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Scalable massively parallel computing using continuous-time data representation in nanoscale crossbar array


The growth of connected intelligent devices in the Internet of Things has created a pressing need for real-time processing and understanding of large volumes of analogue data. The difficulty in boosting the computing speed renders digital computing unable to meet the demand for processing analogue information that is intrinsically continuous in magnitude and time. By utilizing a continuous data representation in a nanoscale crossbar array, parallel computing can be implemented for the direct processing of analogue information in real time. Here, we propose a scalable massively parallel computing scheme by exploiting a continuous-time data representation and frequency multiplexing in a nanoscale crossbar array. This computing scheme enables the parallel reading of stored data and the one-shot operation of matrix–matrix multiplications in the crossbar array. Furthermore, we achieve the one-shot recognition of 16 letter images based on two physically interconnected crossbar arrays and demonstrate that the processing and modulation of analogue information can be simultaneously performed in a memristive crossbar array.

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Fig. 1: Continuous-time data representation for FMC in a memristive crossbar array.
Fig. 2: Experimental implementations of FMC-based massively parallel computing.
Fig. 3: FMC-based one-shot recognition of numerous images and wireless communication of the recognition results.
Fig. 4: Performance of FMC-based massively parallel computing.

Data availability

The data supporting the findings of this study are available within the article and its Supplementary Information, and from the corresponding author upon reasonable request.


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This work was supported in part by the National Natural Science Foundation of China (62034004, 61625402, 61974176 and 61921005), the Strategic Priority Research Program of the Chinese Academy of Sciences (XDB44000000), the National Key R&D Program of China (2019YFB2205400 and 2019YFB2205402) and Fundamental Research Funds for the Central Universities (020414380179 and 020414380171). F.M. acknowledges the support from the AIQ foundation and experimental assistance from Q. Liu, X. Tan and Z. Wu.

Author information




F.M., S.-J.L. and C.W. conceived the idea and designed the experiments. F.M. and S.-J.L. supervised the whole project. C.W. performed all experiments. C.W. and S.-J.L. analysed the experimental data. C.-Y.W. and C.P. provided assistance during the experiment design. Z.-Z.Y. assisted in the device fabrication and circuit assembly. X.S. and W.W. contributed to circuit measurement. Y.G., Z.Z. and C.Z. contributed to the MIMO model. C.W. and Y.Z. carried out the simulation of the circuit models. C.W., S.-J.L. and F.M. co-wrote the manuscript.

Corresponding author

Correspondence to Feng Miao.

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The authors declare no competing interests.

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Peer review information Nature Nanotechnology thanks Yang Chai, Suhas Kumar and Abu Sebastian for their contribution to the peer review of this work.

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Supplementary information

Supplementary Information

Supplementary Figs. 1–18 and Tables 1–3.

Supplementary Video 1

The 16 letter images can be recognized in parallel by physically interconnecting two nanoscale crossbar arrays, in which one crossbar is used for data storage while the other serves as an artificial neural network for the inference task. The recognized results are transmitted to a wireless terminal (for example, cell phone) since the signal modulation is simultaneously accomplished with analogue computing.

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Wang, C., Liang, SJ., Wang, CY. et al. Scalable massively parallel computing using continuous-time data representation in nanoscale crossbar array. Nat. Nanotechnol. (2021).

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