A small Silicon Valley company has found a way to dramatically cut the power consumption of computer chips:
John Wood, a British engineer who founded Multigig in 2000, devised an approach that involves sending electrical signals around square loop structures, said Haris Basit, Multigig's chief operating officer. The regular rotation works like the tick of a conventional clock, while most of the electrical power is recycled, he said. The technology can achieve 75% power savings over conventional clocking approaches, the company says.
A typical chip would use an array of timing loops, in a grid akin to a piece of graph paper, Mr. Basit said. The loops automatically synchronize their timing pulses. That feature helps address a problem called "skew" -- the slightly different arrival times of timing pulses throughout a typical chip -- that tends to limit clock precision.