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
Five developments for improved data exploitation
19.04.2017 | Deutsches Forschungszentrum für Künstliche Intelligenz GmbH, DFKI
Smart Manual Workstations Deliver More Flexible Production
04.04.2017 | Deutsches Forschungszentrum für Künstliche Intelligenz GmbH, DFKI
The nearby, giant radio galaxy M87 hosts a supermassive black hole (BH) and is well-known for its bright jet dominating the spectrum over ten orders of magnitude in frequency. Due to its proximity, jet prominence, and the large black hole mass, M87 is the best laboratory for investigating the formation, acceleration, and collimation of relativistic jets. A research team led by Silke Britzen from the Max Planck Institute for Radio Astronomy in Bonn, Germany, has found strong indication for turbulent processes connecting the accretion disk and the jet of that galaxy providing insights into the longstanding problem of the origin of astrophysical jets.
Supermassive black holes form some of the most enigmatic phenomena in astrophysics. Their enormous energy output is supposed to be generated by the...
The probability to find a certain number of photons inside a laser pulse usually corresponds to a classical distribution of independent events, the so-called...
Microprocessors based on atomically thin materials hold the promise of the evolution of traditional processors as well as new applications in the field of flexible electronics. Now, a TU Wien research team led by Thomas Müller has made a breakthrough in this field as part of an ongoing research project.
Two-dimensional materials, or 2D materials for short, are extremely versatile, although – or often more precisely because – they are made up of just one or a...
Two researchers at Heidelberg University have developed a model system that enables a better understanding of the processes in a quantum-physical experiment...
Glaciers might seem rather inhospitable environments. However, they are home to a diverse and vibrant microbial community. It’s becoming increasingly clear that they play a bigger role in the carbon cycle than previously thought.
A new study, now published in the journal Nature Geoscience, shows how microbial communities in melting glaciers contribute to the Earth’s carbon cycle, a...
20.04.2017 | Event News
18.04.2017 | Event News
03.04.2017 | Event News
21.04.2017 | Physics and Astronomy
21.04.2017 | Health and Medicine
21.04.2017 | Physics and Astronomy