DRAM Chips Perform Functionally-Complete Boolean Operations (ETH Zurich)


A new technical paper titled “Functionally-Complete Boolean Logic in Real DRAM Chips: Experimental Characterization and Analysis” was published by researchers at ETH Zurich.

“Processing-using-DRAM (PuD) is an emerging paradigm that leverages the analog operational properties of DRAM circuitry to enable massively parallel in-DRAM computation. PuD has the potential to significantly reduce or eliminate costly data movement between processing elements and main memory. Prior works experimentally demonstrate three-input MAJ (i.e., MAJ3) and two-input AND and OR operations in commercial off-the-shelf (COTS) DRAM chips. Yet, demonstrations on COTS DRAM chips do not provide a functionally complete set of operations (e.g., NAND or AND and NOT).
We experimentally demonstrate that COTS DRAM chips are capable of performing 1) functionally-complete Boolean operations: NOT, NAND, and NOR and 2) many-input (i.e., more than two-input) AND and OR operations. We present an extensive characterization of new bulk bitwise operations in 256 off-the-shelf modern DDR4 DRAM chips. We evaluate the reliability of these operations using a metric called success rate: the fraction of correctly performed bitwise operations. Among our 19 new observations, we highlight four major results. First, we can perform the NOT operation on COTS DRAM chips with a 98.37% success rate on average. Second, we can perform up to 16-input NAND, NOR, AND, and OR operations on COTS DRAM chips with high reliability (e.g., 16-input NAND, NOR, AND, and OR with an average success rate of 94.94%, 95.87%, 94.94%, and 95.85%, respectively). Third, data pattern only slightly affects bitwise operations. Our results show that executing NAND, NOR, AND, and OR operations with random data patterns decreases the success rate compared to all logic-1/logic-0 patterns by 1.39%, 1.97%, 1.43%, and 1.98%, respectively. Fourth, bitwise operations are highly resilient to temperature changes, with small success rate fluctuations of at most 1.66% among all the tested operations when the temperature is increased from 50C to 95C.”

Find the technical paper here. Published February 2024.

Yuksel, Ismail Emir, Yahya Can Tugrul, Ataberk Olgun, F. Bostanci, A. Giray Yaglikci, Geraldo F. Oliveira, Haocong Luo, Juan Gómez-Luna, Mohammad Sadrosadati, and Onur Mutlu. “Functionally-Complete Boolean Logic in Real DRAM Chips: Experimental Characterization and Analysis.” arXiv preprint arXiv:2402.18736 (2024).

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