Analog platform uses memristors for AI in edge devices

Analog platform uses memristors for AI in edge devices

Technology News |
By Wisse Hettinga

Based on commercial CMOS, the memristor based platform uses TowerJazz’s commercial patented Y-Flash NVM on its well-established 0.18um CMOS technology.

The technology enables development of ultra-low power Artificial Intelligence (AI) cores suitable for IoT edge devices and sensors such as fingerprint sensors, face and audio recognition applications among others. Compared with existing digitally based solutions, this breakthrough enables several orders of magnitude lower power consumption and is very cost effective as it can be implemented in less advanced technology nodes.

The extensive research and development was co-led by teams from both TowerJazz and the Technion. The complete research paper was published in Nature Electronics, and is the first research project conducted solely in Israel covered by Nature Electronics.

“With advanced R&D being our major focus, we are constantly seeking emerging technologies and initiate development projects to enrich TowerJazz’s offering,” said Prof. Yakov Roizin, TowerJazz’s Fellow.

“The collaboration between our professional academic team and our extensive research capabilities along with TowerJazz’s team, analog expertise and technology, is what enabled to realize this extraordinary result, ” said Prof. Shahar Kvatinsky of the Andrew & Erna Viterbi Faculty of Electrical Engineering at the Technion. “We are confident that the joint effort of experts from both fields will yield more significant achievements in years to come .”

In comparison to other NVM solutions targeting AI applications, the developed memristors are based on a commercial CMOS technology with enhanced reliability. Single poly Y-Flash floating gate NVM transistors, originally designed for digital data storage, were converted into two-terminal analog devices operated in the energy-efficient sub-threshold regime. The analog memristors are tuned using optimized switching voltages and times to achieve 65 discrete resistive levels. These memristors are easily integrated with other devices on the same platform.

“We believe that analog AI is the only solution for having AI in every edge device as this is the only way to meet the power consumption and cost requirements,” said Dr. Avi Strum, TowerJazz Sr. Vice President and General Manager of the Sensors Business Unit.

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