first_imgComputer chips continue to get smaller and that’s a good thing. A smaller chip is faster and more energy-efficient than a larger chip, while also being more affordable to produce. More to the point, as gadgets become smaller, chipmakers have to try to keep up. The problem is that while shrinking a chip has all sorts of benefits, the tinier they are, the more fragile and easily broken they become. What to do?A team of four companies and two universities are now trying to figure out that very question. Anticipating a point when chips will become too small and thin to be resilient, they’ve created a chip that can not only gauge its own performance and reroute tasks around damaged portions of its own architecture… much like a man who learns to write left handed after he breaks his right arm.The group of minds behind this technology is called the Cutting-Edge Reconfigurable ICs for Stream Processing, known by their handier acronym, CRISP. The consortium came up with their technology by looking in closer detail at what chips need to stay running well, and what it all comes down to is multiple cores to which it can delegate tasks.The trick? Architecture that can degrade gracefully over time. A damaged chip shouldn’t just stop working. Graceful degradation is accomplished with a chip that can assign different tasks to different cores, test the connections to the cores, and reroute tasks when a connection becomes faulty. The result? Damaged chips that still work at full capacity when part of it are damaged.The possibilities here are obvious. Not only could architectures like Intel’s Arrendale be made more resilient by adopting CRISP’s new system, but gadgets would become more green-friendly as the CPU stopped being one of the most vulnerable and irreplaceable parts. Read more at Gizmag (via Treehugger)last_img

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