Samsung Electronics and SK Hynix has refused to take part in a preliminary review for a South Korean government project to develop next-generation processing-in-memory (PIM).
The Ministry of Science and ICT and the Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy has chosen PIM AI semiconductor as a national project.
The Institute of Information & Communications Technology Planning & Evaluation (IITP) is planning a preliminary review for the project from June to July.
If the project passes the review, it will start before the end of the year and get 992.4 billion won in funding from 2022 to 2028. The budget is preliminary is like to be cut by up to half.
An IITP official close to the project said they expected it to be difficult for the project to proceed as major memory companies Samsung Electronics and SK Hynix won’t be part of it.
Another person familiar with the matter said there is little incentive for the pair to take part in the project as they have their own capacity to development such memory semiconductors.
They will also not want government interference in the development of such chips, they added.
The budget for the project is also small compared to the billions of dollars Samsung and SK Hynix each spend on their own research and development, they added.
However, the pair had agreed to take part as member of a steering committee for the project, though they won’t be involved directly to the project.
PIM combines a AI processor to a memory. This is different from the traditional Von Neumann structure where the CPU and memory exchange data between each other. As the memory will process data on its own, this will save power consumption tremendously and shorten the time it takes to process.
In February, Samsung unveiled its own high bandwidth memory (HBM)-PIM at ISSCC 2021 in February. The company is planning to wrap up customer verification of the chip in AI accelerators within the year.
SK Hynix is also developing a similar technology called AI-in-memory (AIM).