A. Stoica, R. Zebulum, D. Keymeulen, and J. Lohn (USA)
Evolvable Hardware, polytronics, FPTA, logic gates.
This paper introduces the concept of polymorphic
electronics (polytronics) – referring to electronics with
superimposed built-in functionality. A function change does not
require switches/reconfiguration as in traditional approaches.
Instead, the change comes from modifications in the
characteristics of devices involved in the circuit, in response to
controls such as temperature, power supply voltage (VDD),
control signals, light, etc. The paper illustrates polytronic
circuits in which the control is done by temperature, morphing
signals, and VDD respectively. Polytronic circuits are obtained
by evolutionary design /evolvable hardware techniques. These
techniques are ideal for the polytronics design, a new area that
lacks design guidelines/know-how,- yet the
requirements/objectives are easy to specify and test. The circuits
are evolved/synthesized in two different modes. The first mode
explores an unstructured space, in which transistors can be
interconnected freely in any arrangement (in simulations only).
The second mode uses a Field Programmable Transistor Array
(FPTA) model, and the circuit topology is sought as a mapping
onto a programmable architecture (these experiments are
performed both in simulations and on FPTA chips). The
experiments demonstrated the synthesis of polytronic circuits by
evolution. The capacity of storing/hiding “extra” functions
provides for watermark/invisible functionality, thus polytronics
may find uses in intelligence/security applications.