“Dark silicon” sounds like a magical artifact out of a fantasy novel. In reality, it’s one branch of a three-headed beast that foretells the end of advances in computation.

Ok—that might be too dramatic. But the looming problems in silicon-based computer chips are very real. Although computational power has exploded exponentially in the past five decades, we’ve begun hitting some intractable limits in further growth, both in terms of physics and economics.

Moore’s Law is dying. And chipmakers around the globe are asking, now what?

One idea is to bet on quantum computers, which tap into the ultra-weird world of quantum mechanics. Rather than operating on binaries of 0s and 1s, qubits can simultaneously represent both states, with each having a different probability and thus much higher information density.

Another idea is to look inside our heads: the quantum realm isn’t the only way to get past binary computation….
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