Simulation and electrical characterization of an innovative logic/memory CUBE for In-Memory-Computing

Published : 8 October 2019

For integrated circuits to be able to leverage the future “data deluge” coming from the cloud and cyber-physical systems, the historical scaling of Complementary-Metal-Oxide-Semiconductor (CMOS) devices is no longer the corner stone. At system-level, computing performance is now strongly power-limited and the main part of this power budget is consumed by data transfers between logic and memory circuit blocks in widespread Von-Neumann design architectures. An emerging computing paradigm solution overcoming this “memory wall” consists in processing the information in-situ, owing to In-Memory-Computing (IMC).

However, today’s existing memory technologies are ineffective to In-Memory compute billions of data items. Things may change with the emergence of three key enabling technologies, under development at CEA-LETI: non-volatile resistive memory, new energy-efficient nanowire transistors and 3D-monolithic integration. CEA-LETI received a prestigious European ERC grant to support a 5 year project and 3 new PhD students on a new project. This project will leverage the aforementioned emerging technologies towards a functionality-enhanced system with a tight entangling of logic and memory. A 3D In-Memory-Computing accelerator circuit will be designed, manufactured and measured, targeting a 20x reduction in (Energy x Delay) Product vs. Von-Neumann systems. This project that adds smartness to memory/storage will not only be a game changer for artificial intelligence, machine learning, data analytics or any data-abundant computing systems but it will also be, more broadly, a key computational kernel for next low-power, energy-efficient integrated circuits.

In this context, the PhD study is about the design, simulation and characterization of an innovative logic/memory CUBE for In-Memory-Computing.

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