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[ARS] IBM tries solving computing’s scaling issues with 5D electronic blood

post #1 of 8
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"Animals use blood for cooling and power delivery. Why can't computers, too?"





"One of the greatest problems facing the intertwined fields of computer science, electronic engineering, and information technology is density. Simply put, it is very, very hard to cram more and more digital functionality (compute, RAM, NAND flash, etc.) into a given volume of space. This might sound somewhat counterintuitive, considering how small modern computer chips are, but just think about it for a moment. Your desktop PC case probably has a volume of 50 litres or more—but the CPU, GPU, RAM, and handful of other chips that actually constitute the computer probably account for less than 1 percent of that volume.

It isn't that chip designers and computer makers don't want to make better use of that empty space inside your computer, but currently it's technologically infeasible to do so. We can just about squeeze in two or three graphics cards by using liquid cooling and perhaps two high-end CPUs if you're feeling particularly sassy. Going beyond that is really difficult.

In recent years we've seen the rise of one method of increasing density: stacking one die or chip on top of another. Even there, though, it seems that chip companies are struggling to go beyond a two-high stack, with logic (CPU, GPU) at the bottom and memory on top, or perhaps four or eight stacks in the case of high-bandwidth memory (HBM). Despite fairly regular announcements from various research groups and semiconductor companies and the maturation of 3D stacking (TSVs) and packaging technologies (PoP), multi-storey logic chips are rare beasts indeed.

In both cases—cramming more graphics cards into your PC case or making a skyscraper chip with a dozen logic dies in the same package—it is the same two problems that get in the way: heat dissipation and power delivery."

Source: http://arstechnica.com/gadgets/2015/11/5d-electronic-blood-ibms-secret-sauce-for-computers-with-biological-brain-like-efficiency/

Huh...? thinking.gif
 
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post #2 of 8
Whoa, like a vapor chamber but built into the cpu/gpu die! and it can deliver current? Cool!

This might just make sense for making highly stacked gpu or cpu dies viable.
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post #3 of 8
"I, time to time relocate to my STH10 when I have a fight with my SO. This doesn't help a bit"
post #4 of 8
They've been messing with this kind of approach for a while and they always have problems with power distribution. They even cite a 2011 article from IBM. All these components require different amounts of energy. Imagine running a CPU off the same wattage/voltage the GPU and RAM get with out any compensation for sudden power consumption due to different loads. It might "starve" components.

What would interest me is avoiding power distribution properties altogether and focusing on heat dissipation properties of this "blood." Getting rid of the heat could allow for "hot" components to be built closer together.

The comparison between blood and 5D blood is interesting but a tad flawed. "Power" is delivered by blood with a delivery of chemicals and nutrients allowing cells to function and produce electric signals themselves. But I understand that there is no other plausible description.

Still it would be kinda cool if a computer was on the "bleeding" edge of tech.
post #5 of 8
Makes sense if they can develop a confined and directable capacitance from the fluid. Seems quite a challenge at nanoscale though. Nothing like building a toaster safe for the bathtub.
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post #6 of 8
Subscribed ... Interesting topic to say the least
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post #7 of 8
Quote:
Now imagine if you have two CPUs stacked on top of each other. With consumer-grade air or liquid cooling, we could probably prevent the top CPU from melting...
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post #8 of 8
Wouldn't it be easier to do something more like this?



It's a basic image, but basically, if you built the components slightly off to the side of the main chipboard, wouldn't that dissipate some of the heat away from each other?
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