Devices and Algorithms for Analog Deep Learning

MTL Seminar Series
Murat Onen, MIT


Analog deep-learning processors can provide orders of magnitude higher processing speed and energy efficiency compared to traditional digital counterparts. This is imperative for the promise of artificial intelligence to be realized. However, the implementation of analog processors faces a significant barrier comprising two coupled components: 1) the absence of devices that satisfy stringent algorithm-imposed demands and 2) algorithms that can tolerate inevitable device nonidealities. This talk will present major advancements along both directions: a novel near-ideal device technology and a superior neural network training algorithm. The devices first realized here are CMOS-compatible nanoscale protonic programmable resistors that incorporate the benefits of nanoionics with extreme acceleration of ion transport under strong electric fields. Enabled by a material-level breakthrough of utilizing phosphosilicate glass (PSG) as a proton electrolyte, these devices achieve controlled proton intercalation in nanoseconds with high energy-efficiency. Separately, a theoretical analysis explains the infamous incompatibility between asymmetric device modulation and conventional neural network training algorithms. By establishing a powerful analogy with classical mechanics, a novel method, Stochastic Hamiltonian Descent, has been developed to exploit device asymmetry as a useful feature instead. In combination, the two developments presented in this thesis can be effective in ultimately realizing the potential of analog deep learning.