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Colloquium: Apr 10, 2019

Abu Sebastian*

*IBM Research – Zurich, Switzerland

Brain-inspired computing at multiple levels of inspiration: A memory device perspective
Day Time Place
Apr 10, 2019 Wednesday 15:40 UNAM/SU 01

ABSTRACT — There is a significant need to build efficient non-von Neumann computing systems for highly data-centric artificial intelligence related applications. Brain-inspired computing is one such approach that shows significant promise. Memory is expected to play a key role in this form of computing and in particular, phase-change memory (PCM), arguably the most advanced emerging non-volatile memory technology. Brain-inspired computing is likely to be realized in multiple levels of inspiration given a lack of comprehensive understanding of the working principles of the brain. In the first level of inspiration, the idea would be to build computing units where memory and processing co-exist in some form. Computational memory is an example where the physical attributes and state dynamics of memory devices are exploited to perform certain computational tasks in place with very high areal and energy efficiency. In a second level of brain-inspired computing using PCM devices, one could design a co-processor comprising multiple cross-bar arrays of PCM devices to accelerate training of deep neural networks. PCM technology could also play a key role in the space of specialized computing substrates for spiking neural networks and this can be viewed as the third level of brain-inspired  omputing using these devices.

BIO — Abu Sebastian is a Principal Research Staff Member and Master Inventor at IBM Research – Zurich. He received a B. E. (Hons.) degree in Electrical and Electronics Engineering from BITS Pilani, India, in 1998 and M.S. and Ph.D. degrees in Electrical Engineering (minor in Mathematics) from Iowa State University in 1999 and 2004, respectively. He was a contributor to several key projects in the space of storage and memory technologies and currently leads the research effort on in-memory computing at IBM Zurich. Dr. Sebastian is a co-recipient of the 2009 IEEE Control Systems Technology Award and the 2009 IEEE Transactions on Control Systems Technology Outstanding Paper Award. In 2013 he received the IFAC Mechatronic Systems Young Researcher Award for his contributions to the field of mico-/nanoscale mechatronic systems. In 2015 he was awarded the European Research Council (ERC) consolidator grant. Dr. Sebastian served on the editorial board of the journal, Mechatronics from 2008 till 2015 and served on the memory technologies committee of the IEDM from 2015-2016.

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