Purdue research aims to stave off electronics industry crisis
January 14, 2009
The design of microprocessors and other devices central to the electronics age faces a crisis. The 40-year process of transistor downscaling has led to atomic-scale features, making devices subject to unavoidable manufacturing irregularities and to power densities comparable to a nuclear reactor. A new design approach embracing the atomistic, quantum mechanical nature of the constituent materials is necessary to continue developing future generations of more powerful—and lower energy, less hot—computer chips and other electronics along with their components, such as switches.
Working with the Rosen Center for Advanced Computing, Purdue electrical and computer engineering Professor Gerhard Klimeck and his lab are developing tools and techniques that allow such an approach. In the process, the Purdue researchers are winning access to some of the most powerful supercomputers in the world. The Texas Advanced Computing Center, on whose “Ranger” supercomputer (No. 6 on the latest Top 500 list) Klimeck and Mathieu Luisier, a research faculty member with Purdue’s Network for Computational Nanotechnology, have been running their code, is highlighting the work.