Zeros and ones that have been the basis of computer science since its origins. All current consumer computers and practically from the first that the human being has created are based on binary language. However, a stable quantum systems arrive, a group of Korean researchers says they have the first chip that uses a ternary system. In other words, instead of limiting to 0 and 1 also add 2.
When we say that a computer only understands 0 and 1 does not mean that in the binary system there is only the number 0 and the number 1, but that it understands the passage of electricity or the absence of electricity. It is a system with base 2, only two figures are used to represent any letter or number, so to represent for example the number 25 in the binary system would be ‘11001’.
Now, what if we use a base 3 numbering? We would be talking about a system in which three different figures can be used instead of two as in the binary. When there is an extra number the number of figures needed to represent characters is considerably reduced. For example, the number 25 would become ‘221’ instead of ‘11001’. This system is called the ternary system.
A faster and Samsung-backed processor
A study by a group of researchers led by Professor Kyung Rok Kim of the Ulsan National Institute of Science and Technology in South Korea has been published these days in Nature Electronics. In this study, they claim to have managed to develop the first ternary metal oxide semiconductor energy efficient. In other words, they have achieved a chip that instead of working with 0 and 1 like all those we have developed so far, works with 0, 1 and 2.
The advantage of this is obvious, a ternary system reduces the amount of information that the processor should (forgive the redundancy) process. As we have seen in the example of number 25, fewer characters are needed to transmit compared to a binary system. Therefore, less energy is consumed and time is saved in the calculations. It’s simple, instead of transferring 5 bits to say ’25’ 3 trits are transferred to say ’25’.
It is not entirely clear how they have managed to implement a third “option” in semiconductors, because electricity either passes or does not pass. But as they indicate, “the latest research shows that there is a possibility of commercializing ternary semiconductors in the current binary method of chips”. That is, the technology could be adapted to current processors without changing its architecture.
According to the researchers, this ternary semiconductor technology would significantly improve the development and efficiency of processors for autonomous vehicles, robots, artificial intelligence and other fields where the processor plays a crucial role. They believe that this ternary technology could be developed and marketed in five years.
Samsung Electronics supports projects that may be of interest to your industry. This is the case of this research of the ternary processor, where since 2017 they have supported the research by offering a grant to be carried out. They confirm that they are currently verifying the technology in their laboratories to see if it is viable.
Via | The Korea Herald