ReRAM firm Crossbar headed towards AI, 1X-nm

ReRAM firm Crossbar headed towards AI, 1X-nm

Technology News |
By Peter Clarke

The company claims to have a number of foundries capable of manufacturing its technology at various nodes as well as licensees developing products for those processes.

Now the company is demonstrating engineered memory arrays on test chips. Although the ReRAM is used to record 1s and 0s as any other non-volatile memory the arrays have been specifically designed to support classification applications such as facial recognition and number plate recognition.

Sylvain Dubois, vice president of business development at Crossbar, told eeNews Europe that the arrays have been made extremely wide to allow data from thousands of images to be brought in at the same time. “It is not only a memory array. It is array architecture with some logic integrated. There are algorithms embedded in the array. It works with specialist logic and beats any CPU/GPU architecture.”

The ReRAM test chip demonstrations for AI-at-the-Edge showing simultaneous object classification in one iteration for facial recognition and car license plate recognition. The technology will be featured at the Embedded Vision Summit coming up in Santa Clara, Calif., May 21 to 24.

Dubois added that Crossbar is also working on using the analog properties of ReRAM memory element to create neuromorphic computing that is a closer model of brain activity.

Dubois did not reveal the process node that the test chips have been worked in, saying it was not relevant. “We want to use the test chips to persuade customers to go to 1X-nm. Dubois said much of Crossbar’s development work was now targeting sub-20nm manufacturing.

Next: In pre-production

“IoT applications at 40nm are still in pre-production at SMIC; starting to ramp up.The 2X-nm mode is full speed ahead but not in production and 1X-nm is where we are headed,” Dubois said. He declined to name the foundry partners for the 2X-nm and 1X-nm nodes.

In January 2017 Dubois had said that Crossbar was in production on 40nm at the Chinese foundry and sampling to its customers and that 28nm production would follow soon after (see Crossbar ReRAM in production at SMIC).

Dubois said it would be up to customers of SMIC whether they wanted to use a Crossbar license to embedded non-volatile memory in logic, such as microcontrollers, or to be fabless suppliers of superior non-volatile memory such as replacements for flash SPI NOR and NAND chips.

Crossbar’s ReRAM technology is based on metal-ion migration and filament formation within amorphous silicon. The company has selected silver as the material to form conductive filaments that are made and broken to record a 1 or a 0.

Dubois is set to speak at the Embedded Vision Summit on Wed., May 23 at 12pm on the topic a ‘New memory-centric architecture needed for AI.’

“By enabling a new, memory-centric nonvolatile architecture like ReRAM, the entire trained model or knowledge base can be on-chip, connected directly to the neural network with the potential to achieve massive energy savings and performance improvements, resulting in a greatly improved battery life and a better user experience,” said Dubois.

Related links and articles:

News articles:

Crossbar ReRAM in production at SMIC

Cars, smartphones, AI among NRAM applications in waiting

Rambus, GigaDevice form ReRAM joint venture

Panasonic partners with UMC on 40nm ReRAM

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