Computing and Communications for the Software-Defined Metamaterial Paradigm: A Context Analysis
Liaskos, Christos K.
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Metamaterials are artificial structures that have recently enabled the realization of novel electromagnetic components with engineered and even unnatural functionalities. Existing metamaterials are specifically designed for a single application working under preset conditions (e.g., electromagnetic cloaking for a fixed angle of incidence) and cannot be reused. Software-defined metamaterials (SDMs) are a much sought-after paradigm shift, exhibiting electromagnetic properties that can be reconfigured at runtime using a set of software primitives. To enable this new technology, SDMs require the integration of a network of controllers within the structure of the metamaterial, where each controller interacts locally and communicates globally to obtain the programmed behavior. The design approach for such controllers and the interconnection network, however, remains unclear due to the unique combination of constraints and requirements of the scenario. To bridge this gap, this paper aims to provide a context analysis from the computation and communication perspectives. Then, analogies are drawn between the SDM scenario and other applications both at the micro and nano scales, identifying possible candidates for the implementation of the controllers and the intra-SDM network. Finally, the main challenges of SDMs related to computing and communications are outlined. © 2017 IEEE.