SRC Spends $200M on University Research Centers

By John Russell

January 16, 2018

The Semiconductor Research Corporation, as part of its JUMP initiative, has awarded $200 million to fund six research centers whose areas of focus span cognitive computing, memory-centric computing, high-speed communications, nanotechnology, and more. It’s not a bad way to begin 2018 for the winning institutions which include Notre Dame University, University of Michigan, University of Virginia, Carnegie Mellon University, Purdue University, and UC Santa Barbara.

SRC’s JUMP (Joint University Microelectronics Program) is a collaborative network of research centers sponsored by U.S. industry participants and DARPA. As described in the SRC web site, “[JUMP’s] mission is to enable the continued pace of growth of the microelectronics industry with discoveries which release the evolutionary constraints of traditional semiconductor technology development. JUMP research, guided by the university center directors, tackles fundamental physical problems and forges a nationwide effort to keep the United States and its technology firms at the forefront of the global microelectronics revolution.”

The six projects, funded over five years, were launched on January 1st and are listed below with short descriptions. Links to press releases from each center are at the end of the article:

  • ASCENT (Applications and Systems driven Center for Energy-Efficient Integrated NanoTechnologies at Notre Dame). “ASCENT focuses on demonstration of foundational material synthesis routes and device technologies, novel heterogeneous integration (package and monolithic) schemes to support the next era of functional hyper-scaling. The mission is to transcend the current limitations of high-performance transistors confined to a single planar layer of integrated circuit by pioneering vertical monolithic integration of multiple interleaved layers of logic and memory.”
  • ADA (Applications Driving Architectures Center at University of Michigan). “[ADA will drive] system design innovation by drawing on opportunities in application driven architecture and system-driven technology advances, with support from agile system design frameworks that encompass programming languages to implementation technologies. The center’s innovative solutions will be evaluated and quantified against a common set of benchmarks, which will also be expanded as part of the center efforts. These benchmarks will be initially derived from core computational aspects of two application domains: visual computing and natural language processing.”
  • Kevin Skadron, University of Virginia

    CRISP (Center for Research on Intelligent Storage and Processing-in-memory at University of Virginia). “Certain computations are just not feasible right now due to the huge amounts of data and the memory wall,” says Kevin Skadron, who chairs UVA Engineering’s Department of Computer Science and leads the new center. “Solving these challenges and enabling the next generation of data-intensive applications requires computing to be embedded in and around the data, creating ‘intelligent’ memory and storage architectures that do as much of the computing as possible as close to the bits as possible.”

  • CONIX (Computing On Network Infrastructure for Pervasive Perception, Cognition, and Action at Carnegie Mellon University). “CONIX will create the architecture for networked computing that lies between edge devices and the cloud. The challenge is to build this substrate so that future applications that are crucial to IoT can be hosted with performance, security, robustness, and privacy guarantees.”
  • CBRIC (Center for Brain-inspired Computing Enabling Autonomous Intelligence at Purdue University). Charged with delivering key advances in cognitive computing, with the goal of enabling a new generation of autonomous intelligent systems, “CBRIC will address these challenges through synergistic exploration of Neuro-inspired Algorithms and Theory, Neuromorphic Hardware Fabrics, Distributed Intelligence, and Application Drivers.”
  • ComSenTer (Center for Converged TeraHertz Communications and Sensing at UCSB). ComSenTer will develop the technologies for a future cellular infrastructure using hubs with massive spatial multiplexing, providing 1-100Gb/s to the end user, and, with 100-1000 simultaneous independently-modulated beams, aggregate hubs capacities in the 10’s of Tb/s. Backhaul for this future cellular infrastructure will be a mix of optical links and Tb/s-capacity point-point massive MIMO links.”

Links to individual press releases/program descriptions:

ASCENT, Notre Dame: https://www.src.org/newsroom/press-release/2018/921/

ADA, University of Michigan: https://www.src.org/newsroom/press-release/2018/922/

CRISP, University of Virginia: https://www.src.org/newsroom/press-release/2018/920/

CONIX, Carnegie Mellon: https://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/new-center-headquartered-at-carnegie-mellon-university-will-build-smarter-networks-to-connect-edge-devices-to-the-cloud-300582210.html

CBRIC, Purdue: https://www.src.org/newsroom/press-release/2018/919/

ComSentTer, UCSB: https://www.src.org/program/jump/comsenter/

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