Using Noise to Augment Synchronization among Oscillators

Jaykumar Vaidya, Mohammad Khairul Bashar, Nikhil Shukla

Noise is expected to play an important role in the dynamics of analog systems such as coupled oscillators which have recently been explored as a hardware platform for application in computing. In this work, we experimentally investigate the effect of noise on the synchronization of relaxation oscillators and their computational properties. Specifically, in contrast to its typically expected adverse effect, we first demonstrate that a common white noise input induces global frequency synchronization among uncoupled oscillators. Experiments show that the minimum noise voltage required to induce synchronization increases linearly with the amplitude of the oscillator output whereas it decreases with increasing number of oscillators. Further, our work reveals that in a coupled system of oscillators - relevant to solving computational problems such as graph coloring, the injection of white noise helps reduce the minimum required capacitive coupling strength. With the injection of noise, the coupled system demonstrates frequency synchronization along with the desired phase-based computational properties at 5x lower coupling strength than that required when no external noise is introduced. Consequently, this can reduce the footprint of the coupling element and the corresponding area-intensive coupling architecture. Our work shows that noise can be utilized as an effective knob to optimize the implementation of coupled oscillator-based computing platforms.

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