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New DFG project for the production of computer chips

Press release of the University of Bremen / 18.02.2019 Sarah Batelka

Adapted from Press Release: Nr.: 51

The Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (DFG, German Research Foundation) is funding a project at the University of Bremen with around 300,000 euros over the next three years that will enable the production of computer chips that can store and process data simultaneously. Head of the project entitled "HDL-based Synthesis and Verification for Programmable Logic-In Memory Architecture" is Professor Rolf Drechsler from the Computer Architecture Research Group (AGRA).

Alexandre Debiève/Unsplash

Processors are being installed in more and more devices: from notebooks to cell phones and dictaphones to satellites. There's a lot of electronics in cars today in particular, Drechsler said. "There are over 250 microprocessors with millions of lines of programming code in a high-end car." The problem, he said, is that the manufacture of computer processors is now reaching its physical limit. "Processors were first developed in the 1970s. Back then, Intel co-founder Gordon Moore predicted that twice as much would fit on a chip every 18 months. In the meantime, we are at ten nanometers and cannot build smaller at a reasonable cost. We are at a turning point here," explains Professor Drechsler. Computer architecture has to move in a new direction. 

Store and process simultaneously

Logic-in memory computing could provide a solution, says Drechsler. "What's new about it is that computers can store and process data in their memory at the same time. This process normally runs separately." In other words, the boundary between memory and computation unit is removed. "This should be seen as a revolution in the field of architecture, as it removes the separation that has been in place for decades."

Specifically, the DFG project is looking at how such circuits can be rebuilt. "We are not building the chip, but the production line'". To do this, Professor Drechsler and his team are running simulations on the computer: "In the 1970s, the blueprint for chips was still drawn on a board." Today's processors, on the other hand, consist of more than 10 billion components as the computer scientist describes, which is 10 million 1000-piece puzzles. To construct the new kinds of chips, scientists must extend existing programming languages with new commands.

Powerful and energy-saving devices

In addition, the researchers aim to perform verification at the same time as fabrication. "We don't just want to believe that the chip works, we want to prove it with formal methods. This way, we can ensure the correct and safe functioning of the overall system." The goal of the new computer architecture is to create powerful devices that consume little energy. Their more compact design would also allow them to be used in a wide variety of places in the Internet of Things and to be constructed more securely. This is very important today, especially in view of hacker attacks.


More information:


Prof. Dr. Rolf Drechsler
Arbeitsgruppe Rechnerarchitektur
Fachbereich 3
Tel.: +49 421 218 - 63932
E-Mail: drechslerprotect me ?!uni-bremenprotect me ?!.de


Press Release from the University of Bremen

Univerity of Bremen
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