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Replacement Technology

  • Date Submitted: 04/09/2012 10:27 AM
  • Flesch-Kincaid Score: 44.6 
  • Words: 853
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The short-term future of mobile phones seems to be quite interesting. We are bound to see mobile phones evolve into indispensable multi-utility devices. Your cell phone’s functionality will soon go beyond the PDA, digital camera or music player roles that it serves today. In the future, it will also become your wallet, credit card, car key, home doorway key, or a personal remote control for multiple appliances. It could well be your personal identity as well. However, the long-term future of mobile phones is even more interesting. Eventually, there will be no mobile phones. Allow me to explain with this story.

Saturation Point
With the current silicon-based manufacturing technology for microprocessors, manufacturers seem to have reached a saturation point in terms of pure clock speed. Take Intel for example—they had promised to deliver the 4 GHz Pentium 4. But after having developed a 3.8 GHz one, they could neither stuff more transistors into the available space nor increase the transistors’ switch-cycles to attain 4 GHz, because of heating issues. To achieve better performance, they decided to put two cores on a single die, and thus the onslaught of dual-core processors began. A time will come when it will not be feasible to put more cores on a single die. By then, the current silicon-based manufacturing technology will have reached its limits.

Replacement technology
Research is already underway for using lasers to transmit data within a processor, instead of silicon circuits. Of greater interest is research in the field of quantum computing; here the spin of an electron (a sub-atomic particle) is used to store binary information. Presently binary information is represented by switching a transistor on or off (or a flip-flop for a processor) to denote the binary numbers 1 or 0. With quantum computing, unbelievably large reserves of information can be stored in very small spaces. Another research area is biological computing. Scientists in Japan have...

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