Next-Generation Computing: Transitioning Beyond-Silicon Technologies from Idea to Reality

Lecture / Panel
For NYU Community



Max Shulaker
Professor, Electrical Engineering & Computer Science, MIT


"Next-Generation Computing: Transitioning Beyond-Silicon Technologies from Idea to Reality"


At this exact moment when future applications are demanding massive improvements in computing performance, conventional approaches to improving computing are becoming increasingly challenging. For instance, silicon CMOS scaling (Dennard scaling and equivalent scaling) has already slowed due to the power wall. Moreover, abundant-data applications are increasingly dominated by the time and energy required to transfer data between computing engines (e.g., domain-specific accelerators, general-purpose processors) and off-chip memory (the memory wall). It is clear that business as usual is inadequate. To overcome these multiple walls (power wall, memory wall) and enable the next leaps in computing system capabilities, isolated improvements in logic or memory technologies alone are insufficient. Rather, improved technologies such as beyond-silicon nanotechnologies, in conjunction with new computing architectures that finely integrate logic and memory, will enable the next leap demanded by the coming generations of transformative abundant-data applications. For instance, carbon nanotube (CNT)-based transistors promise an order of magnitude benefit in energy efficiency versus silicon CMOS, while resistive RAM (RRAM) promises massive on-chip non-volatile memory. Moreover, due to the unique low temperature fabrication of transistors built using CNTs and memories from RRAM, these two emerging technologies together enable monolithic 3D integrated circuits - whereby layers of logic and memory are fabricated directly vertically over one-another, interleaving logic and memory within a three- dimensional stack. In this talk, I will describe major advancements towards realizing such future systems, and describe how significant efforts underway could shape the next-generation of computing systems.

About Speaker

Max Shulaker is currently a medical student at the NYU Grossman School of Medicine. Previously, he was an Associate Professor in the Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science at MIT since 2016, where he led NOVELS (Novel Electronic Systems Group). Prior to joining MIT, he was at Stanford University where he received his BS, Masters, and PhD in Electrical Engineering. Shulaker’s research interests include the broad area of nanosystems. His research focuses on understanding and optimizing multidisciplinary interactions across the entire computing stack – from low-level synthesis of nanomaterials, to fabrication processes and circuit design for emerging nanotechnologies, up to new architectures – to enable the next generation of high performance and energy-efficient computing systems. Research results from him and his students include the demonstration of the first carbon nanotube computer (highlighted on the cover of Nature and presented as a Research Highlight to the US Congress by the US NSF), the first digital sub-systems built entirely using carbon nanotube transistors (awarded the ISSCC Jack Raper Award for Outstanding Technology Directions Paper), the first monolithically-integrated 3D integrated circuits combining arbitrary vertical stacking of logic and memory, the highest performance carbon nanotube transistors to-date (award VLSI best student paper award), the first highly-scaled carbon nanotube transistors fabricated in a VLSI-compatible manner, and the largest and most complex nanoelectronic system ever fabricated: a RISC-V microprocessor fabricated entirely with carbon nanotube transistors. Prof. Shulaker led the Three Dimensional Monolithic System-on-a-Chip (3DSoC) program, part of DARPA’s Electronics Resurgence Initiative.