Lyric probability processor

By Tech Powered Dad | September 6, 2010

NAND and NOR gate

Since the first electronic computers were developed over 60 years ago, they have operated in a fundamentally similar way. Lyric Semiconductor recently announced a new kind of computer processor that is a shocking change in the math behind computers.

You may know that computers “speak” binary, meaning that at a fundamental level, they operate on the base two number system, a series of 0’s and 1’s. The reason for this is that those 0’s and 1’s can be easily translated into what sort of amounts to a long list of yes/no or true/false questions for the computer to crunch. These true/false questions are interpreted through the framework of logic gates (logic gates on Wikipedia).

Computers have gotten faster and faster through the years, and software is more and more sophisticated, but at a fundamental level, they are still computing using these logic gates–enter, Lyric Semiconductor. The company has announced it is working on a new probability processor.  Rather than computing with the traditional logic gates, the company is “redesigning processing circuits from the ground up to natively process probabilities.”

The gains in performance that Lyric expects with this approach are impressive. The company says one Lyric probability processor will have 1000X efficiency over standard processors in terms of cost, power, and size. Lyric’s press release says they plan to roll out their general-purpose programmable probability processing platform (GP5) in 2013.

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