Memristive Technologies: from functional oxides to AI on a chip
Artificial Intelligence (AI) is destined to transform our society, affecting every aspect of our lives. However, a key bottleneck towards the proliferation of the technology is the lack of efficient hardware that will allow us to embed AI everywhere – well beyond the cloud’s reach. Up until now, the processing of data in electronics has relied on assemblies of vast numbers of transistors – microscopic switches that control the flow of electrical current by turning it on or off. Transistors have got smaller and smaller in order to meet the increasing demands of technology, but have nowadays reached their physical limit, with – for example – the processing chips that power smartphones containing an average of seven billion transistors that are only a few atoms wide.
A novel functional-oxide nanoelectronic technology known as the memristor, proclaims to hold the key to a new era in electronics and AI, being both smaller and simpler in form than transistors, low-energy, and with the ability to retain data by ‘remembering’ the amount of charge that has passed through them – akin to the behaviour of synaptic connections in the human brain. In his lecture Themis Prodromakis will present the challenges in manufacturing and using such technologies alogn with a few examples on how these can be used in practical applications: from bio-electronic medicines to “AI on a chip” solutions.
Themis Prodromakis is Professor of Nanotechnology and Director of the Centre for Electronics Frontiers at the University of Southampton, UK. His work focuses on developing metal-oxide Resistive Random-Access Memory technologies and related applications and is leading an interdisciplinary team comprising 30 researchers with expertise ranging from materials process development to electron devices and circuits and systems for embedded applications. He holds a Royal Academy of Engineering Chair in Emerging Technologies and a Royal Society Industry Fellowship. He is an Adjunct Professor at UTS Australia, visiting Professor at the Department of Microelectronics and Nanoelectronics at Tsinghua University, and Honorary Fellow at Imperial College London. He is Fellow of the Royal Society of Chemistry, the IET and the Institute of Physics and is also Senior Member of the IEEE. He and serves as the Director of the Lloyds Register Foundation International Consortium for Nanotechnology (ICoN: www.lrf-icon.com) and Co-Director of the UKRI Centre for Doctoral Training in Machine Intelligence for Nano- Electronic Devices and Systems (MINDS). In 2015, he established ArC Instruments Ltd that delivers high-performance testing infrastructure for automating characterisation of novel nanodevices in over 16 countries and in 2019 he founded SoneT.ai that is building new power-efficient hardware solutions.
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