Computers have grown consistently more powerful for several decades, but further advances in performance are hitting several roadblocks as emerging applications require the processing of large amounts of data at increasingly faster rates. A main bottleneck is the need to transfer data between off-chip memory and on-chip logic circuits. Max Shulaker et al. demonstrate a fresh approach to the design of computers dedicated to specific data-intensive applications, in which computing and memory is integrated more efficiently. Their three-dimensional, monolithically integrated nanosystem comprises several emerging technologies. It senses ambient gases with low-power nanosensors, stores the data in more than a million non-volatile memory devices and classifies it with carbon-nanotube-based logic. Crucially, these layers are all fabricated on the same chip and compatible with silicon-based technologies. Their approach inspires a new direction in computing whereby logic computation is integrated with data storage.
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