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Smart MachinesIBM's Watson and the Era of Cognitive Computing$
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Steve Hamm and John Kelly

Print publication date: 2013

Print ISBN-13: 9780231168564

Published to Columbia Scholarship Online: November 2015

DOI: 10.7312/columbia/9780231168564.001.0001

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Inventing a New Physics of Computing

Inventing a New Physics of Computing

(p.101) 6 Inventing a New Physics of Computing
Smart Machines

John E. Kelly

Steve Hamm

Columbia University Press

This chapter examines the search for a new physics of computing. Scientists aim to produce computer chips that are much more densely packed than today's, and can offer much more functionality, without consuming as much power. To that end, they are exploring a variety of approaches, ranging from developing new semiconductor materials that will replace the silicon transistor to designing new types of devices using the principles of quantum physics, or new circuits and computing strategies that, for instance, take as their models the neural networks of the human brain. One approach that seems especially promising to researchers at IBM is a new semiconductor device category called piezotronics, which manipulates sound waves in a tiny piece of material that will serve as a switching element. Another approach is quantum computing, which could enable people to process exponentially larger quantities of data.

Keywords:   computer chips, semiconductor materials, quantum physics, computing strategies, IBM, piezotronics, quantum computing

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