PDL Abstract

A Workload and Programming Ease Driven Perspective of Processing-in-Memory

IBM Journal of Research and Development (JRD), Vol. 63, No. 6, November/December 2019.

Saugata Ghose† Amirali Boroumand† Jeremie S. Kim†§ Juan Gómez-Luna§ Onur Mutlu§†

†Carnegie Mellon University
§ETH Zürich


Many modern and emerging applications must process increasingly large volumes of data. Unfortunately, prevalent computing paradigms are not designed to efficiently handle such largescale data: the energy and performance costs to move this data between the memory subsystem and the CPU now dominate the total costs of computation. This forces system architects and designers to fundamentally rethink how to design computers. Processing-in-memory (PIM) is a computing paradigm that avoids most data movement costs by bringing computation to the data. New opportunities in modern memory systems are enabling architectures that can perform varying degrees of processing inside the memory subsystem. However, there are many practical system-level issues that must be tackled to construct PIM architectures, including enabling workloads and programmers to easily take advantage of PIM. This article examines three key domains of work towards the practical construction and widespread adoption of PIM architectures. First, we describe our work on systematically identifying opportunities for PIM in real applications, and quantify potential gains for popular emerging applications (e.g., machine learning, data analytics, genome analysis). Second, we aim to solve several key issues on programming these applications for PIM architectures. Third, we describe challenges that remain for the widespread adoption of PIM.