Published on Tue Apr 06 2021

Designing Efficient and High-performance AI Accelerators with Customized STT-MRAM

Kaniz Mishty, Mehdi Sadi
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Abstract

In this paper, we demonstrate the design of efficient and high-performance AI/Deep Learning accelerators with customized STT-MRAM and a reconfigurable core. Based on model-driven detailed design space exploration, we present the design methodology of an innovative scratchpad-assisted on-chip STT-MRAM based buffer system for high-performance accelerators. Using analytically derived expression of memory occupancy time of AI model weights and activation maps, the volatility of STT-MRAM is adjusted with process and temperature variation aware scaling of thermal stability factor to optimize the retention time, energy, read/write latency, and area of STT-MRAM. From the analysis of modern AI workloads and accelerator implementation in 14nm technology, we verify the efficacy of our designed AI accelerator with STT-MRAM STT-AI. Compared to an SRAM-based implementation, the STT-AI accelerator achieves 75% area and 3% power savings at iso-accuracy. Furthermore, with a relaxed bit error rate and negligible AI accuracy trade-off, the designed STT-AI Ultra accelerator achieves 75.4%, and 3.5% savings in area and power, respectively over regular SRAM-based accelerators.