A prototype “inexact” computer chip that is around 15 times more efficient than current microchips (Avinash Lingamneni/Rice University/CSEM)
Frames produced with video-processing software on traditional hardware (left), inexact processing hardware with a relative error of 0.54 percent (middle) and with a relative error of 7.58 percent (right) (Image: Rice University/CSEM/NTU)
Last year, a team of U.S. researchers applied the pruning shears to computer chips to trim away rarely used portions of digital circuits. The result was chips that made the occasional mistake, but were twice as fast, used half as much energy, and were half the size of the original. Now, building on the same “less is more” idea, the researchers have built an “inexact” prototype silicon chip they claim is at least 15 times more efficient than current technology in terms of speed, energy consumption and size.
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