AICAS 2021
Conference paper

Design Tools for Resistive Crossbar based Machine Learning Accelerators

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Resistive crossbar based accelerators for Machine Learning (ML) have attracted great interest as they offer the prospect of high density on-chip storage as well as efficient in-memory matrix-vector multiplication (MVM) operations. Despite their promises, they present several design challenges, such as high write costs, overhead of analog-To-digital and digital-To-Analog converters and other peripheral circuits, and accuracy degradation due to the the analog nature of in-memory computing coupled with device and circuit level non-idealities. The unique characteristics of crossbar-based accelerators pose unique challenges for design automation. We outline a design flow for crossbar-based accelerators, and elaborate on some key tools involved in such a flow. Specifically, we discuss architectural estimation of metrics such as power, performance and area, and functional simulation to evaluate algorithmic accuracy considering the impact of non-idealities.