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What's hot in hardware? Discovering emerging topics with ETO's Map of Science

Close-up of a semiconductor device


Our latest Hot Topics post explores novel medical devices, next-gen communications, and other topics at the leading edges of computing and networking hardware research.

This is the third post in our 🔥🔥Hot Topics🔥🔥 series. Follow along with each post as we use ETO's Map of Science to uncover and explore emerging topics in STEM. All of the research in this post was done using the Map of Science only, in less than an hour, by one non-expert analyst (your narrator). Earlier posts explored emerging topics in materials science and quantum research.

Computing hardware underpins virtually all of modern life, but understanding the technology - even at a very basic level - can seem out of reach to all but a handful of specialists. ETO's Supply Chain Explorer was designed to help demystify one part of the computing hardware ecosystem - computer chip manufacturing - but other ETO resources can also shed light on this critical area. Today, we'll explore emerging research topics at the frontiers of computing and networking hardware. No PhD, microscope, or cleanroom suit required - just open the Map of Science and follow along...

We'll begin by picking some relevant high-level topics from the Map's subject menu:

Screenshots: Selecting topics related to computing hardware from the Map of Science filter pane

This filters the Map down to research clusters with a significant amount of hardware-related research. Let's narrow further to especially hot topics. We'll do that by looking at relatively "young" research clusters (with an average article age of five years or fewer) with a large number of recent articles (100 or more in the last five years). And we'll look only for research that gets cited frequently (defined here as a higher citation rate than the median across all of the clusters in the Map).

Screenshots: Selecting additional filters from the Map of Science filter pane

View these results in the Map's list view for easy sorting and reviewing. Each of these clusters represents a body of new, influential hardware research potentially worth exploring further. We picked a few especially interesting ones to start:

Cluster IDWhat does this cluster seem to be about? (summary based on the cluster's keywords and top articles)Number of articles (last 5 years)Selected articles (selected from the "Articles and sources" pane in the cluster's detail view)Other interesting features (based on information from the cluster's detail view)
77332Magnetic tunnel junction devices238"Integer factorization using stochastic magnetic tunnel junctions"
"Neural-like computing with populations of superparamagnetic basis functions"
Purdue University leads the authorship table (53 articles in the cluster), followed by University of Central Florida (21) and Beihang University in China (9)
81599Advanced wearable medical monitoring devices233"A 13.34W Event-Driven Patient-Specific ANN Cardiac Arrhythmia Classifier for Wearable ECG Sensors"
"Design and Implementation of a Machine Learning Based EEG Processor for Accurate Estimation of Depth of Anesthesia"
10% of articles are AI-related
59431High-bandwidth optical transmitters385"400G and Beyond: Coherent Evolution to High-Capacity Inter Data Center Links"
"A SiGe-HBT 2:1 analog multiplexer with more than 67 GHz bandwidth"
Over 30% of articles are from industry (top authoring companies: Huawei, Nokia, NTT)
90867Hardware for posit arithmetic184"PACoGen: A Hardware Posit Arithmetic Core Generator"
"Performance-Efficiency Trade-off of Low-Precision Numerical Formats in Deep Neural Networks"
35% of articles are AI-related
32414Localization and positioning applications of ultra-wideband networks735"UWB-based system for UAV Localization in GNSS-Denied Environments: Characterization and Dataset"
"Applications of UWB Networks and Positioning to Autonomous Robots and Industrial Systems"
European authors and institutions lead the cluster
19741Ambient backscatter communication1233"Exploiting Multiple Antennas for Cognitive Ambient Backscatter Communication"
"Practical Backscatter Communication Systems for Battery-Free Internet of Things: A Tutorial and Survey of Recent Research"
116 patents cite articles in this cluster (94th percentile among all clusters)
13808Reconfigurable reflecting surfaces for wireless communication3590"Smart radio environments empowered by reconfigurable AI meta-surfaces: an idea whose time has come"
"Intelligent Reflecting Surface Enhanced Wireless Network via Joint Active and Passive Beamforming"
Growing extremely fast (99th percentile among all clusters in the Map)
3023Using drones as wireless networking infrastructure4547"Joint Trajectory and Communication Design for Multi-UAV Enabled Wireless Networks"
"A survey on UAV placement optimization for UAV-assisted communication in 5G and beyond networks"
Top five author organizations are all Chinese: Beijing University of Posts and Telecommunications, Southeast University, Tsinghua University, Xidian University, PLA Army Engineering University
5367Various neuromorphic devices3182"Fully hardware-implemented memristor convolutional neural network"
"Recent Advances in Transistor-Based Artificial Synapses"
92% of articles are in English, but the top ten author organizations are all East Asian

To explore these results for yourself, click here to run the same search in the Map of Science. In our next Hot Topics post, we'll look at emerging topics among Chinese AI researchers. Check back soon!