Manan Suri: His computer chips mimic the workings of the human brain

Manan Suri has built key elements of computer chips that mimic the learning ability and energy efficiency of the brain. And he did it by harnessing a quirk of next-generation memory technology. That technology is known as emerging non-volatile memory (eNVM). Because of peculiarities in their nanoscale physics, eNVM devices often behave in random ways, which in computers is usually a flaw. But Suri realized that this irregularity could help researchers build so-called neuromorphic chips, which emulate the neurons and synapses in our brains. While transistors store information as 1s and 0s, the biological synapses that store information in the brain can take multiple states. That means building computers that behave like the brain traditionally required complicated artificial synapses that can also take multiple states. Suri recognized that he could harness the inherent variability of eNVMs to build large-scale neuromorphic sys­tems capable of doing supervised and unsupervised learning. He’s exploited that irregular behavior for cybersecurity and advanced sensing applications. Earlier this year he founded a startup, Cyran AI Solutions, to build neuromorphic and cybersecurity hardware based on his eNVM research. —Edd Gent Hear more from this year’s Innovators Under 35 at EmTech MIT. Register now