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IBM Research Ai Hardware Center to Drive Next-Generation AI Chips

An IBM chip comprising several Analog AI devices used for in-memory computing.

Today IBM announced an ambitious plan to create a global research hub to develop next-generation AI hardware and expand their joint research efforts in nanotechnology. As part of a $3 billion commitment, the IBM Research AI Hardware Center will be the nucleus of a new ecosystem of research and commercial partners collaborating with IBM researchers to further accelerate the development of AI-optimized hardware innovations.

IBM headquarters for the AI Hardware Center will be on the SUNY Polytechnic campus in Albany, New York, and the Center will advance a range of technologies from chip-level devices, materials and architecture to the software supporting AI workloads. These efforts will push the limits of chip technology needed to meet the emerging demands of cloud computing, Big Data, and cognitive computing systems.

The groundbreaking work that these engineers will conduct at SUNY Polytechnic Institute reflects IBM’s long-term commitment to inventing the future of microelectronics,” said Dr. John Kelly, Senior Vice President, Solutions Portfolio and Research at IBM. “The IBMers working at SUNY Poly possess unique skills and capabilities, positioning our company to drive development of the next generation of chips and to fuel a new era of computing.”

IBM Research AI Hardware Center is developing a roadmap for 1,000x improvement in AI compute performance efficiency over the next decade, with a pipeline of Digital AI Cores and Analog AI Cores.

The $3 billion investment that IBM announced in July 2014 focuses on the development of basic materials science to make it possible to shrink semiconductors to 7 nanometers and beyond, as well as support research into completely new areas beyond traditional silicon architectures, such as synaptic computing, quantum devices, carbon nanotubes, and photonics, that could transform computing of all kinds.

Partnerships within an open ecosystem are key to advancing hardware and software innovation that are the foundation of AI. New IBM Research AI Hardware Center partnerships announced today will aid in those continuing efforts. Samsung is a strategic IBM partner in both manufacturing and research. Mellanox Technologies is a leading supplier of high-performance, end-to-end smart interconnect solutions that accelerate many of the world’s leading AI and machine learning platforms. Synopsys is the leader in software platforms, emulation and prototyping solutions, and IP for developing the high-performance silicon chips and secure software applications that are driving advancements in AI.

IBM analog AI cores are part of an in-memory computing approach in performance efficiency which improves by suppressing the so-called Von Neuman bottleneck by eliminating data transfer to and from memory. Deep neural networks are mapped to analog cross point arrays and new non-volatile material characteristics are toggled to store network parameters in the cross points. Learn how this technology works in our live interactive demo.

IBM and SUNY Poly have built a highly successful, globally recognized partnership at the multi-billion dollar Albany NanoTech Complex, highlighted by the institution’s Center for Semiconductor Research (CSR), a $500 million program that also includes the world’s leading nanoelectronics companies. The CSR is a long-term, multi-phase, joint R&D cooperative program on future computer chip technology. IBM was a founding member of Governor Andrew M. Cuomo’s Global 450 Consortium. It continues to provide student scholarships and fellowships at the university to help prepare the next generation of nanotechnology scientists, researchers and engineers.

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