The online logic puzzle is called FunSAT, and it could help integrated circuit designers select and arrange transistors and their connections on silicon microchips, among other applications.
Designing chip architecture for the best performance and smallest size is an exceedingly difficult task that's outsourced to computers these days. But computers simply flip through possible arrangements in their search. They lack the human capacities for intuition and visual pattern recognition that could yield a better or even optimal design. That's where FunSAT comes in.
Developed by University of Michigan computer science researchers Valeria Bertacco and Andrew DeOrio, FunSAT is designed to harness humans' abilities to strategize, visualize and understand complex systems.
"Computer games can be more than a fun diversion," said Bertacco, an associate professor in computer science and engineering. "Humans are good at playing games and they enjoy dedicating time to it. We hope that we can use their strengths to improve chip designs, databases and even robotics."
DeOrio, a doctoral student in Computer Science and Engineering, will present a paper on the research on July 30 at the Design Automation Conference in San Francisco.
A single-player prototype exists at http://funsat.eecs.umich.edu, implemented in Java by U-M undergraduate Erica Christensen. Bertacco and DeOrio are working on growing it to a multi-player game, which would allow more complicated problems to be solved.
By solving challenging problems on the FunSAT board, players can contribute to the design of complex computer systems, but you don't have to be a computer scientist to play. The game is a sort of puzzle that might appeal to Sudoku fans.
The board consists of rows and columns of green, red and gray bubbles in various sizes. Around the perimeter are buttons that players can turn yellow or blue with the click of a mouse. The buttons' color determines the color of bubbles on the board. The goal of the game is to use the perimeter buttons to toggle all the bubbles green.
Right-clicking on a bubble tells you which buttons control its color, giving the player a hint of what to do next. The larger a bubble is, the more buttons control it. The game may be challenging because each button affects many bubbles at the same time and in different ways. A button that turns several bubbles green will also turn others from green to red or gray.
The game actually unravels so-called satisfiability problems---classic and highly complicated mathematical questions that involve selecting the best arrangement of options. In such quandaries, the solver must assign a set of variables to the right true or false categories so to fulfill all the constraints of the problem.
In the game, the bubbles represent constraints. They become green when they are satisfied. The perimeter buttons represent the variables. They are assigned to true or false when players click the mouse to make them yellow (true) or blue (false).
Once the puzzle is solved and all the bubbles are green, a computer scientist could simply look at the color of each button to gather the solution of that particular problem.
Satisfiability problems arise not only in complex chip design, but in many other areas such as packing a backpack with as many items as possible, or searching for the shortest postal route to deliver mail in a neighborhood.
"When solving these problems, humans can use their intuition and visualization skills. For instance, by just glancing at the neighborhood map they can gain an intuition of where to begin in the case of the postal route," Bertacco said. "FunSAT can leverage these human skills that computer-based solvers do not have."
The paper is called "Human Computing for EDA."
For more information:
Valeria Bertacco: http://www.eecs.umich.edu/~valeria/
FunSAT: http://funsat.eecs.umich.eduMichigan Engineering:
Nicole Casal Moore | Newswise Science News
Cutting edge research for the industries of tomorrow – DFKI and NICT expand cooperation
21.03.2017 | Deutsches Forschungszentrum für Künstliche Intelligenz GmbH, DFKI
Molecular motor-powered biocomputers
20.03.2017 | Technische Universität Dresden
Astronomers from Bonn and Tautenburg in Thuringia (Germany) used the 100-m radio telescope at Effelsberg to observe several galaxy clusters. At the edges of these large accumulations of dark matter, stellar systems (galaxies), hot gas, and charged particles, they found magnetic fields that are exceptionally ordered over distances of many million light years. This makes them the most extended magnetic fields in the universe known so far.
The results will be published on March 22 in the journal „Astronomy & Astrophysics“.
Galaxy clusters are the largest gravitationally bound structures in the universe. With a typical extent of about 10 million light years, i.e. 100 times the...
Researchers at the Goethe University Frankfurt, together with partners from the University of Tübingen in Germany and Queen Mary University as well as Francis Crick Institute from London (UK) have developed a novel technology to decipher the secret ubiquitin code.
Ubiquitin is a small protein that can be linked to other cellular proteins, thereby controlling and modulating their functions. The attachment occurs in many...
In the eternal search for next generation high-efficiency solar cells and LEDs, scientists at Los Alamos National Laboratory and their partners are creating...
Silicon nanosheets are thin, two-dimensional layers with exceptional optoelectronic properties very similar to those of graphene. Albeit, the nanosheets are less stable. Now researchers at the Technical University of Munich (TUM) have, for the first time ever, produced a composite material combining silicon nanosheets and a polymer that is both UV-resistant and easy to process. This brings the scientists a significant step closer to industrial applications like flexible displays and photosensors.
Silicon nanosheets are thin, two-dimensional layers with exceptional optoelectronic properties very similar to those of graphene. Albeit, the nanosheets are...
Enzymes behave differently in a test tube compared with the molecular scrum of a living cell. Chemists from the University of Basel have now been able to simulate these confined natural conditions in artificial vesicles for the first time. As reported in the academic journal Small, the results are offering better insight into the development of nanoreactors and artificial organelles.
Enzymes behave differently in a test tube compared with the molecular scrum of a living cell. Chemists from the University of Basel have now been able to...
20.03.2017 | Event News
14.03.2017 | Event News
07.03.2017 | Event News
24.03.2017 | Materials Sciences
24.03.2017 | Physics and Astronomy
24.03.2017 | Physics and Astronomy