How Might New Technologies for Sensing Shape the Future of Computing

Naveen Verma
Princeton University, US


The tremendous value computation has shown across applications is driving its expansion from cyber systems to systems that pervade every aspect of our lives. This is being fueled especially by algorithms from artificial intelligence, leading to systems qualified for such integration in our lives, with cognitive capabilities approaching those of humans. A fascinating consequence for system designers is that a tight coupling now results between the data sensed from the physical world and the computations performed on that data. This enforces a unification of design spaces, where new sensing technologies open up new algorithmic opportunities, which in turn open up new architectural options, bringing the potential to overcome traditional bottlenecks in computing. But, a conceptual unification is not enough, a technological unification is also needed. This talk explores such a unification, via hybrid systems based on Large-Area Electronics (LAE) and silicon-CMOS technologies. LAE enables diverse, expansive, and form-fitting sensors, which can be associated with physical objects. This yields sematic structure in the sensor data, which can be exploited towards simpler machine-learning models that are both more data efficient, in terms of learning, and specifically well suited for energy-aggressive hardware architectures. Illustrations will be presented based on integrated LAE-CMOS sensory-compute system prototypes.