Indian schoolchildren will be first to experience "probabilistic computing"


We told you last month about a new form of low-energy computer chips called PCMOS, which use “probabilistic logic” instead of Boolean. It looks like it will actually be implemented for use by schoolchildren in rural India. Lucky kids!

The creators of the chips are creating a solar-powered electronic slate, or I-slate, an electronic version of the blackboard slates used by many Indian schoolchildren, emphasizing a learning-by-doing approach. The chip technology makes small trade-offs in performance for enormous energy savings. This means finding applications where error can be tolerated. The PCMOS technology could lead to cell phones batteries lasting a few weeks instead of only a few days! Don’t unplug your phone charger yet; the evolution of this technology will probably take a while. The I-Slate prototypes aren’t even expected to be tested until next spring.