IBM’s Redox Flow System Powers, Cools Computers with ‘Electronic Blood’
IBM researchers have unveiled a new liquid power and cooling solution for computers that it has dubbed “electronic blood.”
The redox flow system pumps liquid electrolytes through the new computer system, delivering power to the system and removing heat. Researchers Patrick Ruch and Bruno Michel demonstrated a prototype at the company’s Zurich lab earlier this month.
The team is using the human brain as a model. The brain is more dense and efficient than a computer because, as Michel told the BBC, “it uses only one extremely efficient network of capillaries and blood vessels to transport heat and energy, all at the same time.”
The new model relies on a 3D architecture based on stacked chips, along with memory storage units combined with processors. Integrated liquid cooling compensates for lack of air exposure in the densely stacked chips. What makes IBM’s approach different is the researchers’ focus on using a liquid that can deliver energy as well as cool the unit. Right now, they are using Vanadium, which is charged via electrodes and pumped into the computer where the energy is discharged into the chips.
Their hope is that they can enable future “zettascale” computing in an energy efficient way.
You can see our earlier coverage of the redox flow technology here.