In today’s age of ubiquitous computing, society produces roughly the same amount of data in 10 minutes that would have previously taken 100 years. Within the next decade, experts anticipate the ability to create, share and store a century’s worth of data in less than 10 seconds.

To get there, researchers and technologists must overcome data-transfer bottlenecks and improve the energy efficiency of current electronic devices.

Led by Suman Datta, Stinson Professor of Nanotechnology at Notre Dame, the ASCENT project (Applications and Systems-driven Center for Energy-Efficient integrated Nano Technologies) is a $38.2 million center led by the University of Notre Dame that focuses on conducting research aimed at increasing the performance, efficiency and capabilities of future computing systems for both commercial and defense applications. Sayeef Salahuddin, Professor of electrical engineering and computer science, at the University of California-Berkeley, serves as the center’s associate director.

The Mission of the ASCENT Center is to transcend the current limitations of high-performance transistors confined to a single planar layer of integrated circuit by pioneering vertical monolithic integration of multiple interleaved layers of logic and memory, by demonstrating beyond-CMOS device concepts that combine processing and memory functions, heterogeneously integrating functionally diverse nano-components into integrated microsystems and by demonstrating in-memory compute kernels to accelerate future data-intensive at-scale cognitive workloads.

ASCENT comprises 28 faculty members from 14 of the nation’s leading research universities, including Cornell University, Georgia Institute of Technology, Illinois Institute of Technology, Purdue University, Stanford University, University of Minnesota, University of California-Berkeley, University of California-Los Angeles, University of California-San Diego, University of California-Santa Barbara, University of Colorado, and the University of Texas-Dallas and Wayne State University.

Researchers at ASCENT pursue four areas of technology including three-dimensional integration of device technologies beyond a single planar layer (vertical CMOS); spin-based device concepts that combine processing and memory functions (beyond CMOS); heterogeneous integration of functionally diverse nano-components into integrated microsystems (heterogeneous integration fabric); and hardware accelerators for data intensive cognitive workloads (merged logic-memory fabric).

Src Jump Logo

ASCENT is one of six research centers funded by the SRC’s Joint University Microelectronics Program (JUMP), which represents a consortium of industrial participants and the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA). Information about the SRC can be found at https://www.src.org/.


ASCENT is a collaboration of the following Universities:

  • Logo Cornell

  • Logo Georgia Tech

    Georgia Tech
  • Logo ND

    Notre Dame
  • Logo Purdue

  • Logo Stanford

  • Logo Colorado

    U of Colorado
  • Logo Minnesota

    U of Minnesota
  • Logo Berkeley

    UC Berkeley
  • Logo UC San Diego

    UC San Diego
  • Logo UC Santa Barbara

    UC Santa Barbara
  • Logo UCLA

  • Logo UT Dallas

    UT - Dallas
  • Logo Wayne

    Wayne State University
  • Logo Illinois Institute

    Illinois Institute of Technology