IBM Touts STT MRAM Technology at IDEM 2020

By John Russell

December 15, 2020

At the IEEE International Devices Meeting being held (virtually) this week IBM is rolling key research aimed at boosting AI and hybrid cloud technology. One of the more prominent efforts showcased is IBM’s success fabbing the first 14nm node embedded Spin-Transfer-Torque (STT) MRAM (eMRAM). IBM noted the work in a blog posted yesterday.

“The circuit functionality was demonstrated with read/write tests having write pulses as short as 4 ns, and with much reduced write bias for pulse widths in the 10-20ns range. These and other performance metrics indicate great potential for this technology in mobile cache and similar applications,” write IBM researchers in a paper being presented tomorrow at the conference.

The latest demonstration is compatible with existing CMOS logic design rules according to IBM researchers Abu SebastianGriselda Bonilla, and Dan Edelstein, authors of the blog.

Initial STT-MRAM products have focused on eFlash replacement and standalone storage products. STT-MRAM also has the potential to be used as a working memory in more advanced embedded applications, including mobile cache at ~15 ns write times, and ultimately last-level cache at ~2 ns write times, reported IBM.

“However, these advanced applications have been limited by two key challenges: 1) improving MTJ performance to reduce the write currents while controlling distributions; and 2) increasing the MRAM/CMOS circuit and cell density for advanced-node scaling. Previous leading work, all at the 28nm – 22nm nodes, highlighted the challenge of integrating tight-pitch MTJs within the short vertical space available between BEOL metal levels – a challenge which has so far prevented 14nm node eMRAM from being developed,” according to the IBM paper (A 14 nm Embedded STT-MRAM CMOS Technology),” say IBM researchers in the paper. (See figures from paper below.)

IBM was able to mitigate these issues. “Using a 2Mb eMRAM macro, we achieve an integration at tight MTJ pitch (160 nm), which fits vertically between M1 and M2. This placement maximizes eMRAM circuit performance by eliminating stacked BEOL parasitics, and reduces chip size and cost by clearing upper wiring tracks for logic, and reducing total number of levels to wire large arrays (these may need n+3 Cu levels for MTJs placed on level Mn, hence the advantage of n=1). We demonstrate read and write functionality, including write performance down to 4ns, and show that the eMRAM process module can be added while maintaining the logic BEOL reliability requirements,” reported the researchers.

The blogpost noted, “Data transfer bottlenecks have long been a problem for large workloads and create a challenge for running AI workloads in hybrid cloud environments. STT-MRAM uses electron spin to store data in magnetic domains, combining the high speed of Static RAM (SRAM) and the high density of DRAM—both of which rely on electrical charges for storage—to offer a more dependable storage solution.”

IBM will further discuss the technology in a second STT-MRAM paper, “Demonstration of Narrow Switching Distributions in STT-MRAM Arrays for LLC Applications at 1x nm Node.” This work demonstrates advanced magnetic materials with high-speed of 3 ns switching and tight distributions of the switching current. “Optimizing switching speed characteristics is another key step toward use of MRAM as last-level cache. By speeding up the exchange between memory and compute, this enhanced design promises to deliver a much more efficient, higher-performing system.

“Together, these advances point to MRAM’s steady march toward achieving superior density and increased speed needed to replace SRAM for CPU caches. That would be a whole new application for MRAM, which is typically used today as either a replacement for NAND flash memory or as a stand-alone storage chip, and significantly increase data retrieval performance,” write Sebastian, Bonilla, and Edelstein.

IBM will also report advances in phase change memory:

  • The accurate mapping of synaptic weights onto analog non-volatile memory devices for deep learning inference is a considerable challenge to developing analog AI cores. Synaptic weight indicates the strength of a connection between two nodes in a neural network. In the paper, “Precision of Synaptic Weights Programmed in Phase-Change Memory Devices for Deep Learning Inference,” IBM researchers discuss how analog resistance-based memory devices such as PCM in in-memory computing applications could address the mapping challenge. Their work addresses how to accurately map the synaptic weights analytically and through array-level experiments. The paper also analyzes the impact of inaccuracy associated with synaptic weight storage on a range of networks for some common AI applications: image classification and language modeling.
  • A second analog AI paper, “Unassisted True Analog Neural Network Training Chip,” details the first analog neural network training chip—a resistive processing unit, or RPU—to demonstrate the elusive “analog advantage” in AI training. Analog advantage occurs when analog neural network training is faster than a comparable digital system in real time. The researchers achieved this speedup by performing all Multiply and Accumulate (MAC) functions in analog cross-point arrays and updating all weights in parallel.

Link to IBM blog, https://www.ibm.com/blogs/research/2020/12/iedm2020-memory-analog-ai/

Link to IEEE IDEM 2020, https://ieee-iedm.org/program/

Subscribe to HPCwire's Weekly Update!

Be the most informed person in the room! Stay ahead of the tech trends with industy updates delivered to you every week!

Watch Nvidia’s GTC21 Keynote with Jensen Huang Livestreamed Here, Monday at 8:30am PT

April 9, 2021

Join HPCwire right here on Monday, April 12, at 8:30 am PT to see the Nvidia GTC21 keynote from Nvidia’s CEO, Jensen Huang, livestreamed in its entirety. Hosted by HPCwire, you can click to join the Huang keynote on our livestream to hear Nvidia’s expected news and... Read more…

The US Places Seven Additional Chinese Supercomputing Entities on Blacklist

April 8, 2021

As tensions between the U.S. and China continue to simmer, the U.S. government today added seven Chinese supercomputing entities to an economic blacklist. The U.S. Entity List bars U.S. firms from supplying key technolog Read more…

Argonne Supercomputing Supports Caterpillar Engine Design

April 8, 2021

Diesel fuels still account for nearly ten percent of all energy-related U.S. carbon emissions – most of them from heavy-duty vehicles like trucks and construction equipment. Energy efficiency is key to these machines, Read more…

Habana’s AI Silicon Comes to San Diego Supercomputer Center

April 8, 2021

Habana Labs, an Intel-owned AI company, has partnered with server maker Supermicro to provide high-performance, high-efficiency AI computing in the form of new training and inference servers that will power the upcoming Read more…

Intel Partners Debut Latest Servers Based on the New Intel Gen 3 ‘Ice Lake’ Xeons

April 7, 2021

Fresh from Intel’s launch of the company’s latest third-generation Xeon Scalable “Ice Lake” processors on April 6 (Tuesday), Intel server partners Cisco, Dell EMC, HPE and Lenovo simultaneously unveiled their first server models built around the latest chips. And though arch-rival AMD may... Read more…

AWS Solution Channel

Volkswagen Passenger Cars Uses NICE DCV for High-Performance 3D Remote Visualization

 

Volkswagen Passenger Cars has been one of the world’s largest car manufacturers for over 70 years. The company delivers more than 6 million automobiles to global customers every year, from 50 production locations on five continents. Read more…

What’s New in HPC Research: Tundra, Fugaku, µHPC & More

April 6, 2021

In this regular feature, HPCwire highlights newly published research in the high-performance computing community and related domains. From parallel programming to exascale to quantum computing, the details are here. Read more…

The US Places Seven Additional Chinese Supercomputing Entities on Blacklist

April 8, 2021

As tensions between the U.S. and China continue to simmer, the U.S. government today added seven Chinese supercomputing entities to an economic blacklist. The U Read more…

Habana’s AI Silicon Comes to San Diego Supercomputer Center

April 8, 2021

Habana Labs, an Intel-owned AI company, has partnered with server maker Supermicro to provide high-performance, high-efficiency AI computing in the form of new Read more…

Intel Partners Debut Latest Servers Based on the New Intel Gen 3 ‘Ice Lake’ Xeons

April 7, 2021

Fresh from Intel’s launch of the company’s latest third-generation Xeon Scalable “Ice Lake” processors on April 6 (Tuesday), Intel server partners Cisco, Dell EMC, HPE and Lenovo simultaneously unveiled their first server models built around the latest chips. And though arch-rival AMD may... Read more…

Intel Launches 10nm ‘Ice Lake’ Datacenter CPU with Up to 40 Cores

April 6, 2021

The wait is over. Today Intel officially launched its 10nm datacenter CPU, the third-generation Intel Xeon Scalable processor, codenamed Ice Lake. With up to 40 Read more…

HPE Launches Storage Line Loaded with IBM’s Spectrum Scale File System

April 6, 2021

HPE today launched a new family of storage solutions bundled with IBM’s Spectrum Scale Erasure Code Edition parallel file system (description below) and featu Read more…

RIKEN’s Ongoing COVID Research Includes New Vaccines, New Tests & More

April 6, 2021

RIKEN took the supercomputing world by storm last summer when it launched Fugaku – which became (and remains) the world’s most powerful supercomputer – ne Read more…

CERN Is Betting Big on Exascale

April 1, 2021

The European Organization for Nuclear Research (CERN) involves 23 countries, 15,000 researchers, billions of dollars a year, and the biggest machine in the worl Read more…

AI Systems Summit Keynote: Brace for System Level Heterogeneity Says de Supinski

April 1, 2021

Heterogeneous computing has quickly come to mean packing a couple of CPUs and one-or-many accelerators, mostly GPUs, onto the same node. Today, a one-such-node system has become the standard AI server offered by dozens of vendors. This is not to diminish the many advances... Read more…

Julia Update: Adoption Keeps Climbing; Is It a Python Challenger?

January 13, 2021

The rapid adoption of Julia, the open source, high level programing language with roots at MIT, shows no sign of slowing according to data from Julialang.org. I Read more…

Intel Launches 10nm ‘Ice Lake’ Datacenter CPU with Up to 40 Cores

April 6, 2021

The wait is over. Today Intel officially launched its 10nm datacenter CPU, the third-generation Intel Xeon Scalable processor, codenamed Ice Lake. With up to 40 Read more…

CERN Is Betting Big on Exascale

April 1, 2021

The European Organization for Nuclear Research (CERN) involves 23 countries, 15,000 researchers, billions of dollars a year, and the biggest machine in the worl Read more…

Programming the Soon-to-Be World’s Fastest Supercomputer, Frontier

January 5, 2021

What’s it like designing an app for the world’s fastest supercomputer, set to come online in the United States in 2021? The University of Delaware’s Sunita Chandrasekaran is leading an elite international team in just that task. Chandrasekaran, assistant professor of computer and information sciences, recently was named... Read more…

HPE Launches Storage Line Loaded with IBM’s Spectrum Scale File System

April 6, 2021

HPE today launched a new family of storage solutions bundled with IBM’s Spectrum Scale Erasure Code Edition parallel file system (description below) and featu Read more…

10nm, 7nm, 5nm…. Should the Chip Nanometer Metric Be Replaced?

June 1, 2020

The biggest cool factor in server chips is the nanometer. AMD beating Intel to a CPU built on a 7nm process node* – with 5nm and 3nm on the way – has been i Read more…

Saudi Aramco Unveils Dammam 7, Its New Top Ten Supercomputer

January 21, 2021

By revenue, oil and gas giant Saudi Aramco is one of the largest companies in the world, and it has historically employed commensurate amounts of supercomputing Read more…

Quantum Computer Start-up IonQ Plans IPO via SPAC

March 8, 2021

IonQ, a Maryland-based quantum computing start-up working with ion trap technology, plans to go public via a Special Purpose Acquisition Company (SPAC) merger a Read more…

Leading Solution Providers

Contributors

Can Deep Learning Replace Numerical Weather Prediction?

March 3, 2021

Numerical weather prediction (NWP) is a mainstay of supercomputing. Some of the first applications of the first supercomputers dealt with climate modeling, and Read more…

Livermore’s El Capitan Supercomputer to Debut HPE ‘Rabbit’ Near Node Local Storage

February 18, 2021

A near node local storage innovation called Rabbit factored heavily into Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory’s decision to select Cray’s proposal for its CORAL-2 machine, the lab’s first exascale-class supercomputer, El Capitan. Details of this new storage technology were revealed... Read more…

New Deep Learning Algorithm Solves Rubik’s Cube

July 25, 2018

Solving (and attempting to solve) Rubik’s Cube has delighted millions of puzzle lovers since 1974 when the cube was invented by Hungarian sculptor and archite Read more…

African Supercomputing Center Inaugurates ‘Toubkal,’ Most Powerful Supercomputer on the Continent

February 25, 2021

Historically, Africa hasn’t exactly been synonymous with supercomputing. There are only a handful of supercomputers on the continent, with few ranking on the Read more…

The History of Supercomputing vs. COVID-19

March 9, 2021

The COVID-19 pandemic poses a greater challenge to the high-performance computing community than any before. HPCwire's coverage of the supercomputing response t Read more…

HPE Names Justin Hotard New HPC Chief as Pete Ungaro Departs

March 2, 2021

HPE CEO Antonio Neri announced today (March 2, 2021) the appointment of Justin Hotard as general manager of HPC, mission critical solutions and labs, effective Read more…

AMD Launches Epyc ‘Milan’ with 19 SKUs for HPC, Enterprise and Hyperscale

March 15, 2021

At a virtual launch event held today (Monday), AMD revealed its third-generation Epyc “Milan” CPU lineup: a set of 19 SKUs -- including the flagship 64-core, 280-watt 7763 part --  aimed at HPC, enterprise and cloud workloads. Notably, the third-gen Epyc Milan chips achieve 19 percent... Read more…

Microsoft, HPE Bringing AI, Edge, Cloud to Earth Orbit in Preparation for Mars Missions

February 12, 2021

The International Space Station will soon get a delivery of powerful AI, edge and cloud computing tools from HPE and Microsoft Azure to expand technology experi Read more…

  • arrow
  • Click Here for More Headlines
  • arrow
HPCwire