Move over silicon: Machine learning boom means we need new chips

Silicon chips are too energy-hungry Vetta/Getty By Hal Hodson SILICON has been making our computers work for almost half a century. Whether designed for graphics or number crunching, all information processing is done using a million-strong horde of tiny logic gates made from element number 14. But silicon’s time may soon be up. Moore’s law – the prophecy which dictates that the number of silicon transistors on microprocessors doubles every two years – is grinding to a halt because there is a limit to how many can be squeezed on a chip. The machine-learning boom is another problem. The amount of energy silicon-based computers use is set to soar as they crunch more of the massive data sets that algorithms in this field require. The Semiconductor Industry Association estimates that,…


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