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NTU and German Scientists Turn Memory Chips Into Processors to Speed Up Computing Tasks

Nanyang Technological University (Singapore) (01/03/17) Lester Kok

Researchers from Nanyang Technological University (NTU) in Singapore and RWTH Aachen University and Forschungszentrum Juelich in Germany have developed a new computing circuit that enables data to be processed in the same place where it is stored. The technology relies on Redox-based resistive switching random-access memory (ReRAM) chips. The researchers demonstrated how ReRAM can be used to process data, instead of just storing it. The researchers say conventional devices and computers have to transfer data from memory storage to the processor unit for computation, but the new NTU circuit saves time and energy by eliminating these data transfers. In addition, the circuit can double the speed of current processors found in laptops and mobile devices. The prototype ReRAM circuit processes data in four states instead of two. Since ReRAM uses different electrical resistance to store information, it could store the data in an even higher number of states, speeding up computing tasks beyond current limitations. Using this technology “not only for data storage but also for computation could open a completely new route towards an effective use of energy in the information technology,” says RWTH professor Rainer Waser.

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