Hu, Xuan; Walker, Benjamin W.; Garcia-Sanchez, Felipe; Edwards, Alexander J.; Zhou, Peng; Incorvia, Jean A.; Paler, Alexandru; Frank, Michael P.; Friedman, Joseph S.
Magnetic skyrmions are nanoscale whirls of magnetism that can be propagated with electrical currents. The repulsion between skyrmions inspires their use for reversible computing based on the elastic billiard ball collisions proposed for conservative logic in 1982. In this letter, we evaluate the logical and physical reversibility of this skyrmion logic paradigm, as well as the limitations that must be addressed before dissipation-free computation can be realized.
The reversible computation paradigm aims to provide a new foundation for general classical digital computing that is capable of circumventing the thermodynamic limits to the energy efficiency of the conventional, non-reversible digital paradigm. However, to date, the essential rationale for, and analysis of, classical reversible computing (RC) has not yet been expressed in terms that leverage the modern formal methods of non-equilibrium quantum thermodynamics (NEQT). In this paper, we begin developing an NEQT-based foundation for the physics of reversible computing. We use the framework of Gorini-Kossakowski-Sudarshan-Lindblad dynamics (a.k.a. Lindbladians) with multiple asymptotic states, incorporating recent results from resource theory, full counting statistics and stochastic thermodynamics. Important conclusions include that, as expected: (1) Landauer’s Principle indeed sets a strict lower bound on entropy generation in traditional non-reversible architectures for deterministic computing machines when we account for the loss of correlations; and (2) implementations of the alternative reversible computation paradigm can potentially avoid such losses, and thereby circumvent the Landauer limit, potentially allowing the efficiency of future digital computing technologies to continue improving indefinitely. We also outline a research plan for identifying the fundamental minimum energy dissipation of reversible computing machines as a function of speed.
To advance the energy efficiency of general digital computing far beyond the thermodynamic limits that apply to conventional digital circuits will require utilizing the principles of reversible computing. It has been known since the early 1990s that reversible computing based on adiabatic switching is possible in CMOS, although almost all the “adiabatic” CMOS logic families in the literature are not actually fully adiabatic, which limits their achievable energy savings. The first CMOS logic style achieving truly, fully adiabatic operation if leakage was negligible (CRL) was not fully static, which led to practical engineering difficulties in the presence of certain nonidealities. Later, “static” adiabatic logic families were described, but they were not actually fully adiabatic, or fully static, and were much slower. In this paper, we describe a new logic family, Static 2-Level Adiabatic Logic (S2LAL), which is, to our knowledge, the first CMOS logic family that is both fully static, and truly, fully adiabatic (modulo leakage). In addition, S2LAL is, we think, the fastest possible such family (among fully pipelined sequential circuits), having a latency per logic stage of one tick (transition time), and a minimum clock period (initiation interval) of 8 ticks. S2LAL requires 8 phases of a trapezoidal power-clock waveform (plus constant power and ground references) to be supplied. We argue that, if implemented in a suitable fabrication process designed to aggressively minimize leakage, S2LAL should be capable of demonstrating a greater level of energy efficiency than any other semiconductor-based digital logic family known today.