FeFET-based Binarized Neural Networks Under Temperature-dependent Bit Errors


Ferroelectric FET (FeFET) is a highly promising emerging non-volatile memory (NVM) technology, especially for binarized neural network (BNN) inference on the low-power edge. The reliability of such devices, however, inherently depends on temperature. Hence, changes in temperature during run time manifest themselves as changes in bit error rates. In this work, we reveal the temperature-dependent bit error model of FeFET memories, evaluate its effect on BNN accuracy, and propose countermeasures. We begin on the transistor level and accurately model the impact of temperature on bit error rates of FeFET. This analysis reveals temperature-dependent asymmetric bit error rates. Afterwards, on the application level, we evaluate the impact of the temperature-dependent bit errors on the accuracy of BNNs. Under such bit errors, the BNN accuracy drops to unacceptable levels when no countermeasures are employed. We propose two countermeasures: (1) Training BNNs for bit error tolerance by injecting bit flips into the BNN data, and (2) applying a bit error rate assignment algorithm (BERA) which operates in a layer-wise manner and does not inject bit flips during training. In experiments, the BNNs, to which the countermeasures are applied to, effectively tolerate temperature-dependent bit errors for the entire range of operating temperature.

IEEE Transactions on Computers