University of California, Riverside

Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering

Prof. Balandin and Prof. Lake Awarded $1.5M NSF Grant to Develop an Alternative Computational Paradigm for Future Computers

Prof. Balandin and Prof. Lake Awarded $1.5M NSF Grant to Develop an Alternative....
Prof Balandin & Prof Lake

Dr. Alexander Balandin, Professor of Electrical Engineering and Chair of the Materials Science and Engineering Program (photo, left) and Dr. Roger Lake, Professor of Electrical Engineering (photo, right) have been awarded a multi-year grant from the National Science Foundation to develop a revolutionary new approach for computations. In their designs, the information will be encoded not with electrical currents, individual charges or spins but rather with the collective states formed by the charge density waves. It will allow the electronic industry to drastically reduce power consumption and increase speed in the next generation of computers.

This project is awarded under the nation-wide Nanoelectronics for 2020 and Beyond competition, with support by multiple Directorates and Divisions at the National Science Foundation (NSF) as well as by the Nanoelectronics Research Initiative (NRI) of the Semiconductor Research Corporation (SRC). The $1,300,000 funding comes directly from NFS while $200,000 is a gift from industry associated with this project.

Continuing evolution of electronics beyond the limits of the conventional silicon technology requires innovative approaches for solving heat dissipation, speed and scaling issues. Alternative state variables other than dissipative charge transfer hold promise for drastic improvements in computational power. The computational paradigm proposed by Balandin and Lake is a completely new and has never been attempted before. It can be implemented at room temperature and does not require magnetic fields like some other alternative computational schemes investigated before. The UCR’s Nanoelectronics 2020 and Beyond project will lead to better understanding of the material properties and physical processes of charge-density wave materials in highly-scaled, low-dimension regimes that have not yet been explored. Among the outcomes of this research will be optimized device designs for exploiting charge-density waves for computations and accurate understanding of the fundamental limits of the performance metrics. This includes performance evaluation of the low-noise topological insulator interconnects proposed as part of new architectures.

The research, to be carried out in Balandin and Lake Groups, can lead to a revolutionary new technology for replacing or complementing conventional silicon complementary metal-oxide-semiconductor technology. The phase, frequency and amplitude of the collective current of the interfering charge waves will encode information and allow for massive parallelism in information processing. The low-dissipation, massively parallel information processing with the collective state variables can satisfy the computational, communication, and sensor technology requirements for decades to come. 

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