Lyric Semiconductor is looking to create a new design structure for chips built around probability processing.
Lyric founder and chief executive Ben Vigoda told V3.co.uk in a video interview that the new chips allow "fixed function probability processing", which aims for percentages of access rather than looking at a yes/no output from a transistor.
"Intel and AMD chips have logic in them, and logic operates on zeros and ones," he said. "Our circuits take in numbers between zero and one. Instead of zero and one they have 'maybe'. Transistors are like dimmer switches."
The idea behind the chips is that designers could take a more nuanced approach to processing. Working on a rules-based processing system that allows finer levels of control would give chips more flexibility than binary systems, the firm claimed.
For example, in estimating the probability of two schedules coinciding, the new processor can use a few specifically designed chip instructions to accomplish what 500 binary digital processors could accomplish in a brute force approach.
The company's first product will be Lyric Error Correction, a chip for Flash drives that cuts data transmission errors from one in 1,000 (using the most modern chip technology) to one in every 1,000 trillion, according to Vigoda.
"Current Flash drives use a Pentium scale chip to handle data processing errors, and the new chip will cut the size and cost of the silicon, reduce the power consumption 12 times and still get your data faster," he said.
In the longer term Lyric is looking to build probability processing systems into industry standard chipsets. Just as GPUs are now commonplace, Vigoda said that probability chips could become an essential motherboard element.
Lyric Semiconductor is showcasing elements of the chip architecture at the Flash Memory Summit 2010 in Santa Clara.
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