The objective of this assignment is to study a topic in the computer architecture area in
detail. You will work individually, and do a literature survey to a particular topic,
discussing the different positions and in the end drawing some conclusions on what
research directions might or might not exist beyond those works.
The topic is processing in memory (PIM). PIM refers to the idea of doing computation
in/near memory devices. This is on contrast to the conventional von Neumann architecture
which spits processing and memory units apart. The concept of PIM isn’t new. The oldest
references in literature are from the late 1960s, with a surge in PIM research around 1990s.
The next wave of PIM research starts with 3D stacked designs about 10 years ago.
Here are some PIM-related papers:
- Evolution of Memory Architecture
- A Case for Intelligent RAM: IRAM
- FlexRAM: Toward an Advanced Intelligent Memory System (The link is the
retrospective paper. Feel free to read the full paper that was published in ICCD
- Active Memory: Micron’s Yukon
- Processing in Memory: The Terasys Massively Parallel PIM Array
- An Efficient and Scalable Semiconductor Architecture for Parallel Automata
- NDC: Analyzing the Impact of 3D-Stacked Memory+Logic Devices on Map Reduce
- Ambit: In-Memory Accelerator for Bulk Bitwise Operations Using Commodity
- Google Workloads for Consumer Devices: Mitigating Data Movement Bottlenecks
- Processing-in-Memory for Energy-efficient Neural Network Training: A
You don’t need to read all of them, and you don’t need to understand every little detail in
these papers. Pick a few that look interesting to you to get started. Feel free to find other
sources to learn more about this topic, such as citations in these papers, Wikipedia,
technical reports, presentation files and videos searched online. The goal is to get a general
understanding of what PIM is, the history of PIM, what the challenges are to build and use
PIM, what people have been working on related to PIM these days, and your thoughts about
PIM such as what you find interesting about this topic, what research directions might or
might not exist beyond those works, or even your questions about this topic.
You will write and submit a four-page single-columned position paper (PDF). There is no
requirement on the specific format or content, but you should show your knowledge, your
understanding and your own perspective about PIM. Use different sections, subsections,
and bullet points to organize your content. An example flow of the position paper could
talk about the past, current, and future of PIM, where the discussion of past and current
PIM could be backed up by summaries of the papers that you surveyed, and the future of
PIM is your perspective on PIM.
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