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NASCENCE - NAnoSCale Engineering for Novel Computation using Evolution

Project Number: 317662 / together with MESA+
Project Manager: Prof. dr.ir. Hajo J. Broersma
Faculty of Electrical Engineering, Mathematics and Computer Science
Tel.: +31-53-4893716
Email: h.j.broersma@utwente.nl

Project website: NASCENCE


The aim of this project is to model, understand and exploit the behaviour of evolving nanosystems (e.g. networks of nanoparticles, carbon nanotubes or films of graphene) with the long term goal to build information processing devices exploiting these architectures without reproducing individual components. With an interface to a conventional digital computer we will use computer controlled manipulation of physical systems to evolve them towards doing useful computation. During the project our target is to lay the technological and theoretical foundations for this new kind of information processing technology, inspired by the success of natural evolution and the advancement of nanotechnology, and the expectation that we soon reach the limits of miniaturisation in digital circuitry (Moore's Law). The mathematical modelling of the configuration of networks of nanoscale particles combined with the embodied realisation of such systems through computer controlled stochastic search can strengthen the theoretical foundations of the field while keeping a strong focus on their potential application in future devices. Members of the consortium have already demonstrated proof of principle by the evolution of liquid crystal computational processors for simple tasks, but these earlier studies have only scraped the surface of what such systems may be capable of achieving. With this project we want to develop alternative approaches for situations or problems that are challenging or impossible to solve with conventional methods and models of computation. Achieving our objectives fully would provide not only a major disruptive technology for the electronics industry but probably the foundations of the next industrial revolution. Overall, we consider that this is to be a highly adventurous, high risk project with an enormous potential impact on society and the quality of life in general, including medicine, everyday household items, energy-saving policies, security, and communication.

Project duration: 1 November 2012 – 1 November 2015
Project budget: 3.7 M-€ / 2.9 M-€ funding
Number of person/months: 368 person months
Project Coordinator: University of Twente
Participants: University of Twente, University of Durham, University of York, NTNU, SUPSI-IDSIA
Project budget CTIT: 1.257 k-€ / 1 M-€ funding
Number of person/years CTIT: 98 person months
Involved groups: Formal Methods and Tools /Programmable Nanosystems
CTIT Research Centre: Centre for Dependable Systems and Networks