CAP-RAM: A Charge-Domain In-Memory Computing 6T-SRAM for Accurate and Precision-Programmable CNN Inference

6 Jul 2021  ·  Zhiyu Chen, Zhanghao Yu, Qing Jin, Yan He, Jingyu Wang, Sheng Lin, Dai Li, Yanzhi Wang, Kaiyuan Yang ·

A compact, accurate, and bitwidth-programmable in-memory computing (IMC) static random-access memory (SRAM) macro, named CAP-RAM, is presented for energy-efficient convolutional neural network (CNN) inference. It leverages a novel charge-domain multiply-and-accumulate (MAC) mechanism and circuitry to achieve superior linearity under process variations compared to conventional IMC designs. The adopted semi-parallel architecture efficiently stores filters from multiple CNN layers by sharing eight standard 6T SRAM cells with one charge-domain MAC circuit. Moreover, up to six levels of bit-width of weights with two encoding schemes and eight levels of input activations are supported. A 7-bit charge-injection SAR (ciSAR) analog-to-digital converter (ADC) getting rid of sample and hold (S&H) and input/reference buffers further improves the overall energy efficiency and throughput. A 65-nm prototype validates the excellent linearity and computing accuracy of CAP-RAM. A single 512x128 macro stores a complete pruned and quantized CNN model to achieve 98.8% inference accuracy on the MNIST data set and 89.0% on the CIFAR-10 data set, with a 573.4-giga operations per second (GOPS) peak throughput and a 49.4-tera operations per second (TOPS)/W energy efficiency.

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