Researchers test 2.5 GHz superconducting microprocessor – CPU – News
A group of researchers from the Institute of Advanced Sciences at Yokohama National University, Japan, developed the MANA (Monolithic Adiabatic iNtegration Architecture) microprocessor. Highlights of the development are as follows: the MANA chip is a superconducting microprocessor; and even taking into account the energy required to cool it down to 4.2 Kelvin, it would be 80 times more efficient than a rival state-of-the-art 7nm FinFET semiconductor.
Interestingly, MANA is composed of superconducting niobium and built from adiabatic quantum flow parameters (AQFP). Each of these AQFPs is made up of a few fast-acting Josephson trunk switches – and in the MANA processor prototype, there are over 20,000 Josephson trunks in total.
“The AQFPs used to build the microprocessor have been optimized to operate adiabatically so that energy drawn from the power supply can be recovered at relatively low clock frequencies down to about 10 GHz,” explained Christopher Ayala, associate professor at YNU. “This is small compared to the hundreds of gigahertz typically found in conventional superconducting electronics. “
We need to be clear, the current generation MANA data processing components operate at 2.5 GHz. In the not too distant future, researchers hope to improve these 5-10 GHz clocks as design improvements are implemented.
As MANA requires such low temperatures (4.2 Kelvin, being bathed in liquid helium), it is better suited for data centers and high-performance computing systems. However, researchers are actively studying and have promising strategies to use MANA as the basis for practical, high-performance, energy-efficient cryosystems.
Sources: IEEE Journal study and blog post.