The informatics researcher began his experiment by selecting a straightforward task for the chip to complete: he decided that it must reliably differentiate between two particular audio tones. A traditional sound processor with its hundreds of thousands of pre-programmed logic blocks would have no trouble filling such a request, but Thompson wanted to ensure that his hardware evolved a novel solution. To that end, he employed a chip only ten cells wide and ten cells across— a mere 100 logic gates. He also strayed from convention by omitting the system clock, thereby stripping the chip of its ability to synchronize its digital resources in the traditional way.

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