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Feature Article

Feature Article

Thermodynamic Computing Workshop Report

Thermodynamic Computing is a new concept for future energy-efficient computing, inspired by thermodynamics and biological self-organizing systems.

A Visioning Workshop on Thermodynamic Computing was held in January 2019, in Honolulu, Hawaii, sponsored by the Computing Community Consortium (CCC).

The report on this workshop is now available at the Computing Research Association (PDF, 3 MB).

An overview of the report is available at the CCC Blog.

The architecture of a thermodynamic computer is still being envisioned. This workshop brought together a wide variety of researchers in electrical and computer engineering, physics, and biology. This is related to other approaches such as reversible and stochastic computing, but also envisions “intelligent” systems that are self-organizing and self-programming. This may also represent a class of computers that are intermediate between classical von-Neumann computers and quantum computers that are currently in the research stage. The report recommended continued research into the theory, devices, and architectures of thermodynamic computers.

Two related podcasts on the subject of thermodynamic computing, with some of the workshop organizers, are available at SoundCloud. Listen to Part 1 and Part 2.

Technology Spotlight

Technology Spotlight

IEEE ICRC Keynote: Developing our Quantum Future

Dr. Krysta Svore, General Manager of Quantum Software at Microsoft

At the IEEE International Conference on Rebooting Computing (ICRC) in San Francisco, California, on 6 November 2019, Dr. Svore presented the keynote address on Quantum Computing at Microsoft.

Microsoft has an extended quantum computing program with multiple collaborations worldwide, going from novel device development through system architectures to algorithms and software. An overview is available at Microsoft, and a brief 2-minute video is available on YouTube.

On the software end, these include a Quantum Development Kit. Cloud access to a variety of types of experimental qubits will soon be available through Azure Quantum, as described in a recent article from Wired.

Dr. Svore emphasized that useful applications of these prototype quantum computing systems are not expected in the near future, but that in the meantime, developers are encouraged to use the Microsoft tools to identify applications where quantum algorithms will have the greatest impact.

The entire Keynote address by Dr. Svore is available at the bottom of the ICRC 2019 Highlights page.

Read further background on Dr. Svore.