The memory system is a fundamental performance and energy bottleneck in almost all computing systems. Recent system design, application, and technology trends that require more capacity, bandwidth, efficiency, and predictability out of the memory system make it an even more important system bottleneck. At the same time, DRAM and flash technologies are experiencing difficult technology scaling challenges that make the maintenance and enhancement of their capacity, energy efficiency, performance, and reliability significantly more costly with conventional techniques. In fact, recent reliability issues with DRAM, such as the RowHammer problem, are already threatening system security and predictability. We are at the challenging intersection where issues in memory reliability and performance are tightly coupled with not only system cost and energy efficiency but also system security.
In this lecture series, we first discuss major challenges facing modern memory systems (and the computing platforms we currently design around the memory system) in the presence of greatly increasing demand for data and its fast analysis. We then examine some promising research and design directions to overcome these challenges. We discuss at least three key topics in some detail, focusing on both open problems and potential solution directions:
1) fundamental issues in memory reliability and security and how to enable fundamentally secure, reliable, safe architectures
2) enabling data-centric and hence fundamentally energy-efficient architectures that are capable of performing computation near data
3) reducing both latency and energy consumption by tackling the fixed-latency/energy mindset
If time permits, we will also discuss research challenges and opportunities in enabling emerging NVM (non-volatile memory) technologies and scaling NAND flash memory and SSDs (solid state drives) into the future.