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Virtually cool ternary content addressable memory

Bhattacharya, Suparna and Gopinath, K (2011) Virtually cool ternary content addressable memory. In: HotOS'13 Proceedings of the 13th USENIX conference on Hot topics in operating systems, 2011, USENIX Association Berkeley, CA, USA.

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Fast content addressable data access mechanisms have compelling applications in today's systems. Many of these exploit the powerful wildcard matching capabilities provided by ternary content addressable memories. For example, TCAM based implementations of important algorithms in data mining been developed in recent years; these achieve an an order of magnitude speedup over prevalent techniques. However, large hardware TCAMs are still prohibitively expensive in terms of power consumption and cost per bit. This has been a barrier to extending their exploitation beyond niche and special purpose systems. We propose an approach to overcome this barrier by extending the traditional virtual memory hierarchy to scale up the user visible capacity of TCAMs while mitigating the power consumption overhead. By exploiting the notion of content locality (as opposed to spatial locality), we devise a novel combination of software and hardware techniques to provide an abstraction of a large virtual ternary content addressable space. In the long run, such abstractions enable applications to disassociate considerations of spatial locality and contiguity from the way data is referenced. If successful, ideas for making content addressability a first class abstraction in computing systems can open up a radical shift in the way applications are optimized for memory locality, just as storage class memories are soon expected to shift away from the way in which applications are typically optimized for disk access locality.

Item Type: Conference Paper
Publisher: Association for Computing Machinery
Additional Information: Copyright of this article belongs to Association for Computing Machinery.
Department/Centre: Division of Electrical Sciences > Computer Science & Automation
Date Deposited: 05 Mar 2013 08:27
Last Modified: 05 Mar 2013 08:28
URI: http://eprints.iisc.ac.in/id/eprint/45980

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