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Esprit Project 28667 - ANSWERS
Autonomous Nanoelectronic systems with extended replication and signalling

Keywords: MEL-ARI Nano-Scale ICs, Parallel and High Performance Computing

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The aim of the ANSWERS project is to provide information on whether nanoelectronic devices can usefully be integrated into very large-scale computing systems. The project will use a top-down approach, where representative real-world applications are used as targets to assess the types of systems which might be needed, the system architectures, the functional blocks and interconnections, the amounts of memory, fault-tolerance requirements and so on. This project will provide information on what problems are likely to be encountered when nanoelectronic devices are eventually used in such systems, and will suggest possible solutions.

Groups from University College London, Technische Universiteit Delft (TUD), Universit├Ąt Dortmund and Universita di Pisa will work together on this project. UCL will deal mainly with system simulation, Technische Univ. Delft will be concerned with single-electron transistor devices (SETs), Univ. di Pisa will work on quantum cellular automata, and Univ. Dortmund will deal with resonant tunnelling (RT) devices, in collaboration with LOCOM, another MELARI project.

There are three main project objectives. The first is to define what type of algorithms and highly-parallel architectures will be needed in the future, to solve problems such as autonomous vehicle guidance, large-scale image analysis and 'intelligent' personal databases.

This information will then be used to guide the development of simulators, which will be used to predict the performance of small assemblies of nanodevices - for example logic gates or multiple-input threshold logic units - and to predict the effects of factors such as electrical noise or size variations. The second project objective is to provide quantitative estimates of the performance of individual devices and of small units, as a function of parameters such as device size, clock speed etc. These estimates will be supported by experimental results from multiple-input RT threshold logic units, which will be obtained by the LOCOM project and from SET devices at TUD.

Larger-scale simulators will also be used, to assess the effects of individual device errors on overall system reliability. The third and final project objective is to provide quantitative estimates of how much the high-level system performance will be affected by factors such as device size, manufacturing tolerances and electrical noise phenomena. An important outcome of this work is expected to be a description of the relationship between device size and noise immunity, and the implications for large-scale digital logic and nonlinear analogue circuits.

Contact Point
Dr. Michael Forshaw
University College London
Physics and Astronomy Department
Gower Street
UK - London

e-mail: (E-mail removed)

Start date: 1 July 98
Duration: 36 months

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