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Designing A Nanocomputer

Danielle Manning

Advisor: Dr. Thomas Way

Completed: Fall 2005

This Independent Study final report is submitted in partial fulfillment
of the requirements for the degree of

M.S. in Computer Science

Department of Computing Sciences
Villanova University
Villanova, Pennsylvania


The computer design industry will soon see the end ofthe massive gains predicted by Gordon Moore. While a great deal of research has been done in the area of individual devices, the actual design and layout of what a computer composed of nano-sized devices is still a mystery. This paper will analyze the current state of computer design, and analyze the research currently taking place in the nano-device arena. We will then set out to choose whichnanodevices can make up the various pieces of a plausible nanocomputer and attempt to outline the architecture for such a computer.

Keywords: nanotechnology, computer architecture, chip design, carbon nanodevices, instruction set design, nanocomputer design.


Special thanks go to Mr. Joel Greshock for his continued support of my education.

I would like to thank Dr.Thomas Way for his support and help in getting part of this paper published.

Thanks to the faulty and staff of the Computer Science department of Villanova University for giving this opportunity to achieve the successes I have had during their program of study.

Table of Contents

1 Introduction 5
2 Current Architecture Paradigms 7
2.1 Chip Manufacturing Techniques 7
2.2 InstructionSet Design 8
2.3 Multiprocessing and Instruction Level Parallelism 9
2.4 Memory 9
2.5 Interconnections 10
2.6 Storage 10
3 Developments in Nanocomputing 12
3.1 DNA Carbon Nanotubes and Nanowires 12
3.2 Chemically Assembled Electronic Nanotechnology (CAEN) 13
3.3 NanoBlocks and NanoFabrics 15
3.4 Quantum Cellular Automata 16
3.5 CMOL 17
3.6 Markov RandomNetwork 18
3.7 Cell Matrix 19
3.8 NanoPrism 21
4 A Proposed Nanocomputer Architecture Design 22
4.1 Chip Design 22
4.2 Instruction Set Design 23
4.3 Interconnections and Communication Points 23
4.4 Main Memory, Multiprocessing and Instruction Level Parallelism 24
4.5 Storage 24
5 Conclusion 25
6 References 26
Designing A Nanocomputer

Danielle M ManningIntroduction

I sit and listen to hours and hours of music on my three year old, already obsolete 15 gigabyte iPod which is the size of my hand. I contemplate what nanotechnology might bring to our future, and I marvel at the possibilities. The prefix “nano” means “one-billionth”. In the computer industry, this prefix is not unfamiliar; we have talked for several years about computing speedsin the nanosecond range. Recently, the discussion of “nanotechnology” has dominated the futuristic talk of computer science, much like Artificial Intelligence did in the 1980s and 90s. Nanotechnology can be defined as the study of all things small, namely the size of a nanometer. A nanocomputer can be defined as a computer which has components the size of nanometers.

The discussionsurrounding the creation of a computer which has microscopic components is becoming less talk and more action. Now that the possibility is real, what will such a computer look like? This paper will put forth some ideas to answer that question, and perhaps raise more questions by pointing out some challenges and some limitations we are faced with in the current computer architecture methodology anddesign.

The promise of nanotechnology, as stated in an article by Roberta Wallis, “was proposed as a field of endeavor by the Nobel Prize winning physicist Richard Feynman when he suggested that someday it would be possible to put the entire 24 volume Encyclopedia Britannica on the head of a pin”. [WALLIS92] We can already see the beginnings of this as computers get faster and smaller each year....
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