Most computers perform operations on digital information in the form of ones and zeros, but it’s also possible to compute with continuous (or analog) information, such as the voltage in an electronic circuit or the amplitude of a light wave. Experiments with wave-based analog computation show that your office or a room in your house could serve as a processor for Wi-Fi waves randomly bouncing off the walls—a reflective array can “shape” the waves to give the desired output. With further optimization, the researchers envision that this type of analog processor could perform operations faster and could consume less energy than current digital machines.

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