Smaller, faster and more precise are the goals of engineers who design microchips, those tiny, power-hungry processors at the core of modern electronics. But a Rice University professor is going against the grain, trading a little bit of precision for a major savings in power, and potentially leading a revolution in how chips are manufactured, reports Technology Review.
Krishna Palem’s "probabilistic complementary metal-oxide semiconductor technology, “ or PCMOS, is ideal, he believes, for devices that rely less on computational accuracy than on brute force to process audio and video files. To ensure precision, chips have traditionally run at high voltage; PCMOS chips use much less voltage, making them ideal for applications like music players and mobile phones where battery life is critical. (Read more microchips stories.)