Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

3-D microchips for more powerful and environmentally friendly computers

Date:
December 14, 2009
Source:
Ecole Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne
Summary:
Scientists are working on 3-D microprocessors cooled from the inside through channels with a liquid coolant. The method is expected to boost the performance of future computers.

The world of IT pursues its race for performance. CMOSAIC could boost the computing performance of central processors by a factor 10 while consuming less energy.

Scientists are developing 3D microprocessors cooled from the inside through channels as thin as a human hair filled with a liquid coolant. This method is currently being developed by researchers from the EPFL (Ecole polytechnique fédérale de Lausanne, Switzerland) and its sister organisation ETH Zurich to boost the performance of future computers. The CMOSAIC project, under the leadership of John R. Thome in Lausanne, aims to develop processors 10 times more powerful with as many transistors per cubic centimetre as there are neurons in the same volume of a human brain -- a functional density greater than ever before. IBM has just signed a partnership to join the adventure. Its Zurich-based lab will work together with the researchers from the Lausanne and Zurich Federal Institutes of Technology.

Not so long ago our computers had a single core which had to be boosted for performance -- making each machine into a great central heating system. Beyond 85° C, however, electronic components become unstable. To overcome this physical limit, a solution was found with the multicore technology, where the same chip includes several processors which share tasks. Most of today's consumer electronics proudly boast a "dual core" or "quad core." However, in time the technology will come up against the same physical limits.

3D processors build on the idea of multicores. However, the cores are stacked vertically rather than placed side-by-side as in current processors. The advantage is that the entire surface of the core can be connected to the next layer, through 100 to 10,0000 connections per mm2. Shorter and more numerous, these minute interconnects should ensure that data transfer is 10 times faster, while reducing energy consumption and heat.

The Environment at Stake

The technological challenge is clear in terms of performance. But there is also an environmental stake. As John R. Thome, of the EPFL in Lausanne, explains: "In the United States, the industry's data centres already consume as much as 2% of available electricity. As consumption doubles over a five-year period, the supercomputers of 2100 would theoretically use up the whole of the USA's electrical supply!."

Although 3D microprocessors will use up less energy and generate less heat, they will still warm up. This is why John R. Thome's team is in charge of developing a revolutionary cooling system. Channels with a 50-micron diameter are inserted between each core layer. These microchannels contain a cooling liquid, which exits the circuit in the form of vapour, is brought back to the liquid state by a condenser and finally pumped back into the processor. Next year, a prototype of this cooling system will be implemented and tested under actual operating conditions -- but without a processor.

CMOSAIC is mostly funded by the SNSF via its Nano-Tera programme dedicated to cutting-edge information technology. Six labs at EPFL, ETH Zurich and IBM also contribute to financing and are each investigating a specific aspect of the project, coordinated by John R. Thome of EPFL, on the shores of Lake Geneva.

It will take a few years until 3D microchips equip consumer electronics. The initial 3D microprocessors should be fitted on supercomputers by 2015, while the version with an integrated cooling system should go to market around 2020.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Ecole Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

Ecole Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne. "3-D microchips for more powerful and environmentally friendly computers." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 14 December 2009. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/12/091211131607.htm>.
Ecole Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne. (2009, December 14). 3-D microchips for more powerful and environmentally friendly computers. ScienceDaily. Retrieved September 16, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/12/091211131607.htm
Ecole Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne. "3-D microchips for more powerful and environmentally friendly computers." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/12/091211131607.htm (accessed September 16, 2014).

Share This



More Computers & Math News

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Microsoft to Buy 'Minecraft' Maker for $2.5B

Microsoft to Buy 'Minecraft' Maker for $2.5B

AP (Sep. 15, 2014) — Microsoft will acquire the maker of the long-running hit game Minecraft for $2.5 billion as the company continues to invest in its Xbox gaming platform and looks to grab attention on mobile phones. (Sept. 15) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Manufacturer Prints 3-D Car In Record Time

Manufacturer Prints 3-D Car In Record Time

Newsy (Sep. 15, 2014) — Automobile manufacturer Local Motors created a drivable electric car using a 3-D printer. Printing the body only took 44 hours. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
What $2.5B Deal Could Mean For Microsoft, 'Minecraft'

What $2.5B Deal Could Mean For Microsoft, 'Minecraft'

Newsy (Sep. 15, 2014) — While Microsoft looks to be expanding its mobile business, the creators of "Minecraft" are stepping aside. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Frustration As Drone Industry Outpaces Regulation In U.S.

Frustration As Drone Industry Outpaces Regulation In U.S.

Newsy (Sep. 14, 2014) — U.S. firms worry they’re falling behind in the marketplace as the FAA considers how to regulate commercial drones. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
 
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:  

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:  

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile iPhone Android Web
Follow Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins