Quantum Bits and 3D Transistors: The Changing Face of Modern Computing

One-thousand years ago, did people imagine the ability to fly?  500 years ago, did people imagine a world where those in separate continents could communicate in real time?  Today, can you imagine what technology has in store for the immediate and long–term future?

Imagine a measure of a millionth of a meter.  That’s the size of modern-day transistors inserted on microchips, powering desktop and laptop computers as well as smart phones and hand-held devices.

The first microprocessor was invented in 1971, and since then, a number of brands have been raising and chasing the bar, making ‘micro’ chips smaller but hosting more transistors (what machines depend on to work).

Today’s most-advanced chips host billions of microscopic hardware elements, managing electrical current.  Nano-scaled technology is difficult for the average person to fathom.  A nanometer is no more than a fingernail in length across, but one meter would scale to the diameter of planet Earth!

Modern Computing

Cutting-edge technology does not pursue advancement alone in itself.  Peoples’ comfort and desires propel technology.  For example, would you like to answer mobile phone calls from any phone in your home?  Mobile hub technology makes it happen.

Scientists put things in perspective, reminding us that we live in an information age, where the amount of produced information increases each day along with society’s propulsion to consume as much as possible.

The personal consumption of each individual inspires the trajectory of technology.  We demand smaller units that host and send information; in worst-case scenarios, the world would need to ration how much information is allotted to each person to supply the demand.

Researchers estimate the number of transistors on a chip should double every couple of years; but, at some point, technology won’t be able to find any more room, thinking in planar terms.  However, a 3D transistor is a new concept leveraged, each chip measuring 22 nanometers across.

Fins, placed on microchips, facilitate the flow of electric current, providing more opportunity for data travel.  Intel’s pride and joy, the Ivy Bridge chip, hosts 1.4 billion transistors, switching on and off at a rate of 100 billion times per second, using 5,000 times less energy but 4,000 times faster than predecessors.

The transfer of heat is causing problems for modern-day manufacturers.  The numbers of microscopic transistors is almost too demanding to produce the desired function.  Components are so tiny that quantum funneling takes effect (electrons passing through solid components).  In worst scenarios, quantum effects cease apropos and expected operations.

Quantum computing is a leap from traditional computing aligned with binary code; quantum computer bits represent high numbers of binary combinations all at once.  Quantum computing can find one solution out of billions of options, looking at all of them at the same time, making the best decision.

What does this all mean for the common citizen?  The advancements in data recognition and perusing facilitate new found solutions regarding climate control, economics, and human genetics.  As appealing and exciting as new quantum theories are, scientists admit we are years if not decades away from direct implementation, enjoying the full benefits of this new technology.

Society’s love of information is not slowing down, placing high demands on manufacturers to bridge the gap between informational desires and technological realities.

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