DVFS-Aware Asymmetric-Retention STT-RAM Caches for Energy-Efficient Multicore Processors
AuthorGajaria, Dhruv Mayur
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PublisherThe University of Arizona.
RightsCopyright © is held by the author. Digital access to this material is made possible by the University Libraries, University of Arizona. Further transmission, reproduction, presentation (such as public display or performance) of protected items is prohibited except with permission of the author.
EmbargoRelease after 05/20/2020
AbstractSpin-transfer torque RAMs (STT-RAMs) have been studied as a promising alternative to SRAMs in emerging caches and main memories due to their low leakage power and high density. However, STT-RAMs, also have drawbacks of high dynamic write energy and long write latency. Relaxing the retention time of the non-volatile STT-RAM has been widely studied as a way to reduce STT-RAM's write energy and latency. However, since different applications may require different retention times, STT-RAM retention times must be critically explored to satisfy various applications' needs. This process can be challenging due to exploration overhead, and exacerbated by the fact that STT-RAM caches are emerging and are not readily available for design time exploration. This work explores using known statistics (e.g., SRAM statistics) to predict the appropriate STT-RAM retention times, in order to minimize exploration overhead. We propose an STT-RAM Cache Retention Time (SCART) model, which utilizes machine learning to enable design time or runtime prediction of best STT-RAM retention times for latency or energy optimization. Furthermore, we analyze the impacts of dynamic voltage and frequency scaling (DVFS)---a common optimization in modern processors---on STT-RAM L1 cache design. Our analysis reveals that, apart from the fact that different applications may require different retention times, the clock frequency, which is typically ignored in most STT-RAM studies, may also significantly impact applications' retention time needs. Based on our findings, we propose an asymmetric-retention core (ARC) design for multicore architectures. ARC features retention time heterogeneity to specialize STT-RAM retention times to applications' needs. We also propose a runtime prediction model to determine the best core on which to run an application, based on the applications' characteristics, their retention time requirements, and available DVFS settings. Results reveal that the proposed approach can reduce the average cache energy by 39.21% and overall processor energy by 13.66%, compared to an SRAM-based system, and by 20.19% and 7.66%, respectively, compared to a homogeneous STT-RAM cache design.
Degree ProgramGraduate College
Electrical & Computer Engineering