doi: 10.7873/DATE.2015.0839

On the Statistical Memory Architecture Exploration and Optimization

Charalampos Antoniadis1,a, Georgios Karakonstantis2,d, Nestor Evmorfopoulos1,b, Andreas Burg2,e and George Stamoulis1,c

1Department of Electrical & Computer Engineering, University of Thessaly, Volos, Greece.

2Telecommunications Circuits Lab. (TCL), EPFL, Lausanne, Switzerland.


The worsening of process variations and the consequent increased spreads in circuit performance and consumed power hinder the satisfaction of the targeted budgets and lead to yield loss. Corner based design and adoption of design guardbands might limit the yield loss. However, in many cases such methods may not be able to capture the real effects which might be way better than the predicted ones leading to increasingly pessimistic designs. The situation is even more severe in memories which consist of substantially different individual building blocks, further complicating the accurate analysis of the impact of variations at the architecture level leaving many potential issues uncovered and opportunities unexploited. In this paper, we develop a framework for capturing non-trivial statistical interactions among all the components of a memory/cache. The developed tool is able to find the optimum memory/cache configuration under various constraints allowing the designers to make the right choices early in the design cycle and consequently improve performance, energy, and especially yield. Our, results indicate that the consideration of the architectural interactions between the memory components allow to relax the pessimistic access times that are predicted by existing techniques.

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