Exploration of non-volatile magnetic memory for processor architecture

Sophiane Senni 1
1 ADAC - ADAptive Computing
LIRMM - Laboratoire d'Informatique de Robotique et de Microélectronique de Montpellier
Abstract : With the downscaling of the complementary metal-oxide semiconductor (CMOS) technology,designing dense and energy-efficient systems-on-chip (SoC) is becoming a realchallenge. Concerning the density, reducing the CMOS transistor size faces up to manufacturingconstraints while the cost increases exponentially. Regarding the energy, a significantincrease of the power density and dissipation obstructs further improvement inperformance. This issue is mainly due to the growth of the leakage current of the CMOStransistors, which leads to an increase of the static energy consumption. Observing currentSoCs, more and more area is occupied by embedded volatile memories, such as staticrandom access memory (SRAM) and dynamic random access memory (DRAM). As a result,a significant proportion of total power is spent into memory systems. In the past twodecades, alternative memory technologies have emerged with attractive characteristics tomitigate the aforementioned issues. Among these technologies, magnetic random accessmemory (MRAM) is a promising candidate as it combines simultaneously high densityand very low static power consumption while its performance is competitive comparedto SRAM and DRAM. Moreover, MRAM is non-volatile. This capability, if present inembedded memories, has the potential to add new features to SoCs to enhance energyefficiency and reliability. In this thesis, an area, performance and energy exploration ofembedding the MRAM technology in the memory hierarchy of a processor architectureis investigated. A first fine-grain exploration was made at cache level for multi-core architectures.A second study evaluated the possibility to design a non-volatile processorintegrating MRAM at register level. Within the context of internet of things, new featuresand the benefits brought by the non-volatility were investigated.
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Sophiane Senni. Exploration of non-volatile magnetic memory for processor architecture. Micro and nanotechnologies/Microelectronics. Université Montpellier, 2015. English. ⟨NNT : 2015MONTS264⟩. ⟨tel-02305458⟩

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