Evaluating the performance and energy of STT-RAM caches for real-world wearable workloads

Dhruv Gajaria, Tosiron Adegbija

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Wearable devices have grown exponentially in popularity in both consumer and industrial applications in recent years. Despite their stringent area and energy constraints, these devices are processing increasingly complex and data-rich workloads, necessitating innovative area- and energy-efficient computing solutions and architectures. This paper explores spin-transfer torque RAM (STT-RAM) as a candidate for designing area- and energy-efficient wearable processor caches. First, we analyze the memory footprints of 16 real-world wearable workloads and compare them to general-purpose benchmarks like SPEC 2017 and MiBench. Then, we analyze the wearable workloads’ memory characteristics to reveal that wearable workloads are highly read-intensive, making them less vulnerable than general-purpose workloads to the write latency/energy overheads inherent in STT-RAM caches. Our analysis also reveals that wearable workloads have low cache variability needs, and their cache blocks exhibit short and stable lifetimes. Against the background of this analysis, we explore the tradeoffs of STT-RAM cache architecture designs for the wearable workloads. Specifically, we explore a simple adaptable design that aims to optimize latency or energy, based on runtime needs, without introducing significant design or area overhead. Our analysis shows that STT-RAM caches offer much promise for energy- and area-efficient wearable computing, without introducing much performance overheads.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)231-240
Number of pages10
JournalFuture Generation Computer Systems
Volume136
DOIs
StatePublished - Nov 2022

Keywords

  • Adaptable hardware
  • Internet of Things
  • Low-power embedded systems
  • Retention time
  • Spin-transfer torque RAM (STT-RAM)
  • Wearable computing

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Software
  • Hardware and Architecture
  • Computer Networks and Communications

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