An EU Horizon 2020 Project

Architecting More Than Moore

Wireless Plasticity for Massive Heterogeneous Computer Architectures

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The Project

The main design principles in computer architecture have shifted from a monolithic scaling-driven approach towards an emergence of heterogeneous architectures that tightly co-integrate multiple specialized computing and memory units. This is motivated by the urgent need of very high parallelism and by energy constraints. Heterogeneous hardware specialization requires interconnection mechanisms that integrate the architecture. State-of-the-art approaches are 3D stacking and 2D architectures complemented with a Network-on-Chip (NoC) to interconnect the components. However, such interconnects are fundamentally monolithic and rigid, and are unable to provide the efficiency and architectural flexibility required by current and future key ICT applications. The main challenge is to introduce diversification and specialization in heterogeneous processor architectures while ensuring their generality and scalability.

In order to achieve this, the WiPLASH project aims to pioneer an on-chip wireless communication plane able to provide architectural plasticity, reconfigurability and adaptation to the application requirements with near-ASIC efficiency but without loss of generality. For this, the WiPLASH consortium will provide solid experimental foundations of the key enablers of on-chip wireless communication at the functional unit level as well as their technological and architectural integration.

Main Goals

  • Prototype a miniaturized and tunable graphene antenna in the terahertz band
  • Co-integrate graphene RF components with submillimeter-wave transceivers
  • Demonstrate low-power reconfigurable wireless chip-scale networks

The culminating goal is to demonstrate that the wireless plane offers the plasticity required by future computing platforms by improving at least one key application (mainly biologically-plausible deep learning architectures) by 10× in terms of execution speed and energy-delay product over a state-of-the-art baseline.


The WiPLASH research project takes a vertical approach and touches upon different aspects of design from the implementation and integration of graphene antennas to the development of heterogeneous architectures based on wireless in-package communications. Research is divided into seven work packages:

  • WP1: RF Devices Design and Implementation
  • WP2: Technological Integration
  • WP3: Wireless Communications within a Computing Package
  • WP4: Massively Parallel Heterogeneous Architectures
  • WP5: Heterogeneous Simulation and Optimization Frameworks
  • WP6: Dissemination and Exploitation
  • WP7: Management

work packages


S. Abadal et al.,
Graphene-based Wireless Agile Interconnects for Massive Heterogeneous Multi-chip Processors,”
arXiv preprint, arXiv:2011.04107, 2020

L. Duch et al.,
Analysis of Functional Errors Produced by Long-Term Workload-Dependent BTI Degradation in Ultralow Power Processors,”
IEEE Transactions on Very Large Scale Integration (VLSI) Systems 28, 2122 - 2133, 2020.

A. Elnaqib et al.,
A 0.5GHz 0.35mW LDO-Powered Constant-Slope Phase Interpolator with 0.22% INL,”
IEEE Transactions on Circuits and Systems II: Express Briefs, 2020.

W.A. Simon et al.,
An in-Cache Computing Architecture for Edge Devices,”
IEEE Transactions on Computers, 2020.

A. Levisse et al.,
Write Termination circuits for RRAM: An Holistic Approach From Technology to Application Considerations,”
IEEE Access 8, 109297–109308, 2020.

X. Timoneda et al.,
Engineer the Channel and Adapt to it: Enabling Wireless Intra-Chip Communication,”
IEEE Transactions on Communications 68(5), 3247–3258, 2020.

S. Abadal et al.,
Wave Propagation and Channel Modeling in Chip-Scale Wireless Communications: A Survey from Millimeter-Wave to Terahertz and Optics,”
IEEE Access 8, 278–293, 2019.

Conference publications

H. Okuhara et al.,
An Energy-Efficient Low-Voltage Swing Transceiver for mW-Range IoT End-Nodes,”
in Proc. IEEE International Symposium on Circuits and Systems (ISCAS), Sevilla, Spain, pp. 1-5, 2020.

G. Ottavi et al.,
Mixed-Precision RISC-V Processor for Extreme-Edge DNN Inference,”
in Proc. IEEE Computer Society Annual Symposium on VLSI (ISVLSI), Limassol, Cyprus, pp. 512-517, 2020.

W. A. Simon et al.,
A Hybrid Cache HW/SW Stack for Optimizing Neural Network Runtime, Power and Endurance,”
in Proc. IFIP/IEEE International Conference on Very Large Scale Integration (VLSI-SoC), Salt Lake City, Utah, USA, 2020.

N. Bruschi et al.,
Enabling mixed-precision quantized neural networks in extreme-edge devices,”
in Proc. 17th ACM International Conference on Computing Frontiers (CF ’20). Association for Computing Machinery, New York, NY, USA, pp. 217–220, 2020.

A. Levisse et al.,
Exploration Methodology for BTI-Induced Failures on RRAM-Based Edge AI Systems,”
in Proc. IEEE International Conference on Acoustics, Speech and Signal Processing (ICASSP), Barcelona, Spain, 2020, pp. 1549–1552.

H. Najibi et al.,
Towards Deeply Scaled 3D MPSoCs with Integrated Flow Cell Array Technology,”
in Proc. ACM Great Lakes Symposium on VLSI (GLSVLSI), Beijing, China, 2020.

H. Najibi et al.,
Enabling Optimal Power Generation of Flow Cell Arrays in 3D MPSoC with On-Chip Switched Capacitor Converters,”
in Proc. IEEE Computer Society Annual Symposium on VLSI (ISVLSI), Limassol, Cyprus, 2020. (Best Paper Award)

R. Guirado et al.,
Understanding the Impact of On-Chip Communication on DNN Accelerator Performance,”
in Proc. ICECS ’19, Genova, Italy, November 2019.

Invited talks, lectures & panels

Zhenxing Wang,
“Metal-Insulator-Graphene RF Diodes: From Devices to Integrated Circuits,”
Joint Spring MOS-AK Workshop and Symposium on Schottky Barrier MOS (SB-MOS) devices with IEEE EDS Mini-Colloquium on „Non-conventional Devices and Technologies“, October 2020.

Sergi Abadal and Filip Lemic,
Terahertz Nanocommunication and Networking: Emerging Applications, Approaches, and Open Challenges,”
ACM International Conference on Nanoscale Computing and Communication (NANOCOM), September 2020.

A. Sebastian et al.,
Unconventional computing and what it means for the future of interconnects,”
International Workshop on Network on Chip Architectures (NoCArc), held within the IEEE/ACM International Symposium on Microarchitecture, October 2020.

A. Levisse et al.,
Demonstrating In-Cache Computing Thanks to Cross-Layer Design Methodologies,”
Design Automation and Test in Europe (DATE), Special Session on In-Memory Computing for Edge AI, Grenoble (FR), Virtual Event April 2020.

A. Levisse et al.,
Rendre efficace l’intelligence artificielle dans l’Edge grâce aux technologies et architectures mémoires émergentes,”
Francophone winter school on design techniques for embedded systems design (Ecole d’Hiver francophone sur la technologie de conception des systèmes embarqués hétérogènes – FETCH), Montréal, Canada, Feb. 2020.

Workshops & tutorials

M. Zapater et al.,
Tutorial: “Using gem5 and full- system RISC-V simulation to enable the optimization of heterogeneous architectures,”
High Performance and Embedded Architecture and Compilation (HiPEAC), January 2021.

In the News

The UPC leads a project to develop faster, lower-power processors for artificial intelligence,” Press release UPC, 27 Oct 2020.

EU to Fund Three Groundbreaking Research Ideas,” Press release RWTH Aachen, 1 Oct 2019.

AMO Launches Three New FET Open Projects,” AMO blog, 1 Oct 2019.

EU logo This project has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under grant agreement No 863337.

Project Coordination: Sergi Abadal (UPC)