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I was just learning about skrmions and could not help but realize that they could produce a ternary state computer.

But why is JINN in ternary? What are the benefits of this in the current current or no current model (0 or 1) of computers?

How could being in ternary possibly be beneficial in hardware?

  • I asked CfB and he told me that the answer was confidential. I am going to wait a little bit before marking an answer as correct. – Tsangares Apr 17 '18 at 2:43
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JINN ternary microprocessor is not created for the desktop, laptop, tablet or smartphone markets. The markets that JINN is aiming for are the blue oceans of the Internet of Things, smart sensors, artificial intelligence, virtual/augmented reality... The efficiency of ternary processors is optimal for these markets. For example, Ternary Neural Networks can demonstrate up to 3.1 × better energy efficiency with respect to the state of the art while also improving accuracy.

All of our devices today, be it laptops or desktops or smartphones, are using binary systems. Binary is efficient enough for those devices to run without any problem. The tradeoff is not important until you come down to the realm of tiny microcontrollers, tiny sensors ..., that is where the energy gain of ternary becomes very valuable. JINN is not trying to replace our desktops with ternary ones. What JINN is tackling are those new, uncontested, unpopulated markets.

  • Is there any evidence that ternary is more efficient for general purpose computing, especially when it must interface with binary systems at some point? – Cybergibbons Aug 16 '18 at 10:04
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The main reason for JINN to be ternary, is that it is based on development of a ternary general purpose processor. I have searched alot on this topic, but the only conclusion I can draw is that they don't want to give up on the ternary idea, or because they think it is cool, but not because of performance reasons.

In the ideal theoretical case, when only looking at storage, and not a practical limitations, using a ternary system is about 6% more efficient than a binary system (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Radix_economy). Even for systems where efficiency is important (which IoT is, but also in smartphones for example), a 6% improvement on CPU efficiency is not really all that impressive, certainly not a reason to switch to a completely new architecture. The efficiency improvements and tricks current manufacturers have in their designs will be alot more than 6%, and in addition there is the question how efficient the compiler will be compared to the well established and optimized compilers which exist for for example ARM.

In addition that is assuming you completely use all bits/trits. For example, most IoT stuff will probably run at 32-bit processors (depending on your definition of IoT). Which allows for integers between 0 and about 4 billion. While if your program only uses integers between 0 and 1 billion, you could do with a 30-bit CPU instead of a 32-bit CPU, which is also about a 7% boost in efficiency. No one is obviously ever going to do that in practise.

So I cannot find any proper advantages of ternary for their use case (the links to Neural Networks in other answers are interesting, but also a completely different use case). Not to mention I would first switch away from Java if you want to run it efficiently on IoT ;). But why not do it ternary? Besides that if you would just do it binary it would be more efficient on existing binary hardware, which are way more optimized by manufacturers than 6%, there are a ton of issues with making ternary logical gates. I am not aware of any method to make them efficiently. I believe the latest information is they are using a tripple rail setup, which is better than some others ideas I have seen, but still I cannot see how it will come anywhere near binary logic gate performance.

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    That wiki is more of a theoretical approach, where it is assumed that for example a single decimal digit costs 5 times as much power/area as a binary digit (2 versus 10 states). In the table where they compare different bases, base 2 has an efficiency of 1.06, while base 3 has just above 1.0, compared to the ideal (Euler). So base 2 would be 6% less efficient. Obviously in practise it will really depend on what kind of operations you are going to implement. – Sissors Mar 21 '18 at 21:44
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    By trade I am an IC designer (not digital, so wouldn't care if it is binary or ternary), and I just do not see how ternary would work. I searched really alot on how they would implement it, and saw different options, but none that I would expect to be efficient (some I don't even expect would be functional). – Sissors Mar 21 '18 at 21:46

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