The capabilities of new microprocessors are typically expressed around Moore's Law, but it's assumed that at some point we'll pass its threshold in relation to what we can do with silicon. New research from IBM suggests that one of the most critical issues -- heat produced by increasing transistor density -- may be about to be solved.
Readwrite reports on the research, which looks at converting metal oxide materials to and from a conductive metallic state in a way that's stable even after power stops flowing through them. Why does that matter? Current silicon transistors require a constant power flow at all times to remain effective in switching around their many billions of ones and zeroes, whereas a system that could use only power as and when needed could operate at vastly lower power states.
That has implications for core computing power because of the implications with heat dissipation, but also obviously for power life of mobile devices, although the research is still in its very early stages, so it's not like you'll be buying a laptop with this included any time soon. [readwrite] Image: Patrick H~