Over at Wired Magazine, Robert McMillan writes that DARPA is funding a new program called UPSIDE that will investigate analog computing as a means of achieving better power efficiency. The idea is to have chipmakers build analog processors that can do probabilistic math without forcing transistors into an absolute one-or-zero state, a technique that burns energy.
Darpa’s 54-month program will run in two phases. During the first companies will build chips using probabilistic techniques. During the second, they will build mobile imaging systems using the chips. Hammerstrom expects the systems to be faster and “orders of magnitude more power-efficient.”
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