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VANUCA: Enabling Near-Threshold Voltage Operation in Large-Capacity Cache

VANUCA: Enabling Near-Threshold Voltage Operation in Large-Capacity Cache In this paper, we investigate the feasibility of voltage adjustment in a large capacity cache, and propose the architecture of voltage-adaptable nonuniform cache access (VANUCA) that exploits near-threshold computing and multivoltage domain to approach the limit of Vdd in a low-power cache. However, the adoption of near-threshold voltage (NTV) leads to a rocketing error probability in SRAM arrays, which has to be addressed by effective fault-tolerant techniques. Instead of using error correction code or data duplication, the VANUCA exploits the natural data redundancy across the whole memory hierarchy to enable fast fault recovery in the NTV cache. Based on the discovered data resilience and the multi-Vdd architecture, the VANUCA is able to match vulnerable/invulnerable data clusters to available high-/low-voltage domains by utilizing the data migration mechanism in dynamic NUCA. The proposed VANUCA includes two important architectural techniques: 1) static assignment that assumes a fixed voltage domain partitioning and 2) DataMotion that dynamically fits the working set into heterogeneous cache banks through Vdd switching. Experimental results show that the VANUCA achieves considerable improvements in energy efficiency over the conventional single-voltage domain NUCA cache.

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