Low-VDD Operation of SRAM Synaptic Array for Implementing Ternary Neural Network

Xiaoyu Sun, Rui Liu, Yi Ju Chen, Hsiao Yun Chiu, Wei Hao Chen, Meng Fan Chang, Shimeng Yu

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

4 Scopus citations


For Internet of Things (IoT) edge devices, it is very attractive to have the local sensemaking capability instead of sending all the data back to the cloud for information processing. For image pattern recognition, neuro-inspired machine learning algorithms have demonstrated enormous powerfulness. To effectively implement learning algorithms on-chip for IoT edge devices, on-chip synaptic memory architectures have been proposed to implement the key operations such as weighted-sum or matrix-vector multiplication. In this paper, we proposed a low-power design of static random access memory (SRAM) synaptic array for implementing a low-precision ternary neural network. We experimentally demonstrated that the supply voltage (VDD) of the SRAM array could be aggressively reduced to a level, where the SRAM cell is susceptible to bit failures. The testing results from 65-nm SRAM chips indicate that VDD could be reduced from the nominal 1-0.55 V (or 0.5 V) with a bit error rate ~ 0.23% (or ~ 1.56%), which only introduced ~ 0.08% (or ~ 1.68%) degradation in the classification accuracy. As a result, the power consumption could be reduced by more than 8x (or 10x ).

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalIEEE Transactions on Very Large Scale Integration (VLSI) Systems
StateAccepted/In press - Jul 28 2017


  • Arrays
  • Binary synapses
  • classification
  • Image coding
  • low power
  • neural network
  • Neural networks
  • Neurons
  • SRAM cells
  • static random access memory (SRAM).
  • Training

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Software
  • Hardware and Architecture
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering

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