JARA-FIT - Developing the Information Technology of the Future
In the past, Moore's law reigned, whereby the number of transistors on a microchip roughly doubled almost every two years at no additional cost. This theory has now been refuted, and in ten to fifteen years at the most, the performance of today's computers will come up against a fundamental limit determined by the atomic structure of matter and quantum phenomena.
The scientists involved in JARA-FIT (Fundamentals of Future Information Technology) hope to push this limit for conventional silicon technology even farther into the future by designing new chip architectures and increasing the mobility of charge carriers. They also explore other concepts based on alternative technologies for future efficient and energy-saving hardware.
The researchers are thus developing new materials and blueprints for nanocircuits, non-volatile memories, and spintronics. They are also investigating how biomolecules and quantum effects can be used for information processing. The issues in information technology are very complex and interdisciplinary.
Enormous resources are required to secure a leading international position in this research area. Around 550 physicists, chemists, electrical engineers, mechanical engineers, and biologists from approximately 20 institutes and departments at RWTH Aachen University and Forschungszentrum Jülich work together in JARA-FIT. These scientists have long played a leading international role, as was confirmed not least when the Nobel Prize in Physics went to Professor Peter Grünberg in 2007.
The main focus of the two JARA-FIT institutes is the development of energy-efficient information technology, also known as Green IT, and the investigation of quantum Information (QI).
JARA-FIT Institute „Energy-efficient information technology (Green IT)“
Future chips require innovative materials and structures in order to satisfy the appetite for more computing power while at the same time drastically cutting energy consumption per arithmetic operation. Energy efficiency is thus becoming a driving force of technological developments. The institute's vision is the development of a prototype for a zero-power chip.
JARA-FIT Institute „Quantum Information (QI)"
Quantum computers are based on a completely different principle than conventional computers. The reason for this is their smallest components, the quantum bits (qubits for short). The new architecture involves a number of challenges for science. The institute's vision is the construction of a quantum computer.