Bits + chips
Samsung develops high bandwidth memory with built-in AI processing
Jessie Shen, DIGITIMES, Taipei

Samsung Electronics has developed high bandwidth memory (HBM) integrated with artificial intelligence (AI) processing power, dubbed HBM-PIM, according to the company. The new processing-in-memory (PIM) architecture brings AI computing capabilities inside high-performance memory to accelerate large-scale processing in data centers, high performance computing (HPC) systems and AI-enabled mobile applications.

Most of today's computing systems are based on the von Neumann architecture, which uses separate processor and memory units to carry out millions of intricate data processing tasks. This sequential processing approach requires data to constantly move back and forth, resulting in a system-slowing bottleneck especially when handling ever-increasing volumes of data.

Instead, the HBM-PIM brings processing power directly to where the data is stored by placing a DRAM-optimized AI engine inside each memory bank - a storage sub-unit - enabling parallel processing and minimizing data movement. When applied to Samsung's existing HBM2 Aquabolt solution, the new architecture is able to deliver over twice the system performance while reducing energy consumption by more than 70%. The HBM-PIM also does not require any hardware or software changes, allowing faster integration into existing systems.

Samsung's paper on the HBM-PIM was selected for presentation at the International Solid-State Circuits Virtual Conference (ISSCC) held recently. Samsung indicated its HBM-PIM is now being tested inside AI accelerators by leading AI solution partners, with all validations expected to be completed within the first half of 2021.

"Our groundbreaking HBM-PIM is the industry's first programmable PIM solution tailored for diverse AI-driven workloads such as HPC, training and inference," said Kwangil Park, senior VP of memory product planning at Samsung. "We plan to build upon this breakthrough by further collaborating with AI solution providers for even more advanced PIM-powered applications."

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