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Established in 2020, AI Chip Center for Emerging Smart Systems (ACCESS) is a multi-disciplinary research center under the InnoHK initiative of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region Government. Founded by The Hong Kong University of Science and Technology (HKUST) in collaboration on research with world-renowned local and overseas universities, ACCESS is dedicated to advancing integrated circuit (IC) design and design automation technologies to enable novel data-centric computing paradigms to support a wide range of AI applications.

ACCESS is wholly owned by The Hong Kong University of Science and Technology and Asia’s first transnational consortium to perform research and development on AI chip design. We aim to make remarkable contributions to the advancement of AI technologies for advanced chip/ hardware design and will advance Hong Kong as a driver for innovation in the global map of AI hardware as well to nurture the much-needed talent for a booming global AI chip market.

The research agenda in ACCESS is organized into four research programs, addressing four key technical areas, including

(1) Enabling Technology for Emerging Computing Systems;
(2) Architecture and Heterogeneous System Integration;
(3) AI-Assisted EDA (Electronic Design Automation) for AI Hardware;
(4) Hardware-Accelerated AI Applications.

Enabling Technology for Emerging Computing Systems

addresses memory and data bandwidth problems to alleviate the bottlenecks of AI hardware by exploring integration of silicon-compatible emerging technologies with scaled silicon chips.

Architecture and Heterogeneous System Integration

focuses on exploring different new architectural and system integration solutions for efficient neuromorphic computing on platforms ranging from cloud to smart Internet of Things (IoT).

AI-Assisted EDA (Electronic Design Automation) for AI Hardware

hopes to develop new design methodologies and design automation tools for AI chips.

Hardware-Accelerated AI Applications

emphasises selected emerging applications for hardware acceleration, exploring system architecture and new design tools specific to the target applications to achieve breakthroughs in AI hardware in speeds and energy efficiency.

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The research programs in ACCESS span from fundamental/ curiosity research to mid-stream applied research and actual prototype development for technology demonstration, technology transfer to industry and spin-off under the entrepreneur incubation program. Located at the Hong Kong Science Park (HKSP), ACCESS provides world-class working environment for more than 90 working staff, including senior researchers with both academic and industry experience, researchers (post-doc and graduate students), visiting professors / scholars, and administration staff working closely together with international experts and industry partners towards leading R&D outcomes.

"We recognise that specialised AI chips will be a key factor driving the AI revolution. Our team of world-class experts are designing customised AI hardware that will support more innovative applications, and complement other AI research projects in the region."

Prof. Tim CHENG

Prof. Tim CHENG, Center Director of ACCESS and
Vice-President for Research and Development, HKUST