Forum goes back to the future in Antwerp

April 17, 2018 // By Peter Clarke
Forum goes back to the future in Antwerp
Research institute IMEC (Leuven, Belgium) is returning to Antwerp in May to host its annual technology forum, which will provide a platform for more than 60 experts to discuss the future of nanotechnology.

The forum takes place May 23 and 24 at the Flanders Meeting and Convention Center in the centre of Antwerp. Luc Van den hove, CEO of IMEC, discussed some of the themes coming up at the event and how developments and areas of interest are changing at the research institute.

Luc Van den hove, CEO of IMEC.

"The theme of this year's IMEC Technology Forum is making the impossible possible. With technology, we can create phenomenal applications and connecting various technologies can lead to unexpected opportunities. Progress continues with traditional scaling but is also diverging in many directions. In my talk, I will emphasize opportunities arising from the many and various links between biological knowledge and semiconductor knowledge."

"Semiconductor technology and Moore's Law has enabled DNA sequencing to be done faster than ever before. Meanwhile neuromorphic computing, which is biologically inspired, and artificial intelligence is reducing power consumption and increasingly being deployed at the edge of the system," he said.

Van den hove then gave an example of how semiconductor and biological knowledge and expertise can move back and forth – like a wave in a bath – reinvigorating development at each end with each surge of the water. Having enabled DNA sequencing, computer memory could in future be based on biological material such as DNA. The method is to use the base-pair molecules A-T and C-G, with combinations of ATCG laid down to represent and store binary data.

"Using such a system we can store a petabyte of data – 10^6 Gbytes – in one gram of DNA material. We need to learn how to read and write such data but the principles of this are being explored in the DNA sequencing domain," said Van den hove.

Next: Joining the dots

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