FracDRAM: Fractional Values in Off-the-Shelf DRAM

Fei Gao, Georgios Tziantzioulis, David Wentzlaff

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution

2 Scopus citations


As one of the cornerstones of computing, dynamic random-access memory (DRAM) is prevalent across digital systems. Over the years, researchers have proposed modifications to DRAM macros or explored alternative uses of existing DRAM chips to extend the functionality of this ubiquitous media. This work expands on the latter, providing new insights and demonstrating new functionalities in unmodified, commodity DRAM. FracDRAM is the first work to show how fractional values can be stored in off-the-shelf DRAM. We propose two primitive operations built with specially timed DRAM command sequences, to either store fractional values to the entire DRAM row or to masked bits in a row. Utilizing fractional values, this work enables more modules to perform the in-memory majority operation, increases the stability of the existing in-memory majority operation, and builds a state-of-the-art DRAM-based PUF with unmodified DRAM. In total, 582 DDR3 chips from seven major vendors are evaluated and characterized under different environments in this work. FracDRAM breaks through the conventional binary abstraction of DRAM logic, and brings new functions to the existing DRAM macro.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationProceedings - 2022 55th Annual IEEE/ACM International Symposium on Microarchitecture, MICRO 2022
PublisherIEEE Computer Society
Number of pages15
ISBN (Electronic)9781665462723
StatePublished - 2022
Event55th Annual IEEE/ACM International Symposium on Microarchitecture, MICRO 2022 - Chicago, United States
Duration: Oct 1 2022Oct 5 2022

Publication series

NameProceedings of the Annual International Symposium on Microarchitecture, MICRO
ISSN (Print)1072-4451


Conference55th Annual IEEE/ACM International Symposium on Microarchitecture, MICRO 2022
Country/TerritoryUnited States

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Hardware and Architecture


  • DRAM
  • Memory Controller
  • PIM
  • Processing-with-Memory
  • PUF


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