05.02.17 - 10.02.17, Seminar 17061

Wildly Heterogeneous Post-CMOS Technologies Meet Software

Diese Seminarbeschreibung wurde vor dem Seminar auf unseren Webseiten veröffentlicht und bei der Einladung zum Seminar verwendet.


The end of exponential scaling in conventional CMOS technologies has been forecasted for many years by now. While advances in fabrication made it possible to reach limits beyond those predicted, the so anticipated end seems to be imminent today. An indication of this is the research boom, both in academia and industry, in emerging technologies that could complement or even replace CMOS devices. This seminar seeks to discuss bridges between material research, hardware components and, ultimately, software for information processing systems. Given a new class of wildly heterogeneous systems that integrate different technologies, we want to reason about enabling hardware and software abstractions, from languages and system-software down to hardware mechanisms. A prominent example of abstractions that made new technologies viable is the flash translation layer for flash storage. The challenge of realizing an efficient wildly heterogeneous system can only be tackled by employing holistic and synergistic approaches in an interdisciplinary environment. This requires building the bridges from materials to software via suitable abstractions and interfaces for interactions between different layers.

There is a broad range of emerging technologies, each bearing deep technical and economic complexities. Thus, it is difficult for isolated initiatives to build bridges from materials to software. We therefore want to bring together computer scientists with experts in emerging technologies. In particular, the seminar is structured around four partially overlapping areas, namely: (i) far-fetched materials and physics such as spin, nanomagnets, phase transition, and correlated phenomena, (ii) near future materials (and software) such as phase-change memory, nanowires, nanotubes, and neuromorphic devices, (iii) low-level software layers for new technologies such as runtime support, middleware, and HW/SW-co-designed firmware, and (iv) upper software layers such as new programming/specification languages, models, and software synthesis.

Important questions addressed by the seminar include the following:

  • Materials/Devices: What are the current status and the roadmap of post-CMOS materials and technologies? What will be the expected characteristics of the new devices? Will new technologies enable a fundamentally different computing paradigm, e.g., beyond von-Neumann? What are the challenges for proper benchmarking of different technologies?
  • Hardware/Software Stack: How much of the hardware's heterogeneity and its characteristics should be exposed to programmers? How general may be a programming model/language for future (yet unknown) hardware? How to make software adapt itself to hardware with fluctuating resources? Which new applications can be enabled by emerging materials and technologies and what needs to be done at the software layers to make them viable?
  • Analysis: How can we model the interactions across the layers of the hardware/software stack? What kind of formal operational models and analysis methods are needed for evaluating heterogeneous systems? Can system- level analysis of new technologies give insights to material scientists, disrupting the otherwise incremental innovation paradigm?

The main goal of the seminar is to close the gap between basic research on computing technologies and software. By bringing together experts from the individual fields and also researchers working interdisciplinarily across the fields, the seminar aims to foster a mutual understanding about the challenges of advancing computing beyond current CMOS technology: Researchers from the software domain will get insights into upcoming technologies and how state-of-the- art techniques can be leveraged for future systems, while electrical engineers will get a better understanding about the software requirements and the potential novel hardware may have for new software applications. In interdisciplinary discussions we also wish to create long-term visions about a future hardware/software stack to prepare the path for big leaps in adoption of novel materials for computing. We expect the seminar to be a seed for international collaborations among the attendees.

Creative Commons BY 3.0 Unported license
Jerónimo Castrillón-Mazo, Tei-Wei Kuo, Heike E. Riel, and Sayeef Salahuddin