SAN FRANCISCO — Carbon nanotubes hold the promise of packing the computing power of an IBM Watson system into a smartphone, says a Stanford researcher.
In a talk at Semicon West, H.S. Philip Wong described a theoretical 3D chip stack interleaving next-generation memory and logic technologies made with carbon nanotubes. Privately, he acknowledged the material still faces huge challenges before it is ready for practical use.
Wong showed a "club sandwich" made from carbon nanotubes. It interleaved layers of resistive and magnetic RAM with logic layers made from 1D and 2D field effect transistors.
"This design requires new, high-efficiency heat spreaders -- the thermal aspect is critically important," he said.
The resulting design could provide a thousand-fold power reduction for the IBM system that consumed 175 kW power to beat human contestants in the Jeopardy game show. That system packed 2,880 IBM Power 7 cores running at 3.5 GHz delivering 80 TFlops.
"All the content was loaded into Watson's DRAM, not hard drives, because so much energy is spent in moving data," said Wong.
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