MNEMOSENE: Computation-in-Memory architecture based on Resistive devices

15 February 2018

Mass production and commercialization of technologies based on integrated circuits, such as computers and mobile phones, have completely revolutionized our society, ultimately resulting in the Digital Revolution and leading humanity into what is now referred to as the Information Age.

Emerging electronic applications, such as Internet-of-Things and Big Data analytics, are expected to impact our lives even further, but they require increasing computing power with severe constraints on size, energy consumption and reliability. Current manufacturing technologies, electronic devices and computer architectures are unable to deliver the functionalities and features needed by these applications. In order to meet these challenging requirements and prepare the European electronics industry for the next generation of computing technologies, novel approaches have to be devised and implemented.

In this context, the “MNEMOSENE” project held its kick-off meeting in Manchester (UK) on Jan 25th, 2018. Coordinated by Delft Technical University (NL), the project consortium includes eight other partners from six different countries: Eindhoven University of Technology and IMEC (NL), ETH Zurich and IBM Research – Zurich (CH), Arm (UK), RWTH Aachen University (DE), INRIA (FR) and Intelligentsia Consultants (LU).

MNEMOSENE kick-off meeting (Manchester, UK, Jan 25th, 2018)

This ambitious research and innovation action addresses the theme "Development of new approaches to scale functional performance of information processing and storage substantially beyond the state-of-the-art technologies with a focus on ultra-low power and high performance" of the European Union’s Horizon 2020 ICT programme. The 3-year project has received 4M€ of funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under ICT-31-2017 grant agreement number 780215.

In order to meet the requirements of future electronic applications, MNEMOSENE will focus on the development, design and demonstration of a Computation-In-Memory (CIM) architecture based on extending arrays of non-volatile resistive switching devices (memristors) with logic functionality inside or around the cell array. CIM architectures allow integration of information processing and storage at the same physical location, having the potential to (a) eliminate the communication and memory bottleneck, (b) support massive parallelism to increase the overall performance, (c) drastically enhance energy efficiency, and (d) be cheaper to manufacture.

Development of such a radically innovative computing architecture will be a real breakthrough, enabling the solution of many computational problems in minutes rather than days at affordable energy and cost, resulting in orders of magnitude increase in performance. To achieve this result, research efforts in MNEMOSENE will be concentrated on (a) identifying potential applications (e.g. genomics, data reconstruction for medical imaging, radio interferometry, etc.) and developing new appropriate algorithmic solutions for the CIM architecture, (b) developing and designing new mapping methods integrated in a framework for efficient compilation of the new algorithms into CIM macro-level operations, (c) developing a macro-architecture based on the integration of groups of CIM tiles, (d) developing and demonstrating the micro-architecture level of CIM tiles and their models and (e) designing a simulator and FPGA emulator for the new architecture in order to demonstrate its superiority.

Finally, to ensure impacts beyond the project timeframe, the MNEMOSENE partners have foreseen a 9-12 year technology development roadmap that, starting from the integration of a CIM die with a conventional CPU on a single chip, will ultimately lead to a CIM-based computer.


Prof. Said Hamdioui (Project Coordinator)

Technische Universiteit Delft
Department of Computer Engineering
Mekelweg 4
2628CD Delft (NL)

About the consortium 

Technische Universiteit Delft
Technische Universiteit Delft (TUD) is a world-class university ranked 20th for engineering and technology in the 2017 Times Higher Education World University Rankings. Established in 1842, it is the largest and oldest institute of technology in the Netherlands. TUD’s Computer Engineering Research Group (CE) will participate in this project. CE performs research in - and teaches - multidisciplinary engineering at the top level from device technology, hardware design, test and reliability, software development to computing systems and the study and development of tools and software that allow to improve the analysis and synthesis of computing systems. Therefore, CE’s research addresses a broad range of topics ranging from computer arithmetic and computer architecture to compiler construction and focusing both on embedded systems as well as high performance computing without losing sight of future and emerging technologies.

Technische Universiteit Eindhoven
Technische Universiteit Eindhoven (TUE) is a world-leading research university specializing in engineering science & technology. The Electronic Systems (ES) group at the Department of Electrical Engineering will participate in this project. The ES group is world-renowned for its design automation and embedded systems research and provides a scientific basis for design trajectories of electronic systems, ranging from digital circuits to cyber-physical systems. ES research is organised in three subprograms that cover the engineering, system and circuit perspectives: Model-driven engineering, smart electronic systems, and digital nano-electronics. The group has excellent infrastructure that includes individual computers, computer servers, state-of-the-art FPGA and GPU farms, sensor- and ad-hoc networking equipment, a cyber-physical systems lab, an electronics lab and a comprehensive range of electronic-design software. 

Rheinisch-Westfälische Technische Hochschule Aachen  
 Established in 1870, RWTH Aachen is currently the largest technical university in Germany; it has a strong international orientation and close links to industry. RWTH Aachen will participate in the project with the Institute of Electronic Materials (Werkstoffe der Elektrotechnik 2, IWE 2) of the faculty of Electrical Engineering and Information Technology. Its fields of activities are focused on the process technology and the basic physical-chemical understanding (including simulation) of functional oxide thin films with respect to future integrated nanoelectronic devices, especially redox-based resistive switching memories. In this area, with more than 150 publications and 10’000 citations, the group is one of the world’s leading groups. Specific work related to MNEMOSENE will consist in the development of a new “CRS” logic concept demonstrated using resistive switching devices.

Institut National de Recherche en Informatique et en Automatique
Established in 1967, INRIA is the only French public research body fully dedicated to computational sciences. Its mission is to pursue excellent research in computer science and applied mathematics in order to play a major role in resolving scientific, social and industrial challenges. In this project INRIA will be represented by the PARKAS group, a joint team with École Normale Supérieure (ENS) in Paris, the top-ranked Research University in France. PARKAS brings experience in compiler construction and programming languages, with an emphasis on embedded and cyberphysical systems. The PARKAS group aims at reconciling performance with non-functional guarantees (security, safety) through formally certified development and compilation tools. The group's collaborators include leading computing systems groups and companies in Europe, Asia and North America.
Eidgenössische Technische Hochschule Zürich  
The Eidgenössische Technische Hochschule Zürich (ETH Zurich) is a science and technology university with an outstanding research record, being consistently ranked amongst the most prestigious universities in the world for engineering and technology. The Integrated Systems Lab (IIS), part of the Department of Information Technology and Electrical Engineering (D-ITET), will participate in this project. IIS, whose activities focus on integrated circuits and cover a wide range of topics from device physics to embedded systems, will contribute to the project with in-depth knowledge of computing platforms, digital design and tools for architectural analysis and exploration, as well as significant experience in chip design, manufacturing and testing. 

IMEC the Netherlands
Imec the Netherlands is part of imec, the world-leading research and innovation hub in nano-electronics and digital technologies. Imec the Netherlands, located in Eindhoven as part of Holst Centre, has a longstanding expertise and excellent track record in low power wireless sensor solutions and flexible electronics: the building blocks to create an easy-to-use Internet of Things. The Internet of Things (IoT) department, which is part of this project, focuses on next generation wireless transducer solutions and is active in technology development for ultralow-power radio and digital signal processing, micro-power generation, storage and management, and sensor and actuator technology. Based on these building blocks, imec the Netherlands builds system solutions in the area of health and lifestyle that contain embedded algorithms and neuromorphic circuits to address specific applications. As a trusted partner for companies, start-ups and universities, imec brings together close to 3,500 brilliant minds from over 75 nationalities. Imec is headquartered in Leuven, Belgium and also has distributed R&D groups at a number of Flemish universities, in the Netherlands, Taiwan, USA, China, and offices in India and Japan. In 2016, imec's revenue (P&L) totalled 496 million euro.
Arm Limited 
Arm Ltd. is a world-renowned semiconductor Intellectual Property (IP) company headquartered in Cambridge. Arm licenses its IP to a large ecosystem partners that use them to create and manufacture microprocessors, peripherals and SoC solutions. Arm-powered systems are pervasive in current electronic products, including automotive, consumer entertainment, imaging, microcontrollers, networking, storage, automotive, medical, security, wireless, smartphones, tablet computers and servers. Over 100 billion Arm-based microprocessors have been shipped so far, reaching over 80% of the world’s population. Arm’s research group will be the active participants in the project. Arm Research look beyond current technologies, working to address the challenges of the future across all areas of computing; from circuits and systems through to architecture, security, HPC and beyond. Through collaborations with academia, industry and funding bodies, Arm Research hope to enable developments that will help to shape the computing landscape in the future.
IBM Research GmbH 

IBM Research GmbH in Zurich is one IBM’s 12 research centres around the globe. The Zurich laboratory, established in 1956, is associated with cutting-edge research and outstanding scientific achievements, including two Nobel Prizes. The spectrum of research activities ranges from exploratory research in nanoscience and nanotechnology for future computing, to cloud and computing infrastructure, security and privacy, computational sciences, data analytics and cognitive computing. The Binnig and Rohrer Nanotechnology Center (BRNC) with its state-of-the-art exploratory cleanroom fabrication facility and experienced technical staff, provides support for work performed in cleanrooms, for the use of large equipment, and for the fabrication processes. Also available are a highly qualified and experienced electronics services team, a model shop and an extensive range of metrology and analytical tools such as atomic force microscopes, SEM, TEM, XPS. 

Intelligentsia Consultants

Intelligentsia Consultants provide high-quality, knowledge-based consultancy services to support research and innovation in private and public organisations. Their range of consultancy services covers the following areas: Grant Proposal Writing, R&D Tax Relief, European Programmes, National Funding, Training, Project Management, Technology Transfer and Other Services, such as Web Development.  
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