Startup's tech is Intel's Quark neural network

July 02, 2015 // By Peter Clarke
The pattern-classification technology inside the Quark SE system chip from Intel is the same as that being offered for license and in chip form by startup NeuroMem Inc. (Petaluma, Calif.).

The Quark SE is the system-chip on Intel's button-sized Curie module that was launched at the Consumer Electronics Show. Intel said at the time that the QuarkSE chip, a processor developed for wearable applications, included a pattern classification engine that allows it to identify different motions and activities.

"Yes, the pattern matching/classification engine inside the Quark SE is an implementation of our technology," Philippe Lambinet, CEO of NeuroMem told EE Times Europe in email. But Lambinet said he could not say where Intel had licensed the technology from, but that it was not from NeuroMem as the company had only been incorporated recently.

The pattern matching engine inside QuarkSE and offered by NeuroMem has had a convoluted history.

Philippe Lambinet, CEO of NeuroMem

The technology as originally developed by General Vision Inc. (Petaluma, Calif.) a company founded in 1987 and led by expatriate French experts in computer vision and neuromorphic computing. Guy Paillet, CEO of General Vision, developed the ZISC (Zero Instruction Set Computer), a silicon neural network chip with IBM (France) in 1993. He joined General Vision in 1999. Anne Menendez, CTO of General Vision, and Paillet started developing the CM1K, a neuromorphic pattern-recognizing chip with 1,024 neurons between 2006 and 2008. This was originally manufactured as a 130nm CMOS chip by Oki Semiconductor.

In 2011 General Vision created a subsidiary company, CogniMem Technologies Inc. (Folsom, Calif.), to market and sell the CM1K chip. However, General Vision's involvement with CogniMem was terminated in 2013. CogniMem carried on as a reseller of the CM1K chip while General Vision continued to hold the rights to the intellectual property. In 2014 General Vision renamed its technology NeuroMem and created NeuroMem Inc. with Lambinet, formerly a corporate strategy officer at STMicroelectronics NV, as chief executive.

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