Association for Computing Machinery
Power dissipation and off-chip bandwidth restrictions are critical challenges that limit microprocessor performance. Ternary Content Addressable Memories (TCAM) holds the potential to address both problems in the context of a wide range of data-intensive workloads that benefit from associative search capability. Power dissipation is reduced by eliminating instruction processing and data movement overheads present in a purely RAM based system. Bandwidth demand is lowered by processing data directly on the TCAM chip, thereby decreasing off-chip traffic. Unfortunately, CMOS-based TCAM implementations are severely power- and area-limited, which restricts the capacity of commercial products to a few megabytes, and confines their use to niche networking applications.