Nonvolatile TCAM Circuit Design Based on Spintronic Technology

As process technology scales down rapidly, conventional SRAM based ternary content-addressable memories (TCAMs) design becomes even more challenging for its aggressive requirements in high storage density, fast access speed, and low pow r consumption. TCAMs are used to compare an input search data against a table of stored data, and return the address of the matching one. Although the data in a TCAM is rarely updated, maintaining the data in SRAM cells results in huge standby power consumption which dominates the overall energy of TCAM architecture. Furthermore, the scaling down of SRAM cell design has been much slower than the fabrication process due to the deteriorating reliability issue. As a result, further improving the TCAM access speed at advanced technology node becomes more challenging.

The recent research on the emerging memories has inspired the nonvolatile TCAM designs. By storing the data in nonvolatile devices, power supply can be safely removed during the standby mode while still maintaining the instant-on capability. Among all the emerging nonvolatile devices, magnetic tunneling junction (MTJ) is a promising candidate in high-speed TCAM design for its nanosecond programming time, high endurance, and good CMOS process compatibility. In this project, w e w ill explore the nonvolatile TCAM circuit and architecture based on spintronic technology. Particularly, w e w ill focus on enhancing the matching speed of TCAM arrays at low power consumption operations, offering an alternative technique for future router designs requiring extremely high performance.


Senior Personnel: Prof. Hai (Helen) Li (PI)
Sponsors: Cisco Systems, Inc.
Team Members: Zheng Li
Collaborators: Pierre Chor-Fung Chia, Cisco Systems Inc.
 Starting Date: 10/08/2014

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