Note: This entry has been restored from old archives.
I find this story about an asynchronous ARM processor very interesting. It immediately reminded me of two things.
The first thing was one of my Elec Eng lectures back in 3rd year for a course taken by one of my favourite professors. Asynchronous circuits were covered as something of academic interest, a method of building digital circuits that has many interesting properties but is ultimately just a curiosity. The problem being that there are too many complexities to make it a practical way to design ICs, designing a large asynchronous circuit is simply too difficult for any team of engineers, even very good engineers. These are the facts as I was taught them, as recently as 2002.
No doubt the content of the course lagged a little behind reality, since there must have already been people working on exactly this task and already building significantly functional asynchronous ICs. And now they’ve implemented an entire asynchronous ARM9 core!
I find this news remarkably exciting. It shows how rapidly technology continues to change and advance, that we’re continually breaking barriers that were so recently considered to be pretty solid. All thanks to the advance of technology driving its self.
And that brings me to the second thing. The theory that there is a phenomenal turning point in history ahead of us. A point that we can’t predict and beyond which we cannot imagine what will happen, I’d say we can’t be certain it will ever happen – we might not last long enough. It may even happen within the span of our very own lifetimes, that would be something worth seeing.
This is the point where our technology can autonomously design the next generation of technology, triggering a world changing chain reaction that the homo sapiens sapiens species as we know it cannot survive. Either in some way or another it’s the end of the line, or (more optimistically) we’re caught up in the process of driven evolution and become something we cannot imagine.
It really is a very exciting concept. It is just another crazy futurist theory of course, one I happen to find particularly attractive.