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First probabilistic CPU 30x more power-efficient

02/08, 4:25pm

Rice University PCMOS

Rice University today used the International Solid-State Circuits Conference to reveal that it has tested a real-world example of a processor founded on probability math. Called a PCMOS (probability-based complementary metal-oxide semiconductor), the chip abandons the either/or Boolean logic of all current processors in favor of calculations that rely on the most likely answer in most cases. By avoiding a reliance on getting an exact answer when unnecessary, the CPU uses just a fraction of the power to accomplish the same work as today's chips; the example chip's voltage is dropped to where it consumes 30 times less power than an equivalent, ordinary CMOS processor.

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