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Thread: Reversible Computation and Freeing Memory

  1. #1 Reversible Computation and Freeing Memory 
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    The promise of reversible computation is that one-to-one logic gates don't have a theoretical minimum amount of energy they have to expend, lowering heat generation and thus allowing more operations per second safely. The problem with one-to-one logic gates is that they quickly fill memory. What I was wondering is if reversible computers could be feasible if information that needed to be erased were 'transported' by a series of gates to a certain part of the computer. All heat from erasing memory would be generated in one place that could be designed for efficient heat exhaust and wouldn't introduce a ceiling on the highest safe operations per second.


    What do you think?


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  3. #2  
    Forum Radioactive Isotope MagiMaster's Avatar
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    That'd be a huge bottleneck in performance, if it's actually possible. I'm not so sure the literal interpretation of bit transport really applies. That said, the reversible model of computation doesn't have to use such methods to function. At worst, you could make a negative copy of every bit and circuit in the computer. Of course, that's much more expensive than a heat sink.


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  4. #3  
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    How to you propose to erase the copy? Perhaps a different idea is to have two reversible processors in a computer and simply switch between them whenever one needs to be cleared of garbage bits.
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    Forum Bachelors Degree Waveman28's Avatar
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    Reversible electronic computing has been in existence for a long time now. The MOVE function is one such example of a process that does not increase entropy when "erasing" information. Doing so does not necessarily create a performance bottleneck either, that is purely dependant upon the computer architecture. Many upcoming nanocomputer architectures are also virtually completely isentropic by nature, such as K. Eric Drexler's Logic Rod computation model, which is essentially mechanical computing on a nano scale. Reversibility is undoubtedly the future of computing because of its large number of important benefits, such as dramatically lowering heat generation, lowering power consumption, allowing higher operating frequencies and reducing the size of heat sinks and cooling mechanisms.
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    Several new computing paradigms are slowly approaching, and many of them have reversibility properties, but I don't know if reversible classical computers will ever see the sunlight.
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  7. #6  
    Forum Bachelors Degree Waveman28's Avatar
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    Reversible classical computers have already been made. They contain 'reverse' logic gates which de-compute the original input signals. While this is impressive, it is nothing compared to what the future architectures will bring, and these architectures are approaching much faster than you think. The reason you don't hear of them as much is because those architectures are usually one-of-a-kind computers manufactured by researchers and because there is no supporting infrastructure to mass produce them due to the fact that the CMOS roadmap has not yet come to an end.
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  8. #7  
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    I would love some names or links. How do they address erasure?
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