Resolving the Memory Bottleneck for Single Supply Near-Threshold Computing
This paper focuses on a review of state-of-the-art memory designs and new design methods for near-threshold computing (NTC). In particular, it presents new ways to design reliable low-voltage NTC memories cost-effectively by reusing available cell libraries, or by adding a digital wrapper around existing commercially available memories. The approach is based on modeling at system level supported by silicon measurement on a test chip in a 40nm low-power processing technology. Advanced monitoring, control and run-time error mitigation schemes enable the operation of these memories at the same optimal near-Vt voltage level as the digital logic. Reliability degradation is thus overcome and this opens the way to solve the memory bottleneck in NTC systems. Starting from the available 40 nm silicon measurements, the analysis is extended to future 14 and 10 nm technology nodes.