IBM and Stanford University have announced a new research group dedicated to the emerging science of spintronics, with the goal of creating prototype CPUs that complete computations through magnetism instead of today's electrical charge.

Processor manufacturers have traditionally increased CPU performance by shrinking a chip's circuitry so it can run faster, he notes. This method has dramatically increased computing power over the past few decades, but the process is hitting physical limitations. Specifically: The necessary electrical charge causes those faster chips to get too hot to handle. Processor giant Intel has noted the growing problem of heat in recent years, too.

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