University of Massachusetts Amherst

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Seminar: R. Stanley Williams

“Memristors, Neuromorphic Computing and Moore”


Friday, June 3, 2016 - 3:30pm to 4:30pm


R. Stanley Williams, Senior Fellow, Hewlett Packard Labs


Marcus Hall, Room 201H


The information technology industry is at a turning point.  The best evidence that the end of Moore’s Law is actually near its end now is that the International Technology Roadmap for Semiconductors (ITRS) has reconstituted itself within the IEEE as the International Roadmap for Devices and Systems (IRDS) – now what?  Can we find a new technology platform that will deliver decades of exponential improvements in performance and efficiency to computing?  My group among others is exploring the intersection of nonlinear circuit theory, Turing’s Oracle and neuroscience in an attempt to answer this question.  I will provide a brief introduction of Leon Chua’s nonlinear reformulation of circuit theory to show why it is different from what is taught in EE textbooks today, examine some of the significant developments that are happening in the industry and the world, and conclude with a specific example of how computation can be dramatically speeded up and made more efficient by utilizing hyper-optimized accelerators as part of the computing hardware.

R. Stanley Williams is a Senior Fellow of Hewlett- Packard Enterprise and director of the Foundational Technologies group at Hewlett- Packard Enterprise Labs. For the past 40 years, Williams’ primary scientific research has been in the areas of solid-state chemistry and physics and their applications to technology. This has taken him on a journey that began with surface science; expanded to electronic, photonic and ionic nanotechnologies; and now encompasses computation, chaos, complexity and neuroarchitectonics. Williams joined HP Labs in 1995 to found the Quantum Science Research group, which originally focused on fundamental scientific research at the nanometer scale. In 2008, a team of researchers he led announced that they had built and demonstrated the first intentional memristor, the fourth fundamental electronic circuit element predicted by Prof. Leon Chua in 1971. Williams has received widespread recognition for business, scientific and academic achievement, including being named one of the top 10 visionaries in the field of electronics by EETimes, the 2014 IEEE Outstanding Engineering Manager Award, the 2009 EETimes Innovator of the Year ACE Award, the 2007 Glenn T. Seaborg Medal for contributions to Chemistry, the 50th Anniversary Laureate Lecturer on Electrical and Optical Materials for the TMS, the 2004 Herman Bloch Medal for Industrial Research, the inaugural Scientific American 50 Top Technology leaders in 2002, and the 2000 Julius Springer Award for Applied Physics. He was a co-organizer and co-editor of the workshop and book “Vision for Nanotechnology in the 21st Century”, respectively, that led to the establishment of the U. S. National Nanotechnology Initiative in 2000.

Prior to HP, Williams was a member of the technical staff at AT&T Bell Labs and a professor in the department of chemistry at UCLA. He holds over 190 US patents with ~80 patent applications pending, more than 200 patents outside the US, over 400 papers published in reviewed scientific journals. Williams received his B.A. in chemical physics from Rice University and his Ph.D. in physical chemistry from the University of California, Berkeley.