Constructing a Pc With a Single Atom
Atom Physics Technology

A brand new research reveals that even probably the most basic constructing blocks of matter, atoms, can function a computing repository the place all enter and output processing happens by way of optical means.

New research broaden the views on what constitutes a “laptop” and the way small a computational unit may be.

After we outline a “laptop” as any system that processes info by way of enter and output, it raises the questions of what objects can carry out these computations and the way small can these computer systems be. With transistors reaching the bounds of miniaturization, discovering solutions to those questions turns into essential, as they may result in the event of a brand new computing paradigm.

In a brand new research revealed in EPJ Plus by researchers from Tulane College in New Orleans, Louisiana, Gerard McCaul and his workforce show that atoms, one of the fundamental constructing blocks of matter,  can act as a reservoir for computing the place all input-output processing is optical.

“We had the concept that the capability for computation is a common property that each one bodily methods share, however inside that paradigm, there’s a nice profusion of frameworks for the way one would go about truly making an attempt to carry out computations,” McCaul says.

He provides that one of the necessary of those frameworks is neuromorphic or reservoir computing with a neuromorphic laptop aiming to imitate the mind. This idea underpins the explosive growth of machine learning and AI in the last few decades and leads to a potentially non-linear computer where output is not linearly proportional to the input. This is desirable as it could lead to a computing architecture flexible enough that any given output can be achieved, given a suitable input.

“That is, if we want some given computational result, we are guaranteed that some input to the computation exists that will achieve it,” McCaul says. “This is impossible if our system only exhibits a linear response!”

The team proposed a non-linear single-atom computer with the input information encoded directly into light and the output also in the form of light. The calculation is then determined by filters that the light output is passed through.

“Our research confirmed this approach works in principle, as well as confirming the fact that the system performed better when the input light was designed to induce a higher degree of non-linearity in the system,” McCaul says. “I would probably argue that what we are trying to emphasize with this work is that the minimal system capable of computing really does exist on the level of a single atom and that computation can be performed purely with optical processes.”

Reference: “Towards single atom computing via high harmonic generation” by Gerard McCaul, Kurt Jacobs and Denys I. Bondar, 5 February 2023, The European Physical Journal Plus.
DOI: 10.1140/epjp/s13360-023-03649-3