## Chinese go beyond binary with ternary molecule

Scientists in Singapore and Taiwan have developed an organic molecule which can have three electrically-readable states, making a ternary rather than binary device possible. Binary devices have two electrically readable states, corresponding to a one or zero. Ternary devices have three: zero, one or two. Consequently they could …

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### I majored in Analogue Computing

but switched(!) to Digital as soon as possible. Hell of a lot easier to control the noise figure.

Jesus, am I really THAT old!

Paris, just to be noisome.

As already noted, it would need eight states to be equivalent to three bits, a storage element with three states being equivalent to log(3)/log(2) bits. But in practice, radix economy, where the cost of a digit is assumed to be proportional to the number of states the digit may assume, isn't a realistic concept. Binary circuitry is vastly simpler to achieve in electronics than any other kind.

"Binary circuitry is vastly simpler to achieve in electronics than any other kind."

Citation needed. AFAICT existing theory and prior experience tells us a) "the advantages of the proposed memory circuit are capability of high speed computation, low power consumption and very simple construction with less number of elements due to the ternary operation"; b) "[Setun's] replacement binary computer performed equally well, [but] the device was still 2.5 times as expensive"

This is cool.

[*b] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Setun

"But in practice, radix economy, where the cost of a digit is assumed to be proportional to the number of states the digit may assume, isn't a realistic concept. Binary circuitry is vastly simpler to achieve in electronics than any other kind."

If you use different voltages to represent different states, this is certainly true. Even more so, since changing voltage costs energy proportional to the square of the voltage change, ternary logic would use more energy even if the number of trits is smaller than the number of bits.

However, if you use systems that naturally have three states, this might change. This may or may not be the case for the gate mentioned in the article, but there are physical phenomena that naturally has three different possible values, for example is quark colour. Whether or not these are practical for logical gates is another matter, though.

Another place where ternary logic may be worthwhile is in continuous systems where the possible values correspond to points on a circle: Distinguishing three points on the circle is not much more complicated than distinguishing two opposing points, and due to symmetry, these points are equidistant (unlike three points on a line, which is the problem with using voltage to represent ternary logic). Circular state spaces occur in, for example, phases of signals or polarisation of light. Whether you can make practical switches based on these is another matter, though, but I wouldn't rule it out.

### hmm interesting

Don't get me wrong there is much to dislike and fear about the China (especially their government) but at least they are contributing to science (probably not more than they are stealing but hey). China is a bit of a threat to the west but to be honest unlike the crazy middle east (and their almost complete lack of science contribution in last 500 years (except for Israel of course)) the people seem to enjoy the material good life as much as us. As long as a culture enjoys Brad Pitt and James Cameron flicks they probably won't be in a rush to destroy us.

### The Daily WTF

I think I know what this can be used for. The now-famous TDWTF BOOL implementation:

TRUE

FALSE

FILE_NOT_FOUND

can now be represented at the register level!!!

### You need 4 states

Abort, Retry, Ignore, Fail

### The Ping Dynasty .... with CNetworking Immaculate Server Protocols

"As long as a culture enjoys Brad Pitt and James Cameron flicks they probably won't be in a rush to destroy us." ...... asdf Posted Friday 16th April 2010 21:29 GMT

Cultures into Enjoyment are into Harvesting and Seeding Nature and not into Grooming Destruction, asdf. Is that China IDd in a Sentence? And Western culture cruelly exposed in a couple of words?

### Classic!

Thats a real amanfromMars post that is. Its got the lot: a quote from an unrelated article, and a comment that looks like it was tranlated from Urdu via Albanian or something.

Keep up the good work.

### Keep it quiet...

...and we can use the secret third state to hide our porn.

### Memory sandwich molecule does not munch three bits!

Referencing the subtitle for the post...

Three bits can represent eight states; the Chinese device only three!

### Oh no!

As if I didn't get tripped up enough by the difference between MB and MiB and Mb and GB and GiB and ...

Where will counting in threes lead us?

### Page:

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