The researchers developed a technique that enables a simple, yet highly versatile, way to generate "chaotic signals" with various features. The technique consists of interconnecting three "ring oscillators," effectively making them compete against each other, while controlling their respective strengths and their linkages.
The ability to recreate the signals found in natural systems, such as those in brains, swarms, and the weather, is useful for understanding the underlying principles in such phenomema. These signals can be very complex, with the extreme case being so-called "chaotic signals." Chaos does not mean randomness, but instead it represents a very complicated type of order. Minute changes in the parameters of a chaotic system can result in greatly different behaviors. Chaotic signals are difficult to predict, but they are present in lots of different scenarios.
Unfortunately, the generation of chaotic signals with desired features is a difficult task. Creating them digitally is in some cases too power consuming, and approaches based on analog circuits are necessary. Now, researchers in Japan, Italy, and Poland propose a new approach for creating integrated circuits that can generate chaotic signals. This research was the result of a collaboration between scientists from Tokyo Institute of Technology (Tokyo Tech), in part funded by the World Research Hub Initiative, the Universities of Catania and Trento, Italy, and the Polish Academy of Sciences in Krakow, Poland.