DRAMA: Commodity DRAM Based Content Addressable Memory

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Fast parallel search capabilities on large datasets provided by content addressable memories (CAM) are required across multiple application domains. However compared to RAM, CAMs feature high area overhead and power consumption, and as a result, they scale poorly. The proposed solution, DRAMA, enables CAM, ternary CAM (TCAM) and approximate (similarity) search CAM functionalities in unmodified commodity DRAM. DRAMA performs compare operation in a bit-serial fashion, where the search pattern (query) is coded in DRAM addresses. A single bit compare (XNOR) in DRAMA is identical to a regular DRAM read. AND and OR operations required for NAND CAM and NOR CAM respectively are implemented using nonstandard DRAM timing. We evaluate DRAMA on bacterial DNA classification and show that DRAMA can achieve 3.6× higher performance and 19.6× lower power consumption compared to state-of-the-art CMOS CAM based genome classification accelerator.

Original languageEnglish
Article number10354494
Pages (from-to)65-68
Number of pages4
JournalIEEE Computer Architecture Letters
Issue number1
StatePublished - 1 Jan 2024

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  • CAM
  • DRAM


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