Non Volatile Main Memory for Handheld Devices: An idea whose time has come

Library Content Type:
Publish Date: 
Thursday, May 23, 2019
Event Name: 
Focus Areas:
Handheld devices, in the form of tablets, smartphones and wearables are becoming increasingly commonplace. Mobile applications with ever increasing feature sets are also being released. Owing to their rich features and large working sets, mobile applications are increasingly becoming constrained by memory capacity and bandwidth.
Non-volatile memory technologies like phase change memory (PCM) and magnetic random access memory (MRAM) provide attractive alternatives to LPDDR, owing to their superior density and energy characteristics. These technologies, in conjunction with LPDDR, can help design memory architectures with higher capacity and bandwidth characteristics, as well as better energy consumption profiles which is another primary design constraint for mobile SoCs.
However, extensive exploration of NVM technologies for memory hierarchies of mobile SoCs has not been done. This is in part due to a lack of modern tools and benchmarks required for such studies. In this talk, we describe some of our recent work to address these challenges. We first describe META, a memory hierarchy exploration tool for android devices, developed by our group. META allows for rapid exploration of NV memory hierarchies for mobile SoCs, across a number of Android versions. We also present initial, very promising results obtained for a few hybrid memory architectures designed using LPDDR and NVMs which allow us to demonstrate the feasibility of using NVMs for handheld devices.
Learning Outcomes
a. Memory design challenges in handheld devices
b. Tool design for memory architecture exploration
c. Potential uses of NV memory in handheld devices

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