New technology set to improve the Internet of Things

Zürich/Villigen AG – Researchers at ETH Zurich and the Paul Scherrer Institute have developed a technology that combines magnetic storage and logical operations. This technology could be used in devices linked to the Internet of Things (IoT).


Postdoc Zhaochu Luo with a chip.
Postdoc Zhaochu Luo with a chip. Image Credit: Markus Fischer/ PSI

A research group from the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Zurich (ETH) and Paul Scherrer Institute (PSI) have been working for a decade already on a new computer principle. At the moment, computer data is normally saved in separate modules and then processed. When there is no power, unsaved data can therefore be lost. The researchers want to build a non-volatile, rapid main memory that can simultaneously carry out logical operations on the data as well. Logical operations are used for data processing in computers.

The research group has now scored an important success on the road to this development, as detailed in a press release. They have successfully managed to carry out logical operations in a magnetic storage element. It may, however, take some time for this technology to be used in larger computers. “Initially I see our technology primarily being used in microprocessors with low computing power”, explains ETH researcher Pietro Gambardella. A current example of this would be the IoT, in which various devices and sensors directly communicate with one another. In such devices, computers must be immediately operational and not consume too much energy.


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