Researchers at Sandia National Laboratories have developed an array of processors coated with titanium oxide that has the potential to revolutionize technologies like voice recognition, image processing and autonomous driving. (Photo courtesy of Sandia National Laboratories)
Sandia developed new device to more efficiently process information
The development of a new method to make non-volatile computer memory may have unlocked a problem that has been holding back machine learning and has the potential to revolutionize technologies like voice recognition, image processing and autonomous driving.
A team from Sandia National Laboratories, working with collaborators from the University of Michigan, published a paper in the peer-reviewed journal Advanced Materials that details a new method that will imbue computer chips that power machine-learning applications with more processing power by using a common material found in house paint in an analog memory device that enables highly energy-efficient machine inference operations.
“Titanium oxide is one of the most commonly made materials. Every paint you buy has titanium oxide in it. It’s cheap and nontoxic,” explains Sandia materials scientist Alec Talin. “It’s an oxide, there’s already oxygen there. But if you take a few out, you create what are called oxygen vacancies. It turns out that when you create oxygen vacancies, you make this material electrically conductive.”
Those oxygen vacancies can now store electrical data, giving almost any device more computing power. Talin and his team create the oxygen vacancies by heating a computer chip with a titanium oxide coating above 302 degrees Fahrenheit (150 degree Celsius), separate some of the oxygen molecules from the material using electrochemistry and create vacancies.
“When it cools off, it stores any information you program it with,” Talin said.
Energy efficiency a boost to machine learning
Right now, computers generally work by storing data in one place and processing that data in another place. That means computers have to constantly transfer data from one place to the next, wasting energy and computing power.
The paper’s lead author, Yiyang Li, is a former Truman Fellow at Sandia and now an assistant professor of materials science at the University of Michigan. He explained how their process has the potential to completely change how computers work.
“What we’ve done is make the processing and the storage at the same place,” Li said. “What’s new is that we’ve been able to do it in a predictable and repeatable manner.”
Both he and Talin see the use of oxygen vacancies as a way to help machine learning overcome a big obstacle holding it back right now — power consumption.
“If we are trying to do machine learning, that takes a lot of energy because you are moving it back and forth and one of the barriers to realizing machine learning is power consumption,” Li said. “If you have autonomous vehicles, making decisions about driving consumes a large amount of energy to process all the inputs. If we can create an alternative material for computer chips, they will be able to process information more efficiently, saving energy and processing a lot more data.”
Research has everyday impact
Talin sees the potential in the performance of everyday devices.
“Think about your cell phone,” he said. “If you want to give it a voice command, you need to be connected to a network that transfers the command to a central hub of computers that listen to your voice and then send a signal back telling your phone what to do. Through this process, voice recognition and other functions happen right in your phone.”
Talin said the team is working on refining several processes and testing the method on a larger scale. The project is funded through Sandia’s Laboratory Directed Research and Development program.
The Latest Updates from Bing News & Google News
Go deeper with Bing News on:
- Geek of the Week: Vulcan’s W. Andre Perkins uses machine learning to help predict climate changeon November 28, 2020 at 8:30 am
Growing up outside a town in Wisconsin, out in the woods with dial-up internet and his parents, sister, cats, horses, and chickens, W.
- Machine learning startup Infinia ML lands big partner for cloud projecton November 28, 2020 at 3:31 am
Durham's Infinity ML, which applies and audits machine learning, has formed a partnership with Virginia's DXC Technology, which helps modernize client IT across private, public and hybrid cl ...
- Restoring Credibility Of Machine Learning Pipeline Output Through Blockchain Dataon November 27, 2020 at 6:34 pm
Challenges to the credibility of Machine Learning pipeline output. How the performance of such ML models are inherently compromised due to current practices. How such problems can be cured by using ...
- AI Weekly: The state of machine learning in 2020on November 27, 2020 at 9:10 am
As we inch toward the end of the year, we can expect more reports on the state of machine learning. The state of AI reports released in the past two months demonstrate a variety of challenges but ...
- Combining cell engineering with machine learning to design living medicines for canceron November 26, 2020 at 3:49 pm
Finding medicines that can kill cancer cells while leaving normal tissue unscathed is a Holy Grail of oncology research.
Go deeper with Google Headlines on:
Go deeper with Bing News on:
- As COVID-19 sweeps through Knox County, one mom shares her quarantine journalon November 28, 2020 at 7:17 pm
Shari Buckingham has been keeping tabs on Knox County's and Tennessee's COVID-19 data since the spring. She checks the numbers almost daily — she's a former statistical analyst — but lately the ...
- The Best Amazon Black Friday and Cyber Monday Deals Available Nowon November 28, 2020 at 3:27 pm
We've found the best Amazon Black Friday deals on Amazon devices like the Amazon Echo Show, Kindle Paperwhite, and Echo Dot. Plus, deals on popular products like the Apple Watch, car seats, Instant ...
- China troops settle in for Himalayan winter with hotpot deliveries and oxygen on tapon November 27, 2020 at 11:35 pm
As the border dispute with India continues, Chinese soldiers are suiting up in the latest technology to survive cold and altitude.
- Chicago Fire Department Reveals Cause Of Fire That Left Two People Dead.on November 27, 2020 at 3:39 pm
Two seniors were found dead Thanksgiving Day night in a fire in the Old Irving Park neighborhood. Officials said the fire was caused by "careless use of smoking materials," and an oxygen tank in the ...
- Israel’s siege means death for Gaza’s COVID-19 patientson November 27, 2020 at 3:36 pm
The Hamas government has said the Gaza Strip “lacks oxygen-generating machines, ventilators, protective gear, and hygiene materials. Thirty-two percent of basic drugs and 62 percent of drugs and ...