P-Bits Earn Big at Nokia Bell Labs Comp

Monday, April 1, 2024

UC Santa Barbara electrical and computer engineering (ECE) assistant professor Kerem Çamsarı and his third-year PhD student Navid Anjum Aadit finished in third place at the prestigious 2023 Bell Labs Prize Competition and took home a cash prize of $25,000. 

The annual event gives researchers around the world the chance to showcase the potential their innovations have to impact society. Çamsarı and Aadit were recognized for their proposal “Probabilistic Computing with p-bits: From Concept to Supremacy,” one of more than one hundred proposals. During a live demonstration at the competition, they used their probabilistic computer prototype to solve optimization and quantum problems.  

Probabilistic computing represents a novel reimagining of computers to address the fact that a large number of models in machine learning (ML) and artificial intelligence (AI) are inherently probabilistic, meaning they model or make guesses at a right answer from a set of plausible answers.

It’s a powerful approach. “Our first-generation prototype computer is already outperforming state-of-the-art GPUs or TPUs in speed and efficiency by about two orders of magnitude,” said Aadit. 

Bell Prize officials with (center left and center right) Kerem Çamsari and Navid Anium Aadit

Bell Prize officials (far left and far right) with (center left and center right) Kerem Çamsari and Navid Anjum Aadit.