Toward energy-neutral computational sensing - challenges and opportunities

Toward energy-neutral computational sensing - challenges and opportunities
Tuesday, January 27, 2015 - 11:00am to 12:00pm
Gates 415
Professor Luca Benini (University of Bologna)
Abstract / Description: 

The "internet of everything" envisions trillions of connected objects loaded with high-bandwidth sensors requiring massive amounts of local signal processing, fusion, pattern extraction and classification, coupled with advanced multi-standard/multi-mode communication capabilities. Higher level intelligence, requiring local storage and complex search and matching algorithms, will come next, ultimately leading to situational awareness and truly "intelligent things" harvesting energy from their environment.

From the computational viewpoint, the challenge is formidable and can be addressed only by pushing computing fabrics toward massive parallelism and brain-like energy efficiency levels. We believe that CMOS technology can still take us a long way toward this vision. Our recent results with the PULP (parallel ultra-low power) open computing platform demonstrate that pj/OP (GOPS/mW) computational efficiency is within reach in today's 28nm CMOS FDSOI technology. In the longer term, looking toward the next 1000x of energy efficiency improvement, we will need to fully exploit the flexibility of heterogeneous 3D integration, stop being religious about analog vs. digital, Von Neumann vs. "new" computing paradigms, and seriously look into relaxing traditional "hardware-software contracts" such as numerical precision and error-free permanent storage.

Bio: Luca Benini is the chair of digital Circuits and systems at ETHZ and a Full Professor at the University of Bologna. He has served as Chief Architect for the Platform2012/STHORM project in STmicroelectronics, Grenoble. He has held visiting and consulting researcher positions at EPFL, IMEC, Hewlett-Packard Laboratories, Stanford University.

Dr. Benini's research interests are in energy-efficient system design and Multi-Core SoC design. He is also active in the area of energy-efficient smart sensors and sensor networks for biomedical and ambient intelligence applications. He has published more than 700 papers in peer-reviewed international journals and conferences, four books and several book chapters. He is a Fellow of the IEEE and a member of the Academia Europaea.