Re: NEWS: Intel invents beakthrough in transistor design

From: Max More (
Date: Sun Nov 25 2001 - 19:09:42 MST

At 04:27 PM 11/25/01, you wrote:

Intel has come up with a new transistor architecture that
may promise terahertz clock speeds (Cough... Not with
a traditional chip architecture because the clock can't
propagate across the chip! At any rate...)

Good stuff. Robert, I don't know if you've already seen this, but there was an interesting article on chips that throw out the clock entirely. Here's my review from

It's Time for Clockless Chips
Technology Review by Claire Tristram , published on 10/01/01

This excellent, 6-page article reports on a disruptive innovation in the microprocessor world: Clockless chips. Though clockless chips are still more theory than reality, the author makes a strong case for their necessity over the coming years, despite Intel and other chip-makers having long based their marketing on the clock rate of their chips. Intel did try to build a clockless chip but never got it out of the lab. These clockless or asynchronous chips were considered all the way back in 1946. But early computer engineers chose to go with a clock since they did not have the ability to build a reliable computer without a governing clock.

Today’s clockless chip enthusiasts point out that clocked chips are running into barriers that could be solved with asynchronous chips. As regular chips get more complex, a growing proportion of the power is used up by the clock itself (currently about 30 percent). Clockless chips offer longer battery life and faster computing. Lacking a regularly timed signal, they can also perform encryption in way that is more difficult to crack, making them ideal for smart cards. These chips also give off very low levels of electromagnetic noise. This is a growing problem for faster regular microprocessors. Clockless chips would therefore be ideal for mobile communications devices. The author shows that for these new chips to become a reality, solutions to the chicken-and-egg problem of making design tools, manufacturing efficiency, and experienced designers need to come together. It may well be that companies like Intel build in some elements of clockless designs even as the full-blown devices struggle to emerge.



Max More, Ph.D. or
Strategic Philosopher
President, Extropy Institute. <>
Senior Content Architect, ManyWorlds Inc.:
--- Thought leadership in the innovation economy

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