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ECE Seminar & ATHENA DISTINGUISHED SPEAKER – Memory-Centric Computing

Computing is bottlenecked by data. Large amounts of application data overwhelm storage capability, communication capability, and computation capability of the modern machines we design today. As a result, many key […]

Feb 15

February 15, 2024

12:00 pm - 12:00 pm

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  • Teer 203

Computing is bottlenecked by data. Large amounts of application data overwhelm storage capability, communication capability, and computation capability of the modern machines we design today. As a result, many key applications’ performance, efficiency, and scalability are bottlenecked by data movement. In this talk, we describe three major shortcomings of modern architectures in terms of 1) dealing with data, 2) taking advantage of the vast amounts of data, and 3) exploiting different semantic properties of application data. We argue that an intelligent architecture should be designed to handle data well. We posit that handling data well requires designing architectures based on three key principles: 1) data-centric, 2) data-driven, 3) data-aware. We give several examples for how to exploit each of these principles to design a much more efficient and high performance computing system. We especially discuss recent research that aims to fundamentally reduce memory latency and energy, and practically enable computation close to data, with at least two promising directions: 1) processing using memory, which exploits analog operational properties of memory chips to perform massively-parallel operations in memory, with low-cost changes, 2) processing near memory, which integrates sophisticated additional processing capability in memory controllers, the logic layer of 3D-stacked memory technologies, or memory chips to enable high memory bandwidth and low memory latency to near-memory logic. We show both types of architectures can enable orders of magnitude improvements in performance and energy consumption of many important workloads, such as graph analytics, database systems, machine learning, video processing, climate modeling, genome analysis. We discuss how to enable adoption of such fundamentally more intelligent architectures, which we believe are key to efficiency, performance, and sustainability. We conclude with some research opportunities in and guiding principles for future computing architecture and system designs.
Bio: Onur Mutlu is a Professor of Computer Science at ETH Zurich. He is also a Visiting Professor at Stanford University and a faculty member at Carnegie Mellon University, where he previously held the Strecker Early Career Professorship. His current broader research interests are in computer architecture, systems, hardware security, and bioinformatics. A variety of techniques he, along with his group and collaborators, has invented over t