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December 5th 2002
Computer Laboratory > Research > Systems Research Group > NetOS > Seminars > December 5th 2002

Intelligent memory for desktop computers

James Bulpin
It is well known that main memory latency is increasing relative to processor execution speeds. One way to reduce this performance gap is to physically move memory and computation closer together, such as building them on the same chip. Previous work has evaluated the technical feasibility of such an approach but has tended to concentrate on high power computer systems as the application. I argue that this "intelligent memory" idea can be applied to commodity desktop computers. In order to be successful in this arena, in addition to providing a performance improvement the use of intelligent memory must fit well with existing hardware and software. For example, exisiting software must be able to run on the system without any exposed modification. In this talk I propose an architecture which allows the replacement of some or all of the standard memory modules in a desktop computer with "intelligent" ones. Unlike previous work in the area I propose keeping the main processor(s). Operating system support will be needed to make use of the memory processors, moving the computation to the processor predicted to provide the best performance at the time.