On early July, imec, a world-leading research and innovation hub in nanoelectronics and digital technologies presented TEMPO (Technology & hardware for nEuromorphic coMPuting), a European innovation project and a cross-border collaboration between 19 research and industrial partners. Funded by ECSEL Joint Undertaking (JU), this three-year program aims to develop process technology and hardware platforms leveraging emerging memory technologies for neuromorphic computing for future applications in mobile devices which need complex machine-learning algorithms. Moreover, this one-of-a-kind collaboration aims at enabling applications that need cloud-based server racks, to be executed within battery-powered mobile devices, for instance cars and smartphones.
The ultimate edge artificial intelligence applications require intelligent energy-efficient local processing. To answer the increasing demand of applications including complex computational algorithms such as smart home assistants, face-recognition-based security systems or autonomous vehicles, TEMPO leverages the process technology platforms being developed by the European research technology organizations and cooperating foundries in the project. These organizations’ skills are combined with the application and hardware knowledge from further partners. The project will evaluate the current solutions at device, architecture and application level, and build and expand the technology roadmap for European AI hardware platforms. It will also leverage MRAM (imec), FeRAM (Fraunhofer) and RRAM (CEA-Leti) memory to implement both spiking neural network (SNN) and deep neural network (DNN) accelerators for 8 different use cases, from consumer to automotive and medical applications.
Emmanuel Sabonnadiere, CEO at CEA-Leti: “It is our aim to sweep technology options, covering emerging memories, and attempt to pair them with contemporary (DNN) and exploratory (SNN) neuromorphic computing paradigms. The process- and design-compatibility of each technology option will be assessed with respect to established integration practices and meet our industrial partner roadmaps and needs to prepare the future market of Edge IA where Europe is well positioned with multiple disruptive technologies.”
Prof. Hubert Lakner, Director of the Fraunhofer Institute for Photonic Microsystems (IPMS) and Chairman of the Board of Directors of the Fraunhofer Group Microelectronics: “A key enabler for machine learning and pattern recognition is the capability of the algorithms to browse through large datasets. Which, in terms of hardware, means having rapid access to large memory blocks. Therefore, one of the key focal areas of TEMPO are energy efficient nonvolatile emerging memory technologies and novel ways to design and process memory and processing blocks on chip.”
Luc Van den hove, CEO at imec: “We are delighted to enter in such broad European collaboration effort on Edge Artificial Intelligence, gathering the relevant stakeholders in Europe, including CEA-Leti and Fraunhofer, two of our most renowned colleague research centers in Europe. Thanks to our combined expertise, we can scan more potential routes forward than what would be possible by each of us individually, and as such, position Europe in the driver seat for R&D on AI. Imec looks forward to the progress we can make together in the TEMPO project and hopes this will lead to more similar collaborations in the future. Behind the scenes, we are already defining more public and bilateral agreements with several of the partners involved.”
Kicked off on the 1st of April 2019, the TEMPO consortium includes nineteen members, with imec as leader as the sole Belgian consortium partner. The other consortium members are, for France: CEA-LETI, ST-Microelectronics Crolles, ST-Microelectronics Grenoble, Thales Alenia Space and Valeo. For Germany: Bosch, Fraunhofer EMFT, Fraunhofer IIS, Fraunhofer IPMS, Infineon, Innosent, TU Dresden and Videantis. For the Netherlands: imec the Netherlands, Philips Electronics and Philips Medical Systems. Last, for Switzerland: aiCTX and the University of Zürich.