SK hynix unveils new tech for 'dream memory chip' to store data, perform calculations for AI

SK hynix unveils a new technology to help it create a 'dream memory chip' capable of storing data, performing calculations for AI.

1 minute & 49 seconds read time

SK hynix unveiled a new technology that will be used to create a "dream memory chip" that is capable of storing data and performing calculations for AI.

SK hynix unveils new tech for 'dream memory chip' to store data, perform calculations for AI 1009

The South Korean memory giant unveiled its new technology during the International Memory Workshop (IMW 2024) held from May 12-15 at the Walkerhill Hotel in the Gwangjin district of Seoul, South Korea. The new technology enhances the accuracy of Multiply Accumulate (MAC) operations in Analog Computing in Memory (A-CIM) semiconductors using oxygen diffusion barrier technology.

MAC operations are critical for the high-speed multiplication and accumulation processes required in artificial intelligence (AI) inference and learning. SK hynix's recent development is a significant step for the company in the competitive field of creating a "dream memory semiconductor" that can both store information and perform calculations, passing the traditional limitations of memory-only semiconductors.

Business Korea reported the news, adding that the semiconductor manufacturing process involves etching away unwanted materials, depositing necessary substances to build uniform layers, during which performance degradation can occur due to chemical interactions. An oxygen diffusion barrier is required to prevent degradation, stabilizing semiconductor operations.

Kwon Young-jae, a team leader at SK hynix, said at the IWC 2024 event: "By preventing oxygen diffusion, we can increase the accuracy of MAC operations, which is crucial for creating CIM semiconductors. Enhancing MAC operation accuracy with oxygen diffusion barrier technology means taking a step closer to transforming memory semiconductors into devices capable of performing calculations".

Kwon also noted: "They are, but they tend to not announce their developments until their technologies have matured. What SK hynix showcased today is just a part of our overall technology efforts".

Memory semiconductors are perfect for data storage, but they simply can't perform calculations on their own... but by creating a calculating CIM is a "long-standing dream" and aspiration in the memory semiconductor industry. The development of CIM semiconductors would remove the need for data transfer from memory to the CPU for processing, which is a gigantic savings in energy... allowing for higher speeds.

This could be a game-changer for the industry, transforming memory semiconductor companies into foundry operations -- including Samsung and TSMC -- taking orders from companies like Apple, AMD, NVIDIA, Microsoft, Tesla, Qualcomm, and more.

What abhout CIM semiconductors for AI GPUs and AI accelerators? Kwon noted: "It could be possible in the very distant future. Although it's not easy, memory companies are staking their futures on developing CIM semiconductor technology and related advancements".

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Anthony joined the TweakTown team in 2010 and has since reviewed 100s of graphics cards. Anthony is a long time PC enthusiast with a passion of hate for games built around consoles. FPS gaming since the pre-Quake days, where you were insulted if you used a mouse to aim, he has been addicted to gaming and hardware ever since. Working in IT retail for 10 years gave him great experience with custom-built PCs. His addiction to GPU tech is unwavering and has recently taken a keen interest in artificial intelligence (AI) hardware.

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