Mixed SRAM And eDRAM Cell For Area And Energy-Efficient On-Chip AI Memory (Yale Univ.)


A new technical paper titled “MCAIMem: a Mixed SRAM and eDRAM Cell for Area and Energy-efficient on-chip AI Memory” was published by researchers at Yale University.


“AI chips commonly employ SRAM memory as buffers for their reliability and speed, which contribute to high performance. However, SRAM is expensive and demands significant area and energy consumption. Previous studies have explored replacing SRAM with emerging technologies like non-volatile memory, which offers fast-read memory access and a small cell area. Despite these advantages, non-volatile memory’s slow write memory access and high write energy consumption prevent it from surpassing SRAM performance in AI applications with extensive memory access requirements. Some research has also investigated eDRAM as an area-efficient on-chip memory with similar access times as SRAM. Still, refresh power remains a concern, leaving the trade-off between performance, area, and power consumption unresolved. To address this issue, our paper presents a novel mixed CMOS cell memory design that balances performance, area, and energy efficiency for AI memory by combining SRAM and eDRAM cells. We consider the proportion ratio of one SRAM and seven eDRAM cells in the memory to achieve area reduction using mixed CMOS cell memory. Additionally, we capitalize on the characteristics of DNN data representation and integrate asymmetric eDRAM cells to lower energy consumption. To validate our proposed MCAIMem solution, we conduct extensive simulations and benchmarking against traditional SRAM. Our results demonstrate that MCAIMem significantly outperforms these alternatives in terms of area and energy efficiency. Specifically, our MCAIMem can reduce the area by 48\% and energy consumption by 3.4× compared to SRAM designs, without incurring any accuracy loss.”

Find the technical paper here. Published December 2023.

Nguyen, Duy-Thanh, Abhiroop Bhattacharjee, Abhishek Moitra, and Priyadarshini Panda. “MCAIMem: a Mixed SRAM and eDRAM Cell for Area and Energy-efficient on-chip AI Memory.” arXiv preprint arXiv:2312.03559 (2023).


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