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A New Kind of Microchip


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Lyric Semiconductor's probability processor

Lyric Semiconductor's probability processor uses signals representing probabilities, not digital bits.

Credit: Lyric Semiconductor

A computer chip that performs calculations using probabilities, instead of binary logic, could accelerate everything from online banking systems to the flash memory in smart phones and other gadgets.

Rewriting some fundamental features of computer chips, Lyric Semiconductor has unveiled its first "probability processor," a silicon chip that computes with electrical signals that represent chances, not digital 1s and 0s. And because that kind of math is at the core of many products, there are many potential applications.

A processor that dramatically speeds up probability-based calculations could find all kinds of uses, says Ben Vigoda, CEO and founder of the Boston-based startup. "We've essentially started from scratch." Vigoda's Ph.D. thesis underpins the company's technology.

From Technology Review
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