A breakthrough in energy-efficient computing, this low-power, high-performance RAM stacks directly on top of a computer’s microprocessor.
Our digital world requires more and more computing power to process an ever-increasing amount of data—but to sustain our rate of growth, engineers must find ways of making computing more energy-efficient.
One major hurdle they face is the distance between a computer’s memory device and its processor (CPU). Traditionally, memory devices and CPUs have had to be physically separate from one another. This is necessary for manufacturing but it also makes computing much more energy intensive and thus more expensive.
Deep Jariwala’s lab has made a breakthrough in energy efficient computing by creating a memory device (RAM) that can be placed directly on top of the CPU, eliminating the physical space that causes the “memory bottleneck.”
This new device works thanks to a special combination of materials: a ferroelectric material coated in a thin semi-conductor that allows the device to be deposited directly on top of the CPU without frying it (excess heat is what requires the physical distance traditionally needed between RAM and CPU). The result is a device that requires a hundred times less power than anything else on the market and which is compatible with existing CPUs.
Jariwala says this technology will be especially helpful for mobile and battery-operated devices—which inherently have limited amounts of power—and in data centers. However, what excites him most is the ability to stack multiple memory devices on top of a single CPU. Building “upwards” in three dimensions will allow engineers to “change the whole paradigm of microprocessor architecture.”