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Computers As We Don't Know Them
Friday, October 31, 2008 - 2:00pm to Friday, October 31, 2008 - 3:00pm

Christof Teuscher
, Ph.D.
Assistant Professor, ECE Department
Portland State University

Cramer Hall, Room 171: 1721 SW Broadway

Since the beginning of modern computer science some sixty years ago, we are building computers in more or less the same way. Silicon electronics serves as a physical substrate, the von Neumann architecture provides a computer design model, while the abstract Turing machine concept supports the theoretical foundations. That is changing: in recent years, unimagined computing substrates have seen the light because of advances in synthetic biology, nanotechnology, material science, and neurobiology. A grand challenge consists in developing computer architectures, computing paradigms, design methodologies, formal frameworks, and tools that allow to reliably compute and efficiently solve problems with such alternative devices.

In this talk, I will outline my visionary and long-term research efforts to address the grand challenge of building, organizing, and programming future computing machines. First, I will review some exemplary future and emerging computing devices and highlight the particular challenges that arise for performing computations with them. I will then delineate potential solutions on how these challenges might be addressed. Self-assembled nano-scale electronics, cellular automata (CAs), and random boolean networks (RBNs) will serve as a simple showcase. I will show that irregular assemblies and specific interconnects can have major advantages over purely regular and locally interconnected fabrics. I will further present the efforts underway to self-assemble massive-scale nanowire-based interconnect fabrics for spatial computers.

Christof Teuscher holds an assistant professor position in the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering (ECE) at Portland State University and an Adjunct Assistant Professor appointment in Computer Science at the University of New Mexico (UNM). He obtained his M.Sc. and Ph.D. degree in computer science from the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Lausanne (EPFL) in 2000 and 2004 respectively. In 2004 he became a postdoctoral researcher at the University of California, San Diego (UCSD), in 2005 a distinguished Director's Postdoctoral Fellow at Los Alamos National Laboratory, and in 2007 a Technical Staff Member. His main research interests include emerging computing architectures and paradigms, biologically-inspired computing, complex and adaptive systems, and cognitive science. Teuscher has received several prestigious awards and fellowships. For more information visit: