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SK hynix Develops PIM, Next-Generation AI Accelerator
February 16, 2022 News


SK hynix (or “the Company”) announced on the 16th of February that it has developed PIM, a next-generation memory chip with computing capabilities.

It has been generally accepted that memory chips store data and CPU or GPU, like the human brain, process data. SK hynix, following its challenge to such notion and efforts to pursue innovation in the next-generation smart memory, has found a breakthrough solution with the development of the latest technology.

SK hynix plans to showcase its PIM development at the world’s most prestigious semiconductor conference, the 2022 ISSCC in San Francisco, at the end of this month. The Company expects continued efforts for innovation of this technology to bring the memory-centric computing, in which semiconductor memory plays a central role, a step closer to the reality in devices such as smartphones.

For the first product that adopts the PIM technology, SK hynix has developed a sample of GDDR6-AiM (Accelerator in memory). The GDDR6-AiM adds computational functions to GDDR6 memory chips, which process data at 16Gbps. A combination of GDDR6-AiM with CPU or GPU instead of a typical DRAM makes certain computation speed 16 times faster. GDDR6-AiM is widely expected to be adopted for Machine Learning, high-performance computing and Big Data computation and storage.

The GDDR6-AiM runs on 1.25V, lower than the existing products’ operating voltage of 1.35V. In addition, the PIM reduces data movement to the CPU and GPU, reducing power consumption by 80%. This helps SK hynix meet its commitment to ESG management by reducing carbon emissions of the devices that adopt this product.

SK hynix also plans to introduce a technology that combines GDDR6-AiM with Artificial Intelligence (AI) chips in collaboration with SAPEON Inc., an AI chip company that recently spun off from SK Telecom.

“The use of artificial neural network data has increased rapidly recently, requiring computing technology optimised for computational characteristics,” said Ryu Soo-jung, CEO at SAPEON Inc. “We aim to maximise efficiency in data calculation, costs and energy use by combining technologies from the two companies.”

Ahn Hyun, Head of Solution Development at SK hynix, who spearheaded the development of the latest technology and product, said that “SK hynix will build a new memory solution ecosystem using GDDR6-AiM, which has its own computing function.” He added that “the company will continue to evolve its business model and the direction for technology development.”