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From Bits to Atoms - Neil Gershenfeld: 2016 International Conference on Rebooting Computing

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Dr. Neil Gershenfeld delivers a talk on the physicality of software -- merging computation and communication with fabrication. From ICRC 2016.

The canon of computer science rests on an unphysical assumption that software doesn't have physical units. Time, space, and energy are resources that appear only at the translation from software to hardware. Maintaining this fiction is responsible for many of the issues in scaling computing, including thread concurrency, parallel processor utilization, and interconnect bottlenecks. Rather than having multiple changes of representation of how a program appears in source code, in a circuit diagram, and in device physics, Dr. Gershenfeld presents prospects for a do-over to align rather than segregate these descriptions. Along with implications for what's inside a computer, this has even greater consequences for what's outside computers, by merging computation and communication with fabrication.