Architecting Racetrack Memory preshift through pattern-based prediction mechanisms

International Symposium on Parallel and Distributed Computing


Racetrack Memories (RM) are a promising spintronic technology able to provide multi-bit storage in a single cell (tape-like) through a ferromagnetic nanowire with multiple domains. This technology offers superior density, non-volatility and low static power compared to CMOS memories. These features have attracted great interest in the adoption of RM as a replacement of RAM technology, from Main memory (DRAM) to maybe on-chip cache hierarchy (SRAM). One of the main drawbacks of his technology is the serialized access to the bits stored in each domain, resulting in unpredictable access time. An appropriate header management policy can potentially reduce the number of shift operations required to access the correct osition. Simple policies such as leaving read/write head on the last domain accessed (or on the next) provide enough improvement in the presence of a certain level of locality on data access. However, in those cases with much lower locality, a more accurate behavior from the header management policy would be desirable. In this paper, we explore the utilization of hardware prefetching policies to implement the header management policy. “Predicting” the length and direction of the next displacement, it is possible to reduce shift operations, improving memory access time. The results of our experiments show that, with an appropriate header, our proposal reduces average shift latency by up to 50% in L2 and LLC, improving average memory access time by up to 10%.