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New Memories Add New Faults


New non-volatile memories (NVM) bring new opportunities for changing how we use memory in systems-on-chip (SoCs), but they also add new challenges for making sure they will work as expected. These new memory types – primarily MRAM and ReRAM – rely on unique physical phenomena for storing data. That means that new test sequences and fault models may be needed before they can be released t... » read more

Intermittent Undefined State Fault in RRAMs


Abstract: " Industry is prototyping and commercializing Resistive Random Access Memories (RRAMs). Unfortunately, RRAM devices introduce new defects and faults. Hence, high-quality test solutions are urgently needed. Based on silicon measurements, this paper identifies a new RRAM unique fault, the Intermittent Undefined State Fault (IUSF); this fault causes the RRAM device to intermittently c... » read more

FORMS: Fine-grained Polarized ReRAM-based In-situ Computation for Mixed-signal DNN Accelerator


Abstract: "Recent work demonstrated the promise of using resistive random access memory (ReRAM) as an emerging technology to perform inherently parallel analog domain in-situ matrix-vector multiplication—the intensive and key computation in deep neural networks (DNNs). One key problem is the weights that are signed values. However, in a ReRAM crossbar, weights are stored as conductance of... » read more

HBM Takes On A Much Bigger Role


High-bandwidth memory is getting faster and showing up in more designs, but this stacked DRAM technology may play a much bigger role as a gateway for both chiplet-based SoCs and true 3D designs. HBM increasingly is being viewed as a way of pushing heterogenous distributed processing to a completely different level. Once viewed as an expensive technology that only could be utilized in the hig... » read more

DRAM’s Persistent Threat To Chip Security


A well-known DRAM vulnerability called "rowhammer," which allows an assailant to disrupt or take control of a system, continues to haunt the chip industry. Solutions have been tried, and new ones are being proposed, but the potential for a major attack persists. First discovered some five years ago, most of the efforts to eliminate the "rowhammer" threat have done little more than mitigate t... » read more

Manufacturing Bits: Feb. 2


Capacitor-less DRAM At the recent 2020 International Electron Devices Meeting (IEDM), Imec presented a paper on a novel capacitor-less DRAM cell architecture. DRAM is used for main memory in systems, and today’s most advanced devices are based on roughly 18nm to 15nm processes. The physical limit for DRAM is somewhere around 10nm. DRAM itself is based on a one-transistor, one-capacito... » read more

DRAM, 3D NAND Face New Challenges


It’s been a topsy-turvy period for the memory market, and it's not over. So far in 2020, demand has been slightly better than expected for the two main memory types — 3D NAND and DRAM. But now there is some uncertainty in the market amid a slowdown, inventory issues and an ongoing trade war. In addition, the 3D NAND market is moving toward a new technology generation, but some are enc... » read more

What Happened To Execute-in-Place?


Executing code directly from non-volatile memory, where it is stored, greatly simplifies compute architectures — especially for simple embedded devices like microcontrollers (MCUs). However, the divergence of memory and logic processes has made that nearly impossible today. The term “execute-in-place,” or ”XIP,” originated with the embedded NOR memory in MCUs that made XIP viable. ... » read more

Power/Performance Bits: Aug. 25


AI architecture optimization Researchers at Rice University, Stanford University, University of California Santa Barbara, and Texas A&M University proposed two complementary methods for optimizing data-centric processing. The first, called TIMELY, is an architecture developed for “processing-in-memory” (PIM). A promising PIM platform is resistive random access memory, or ReRAM. Whil... » read more

Startup Funding: July 2020


A number of semiconductor and design companies took in funding this month, from a mega round for a data center switch maker to seed grants for two Canadian companies and new funding for an IP marketplace. China continues to be a hot area for electric vehicles, with one company raising half a billion for its two models currently in production. For July, we highlight fifteen startups that raised ... » read more

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