banned for Life (Gold) Date 2009-10-11 01:54
There are definitely advantages to getting your opponents to believe you might have a screw loose! :-)

I think we will have massive inflation and massive interest rates to go along with our massive taxes. If everyone makes over $250K, it will be OK for everyone to pay higher taxes, right? I am just waiting for the malaise speech...
Parent - - By keoki010 (Silver) Date 2009-10-10 19:21
Do you think he'll pay taxes on his Nobel or wait till April?  :lol:
Parent - By Banned for Life (Gold) Date 2009-10-10 19:41
He will give the prize money as charitable contributions to far left groups.
Parent - By Quapsel (****) Date 2009-10-08 07:37

> My only worry is that in 10 years chess will no longer be interesting at all. In 10 years from now Rybka's cluter combined with a much stronger version of Rybka will be powerful enough to solve chess (or almost completely solve it) so chess as an interesting game will end. It will simply be the end of chess.

If playing under fair conditions against Rybka, Chess 'as an interesting game' has gone for most of us.
We have interesting games against the machine, if she is handicapped. And this you can do in 10 and 50 years.

A machine will have solved chess within 10 years?
I cannot immagine, that this will come true. I doupt that they will have solved chess during the next 50 or 100 years!

And so engines-tests,  engine-games and engine-rating-lists will exist in 10 and 20 years.
I will not have any reason to have less interests in that theme then than today!

Otherwise I should have deleted my engine-park many years ago. :-(

Parent - By Jim Walker (***) Date 2009-10-08 18:47
I don't beleive chess will die ever.  Chess between humans and machines will die off to handicap games only.  But chess between humans will remain and also chess between machines will become even more interesting as we marvel at the accuracy of 30 ply variations and beyond.
Parent - - By Geomusic (*****) Date 2009-10-09 21:37
"chess being solved or almost solved"

By the time chess is solved we will also have invented a way of warping empty space into ice cream cone shaped funnels for use as light scoops for star light; in other words, it's a long way off.
Parent - By Nelson Hernandez (Gold) Date 2009-10-10 00:29
If I had a computer that could run a million times faster I think I could make some small progress toward solving chess.  Maybe I couldn't solve it, but I would put a small dent in the problem.  If all of us had computers that ran a million times faster I think we could collectively get a lot of work done, especially if we worked in a coordinated way.  I mean, think about it.  If you could make that kind of progress in chips you might be able to make similar progress in memory and storage, and as a result you might move from six to nine-man EGTBs, just to start.  You could deeply analyze billions and billions of positions.  Think of the Monte Carlo possibilities.  It staggers the imagination.
- - By Thin Ice (**) Date 2009-10-10 02:49
If new type of processors are invented as mentioned above,then a new form of chess should become standard like a 128 square board instead of a 64 square board and instead of 16 pieces on each side...32 pieces on each side.The new added 16 pieces should move completely different than any of the standard chess pieces.Perhaps for example,a dragon piece could move in a "v"formation,or a sword could jump 3 squares diagonally,then one square to the right or left,larger pawns could en passant an opponents Bishop instead of another pawn on the 5th rank.I think this will give those new spin processors a run for their money....
Parent - By Geomusic (*****) Date 2009-10-11 11:32
forget spin go for q-bit.
Up Topic Rybka Support & Discussion / Rybka Discussion / Spintronic processors

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