Defense Advanced Research Projects AgencyTagged Content List

Fundamental Physical Science

Pushing the boundaries of knowledge of the physical sciences

Showing 6 results for Fundamentals + Processing RSS
The inherent goodness of miniaturizing electronics has been key to a wide array of technology innovations and an important economic driver for several decades. For example, the seemingly endless shrinking of the transistor has allowed the semiconductor industry to place ever more devices on the same amount of silicon. Each time the size shrunk, transistors became faster and used less power, allowing increasingly capable electronics in smaller packages that cost less. In recent years, power requirements, excessive heat and other problems associated with physical limitations have reduced the advantages of continuing to shrink size.
As the complexity and volume of global digital data grows, so too does the need for more capable and compact means of processing and storing data. To address this challenge, DARPA has announced its Molecular Informatics program, which seeks a new paradigm for data storage, retrieval, and processing. Instead of relying on the binary digital logic of computers based on the Von Neumann architecture, Molecular Informatics aims to investigate and exploit the wide range of structural characteristics and properties of molecules to encode and manipulate data.
ITA3 will determine the practical and fundamental limits to imaging using low frequency electromagnetic waves.
The Molecular Informatics program brings together a collaborative interdisciplinary community to explore completely new approaches to store and process information with molecules. Chemistry offers an untapped, rich palette of molecular diversity that may yield a vast design space to enable dense data representations and highly versatile computing concepts outside of traditional digital, logic-based approaches.
Certain natural processes perform par excellence computation with levels of efficiency unmatched by classical digital models. Levinthal’s Paradox illustrates this well: In nature, proteins fold spontaneously at short timescales (milliseconds) whereas no efficient solution exists for solving protein-folding problems using digital computing. The Nature as Computer (NAC) program proposes that in nature there is synergy between dynamics and physical constraints to accomplish effective computation with minimal resources.