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Nanomagnetic Computers Are the ­ltimate in Efficiency

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Nanomagnetic computers would break the second law of thermodynamics if they used any less energy, according to new calculations from a team led by the University of California, Berkeley's Brian Lambson.

The team estimated how magnetic fields would change during computation, then calculated the energy required to make those changes to determine how little energy nanomagnetic chips might consume.

The results were close to the theoretical limit set by physicist Rolf Landauer. He argued in 1961 that altering a single bit of energy always produces a tiny amount of heat and that there would always be an accompanying transfer of energy no matter how a computer is built.

"Magnetic systems are unique in that they have no moving parts," Lambson says. "Moving parts are really what dissipate a lot of energy in physical systems, whether it's moving electrons or physical material."

Although such computers are still semi-theoretical and nanomagnetic chips are still in their infancy, machines that run on chips made from tiny magnets could one day be used in deep oceans or deep space, where energy efficiency is at premium.

From Wired News
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