Colloquim Speakers

Day 3: "Which technology can support in-memory computing?"

January 12th, 2021


Dr. Sabina Spiga

National Research Countil, IT

Sabina Spiga is Senior Researcher at CNR (National Research Council) - IMM (Institute for Microelectronic and Microsystems) – Unit of Agrate Brianza, Italy. She received the Degree in Physics from the Università di Bologna in 1995 and the PhD in Material Science in 2002 from Università di Milano. She is currently in charge of developing oxide-based resistive switching non-volatile memories and memristive devices for brain-inspired computation systems. Her research activity has been/is carried out in the framework of European, industrial and Italian R&D projects. She is currently principal investigator for CNR PI of the Horizon-2020 projects NEUROTECH -“Neuromorphic Computing Technologies” and MeM-Scales “Memory technologies with multi-scale time constants for neuromorphic architectures”. In the past she has been PI of the EU project- NeuRAM3- “NEUral computing aRchitectures in Advanced Monolithic 3D-VLSI nano-technologies”, and and member of the Management Committee for Italy of the COST Action ICT 1401-“Memristors-Devices, Models, Circuits, Systems and Applications”. S. Spiga is co-author of more than 120 publications on peer reviewed journals and proceedings. She co-organized several symposia and/or she has been member of the scientific committee of international Conferences. She is currently member of the IEDM Memory Technology subcommittee (2019-2020), IRPS 2020 and 2021 (Neuromorphic committee) and of editorial board of the J. Phys D: Applied Physics.

Dr. Julie Grollier


Julie Grollier is a research director in the CNRS/Thales lab in France. Her Ph.D. was dedicated to the study of a new effect in spintronics: the spin transfer torque. After two years of post-doc, first in Groningen University (Netherlands, group of B.J. van Wees), then in Institut d’Electronique Fondamentale (France, group of C. Chappert), she joined CNRS in 2005. Her current research interests include spintronics (dynamics of nanomagnets under the spin torque effect), and new devices for cognitive computation (in particular memristors). Julie has over 100 publications, and is a frequent invited speaker in international conferences. She is also a Fellow of the American Physical Society. In 2010 she was awarded the Jacques Herbrand prize of the French Academy of Science, and in 2018 the Silver Medal of CNRS for her pioneering work on spintronics and brain-inspired computing. She is the recipient of two prestigious European Research Council grants: "NanoBrain" project (Memristive Artificial Synapses and their integration in Neural Networks, 2010-2015) and "BioSPINSpired" project (Bio-inspired Spin-Torque Computing Architectures, 2016-2021). Julie is now leading the “nanodevices for bio-inspired computing” team that she initiated in 2009. She is also chair of the interdisciplinary research network GDR BioComp, coordinating national efforts for producing hardware bio-inspired systems.

Dr. Abu Sebastian

IBM Research, CH

Abu Sebastian was born in Kerala, India. He received a B. E. (Hons.) degree in Electrical and Electronics Engineering from BITS Pilani, India and M.S. and Ph.D. degrees in Electrical Engineering (minor in Mathematics) from Iowa State University. Since 2006, he is a Research Staff Member at IBM Research - Zurich in Rüschlikon, Switzerland. He was a contributor to several key projects in the space of storage and memory technologies and currently manages the research effort on in-memory computing at IBM Research - Zurich. He has published over 180 articles in journals and conference proceedings. He also holds over 50 granted patents. Dr. Sebastian is a co-recipient of the 2009 IEEE Control Systems Technology Award and the 2009 IEEE Transactions on Control Systems Technology Outstanding Paper Award. In 2013 he received the IFAC Mechatronic Systems Young Researcher Award for his contributions to the field of micro-/nanoscale mechatronic systems. In 2015 he was awarded the European Research Council (ERC) consolidator grant. He has been an IBM Master Inventor since 2016. He was named Principal and Distinguished Research Staff Member in 2018 and 2020, respectively. In 2019 he received the Ovshinsky Lectureship Award for his contributions to "Phase-change materials for cognitive computing".

Day 2: "What are hardware opportunities for neuromorphic engineering?"

December 1st, 2020


Prof. Johannes Schemmel

Heidelberg University, DE

Johannes Schemmel received the Ph.D. degree in physics from Heidelberg University, Heidelberg, Germany, in 1999. He is currently an “Akademischer Oberrat” with the Kirchhoff Institute of Physics, Heidelberg, Germany, where he is the Head of the ASIC Laboratory and the Electronic Vision(s) group. He is an Architect of the Spikey and BrainScaleS accelerated Neuromorphic hardware systems. His research interests include mixed-mode VLSI systems for information processing, especially the analog implementation of biologically realistic neural network models.

Prof. Jennifer Olson Hasler

Georgia Institute of Technology, US

Dr. Jennifer Hasler received her B.S.E. and M.S. degrees in electrical engineering from Arizona State University in August 1991. She received her Ph.D. in computation and neural systems from California Institute of Technology in February 1997, and she received her Master of Divinity degree from the Candler School of Theology at Emory University in 2020. Dr. Hasler is a professor at the Georgia Institute of Technology in the School of Electrical and Computer Engineering; Atlanta is the coldest climate in which Dr. Hasler has lived.Dr. Hasler founded the Integrated Computational Electronics (ICE) laboratory at Georgia Tech, a laboratory affiliated with the Laboratories for Neural Engineering. Dr. Hasler is a member of Tau Beta P, Eta Kappa Nu, and the IEEE.

Dr. Elisa Vianello

CEA Leti, FR

Elisa Vianello is a senior scientist at CEA-Leti. She joined the institute in 2011 after spending one year on the research staff at Fondazione Bruno Kessler, Trento. Her current research interests concern the development of new technologies for bio-inspired neuromorphic computing, with special focus on resistive switching memory devices (RRAM) and phase change memory (PCM). She has authored or co-authored 4 book chapters and more than 100 technical papers. She is coordinator of the "MeM-Scales" (2020-2022) European project (H2020) focused on the codevelopment of a novel class of algorithms, devices and circuits that reproduce multi-timescale processing of biological neural systems. She also is associate editor of the APL special issue on Emerging Materials in Neuromorphic Computing (February 2020) and of the incoming IEEE Transactions on Circuits and Systems –II (2020-2021). She received the PhD in Electrical Engineering from the Università degli Studi di Udine (Italy) and the Grenoble Institute of Technology (INPG, France) in 2010.

Dr. Bert Jan Offrein

IBM Research, CH

Bert Jan Offrein received his Applied Physics and Ph.D. degrees from the University of Twente. Dr. Bert Jan Offrein joined IBM in 1995 and worked on optical components for WDM networks. From 2004 to 2016, he was the manager of the photonics group at IBM where he was leading several international and global collaborative R&D projects on electro-optical interconnect technology. Since 2016 he is managing the neuromorphic devices and systems group, focusing on novel hardware for cognitive systems. He is a (co-) author of over 100 publications and more than 40 patents and patent applications.

Day 1: “What is neuromorphic engineering?”

November 3rd, 2020.

Prof. Giacomo Indiveri

University of Zurich and ETH, CH

Giacomo Indiveri received the M.Sc. degree in electrical engineering and the Ph.D. degree in computer science and electrical engineering from the University of Genova, Genova, Italy, in 1992 and 2004, respectively.

Currently, he is a dual Professor at the Faculty of Science of the University of Zurich and at the Department of Information Technology and Electrical Engineering of ETH Zurich, Switzerland. He is the director of the Institute of Neuroinformatics (INI) of the University of Zurich and ETH Zurich. He was a post-doctoral research fellow in the Division of Biology at Caltech and at the Institute of Neuroinformatics of the University of Zurich and ETH Zurich. He was awarded an ERC Starting Grant on "Neuromorphic processors" in 2011 and an ERC Consolidator Grant on neuromorphic cognitive agents in 2016.

His research interests lie in the study of real and electronic neural processing systems, with a particular focus on spike-based learning and spike-based recurrent neural network dynamics. His research and development activities focus on the full custom hardware implementation of real-time sensory-motor systems using analog/digital neuromorphic circuits and emerging memory technologies.

Prof. Steve Furber

The University of Manchester, UK

Steve Furber received a B.A. in mathematics in 1974 and a Ph.D. in aerodynamics in 1980, both from the University of Cambridge. He is ICL Professor of Computer Engineering in the School of Computer Science at the University of Manchester. From 1980 to 1990, he worked in the hardware development group at Acorn Computers Ltd and was a principal designer of the BBC Microcomputer (1982) and the ARM 32-bit RISC microprocessor.

Designed with colleague Sophie Wilson as part of a national TV program on personal computing, well over a million BBC Micros were sold and used in more than 80 percent of all U.K. schools. Furber and Wilson then co-designed the 32-bit Acorn RISC Machine (ARM) processor (1985) to address a need at Acorn for a new microprocessor that outperformed any then commercially available. The ARM processor core is now used in thousands of different products, from mobile phones and tablets to digital televisions and video games. It has enabled the mobile revolution in computing with its efficient power-sipping microprocessors. The number of ARM processor cores now shipped exceeds 180 billion, or more than four ARM microprocessors for every person on earth.

Furber's current research interests include the SpiNNaker project, which seeks to emulate a small portion of the human brain using one million ARM processor cores.

Prof. Bernabe’ Linares-Barranco

Instituto de Microelectrónica de Sevilla (IMSE, CNM), SP

Bernabé Linares-Barranco received the B. S. degree in electronic physics in June 1986 and the M. S. degree in microelectronics in September 1987, both from the University of Seville , Sevilla , Spain . From September 1988 until August 1991 he was a Graduate Student at the Dept. of Electrical Engineering of Texas A&M University. He received a first Ph.D. degree in high-frequency OTA-C oscillator design in June 1990 from the University of Seville, Spain, and a second Ph.D deegree in analog neural network design in December 1991 from Texas A&M University, College-Station, USA.

Since June 1991, he has been a Tenured Scientist at the "Instituto de Microelectrónica de Sevilla" , (IMSE-CNM-CSIC) Sevilla, Spain, which since 2015 is a Mixed Center between the University of Sevilla and the Spanish Research Council (CSIC). From September 1996 to August 1997, he was on sabbatical stay at the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering of the Johns Hopkins University. In January 2003 he was promoted to Tenured Researcher, and in January 2004 to Full Professor. Since February 2018, he is the Director of the "Insitituto de Microelectrónica de Sevilla".

He has been involved with circuit design for telecommunication circuits, VLSI emulators of biological neurons, VLSI neural based pattern recognition systems, hearing aids, precision circuit design for instrumentation equipment, VLSI transistor mismatch parameters characterization, and over the past 20 years has been deeply involved with neuromorphic spiking circuits and systems, with strong emphasis on vision and exploiting nanoscale memristive devices for learning. He is co-founder of two start-ups, Prophesee SA ( and GrAI-Matter-Labs SAS (, both on neuromorphic hardware. 

Prof. Kwabena Boahen

Stanford University, US

Kwabena Boahen received his B.S. and M.S. in electrical engineering in 1989 from Johns Hopkins University and his PhD in computation and neural systems in 1997 from the California Institute of Technology, where he was advised by Carver Mead. For his PhD thesis, Boahen designed and fabricated a silicon chip emulating the functioning of the retina. After completing his PhD, Boahen joined the faculty of University of Pennsylvania where he held the Skirkanich Term Junior Chair.

In 2005 he moved to Stanford University and is currently the director of the Brains in Silicon Lab. He is widely regarded as one of the pioneers of neuromorphic engineering. He was named an IEEE fellow in 2016.

Specific contributions throughout his career include the development of the current-mode subthreshold CMOS circuit design paradigm, the address-event approach to communicating spikes between neuromorphic chips, and the scalable design of multi-chip systems. Boahen’s chips are mixed-mode: they employ analog circuits for computation and digital circuits for communication. Boahen's work has demonstrated that neuromorphic computer chips are capable of reproducing many types of brain phenomena across a large range of scales (e.g ion-channel dynamics, excitable membrane behavior,, the orientation tuning of neurons in Visual Cortex,, and neural synchrony). Utilizing these breakthroughs, Boahen's Stanford lab built the first neurmorphic system with one million spiking neurons (and billions of synapses), Neurogrid.