SPIE Highlights, AI and in-Memory Computing, Lateral Etch, Coronavirus forecast scenarios

    The Chip Insider®
    March 20, 2020 — Strategy and Tactics: SPIE Highlights, AI and in-Memory Computing, Lateral Etch, Coronavirus forecast scenarios. WildPhotons: What you do in life echoes in eternity ...
    G Dan Hutcheson G. Dan Hutcheson
    SPIE 2020 Highlights: This year's conference would have had an eerie feeling even if fears of the Coronavirus had not made it so, because after a decades-long task as monumental as the seven-wonders of the world ... EUV is done. If the plenary session quietly communicated that EUV is done, a large part of the rest of the conference was about the many things that need to be done to optimize EUV.

    Evangelos Eleftheriou's Plenary made an undeniable case for why in-Memory Computing (iMC) is inexorably linked to the advancement of AI. He's out of IBM Zurich, where they really know the topic. He addressed the elephant in the room that many in the AI intelligentsia don't want the world to know: That making these leaps to larger NNs has come at the cost of an unsustainable rise to compute-power. Evangelos showed how with iMC, using Phase-Change Memory as an analog storage cell, one can make a spiking neural network that can do matrix-vector multiplication without moving data. IBM has made the chip and they were able to do 8-bit precision multiply operations with an efficiency of ~6fJ! In-memory computing solves the power problem, making it possible to bring AI to the edge like the CPU brought the computer to your desktop, lap, and then in your hand. This will be a huge market driver. The only question is … what to call it? Is it an iMP or in-Memory Processor?

    Applied Materials' Lateral Etch: It's rare to see a truly new revolutionary technology at a conference. SPIE had two. The second I saw was lateral etch in a presentation given by Regina Freed and quaintly titled "Materials engineering solutions to extend DRAM scaling." What blew me away most was Applied's development of what they're calling "precision lateral etch." Applied has been able to open up vias, thereby reducing EPE induced yield loss while lowering cost compared to a conventional multi-patterned cut mask approach, and carving out a larger via. Importantly it points to a new trend in strategic marketing. We show you why.

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