Smart Memories

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Trends in VLSI technology scaling demand that future computing devices be narrowly focused to achieve high performance and high efficiency, yet also target the high volumes and low costs of widely applicable general-purpose designs. To address these conflicting requirements, we propose a modular re-configurable architecture called Smart Memories, targeted at computing needs in the 0.1m technology generation. A Smart Memories chip is made up of many processing tiles, each containing local memory, local interconnect, and a processor core.

For efficient computation under a wide class of possible applications, the memories, the wires, and the computational model can all be altered to match the applications. To show the applicability of this design, two very different machines at opposite ends of the architectural spectrum, the Imagine stream processor and the Hydra speculative multiprocessor, are mapped onto the Smart Memories computing substrate. Simulations of the mappings show that the Smart Memories architecture can successfully map these architectures with only modest performance degradation.

The continued scaling of integrated circuit fabrication technology will dramatically affect the architecture of future computing systems. Scaling will make computation cheaper, smaller, and lower power, thus enabling more sophisticated computation in a growing number of embedded applications.

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