Ferroelectric Memory-Based IMC for ML Workloads


A new technical paper titled “Ferroelectric capacitors and field-effect transistors as in-memory computing elements for machine learning workloads” was published by researchers at Purdue University.


“This study discusses the feasibility of Ferroelectric Capacitors (FeCaps) and Ferroelectric Field-Effect Transistors (FeFETs) as In-Memory Computing (IMC) elements to accelerate machine learning (ML) workloads. We conducted an exploration of device fabrication and proposed system-algorithm co-design to boost performance. A novel FeCap device, incorporating an interfacial layer (IL) and Hf0.5Zr00.5O2 (HZO), ensures a reduction in operating voltage and enhances HZO scaling while being compatible with CMOS circuits. The IL also enriches ferroelectricity and retention properties. When integrated into crossbar arrays, FeCaps and FeFETs demonstrate their effectiveness as IMC components, eliminating sneak paths and enabling selector-less operation, leading to notable improvements in energy efficiency and area utilization. However, it is worth noting that limited capacitance ratios in FeCaps introduced errors in multiply-and-accumulate (MAC) computations. The proposed co-design approach helps in mitigating these errors and achieves high accuracy in classifying the CIFAR-10 dataset, elevating it from a baseline of 10% to 81.7%. FeFETs in crossbars, with a higher on-off ratio, outperform FeCaps, and our proposed charge-based sensing scheme achieved at least an order of magnitude reduction in power consumption, compared to prevalent current-based methods.”

Find the technical paper here. Published April 2024.

Yu, E., K, G., Saxena, U. et al. Ferroelectric capacitors and field-effect transistors as in-memory computing elements for machine learning workloads. Sci Rep 14, 9426 (2024). https://doi.org/10.1038/s41598-024-59298-8

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