Architecting Selective Refresh based Multi-Retention Cache for Heterogeneous System (ARMOUR)

Sukarn Agarwal, Shounak Chakraborty, Magnus Själander

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution

Abstract / Description of output

The increasing use of chiplets, and the demand for high-performance yet low-power systems, will result in heterogeneous systems that combine both CPUs and accelerators (e.g., general-purpose GPUs). Chiplet based designs also enable the inclusion of emerging memory technologies, since such technologies can reside on a separate chiplet without requiring complex integration in existing high-performance process technologies. One such emerging memory technology is spin-transfer torque (STT) memory, which has the potential to replace SRAM as the lastlevel cache (LLC). STT-RAM has the advantage of high density, non-volatility, and reduced leakage power, but suffers from a higher write latency and energy, as compared to SRAM. However, by relaxing the retention time, the write latency and energy can be reduced at the cost of the STT-RAM becoming more volatile. The retention time and write latency/energy can be traded against each other by creating an LLC with multiple retention zones. With a multi-retention LLC, the challenge is to direct the memory accesses to the most advantageous zone, to optimize for overall performance and energy efficiency. We propose ARMOUR, a mechanism for efficient management of memory accesses to a multi-retention LLC, where based on the initial requester (CPU or GPU) the cache blocks are allocated in the high (CPU) or low (GPU) retention zone. Furthermore, blocks that are about to expire are either refreshed (CPU) or written back (GPU). In addition, ARMOUR evicts CPU blocks with an estimated short lifetime, which further improves cache performance by reducing cache pollution. Our evaluation shows that ARMOUR improves average performance by 28.9% compared to a baseline STT-RAM based LLC and reduces the energy-delay product (EDP) by 74.5% compared to an iso-area SRAM LLC.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationDAC '23: Proceedings of the 60th ACM/IEEE Design Automation Conference
Number of pages6
ISBN (Electronic)9798350323481
ISBN (Print)9798350323498
Publication statusPublished - 15 Sept 2023
Event60th Design Automation Conference - San Francisco, United States
Duration: 9 Jul 202313 Jul 2023
Conference number: 60


Conference60th Design Automation Conference
Abbreviated titleDAC 60
Country/TerritoryUnited States
CitySan Francisco
Internet address


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