New NSF Grant Aims to Make Non-Volatile Memory Technologies More Usable

7/30/2021 8:59:18 AM

Illinois CS professor Josep Torrellas and Illinois ECE professor Jian Huang have received a $1.2 million grant from NSF to advance non-volatile memory technologies (NVM) by addressing programming, performance, and usability challenges.

Josep Torrellas, Saburo Muroga Professor of Computer Science.
Josep Torrellas, Saburo Muroga Professor of Computer Science.

Their team will work closely with researchers at Intel and Microsoft.

NVM devices retain stored information even after the power supply is turned off. Emerging NVM technologies include magnetic random-access memory (MRAM), spin-transfer torque random-access memory (STT-RAM), ferroelectric RAM, phase-change memory (PCM), and resistive RAM.

Torrellas, the Saburo Muroga Professor in Computer Science, and Huang, his co-PI, will build an easy-to-use and generic programming framework for NVMs that requires minimal programmer involvement.

The team will redesign hardware primitives in the processor and memory hierarchy to minimize the overhead of both memory persistency operations and other operations to enhance system usability. They will also develop distributed data persistency models and apply them to a distributed computing environment with NVM.

The four-year research project, “Cross-Cutting Effort to Make Non-Volatile Memories Truly Usable,” will begin on October 1.