Design and Benchmarking of Ferroelectric FET based TCAM

Xunzhao Yina, Michael Niemierb and X. Sharon Huc
Department of Computer Science and Engineering, University of Notre Dame, Notre Dame, IN 46556, USA.


We consider how emerging transistor technologies, specifically ferroelectric field effect transistors (or FeFETs), can realize compact and energy efficient ternary content addressable memories (TCAMs). As Moore's Law-based performance scaling trends slow, and many computational tasks of interest are now more data-centric than compute-centric, researchers are looking to improve performance/save energy by integrating efficient and compact logic/processing elements into various levels of the memory hierarchy. Potential benefits include reduced I/O traffic, energy/delay from data transfers, etc. A TCAM is an example of a logic-in-memory element that is ubiquitous in routers, caches, databases, and even neural networks. Not surprisingly, researchers continue to study how emerging technologies could lead to improved TCAMs. Recent work has considered how nonvolatile (NV) memory technologies (e.g., resistive random access memory (ReRAM) or magnetic tunnel junctions (MTJs)) could best be used to construct low energy, NV TCAMs. However, acceptable Ron-Roff ratios and the two terminal nature of these devices introduce energy and area overheads. Due to hysteresis in a device's I-V curve, an FeFET-based NV TCAM, offers low area overhead, as well as search energies and search speeds that are superior to other TCAM designs (i.e., based on MTJ, ReRAM and CMOS in array- and architectural-level evaluations.)

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