Raychowdhury, Parihar Research Non-Boolean Computing Using Coupled Oscillators

Atlanta, GA

Coupled oscillatory networks are omnipresent in nature and are responsible for a variety of synchronization phenomena ranging from chemical oscillations and circadian rhythms to the rhythmic flashing of fireflies. While the mathematical descriptions of such coupled systems are being actively studied by physicists, mathematicians and neurobiologists, recent advances in machine learning and intelligence have demonstrated possible applications of such networks in performing useful computation. One such paradigm that has evoked keen interest due to its neuro-computational properties is pattern-recognition and template-matching. This new type of computing architecture that stores information in the frequencies and phases of periodic signals could work more like the human brain, to do computing using a fraction of the energy of today's computers.

Ph.D. student Abhinav Parihar is working with Arijit Raychowdhury, and associate professor in the School of Electrical and Computer Engineering at Georgia Tech, on understanding synchronization phenomenon in coupled relaxation oscillators along with collaborators from Penn State and Cornell University. Recent experimental demonstrations of coupled integrated oscillators using Vanadium dioxide (VO2) by Professor Suman Datta’s research group in Penn State are being studied by researchers in Georgia Tech who have further demonstrated the associative computing nature of such oscillatory systems. Vanadium dioxide (VO2) is called a "wacky oxide" because it transitions from a conducting metal to an insulating semiconductor and vice versa with the addition of a small amount of heat or electrical current. In a device configuration this oxide has been connected, via negative feedback, to create sustained oscillations that can be electrically coupled to neighboring oscillators using appropriate coupling functions. This coupled system could provide the basis for non-Boolean computing. The results were first reported in the May 14, 2014 online issue of Nature Publishing Group's Scientific Reports [1]. It was also featured on the National Science Foundation’s front page as a top news story on May 23, 2014. The results of the findings have been further reported by a number of press articles [2-4] and Professor Raychowdhury and Professor Datta also presented their outlook on such non-Boolean computing paradigms on ‘Weltanschauung’ on Houston’s Public Radio network on June 26, 2014.

Abhinav Parihar is funded by Intel Corporation and Georgia Tech.

[1] N. Shukla, A. Parihar, E. Freeman, H. Paik, G. Stone, V. Narayanan, H. Wen, Z. Cai, V. Gopalan, R. Engel-Herbert, D. G. Schlom, A. Raychowdhury, and S. Datta, “Synchronized charge oscillations in correlated electron systems,” Sci. Rep., vol. 4, May 2014.
[2] Science Daily Article
[3] Communications of the ACM Article
[4] Daily News Article

Last revised August 1, 2017