Home > Press > U.S.-Singapore team applying nanoelectronics to embedded computing
Computing researchers at Houston's Rice University and electronics specialists at Singapore's Nanyang Technological University (NTU) today announced the formation of the Institute for Sustainable Nanoelectronics (ISNE). The $2.6-million joint research initiative, valued at 4 million Singapore dollars, aims to slash the design and production costs for embedded microchips -- special-purpose computer chips that power everything from cell phones and digital cameras to jet airplanes and MRI machines.
U.S.-Singapore team applying nanoelectronics to embedded computing
HOUSTON, TX | Posted on September 4th, 2007
Rice, Nanyang Tech collaborate on sustainable nanoelectronics
U.S.-Singapore team aims to leverage Moore's Law for embedded computing
Computing researchers at Houston's Rice University and electronics specialists at Singapore's Nanyang Technological University (NTU) today announced the formation of a $2.6-million Institute for Sustainable Nanoelectronics (ISNE). The joint research initiative, valued at 4 million Singapore dollars, aims to slash the design and production costs for embedded microchips -- special-purpose computer chips that power everything from cell phones and digital cameras to jet airplanes and MRI machines.
"A major goal of the collaboration is to help sustain Moore's Law and exploit the exponential rate at which electronic components have been shrinking for more than four decades," said Rice researcher Krishna Palem, the architect of the multinational initiative.
For instance, in a streaming video application on a cell phone, it's unnecessary to conduct precise calculations. The small screen, combined with the human brain's ability to process less-than-perfect pictures, results in a case where the picture looks just as good with a calculation that's only approximately correct.
"The key is tying the costs for design, energy consumption and production to the value that the computed information has for the user," Palem said.
ISNE is funded by and based at NTU. It will draw upon an International Network of Excellence directed by Palem. The broad-based network will include computing experts from elite organizations like NTU, Rice and the Georgia Institute of Technology.
"NTU is pleased to be collaborating with Rice to spearhead research in sustainable nanoelectronics," said NTU President Su Guaning. "Leveraging the strengths of NTU and Rice, both top technological universities, will no doubt bring about exciting breakthroughs. We are also glad to have Professor Palem, renowned for his computing methodology, head the ISNE."
The institute will partner with Rice's new Value of Information-based Sustainable Embedded Nanocomputing Center, or VISEN, which Palem recently established with seed funding from Rice.
"Rice and NTU are well-positioned to lead the search for sustainable new technologies in nanoelectronics," said Rice President David Leebron. "NTU is a leader in electronics and a well-known contributor to Singapore's economic vitality. Rice is a leader in engineering and nanotechnology, with a well-deserved reputation for international collaboration and the development and application of new ideas."
The institute hopes to evolve a design methodology that will be applicable not only to today's complementary metal-oxide semiconductors, or CMOS, but also to emerging computing platforms based on photonics and nanotechnology. The platform-independent approach is one of the institute's central themes, said Palem, who recently finished a yearlong appointment at the California Institute of Technology as a Gordon Moore Distinguished Scholar.
One example of the new "value-of-information" approach is probabilistic CMOS, or PCMOS, a new technology and an accompanying computing architecture invented within the past five years by Palem's research team. The key to PCMOS is a scheme that allows chips to trade off energy consumption at the cost of increased electronic "noise," which leads to slight processing errors.
The beauty of PCMOS is that most of today's chips are over-engineered for day-to-day applications. In prior research, Palem ran cell-phone-style streaming video applications in a side-by-side comparison on PCMOS chips and traditional, power-hungry cell-phone chips. An award-winning demonstration of the technique at a 2006 conference in Seoul, South Korea, wowed audiences, who saw no appreciable difference in picture quality, even though the PCMOS chips used five times less power. Palem and colleagues at NTU are currently testing the first-generation production prototype PCMOS chips.
"As information processing systems become more ubiquitous in consumer-driven applications, their designs must be tailored to reflect the needs of the end-users, and it is in this area that the new NTU/Rice Institute for Sustainable Nanoelectronics will make substantial contributions," said Ralph Cavin, chief scientist at the non-profit Semiconductor Research Corporation in Durham, N.C. "The institute's goal of developing design technologies for extremely-scaled CMOS, so that the consumer's needs are met at reduced cost, is well-aligned with emerging directions in integrated circuit applications."
Palem, who is the Ken and Audrey Kennedy Professor in Computer Science and professor of electrical and computer engineering, joined Rice's faculty July 1 from Georgia Tech, where he founded and directed the Center for Research in Embedded Systems and Technology.
"Krishna was recruited to Rice by the legendary computer scientist Ken Kennedy," said Sallie Keller-McNulty, dean of Rice's George R. Brown School of Engineering. "Ken was passionate about optimization, about making all computers -- be they supercomputers or smart devices - more efficient and easier to use. We're proud that Krishna is continuing the tradition of international excellence that Ken fostered at Rice."
About Rice University
Rice University is consistently ranked one of America’s best teaching and research universities. It is distinguished by its: size—2,850 undergraduates and 1,950 graduate students; selectivity—10 applicants for each place in the freshman class; resources—an undergraduate student-to-faculty ratio of 6-to-1, and the fifth largest endowment per student among American universities; residential college system, which builds communities that are both close-knit and diverse; and collaborative culture, which crosses disciplines, integrates teaching and research, and intermingles undergraduate and graduate work. Rice’s wooded campus is located in the nation’s fourth largest city and on America’s South Coast.
For more information, please click here
Copyright © Rice University
If you have a comment, please Contact
Issuers of news releases, not 7th Wave, Inc. or Nanotechnology Now, are solely responsible for the accuracy of the content.
Electronic circuits with reconfigurable pathways closer to reality January 26th, 2015
The latest fashion: Graphene edges can be tailor-made: Rice University theory shows it should be possible to tune material's properties January 24th, 2015
New method to generate arbitrary optical pulses January 21st, 2015
New signal amplification process set to transform communications, imaging, computing: UC San Diego researchers discover a mechanism to amplify signals in optoelectronic systems that is far more efficient than standard processes January 21st, 2015
Electronic circuits with reconfigurable pathways closer to reality January 26th, 2015
Rice-sized laser, powered one electron at a time, bodes well for quantum computing January 15th, 2015
Rapid journey through a crystal lattice: Researchers measure how fast electrons move through single atomic layers January 14th, 2015
A new step towards using graphene in electronic applications January 14th, 2015
Nanoparticles Increase Durability of Concrete Decorations in Cold Areas January 26th, 2015
Iranian Researchers Boost Solar Cells Efficiency Using Anti-Aggregates January 26th, 2015
Detection of Heavy Metals in Samples with Naked Eye January 26th, 2015
Engineering self-assembling amyloid fibers January 26th, 2015
Smart keyboard cleans and powers itself -- and can tell who you are January 21st, 2015
DNA 'glue' could someday be used to build tissues, organs January 14th, 2015
GLOBALFOUNDRIES and Linear Dimensions to Offer Joint Analog Solution For Fast-Growing Wearables and MEMs Sensors Markets January 9th, 2015
Nanowire clothing could keep people warm -- without heating everything else January 7th, 2015
Visualizing interacting electrons in a molecule: Scientists at Aalto University and the University of Zurich have succeeded in directly imaging how electrons interact within a single molecule January 26th, 2015
Promising use of nanodiamonds in delivering cancer drug to kill cancer stem cells: NUS study shows that delivery of Epirubicin by nanodiamonds resulted in a normally lethal dosage of Epirubicin becoming a safe and effective dosage for treatment of liver cancer January 26th, 2015
Wearable sensor clears path to long-term EKG, EMG monitoring January 20th, 2015
Graphene enables all-electrical control of energy flow from light emitters: First signatures of graphene plasmons at telecommunications wavelength revealed January 20th, 2015