Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Ant Behavior Might Shed Insight on Problems Facing Electronics Design

03.11.2014

Michael Hsiao plans to harness swarm intelligence based on the efficient behavior of ants.

Why would this matter?

Ant colonies are known for their efficiency in finding the best route to food sources. So Hsiao, professor of electrical and computer engineering at Virginia Tech, and an expert in design verification has tackled one of the major problems facing electronics design in a novel way.


Virginia Tech

Virginia Tech engineer Michael Hsiao has developed mathematical formulas that simulate the methods used by the ants when they are seeking nourishment. Hsiao plans to use these algorithms to improve the accuracy in electronics design.

He has developed mathematical formulas that simulate the methods used by the ants when they are seeking nourishment.

Hsiao plans to use these algorithms to improve the accuracy in electronics design when one needs to validate and verify that the design meets the spec.

The National Science Foundation has awarded him a grant of $418,345 to continue exploring his ideas.

Hsiao explained that as electronics designers add more features and capabilities into ever-smaller electronics hardware, such as the latest versions of cell phones, they are increasing the difficulty of verifying that their designs perform as planned.

Verification difficulty grows exponentially as the design grows in size, according to Hsiao. “A poorly verified design compromises both the system’s reliability and its security,” he added.

In electronics design, the verification problems have grown so large that the International Technology Roadmap for Semiconductors has reported that “verification engineers significantly outnumber designers” on current projects, increasing costs significantly.

The challenge is in exploring an exponential-sized search space, which in the worst case involves searching all the possible states in the circuit. Since traditional, single perspective approaches are not keeping up with the growing complexity, Hsiao plans to apply intelligence from multiple perspectives at the same time.

His grant from the National Science Foundation will allow him to integrate a swarm intelligence strategy developed in his laboratory with multiple abstract models, parallel processing, and general-purpose graphics processing units (GPUs).

In large and complex search spaces, many of the conventional techniques often encounter tremendous difficulties, he said, “because either the small single abstract model is insufficient or the computational cost of formal/semi-formal learning becomes infeasible.”

The swarm-intelligent framework at the heart of Hsiao’s approach is based on long-term research he has conducted using algorithms that simulate the methods used by ant colonies to find the most efficient route to food sources.

This Ant Colony Optimization method involves employing an automatic stimuli generator on the design to create a database of possible vectors, which are then populated by a swarm of intelligent agents. Like real ants, these intelligent agents deposit a pheromone along their paths that attract other agents. The pheromone evaporates over time, resulting in a reinforcement of the most efficient pathways, allowing for the aggregation of knowledge gained from a large number of agents.

“In this regard, the proposed swarm-intelligent framework emphasizes the effective modeling and learning from collective effort by extracting the intelligence acquired during the search over multiple abstract models,” Hsiao said.

The simulation loops through multiple runs. The branches with the highest fitness values are removed so the system can focus on the rarely visited branches — an elegant way of finding and testing the “hard corners” that can be so hard to verify and validate in a design.

The computational efficiency of this approach “is a vast improvement over other methods, covering a far higher percentage of possible states in far less time.” Hsiao said.

This research should lead to a better understanding of the validation of large, complex designs and help cut the overall cost of the design process. “The success of this project not only will push the envelope on design validation, but will also offer new stimuli generation methods to related areas, such as post-silicon validation and validating trust of hardware,” Hsiao said.

Contact Information
Lynn Nystrom
Director of News
tansy@vt.edu

Lynn Nystrom | newswise
Further information:
http://www.vt.edu

Further reports about: Design Electronics Facing Foundation ants branches colonies developed food sources processing significantly stimuli

More articles from Power and Electrical Engineering:

nachricht Producing electricity during flight
20.09.2017 | Albert-Ludwigs-Universität Freiburg im Breisgau

nachricht Solar-to-fuel system recycles CO2 to make ethanol and ethylene
19.09.2017 | DOE/Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory

All articles from Power and Electrical Engineering >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: The pyrenoid is a carbon-fixing liquid droplet

Plants and algae use the enzyme Rubisco to fix carbon dioxide, removing it from the atmosphere and converting it into biomass. Algae have figured out a way to increase the efficiency of carbon fixation. They gather most of their Rubisco into a ball-shaped microcompartment called the pyrenoid, which they flood with a high local concentration of carbon dioxide. A team of scientists at Princeton University, the Carnegie Institution for Science, Stanford University and the Max Plank Institute of Biochemistry have unravelled the mysteries of how the pyrenoid is assembled. These insights can help to engineer crops that remove more carbon dioxide from the atmosphere while producing more food.

A warming planet

Im Focus: Highly precise wiring in the Cerebral Cortex

Our brains house extremely complex neuronal circuits, whose detailed structures are still largely unknown. This is especially true for the so-called cerebral cortex of mammals, where among other things vision, thoughts or spatial orientation are being computed. Here the rules by which nerve cells are connected to each other are only partly understood. A team of scientists around Moritz Helmstaedter at the Frankfiurt Max Planck Institute for Brain Research and Helene Schmidt (Humboldt University in Berlin) have now discovered a surprisingly precise nerve cell connectivity pattern in the part of the cerebral cortex that is responsible for orienting the individual animal or human in space.

The researchers report online in Nature (Schmidt et al., 2017. Axonal synapse sorting in medial entorhinal cortex, DOI: 10.1038/nature24005) that synapses in...

Im Focus: Tiny lasers from a gallery of whispers

New technique promises tunable laser devices

Whispering gallery mode (WGM) resonators are used to make tiny micro-lasers, sensors, switches, routers and other devices. These tiny structures rely on a...

Im Focus: Ultrafast snapshots of relaxing electrons in solids

Using ultrafast flashes of laser and x-ray radiation, scientists at the Max Planck Institute of Quantum Optics (Garching, Germany) took snapshots of the briefest electron motion inside a solid material to date. The electron motion lasted only 750 billionths of the billionth of a second before it fainted, setting a new record of human capability to capture ultrafast processes inside solids!

When x-rays shine onto solid materials or large molecules, an electron is pushed away from its original place near the nucleus of the atom, leaving a hole...

Im Focus: Quantum Sensors Decipher Magnetic Ordering in a New Semiconducting Material

For the first time, physicists have successfully imaged spiral magnetic ordering in a multiferroic material. These materials are considered highly promising candidates for future data storage media. The researchers were able to prove their findings using unique quantum sensors that were developed at Basel University and that can analyze electromagnetic fields on the nanometer scale. The results – obtained by scientists from the University of Basel’s Department of Physics, the Swiss Nanoscience Institute, the University of Montpellier and several laboratories from University Paris-Saclay – were recently published in the journal Nature.

Multiferroics are materials that simultaneously react to electric and magnetic fields. These two properties are rarely found together, and their combined...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

“Lasers in Composites Symposium” in Aachen – from Science to Application

19.09.2017 | Event News

I-ESA 2018 – Call for Papers

12.09.2017 | Event News

EMBO at Basel Life, a new conference on current and emerging life science research

06.09.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Rainbow colors reveal cell history: Uncovering β-cell heterogeneity

22.09.2017 | Life Sciences

Penn first in world to treat patient with new radiation technology

22.09.2017 | Medical Engineering

Calculating quietness

22.09.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>