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CAM – CONTENT ADDRESSABLE MEMORY Optimized to reduce power consumption

ASICCAMCMOS 28nmIP blockMemory

Introduction

This smart Content Addressable Memory (CAM) is used for  acceleration of pattern recognition processes. The technology relates on a  CAM with a particular configuration which is optimized for reducing power consumption with respect to the technologies already available on the market.

Technical features

The CAM architecture has been properly designed to reduce the length of bit lines and consequently to cut the energy consumption related to the data flow along them. Thanks to a matching circuit it is possible to reduce consumption during the search phase. If one of the bits in a word is not matching, the corresponding cell sends a  kill signal  to the cascaded cell to inhibit further switching. Thanks to this feature, the designed CAM array requires less than 0.4 fJ/bit per comparison in High Power Computing (HPC) technologies and less than 0.2 fJ/bit for High Power Low-leakage technologies. This CAM cell has been designed in two variants, exploiting 28 nm CMOS technology and using a fully-CMOS approach. A prototype containing this memory has been fabricated and it has proven to be functional (up to 400 MHz) confirming power consumption expectations.

Possible Applications

Acceleration of pattern recognition problems for these applications:

  • Images;
  • DNA sequencies;
  • Biomedical data.

Advantages

  • Accelerated pattern recognition processes;
  • Strong reduction power dissipation for a given problem with respect to FPGA or GPU;
  • Easy to integrate as IP-block in ASIC projects.