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  1. Ultra-fast & low-power superconductor single-flux-quantum (SFQ)-based CNN systolic accelerators are built to enhance the CNN inference throughput. However, shift-register (SHIFT)-based scratchpad memory (SPM) arrays prevent a SFQ CNN accelerator from exceeding 40% of its peak throughput, due to the lack of random access capability. This paper first documents our study of a variety of cryogenic memory technologies, including Vortex Transition Memory (VTM), Josephson-CMOS SRAM, MRAM, and Superconducting Nanowire Memory, during which we found that none of the aforementioned technologies made a SFQ CNN accelerator achieve high throughput, small area, and low power simultaneously. Second, we present a heterogeneous SPM architecture, SMART, composed of SHIFT arrays and a random access array to improve the inference throughput of a SFQ CNN systolic accelerator. Third, we propose a fast, low-power and dense pipelined random access CMOS-SFQ array by building SFQ passive-transmission-line-based H-Trees that connect CMOS sub-banks. Finally, we create an ILP-based compiler to deploy CNN models on SMART. Experimental results show that, with the same chip area overhead, compared to the latest SHIFT-based SFQ CNN accelerator, SMART improves the inference throughput by 3.9 × (2.2 ×), and reduces the inference energy by 86% (71%) when inferring a single image (a batch of images). 
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  2. null (Ed.)
    Genomics is the foundation of precision medicine, global food security and virus surveillance. Exact-match is one of the most essential operations widely used in almost every step of genomics such as alignment, assembly, annotation, and compression. Modern genomics adopts Ferragina-Manzini Index (FMIndex) augmenting space-efficient Burrows-Wheeler transform (BWT) with additional data structures to permit ultra-fast exact-match operations. However, FM-Index is notorious for its poor spatial locality and random memory access pattern. Prior works create GPU-, FPGA-, ASIC- and even process-in-memory (PIM)based accelerators to boost FM-Index search throughput. Though they achieve the state-of-the-art FM-Index search throughput, the same as all prior conventional accelerators, FM-Index PIMs process only one DNA symbol after each DRAM row activation, thereby suffering from poor memory bandwidth utilization. In this paper, we propose a hardware accelerator, EXMA, to enhance FM-Index search throughput. We first create a novel EXMA table with a multi-task-learning (MTL)-based index to process multiple DNA symbols with each DRAM row activation. We then build an accelerator to search over an EXMA table. We propose 2-stage scheduling to increase the cache hit rate of our accelerator. We introduce dynamic page policy to improve the row buffer hit rate of DRAM main memory. We also present CHAIN compression to reduce the data structure size of EXMA tables. Compared to state-of-the-art FM-Index PIMs, EXMA improves search throughput by 4.9 ×, and enhances search throughput per Watt by 4.8×. 
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  3. The emerging resistive random access memory (ReRAM) technology has been deemed as one of the most promising alternatives to DRAM in main memories, due to its better scalability, zero cell leakage and short read latency. The cross-point (CP) array enables ReRAM to obtain the theoretical minimum 4F^2 cell size by placing a cell at the cross-point of a word-line and a bit-line. However, ReRAM CP arrays suffer from large sneak current resulting in significant voltage drop that greatly prolongs the array RESET latency. Although prior works reduce the voltage drop in CP arrays, they either substantially increase the array peripheral overhead or cannot work well with wear leveling schemes. In this paper, we propose two array micro-architecture level techniques, dynamic RESET voltage regulation (DRVR) and partition RESET (PR), to mitigate voltage drop on both bit-lines and word-lines in ReRAM CP arrays. DRVR dynamically provides higher RESET voltage to the cells far from the write driver and thus encountering larger voltage drop on a bit-line, so that all cells on a bit-line share approximately the same latency during RESETs. PR decides how many and which cells to reset online to partition the CP array into multiple equivalent circuits with smaller word-line resistance and voltage drop. Because DRVR and PR greatly reduce the array RESET latency, the ReRAM-based main memory lifetime under the worst case non-stop write traffic significantly decreases. To increase the CP array endurance, we further upgrade DRVR by providing lower RESET voltage to the cells suffering from less voltage drop on a word-line. Our experimental results show that, compared to the combination of prior voltage drop reduction techniques, our DRVR and PR improve the system performance by 11.7% and decrease the energy consumption by 46% averagely, while still maintaining >10-year main memory system lifetime. 
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  4. Although Convolutional Neural Networks (CNNs) have demonstrated the state-of-the-art inference accuracy in various intelligent applications, each CNN inference involves millions of expensive floating point multiply-accumulate (MAC) operations. To energy-efficiently process CNN inferences, prior work proposes an electro-optical accelerator to process power-of-2 quantized CNNs by electro-optical ripple-carry adders and optical binary shifters. The electro-optical accelerator also uses SRAM registers to store intermediate data. However, electro-optical ripple-carry adders and SRAMs seriously limit the operating frequency and inference throughput of the electro-optical accelerator, due to the long critical path of the adder and the long access latency of SRAMs. In this paper, we propose a photonic nonvolatile memory (NVM)-based accelerator, Light-Bulb, to process binarized CNNs by high frequency photonic XNOR gates and popcount units. LightBulb also adopts photonic racetrack memory to serve as input/output registers to achieve high operating frequency. Compared to prior electro-optical accelerators, on average, LightBulb improves the CNN inference throughput by 17× ~ 173× and the inference throughput per Watt by 17.5 × ~ 660×. 
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  5. Genomics is the critical key to enabling precision medicine, ensuring global food security and enforcing wildlife conservation. The massive genomic data produced by various genome sequencing technologies presents a significant challenge for genome analysis. Because of errors from sequencing machines and genetic variations, approximate pattern matching (APM) is a must for practical genome analysis. Recent work proposes FPGA, ASIC and even process-in-memory-based accelerators to boost the APM throughput by accelerating dynamic-programming-based algorithms (e.g., Smith-Waterman). However, existing accelerators lack the efficient hardware acceleration for the exact pattern matching (EPM) that is an even more critical and essential function widely used in almost every step of genome analysis including assembly, alignment, annotation and compression. State-of-the-art genome analysis adopts the FM-Index that augments the space-efficient BWT with additional data structures permitting fast EPM operations. But the FM-Index is notorious for poor spatial locality and massive random memory accesses. In this paper, we propose a ReRAM-based process-in-memory architecture, FindeR, to enhance the FM-Index EPM search throughput in genomic sequences. We build a reliable and energy-efficient Hamming distance unit to accelerate the computing kernel of FM-Index search using commodity ReRAM chips without introducing extra CMOS logic. We further architect a full-fledged FM-Index search pipeline and improve its search throughput by lightweight scheduling on the NVDIMM. We also create a system library for programmers to invoke FindeR to perform EPMs in genome analysis. Compared to state-of-the-art accelerators, FindeR improves the FM-Index search throughput by 83% ~ 30K× and throughput per Watt by 3.5×~42.5K×. 
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