Circuit design evolving in distributed digital world
- Circuit design evolving in distributed digital world
18:03 31 July 03
NewScientist.com news service
A digital simulation of natural selection, taking place in scores of
internet-linked personal computers, is being used to evolve superior electronic
The calculations used to improve circuit design would normally be
performed on a single powerful computer or a large cluster of machines. But
Miguel Garvie, a research student at the University of Sussex in the UK, has
developed software that lets ordinary computer users contribute their spare
processing power to create a virtual evolutionary environment for the project.
Such "distributed computing" is already providing cheap but substantial
computer power to the search for alien messages in radio signals from space and
to the quest for the largest prime numbers.
In the five days since the project was launched, Garvie says he has
evolved circuits that outperform commercial designs on standard tests by 100
per cent but are only 50 per cent larger.
"It's gone as far as conventional circuits and beyond," he told New
Scientist. "The plan is to go with bigger and bigger circuits, which is why I
started the distributed project."