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Old 06-10-2008
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Laptops may become as hot as Sun

An Indian-origin scientist in the US has claimed that with processing speeds getting faster, laptops may soon get as hot as sun.

?Laptops are very hot now, so hot that they are not ?lap? tops anymore,? said Avik Ghosh, assistant professor at the University of Virginia School of Engineering and Applied Science. ?The prediction is that if we continue at our current pace of miniaturisation, these devices will be as hot as the sun in 10 to 20 years.?

Researchers at the University are working to overcome the excess heat generating problem using nanoelectronics, expected to power the next generation of computers.

Ghosh and Mircea Stan, also a professor in the department, are re-examining nothing less than the Second Law of Thermodynamics. The law states that, left to itself, heat will transfer from a hotter unit to a cooler one, in this case between electrical computer components, until both have roughly the same temperature, a state called ?thermal equilibrium.?

The possibility of breaking the law will require Ghosh and Stan to solve a scientifically controversial, and theoretical, conundrum known as ?Maxwell?s Demon.?

Introduced by Scottish physicist James Clerk Maxwell in 1871, the concept theorises that the energy flow from hot to cold could be disrupted if there were a way to control the transfer of energy between two units. Maxwell?s Demon would allow one component to take the heat while the other worked at a lower temperature.

This could be accomplished only if the degree of natural disorder, or entropy, were reduced. And that?s the ?demon? in Maxwell?s Demon. ?Device engineering is typically based on operating near thermal equilibrium,? Ghosh said.

But, he added, nature has examples of biological cells that operate outside thermal equilibrium. Chlorophyll, for example, can convert photons into energy in highly efficient ways that seem to violate traditional thermodynamic expectations,? he said.

Source : Times of India
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