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The Fantastical Promise of Reversible Computing


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University of South Florida researchers are studying computation that takes place in steps that are time reversible, known as reversible computing, as a way to make computing more efficient overall. When a conventional logic gate produces several outputs, some of them are not used and are called garbage states. "Minimization of the garbage outputs is one of the major goals in reversible logic design and synthesis," says South Florida's Himanshu Thapliyal and Nagarajan Ranganathan.

The researchers have found a theoretical way to reduce the number of garbage states that a computation produces and is applicable to reversible computing. The new theory involves performing an inverse computation on output states. If these computations result in the original states, then the computation is error free, minimizing the amount of garbage states that are produced.

The researchers say their theoretical method has the potential to be dissipation-free, meaning it would use less energy than modern computing systems, and it would not lose energy while performing computations.

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