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TEKNOKONVERGENS-Teknologikonvergens - grensesprengende forskning og radikal innovasjon

Spin-based Intermittent Computer

Alternative title: Spinnbasert intermitterende databehandling

Awarded: NOK 19.1 mill.

The SPrINTER project aims at creating a radically new technology for low-power wireless devices that do not require batteries to operate. We propose a technology built on the unique properties of nanomagnets to achieve our ambitious goal. Batteries have been the corner stone in mobile computing, which has enabled countless new applications with disruptive societal impacts in the last decades. Batteries provide the power needed for useful operation for hours, days, or in some cases even years between charges. But batteries also increase the size, weight, and cost of devices, as well as present safety and environmental challenges. The limited lifetime and associated cost of batteries prohibit the advancement of the next digital revolution, also referred to as ubiquitous computing. IoT devices are becoming ubiquitous, and a staggering amount of one trillion devices has been predicted to be produced by 2035. It is obvious that replacing and disposing of trillions of batteries every few years is inconvenient, expensive, and irresponsible. Batteryless, so-called, intermittent computing devices offer a route towards a sustainable digital society in the era of ubiquitous computing. Batteryless devices harvest energy from their environment, e.g., by using a solar cell, scavenging energy from radio waves, or converting thermal or kinetic energy to electricity. These are virtually unlimited sources of power but are not reliable and can only power devices intermittently. Power outages can occur hundreds of times per second requiring systems that are able to restart their computation once power is again available. Conventional computing devices are not suited for operation with an unreliable power source. In the SPrINTER project, experts in the fields of nanotechnology and computer science join forces to lay the foundation for truly intermittent computing and stimulate further research on novel applications that are enabled when going from low to “no” power devices.

The SPrINTER project aims at creating a radically new technology for low-power edge devices harnessing the non-volatile properties of nanomagnet ensembles, which have recently shown to enable spin-based computing. We believe that the proposed spin-based technology is ideally suited for batteryless intermittent computing devices required for a sustainable and scalable digital future. Realizing robust and fault tolerant intermittent computing devices will pave the way for technologies such as the Internet of Things (IoT), medical implants, wearables, condition monitoring, and wildlife monitoring. Batteryless devices harvest their energy from their environment, e.g., by using a solar cell, scavenging energy from radio waves, or converting thermal or kinetic energy to electricity. These are virtually unlimited sources of power but are not reliable and can only power devices intermittently. Power outages can occur hundreds of times per second requiring systems that are able to restart their computation once power is again available. Conventional computing devices are not suited for operation with an unreliable power source and to ensure computational forward progress costly checkpointing must be performed. Achieving a major leap towards spin-based truly intermittent computing devices is only possible if we consider the computational paradigm in union with the new hardware technology. In the SPrINTER project, we have identified intermittent computing (the paradigm) of nanomagnet ensembles (the technology) as a potentially disruptive solution. Investigating the full potential of the envisioned system requires an interdisciplinary approach that leverages the synergies between the hardware technology and the computational paradigm. The SRrINTER team is ideally situated to address the complete problem with members having the necessary expertise to investigate each of the fundamental properties of the envisioned system.

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TEKNOKONVERGENS-Teknologikonvergens - grensesprengende forskning og radikal innovasjon