Superconducting Technology Assessment
NATIONAL SECURITY AGENCY/CENTRAL SECURITY SERVICE FORT GEORGE G MEADE MD
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This Superconducting Technology Assessment STA has been conducted by the National Security Agency to address the fundamental question of a potential replacement for silicon complementary metal oxide semiconductor CMOS in very high-end computing HEC environments. Recent industry trends clearly establish that design tradeoffs between power, clock and metrology have brought CMOS to the limits of its scalability. All microprocessor firms have turned to multiple cores and reduced power in efforts to improve performance. Increased parallelism on a chip permits some architectural innovation, but it also increasingly shifts issues of performance gains into software application environments, where there are already many practical limits to scalability of performance. For many demanding applications in the U. S. national security, scientific, medical and industrial sectors, availability of higher-performance components in well-balanced HEC environments is essential. Alternatives to CMOS must therefore be found. The Semiconductor Industry Association SIA International Technology Roadmap for Semiconductors ITRS has identified Superconducting Rapid Single Flux Quantum RSFQ technology as the most promising technology in the continuing demand for faster processors. There has been steady progress in research in this technology, though with somewhat weaker efforts at development and industrialization. This assessment is an in-depth examination of RSFQ technologies with the singular objective of determining if a comprehensive roadmap for technology development is possible, aiming for industrial maturity in the 2010-2012 timeframe. The goal would be an RSFQ technology set sufficient to support development of true petaflop-scale computing at the end of this decade.
- Electrical and Electronic Equipment