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Monday, November 18, 2013
Micron Develops Automata Processor For High-performance Computing

Micron Technology has developed a new computing architecture capable of performing high-speed, comprehensive search and analysis of complex, unstructured data streams.

Micron's Automata Processor (AP) is an accelerator that leverages the parallelism of memory and aims to advance computing capabilities in areas such as bioinformatics, video/image analytics, and network security which pose challenges for conventional processor architectures because of the amount of complex, unstructured data.

The AP uses a DDR3-like memory interface chosen to simplify the physical design-in process for system integrators. It will be made available as single components or as DIMM modules, enhancing the integration process. A PCIe board populated with AP DIMMs will be available to early access application developers to jump-start plug-in development of AP applications.

The AP is not a memory device, but it is memory based. Unlike a conventional CPU, the AP is a scalable two-dimensional fabric comprised of thousands of processing elements each programmed to perform a targeted task or operation, delivering high performance. Additionally, the AP is massively parallel. Whereas conventional CPU architectures can have anywhere from 2 to 64 processors, an AP can encompass hundreds of thousands or even millions of tiny processors.

Micron claims that the sequential instruction processing nature of conventional CPU/GPU architectures is not well aligned to the class of problems addressed by the AP.

"This announcement is a huge step forward for Micron and has the potential to unleash unprecedented levels of computing power," said Brian Shirley, vice president of Micron's DRAM Solutions Group.

Micron is working closely with research institutions to grow awareness and engagement for this new technology.

The AP can be used in applications with large, unstructured sets of data, or applications that require real time-results, such as cyber security, bioinformatics, big data analytics, and video/image analysis.

Micron has taped out the first silicon and has prototypes in-house at the Boise facility; samples will be available in 2014.

Graphic design and simulation tools, along with a software development kit (SDK), to enable developers to design, compile, test, and deploy their own applications using the AP will be available in 2014.

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