You’ve probably heard the cooling fan in your desktop or notebook whirring feverishly on more than occasion, and the truth is that computing devices are overheating more often that ever before these days. Those fans are really working overtime as the devices themselves are being put through their paces especially hard, and in the bigger picture of things the technology they’re being made to accommodate is pushing them like they haven’t been pushed before.
But as the expression goes, you’re not going to stop progress and so those demands aren’t going anywhere. Devices are going to be getting hot and overheating, so what’s the solution for that if there is one at all? Innovation always goes right along with progress fortunately and what we have on the immediate horizon right now is something called momentum computing. We’ll get into what that is with this blog entry, but what it does is provide a cooling solution that’s a roundabout benefit that comes with a revolutionary way of handling computing requests.
This is something that is going to be of interest to any other reliable Canadian web hosting provider in the same way it for us at 4GoodHosting. That’s because large-scale applications of this same issue – namely data center cooling – is always front and center for all of us. So what exactly is this momentum computing, and what’s to be made of it?
With computer circuitry becoming smaller and more densely packed all the time it becomes more prone to melting from the energy it dissipates as heat. But there is a new way of carrying out computation that has the added benefit of dissipating a much better amount of the heat produced by conventional circuits. Expanding on what they understand of this now could bring heat dissipation capacities in computing down below what are the theoretical minimums understood now.
We’ll keep the tech part of this to a minimum, but a conventional computer sometimes has to erase bits of information in its memory circuits to make space for more. When a bit is reset, a certain minimum amount of energy is dissipated and at a value depending on the ambient. The unit of measurement for this dissipation factor is a Landauer, and a Landauer’s limit on how little heat a computation produces can be undercut by not erasing any information.
The key is that these computations done this way are fully reversible because throwing no information away means that each step can be retraced. But to avoid transferring any heat in what is called an adiabatic process, the computation and its operations must be carried out extremely slowly. Frictional heating is avoided this way, and it is frictional heating that is making that cooling fan of yours run like crazy like it is these days.
The cost of avoiding this type of overheating is having it take infinitely long to complete the calculation, but this is where momentum computing is set to change things for the better – and cooler.
New Encoding Method
The key to momentum computing – in this regard at least – is encoding information in electric currents in a new way and not as pulses of charge but in the momentum of the moving particles. The key concept is that a particle’s momentum can provide a free memory of sorts by providing information about the particle’s past and future motion, not just its instantaneous state. This extra information can then be leveraged for reversible computing. And with more reversible computing comes MUCH less frictional heat.
Momentum computing looks to be something of an outgrowth of a reversible-computing concept called ballistic computing that was proposed in the 1980s where information is encoded in objects or particles that move freely through the circuits under their own inertia. When particles interact elastically with others they don’t lose any energy in the process and this means less energy is available to manifested into frictional heat.
The belief in the industry is that small, low-dissipation momentum-computing JJ circuits could be feasible within a few years, and then with full microprocessors enabled with momentum computing debuting within this decade. We may see consumer-grade momentum computing realizing energy-efficiency gains of 1,000-fold or more over current approaches. That will mean much less overheating as computing devices work as hard as they are going to be continued to ask to, and the technology will certainly carry over to web hosting data center cooling too which will make it easier for folks like us to continue to do what we do for you without some of the major challenges faced – overheated data centers certainly being one of them