Galois Tech talk: Computers As We Don’t Know Them
Computers As We Don’t Know Them Christof Teuscher, PhD
Since the beginning of modern computer science some sixty years ago, we are building computers in pretty much the same way. Silicon transistor electronics serves as a physical device, the von Neumann architecture provides a computer design model, while the abstract Turing machine concept supports the theoretical foundations. However, in recent years, unimagined computing devices have seen the light because of advances in synthetic biology, nanotechnology, material science, and neuroscience. Many of these novel devices share the following characteristics: (1) they are made up from massive numbers of simple, stochastic components which (2) are embedded in 2D or 3D space in some disordered way. A grand challenge in consists in developing computing paradigms, design methodologies, formal frameworks, architectures, and tools that allow to reliably compute and efficiently solve problems with such devices. In this talk, I will outline my visionary and long-term research efforts to address the grand challenge of building, organizing, and programming future computing machines. First, I will review exemplary future and emerging computing devices and highlight the particular challenges that arise for performing computations them. I will then delineate potential solutions on how these challenges might be addressed. Self-assembled nano-scale cellular automata (CAs) and random boolean networks (RBNs) will serve as a simple showcase. I will also present the efforts underway to self-assemble massive-scale nanowire-based interconnect fabrics for spatial computers and what the challenges are in terms of computations and communication in such a non-classical system.