>> << >>
Главная Выпуск 8 Conceptual News
Golden fish of the Internet Ocean

Neural network chip built using memristors

ArcTechnica about publication in Nature
Май 2015


ArcTechnica:  Neural network chip built using memristors

Memristors have relatively simple behavior: they're a type of circuitry where the present resistance to current is a product of the currents that have flowed through them in the past. The more current that goes through, the easier it will travel through in the future. Interest in memristors comes in part from the fact that the resistance persists even after current is turned off, making them a possible option for non-volatile memory.

But the behavior of memristors is also fairly similar to that of a radically different type of circuitry: the synapses of neurons. Synapses are sites where nerve cells establish connections. The more signals that pass through these connections, the stronger the link between the two neurons becomes.

This behavior has raised the prospect of using memristors to implement the equivalent of synapses on a neural chip, where more traditional circuitry would control the logic of the neurons, and the memristors would control the links among them. Unfortunately, the best-behaved memristors can't be made with the CMOS processes that are used to create the circuitry, while memristors made using CMOS processes behave very erratically.

Now, a team of researchers from Stony Brook University and the University of California Santa Barbara appear to have solved this problem. And they've done it in a fairly simple fashion: a systematic trial-and-error search.

Memristors can be made of metal oxides (titanium dioxide is a favorite material). They work because the current influences the number of places in the material where oxygen atoms are missing, which in turn influences resistance.

In this case, the authors used a combination of aluminum oxide and titanium dioxide (Al2O3 and TIO2) to form a memristor. They started with "an exhaustive experimental search over a range of titanium dioxide compositions and layer thicknesses (from 5 nm to 100 nm)" and then paired that with similar adjustments to the thickness of aluminum oxide. The titanium dioxide layer influenced how readily a memristor could be generated at the desired locations, while the aluminum oxide layer influenced the consistency and strength of its operation.

The neural network was formed by linking traditional circuitry through a grid of wiring (technically a crossbar). Memristors were formed at each place the perpendicular wires crossed—first by placing the metal oxide layers at these locations and then by flowing current through to a ground.

The neural network was trained to identify three letters (V, N, and Z), including the possibility of single-pixel errors. After a single time through the training set, the network was able to successfully identify all three letters, although performance continued to improve with further experience. Several aspects of the underlying calculations were performed by the traditional hardware, but the memristors handled the most computationally intense work.

The system produced by the authors here involved only a 12-by-12 grid of memristors, so it's pretty limited in capacity. But Robert Legenstein, from Austria's Graz University of Technology, writes in an accompanying perspective that "If this design can be scaled up to large network sizes, it will affect the future of computing."

That's because there are still many challenges where a neural network can easily outperform traditional computing hardware—and do so at a fraction of the energy cost. Even on a 30 nm process, it would be possible to place 25 million cells in a square centimeter, with 10,000 synapses on each cell. And all that would dissipate about a Watt.

Nature, 2015. DOI: 10.1038/nature14441  (About DOIs).


Добавить комментарий

Оставлять комментарии могут только зарегистрированные пользователи.
Войдите в систему используя свою учетную запись на сайте:
Email: Пароль:

напомнить пароль