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DATE 2017-02-01

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MESSAGE
DATE 2017-02-11
FROM Ruben Safir
SUBJECT Subject: [Learn] New Neuronet theory
From learn-bounces-at-nylxs.com Sat Feb 11 19:09:32 2017
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New study of ferroelectrics offers roadmap to multivalued logic for
neuromorphic computing

https://phys.org/news/2017-02-ferroelectrics-roadmap-multivalued-logic-neur=
omorphic.html



New study of ferroelectrics offers roadmap to multivalued logic for
neuromorphic computing
February 10, 2017 by Louise Lerner
New study of ferroelectrics offers roadmap to multivalued logic for
neuromorphic computing
A team of researchers from Argonne, the Lille University of Science and
Technology and the University of Picardie Jules Verne have laid out a
theoretical map to use ferroelectric material (a class of materials
whose polarization can be controlled with electric fields) to process
information using multivalued logic -- a leap beyond the simple ones and
zeroes that make up our current computing systems that could let us
process information much more efficiently. The diagram shows the
configurations (yellow dots) where stable energy positions could allow
us to encode information in thin films of ferroelectric material.
Credit: Baudry/Lukyanchuk/Vinokur

Research published Wednesday, in Nature Scientific Reports lays out a
theoretical map to use ferroelectric material to process information
using multivalued logic - a leap beyond the simple ones and zeroes that
make up our current computing systems that could let us process
information much more efficiently.

The language of computers is written in just two symbols=E2=80=94ones and
zeroes, meaning yes or no. But a world of richer possibilities awaits us
if we could expand to three or more values, so that the same physical
switch could encode much more information.

"Most importantly, this novel logic unit will enable information
processing using not only "yes" and "no", but also "either yes or no" or
"maybe" operations," said Valerii Vinokur, a materials scientist and
Distinguished Fellow at the U.S. Department of Energy's Argonne National
Laboratory and the corresponding author on the paper, along with Laurent
Baudry with the Lille University of Science and Technology and Igor
Lukyanchuk with the University of Picardie Jules Verne.

This is the way our brains operate, and they're something on the order
of a million times more efficient than the best computers we've ever
managed to build=E2=80=94while consuming orders of magnitude less energy.

"Our brains process so much more information, but if our synapses were
built like our current computers are, the brain would not just boil but
evaporate from the energy they use," Vinokur said.

While the advantages of this type of computing, called multivalued
logic, have long been known, the problem is that we haven't discovered a
material system that could implement it. Right now, transistors can only
operate as "on" or "off," so this new system would have to find a new
way to consistently maintain more states=E2=80=94as well as be easy to read=
and
write and, ideally, to work at room temperature.

Hence Vinokur and the team's interest in ferroelectrics, a class of
materials whose polarization can be controlled with electric fields. As
ferroelectrics physically change shape when the polarization changes,
they're very useful in sensors and other devices, such as medical
ultrasound machines. Scientists are very interested in tapping these
properties for computer memory and other applications; but the theory
behind their behavior is very much still emerging.

The new paper lays out a recipe by which we could tap the properties of
very thin films of a particular class of ferroelectric material called
perovskites.

According to the calculations, perovskite films could hold two, three,
or even four polarization positions that are energetically stable=E2=80=94"=
so
they could 'click' into place, and thus provide a stable platform for
encoding information," Vinokur said.

The team calculated these stable configurations and how to manipulate
the polarization to move it between stable positions using electric
fields, Vinokur said.

"When we realize this in a device, it will enormously increase the
efficiency of memory units and processors," Vinokur said. "This offers a
significant step towards realization of so-called neuromorphic
computing, which strives to model the human brain."

Vinokur said the team is working with experimentalists to apply the
principles to create a working system.

The study, titled "Ferroelectric symmetry-protected multibit memory
cell," was published February 8.

Explore further: Ferroelectric materials react unexpectedly to strain

More information: Laurent Baudry et al, Ferroelectric symmetry-protected
multibit memory cell, Scientific Reports (2017). DOI: 10.1038/srep42196
-- =

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