Hi @betash...you need to give Colin some credit...he is a journalist, damn good if you ask me, writes very interesting pieces about technology...it takes PhD in solid-state physics to start understanding these complex effects and even if you have it like me the full understanding is tough unless you work in this field...Kris
Your point is valid. Electrons will always play a role. If for nothing else, they have to be used to provide energy to the computing system no matter what the information token is.
Unfortunately, this article has not articulated the point clearly essentially becuase this is a derivative work based on the articles below.
For example, here is an abstract from Nature Nanotechnology 5, 266 - 270 (2010) :
The possible use of spin rather than charge as a state variable in devices for processing and storing information has been widely discussed1, 2, because it could allow low-power operation and might also have applications in quantum computing. However, spin-based experiments and proposals for logic applications typically use spin only as an internal variable, the terminal quantities for each individual logic gate still being charge-based3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8. This requires repeated spin-to-charge conversion, using extra hardware that offsets any possible advantage. Here we propose a spintronic device that uses spin at every stage of its operation. Input and output information are represented by the magnetization of nanomagnets that communicate through spin-coherent channels. Based on simulations with an experimentally benchmarked model, we argue that the device is both feasible and shows the five essential characteristics9, 10 for logic applications: concatenability, nonlinearity, feedback elimination, gain and a complete set of Boolean operations.
For further information, see below:
1. Proposal for an all spin logic device with built-in memory. (Nature Nanotech, 2010)
The world's first Simulation Program with Integrated Circuit Emphasis (SPICE) platform for modeling these spintronics devices and interconnects was recently invented by Georgia Tech in collaboration with Intel.
All this beautiful modeling was started from coupled simulation of spin transport (NEGF) and LLG equation which was developed at Purdue and INTEL merely copied it.
yes and no...the information processing is done in spin domain...not electron charge...but I guess you have to move from one spin element to another to propagate signal across so likely interconnect involves electron charge, otherwise I am having hard time imaging the interconnect scheme
Spintronics is a very vibrant research field and Intel is not the only company looking at it...we have an entire session on spintronics at emerging technologies conference in Grenoble in July (www.cmosetr.com)...if we can make spintronics work that would lead to amazing revolution in computation and electronics! Kris