IEEE Rebooting Computing Responds to White House Nanotechnology Grand Challenge: “Sensible Machines” That are Smaller, Faster, and Lower Power

Rebooting Computing Initiative, October 2015


In June 2015, the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) issued a Request for Information on Nanotechnology-Inspired Grand Challenges for the next decade. Among health, environmental, and materials challenges, these also included two challenges focused on the future of computing:

  • Create computer chips that are 100 times faster yet consume less power.
  • Create devices no bigger than a grain of rice that can sense, compute, and communicate without wires or maintenance for 10 years, enabling an “internet of things” revolution.

IEEE Rebooting Computing is co-sponsoring a White Paper on a novel “Sensible Machine” that responds to both of these challenges. (Related Supplementary Material is also available.) This White Paper, authored by Stan Williams of HP and Erik DeBenedictis of Sandia and reviewed by a number of people in the IEEE/ITRS community, proposes to develop a new paradigm for computing inspired by neural organization whose main new feature is learning, but is also more energy-efficient than conventional computers. The intent is to encourage and coordinate further research in these areas by industry, government, and academia, over the next decade and beyond.

For further information on the Grand Challenge for Future Computing, see the White House announcement and the announcement from the National Nanotechnology Initiative.