We propose a novel edit distance-tolerant content addressable memory (EDAM) for energy-efcient approximate search applications. Unlike state-of-the-art approximate search solutions that tolerate certain Hamming distance between the query pattern and the stored data, EDAM tolerates edit distance, which makes it especially efcient in applications such as text processing and genome analysis. EDAM was designed using a commercial 65 nm 1.2 V CMOS technology and evaluated through extensive Monte Carlo simulations, while considering different process corners. Simulation results show that EDAM can achieve robust approximate search operation with a wide range of edit distance threshold levels. EDAM is functionally evaluated as a pathogen DNA detection and classifcation accelerator. EDAM achieves up to 1.7× higher F1 score for high-quality DNA reads and up to 19.55× higher F1 score for DNA reads with 15% error rate, compared to state-of-the-art DNA classifcation tool Kraken2. Simulated at 667 MHz, EDAM provides 1, 214× average speedup over Kraken2. This makes EDAM suitable for hardware acceleration of genomic surveillance of outbreaks, such as the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic.
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