These days, interactive voice assistants like Alexa and Siri have made it very easy to obtain a response to a query or get some tasks done online. However, the procedure that occurs in the background is quite intricate. It involves delivering the speech data to the cloud over the internet, processing the data in the cloud, and then providing the response to the device.
But due to slow internet speed, power outages, and other factors, speech data is frequently lost. This may change with the advent of neuromorphic computing, where local hardware with built-in memory executes all operations, hence preventing data loss while simultaneously reducing power consumption.
A research team led by Prof. Pranaba Kishor Muduli at IIT Delhi and Prof. Debanjan Bhowmik at IIT Bombay has built a new neuromorphic hardware using magnetic materials. The device is capable of storing data even when the power is off. It functions similar to a synapse in the neurological system.
What does Neuromorphic Hardware do?
The device consists of an ultrathin layer of cobalt, fabricated using state of art facilities at IIT Delhi. Thickness of the layer used are in nano-meter range, which is 80,000-100,000 times smaller than human hair. The fabrication needs enormous precision; hence it is carried out in an ultra-high vacuum chamber containing nearly no air molecules.
The experimental work has been carried out mainly by Mr. Ram Singh Yadav, a PhD student at the Department of Physics, IIT Delhi, and jointly supervised by Prof Pranaba Kishor Muduli and Prof Debanjan Bhowmik. This is the first experimental demonstration of neuromorphic device using magnetic materials from India.
“We have high hopes that the study contributes significantly to both the India Semiconductor mission as well as Make-in-India mission of the government of India,” Prof. Pranaba Kishor Muduli, Department of Physics, IIT Delhi said.
The work was supported by “Scheme for Transformational and Advanced Research in Sciences (STARS)”, which is funded by the Ministry of Education, Government of India.