Most people with even the most fundamental knowledge of how computer chips work are familiar with binary logic -- the system of ones and zeros that enable modern computing to occur -- in which an input always results in a solid result (either a one or a zero). Now, a Boston-based startup is rewiring the basic concept of computation with a probability processor that deals in chance rather than binary logic, creating a chip that could speed all kinds of processes from flash memory in smartphones to better decision-making software for machines.
Lyric Semiconductor's chip accepts probabilities as inputs instead of ones and zeros, and the output is also a probability -- the odds that the two input probabilities match up. Rather than the usual NAND gates characteristic of conventional transistor schemes, the chips employ what are known as Bayesian NAND gates, named for the statistician Thomas Bayes whose field of thought is the basis for the idea.
The ability to crunch probabilities rather than hard ones and zeros is actually far more applicable to many computing tasks than binary logic, because many of said tasks are already trying to crunch probabilistic math. Recommendation engines like those employed by Amazon and Netflix, for instance, rely on software figuring out what you are most likely to enjoy. Spam filters work in much the same way.
Of course, such processors might also have defense applications that are not lost on DARPA, which has been partially funding their development since 2006. Probability processors could be used to patch together distorted audio signals or to create better machine vision that can actually interpret what an image or action means. Ostensibly they could also be used to help intelligence services sort through vast amounts of data to separate the noise from valuable information.
Lyric plans to have prototypes of their all-purpose probability processors working within three years. In the meantime, a smaller flash memory error-correcting chip based on the technology is available for license this week, and the company hopes to have the chips boosting flash memory in portable devices like smartphones or tablets within two years.
article sounds cool, but there is absolutely nothing here explaining basics of how it works. Everyone understands binary, because it's simply a on/off type of thing, you sent a volt down electric wire and it's conceived to be a 1, no volt conceived to be a 0 basically, or rather maybe -1 volt = 0. Ether way it's easy to understand, and its' understandable that this limits what computers can do.
but when you have an article talking about probability calculation, exactly what does that mean???
I did some hunting and found an article that seemed to help explain it a bit better (though not sure if i really understand better or just better understand my confusion )
I understand the companies don't want to tell us exactly how something works so we will buy there product and be interested ,but this sounds like something unexplainable. you are taking from what has been known as explainable logic to something that just gives a result.....That is scary is this why DARPA is in the movie Terminator and the robots come killing us? Because of unexplainable Logic????? I think this is more on the terms of using old Boolean gates and interpreting a quicker response around a logic path due to routine usage. but this also sounds like one small program glitch might just backfire on someone and it dose not sound good.... Good luck with that... I guess they better start explaining this one better ....
Let's put it in a GPS Navigation system :p.
"Yeah... You're probably around here somewhere and in about 10 minutes or something you should go left... or right... probably left though."
If rather than looking for 1 volt vs 0 volts for 1 and 0, it is instead using a range of 0-1 volts that lets say it can identify as 128 increments, then:
.0078 volts might be equivalent to binary 0
.0156 volts might be equivalent to binary 1
.0234 volts, binary 10
If it could do that then it could deal with 8-bit numbers like they were binary numbers...?
LOL @ IIoWoII :)
Me: "GPS, take me to my parents house."
GPS: "There is a high probability that they will talk to you about why you are not married. The chances are good that you will wish you were somewhere else. Would you like to go somewhere else instead?"
Me: "Fine, take me to work"
Me: "What's wrong with that?!?!"
GPS: "I'll just direct you to drive you off a bridge, chances are good that what is at the bottom of the ravine is going to be better than where you want to go."
Me: "No WAY!"
GPS: "I am a probability crunching machine, I know what's best"
Me: "Oh alright, where's the nearest bridge?"
I hope this is the first step in the ultimate development of an Infinite Improbability Drive.
redeamed's source article seems a bit clearer. The company was given startup money from DARPA to develop something based on this concept.
They haven't done that yet. That's due out in 2013. They are currently licensing some of their tech to form the basis of an improved error correction gizmo for NAND flash memory.
Sounds as if they will be eventually making a device + software that accepts more complex inputs, which should allow it to more rapidly work out a probability. Didn't say what those more complex inputs are, but they could well be analog voltages proportional to probability -- just a guess.
@rosen380 That is about what I was assuming but isn't that the same idea behind the term "quantum computing"?
@fordtogo As I understood it, it seems more that they have the processor made and working it is just the changes in the rest of the system and their marketing plans they are preparing.
absolutely love the GPS comments. LMAO.
Me: *types www.google.com*
Computer: "ok, but be quick."
Computer: "there is a high probability the Chinese will launch a cyber attack within the next hour."
well written, could you send me the contact details of Paul please?
Love the GPS joke!!!! Very funny!!! LOL at work!
GPS joke made me laugh thats some good stuff there
@Igot1forya LOL ROFL LMAO XD :P :D ... when I am done laughing, I will have learned that my GPS has a great chance of doing exactly this in the future...