Conference Paper

A new paradigm for low-power, variation-tolerant circuit synthesis using critical path isolation.

DOI: 10.1145/1233501.1233628 Conference: 2006 International Conference on Computer-Aided Design (ICCAD'06), November 5-9, 2006, San Jose, CA, USA
Source: DBLP

ABSTRACT Design considerations for robustness with respect to variations and low power operations typically impose contradictory design requirements. Low power design techniques such as voltage scaling, dual-Vth etc. can have a large negative impact on parametric yield. In this paper, we propose a novel paradigm for low-power variation- tolerant circuit design, which allows aggressive voltage scaling. The principal idea is to (a) isolate and predict the set of possible paths that may become critical under process variations, (b) ensure that they are activated rarely, and (c) avoid possible delay failures in the critical paths by dynamically switching to two-cycle operation (assuming all standard operations are single cycle), when they are activated. This allows us to operate the circuit at reduced supply voltage while achieving the required yield. Simulation results on a set of benchmark circuits at 70nm process technology show average power reduction of 60% with less than 10% performance overhead and 18% overhead in die-area compared to conventional synthesis. Application of the proposed methodology to pipelined design is also investigated.

1 Follower
  • Source
    IEEE Transactions on Circuits and Systems for Video Technology 06/2013; · 2.26 Impact Factor
  • Source
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Instance and temperature-dependent leakage power variability is already a significant issue in contemporary embedded processors, and one which is expected to increase in importance with scaling of semiconductor technology. We measure and characterize this leakage power variability in current microprocessors, and show that variability aware duty cycle scheduling produces 7.1× improvement in sensing quality for a desired lifetime. In contrast, pessimistic estimations of power consumption leave 61% of the energy untapped, and datasheet power specifications fail to meet required lifetimes by 14%. Finally, we introduce a duty cycle abstraction for TinyOS that allows applications to explicitly specify lifetime and minimum duty cycle requirements for individual tasks, and dynamically adjusts duty cycle rates so that overall quality of service is maximized in the presence of power variability.
    Design, Automation & Test in Europe Conference & Exhibition (DATE), 2011; 04/2011
  • Source
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Pipelined processor cores are conventionally designed to accommodate the critical paths in the critical pipeline stage(s) in a single clock cycle, to ensure correctness. Such conservative design is wasteful in many cases since critical paths are rarely exercised. Thus, configuring the pipeline to operate correctly for rarely used critical paths targets the uncommon case instead of optimizing for the common case. In this study, we describe Trifecta-an architectural technique that completes common-case, subcritical path operations in a single cycle but uses two cycles when the critical path is exercised. This increases slack for both single-and two-cycle operations and offers a unique advantage under process variation. In contrast with existing mechanisms that trade power or performance for yield, Trifecta improves the yield while preserving performance and power. We applied this technique to the critical pipeline stages of a superscalar out-of-order (OoO) and a single issue in-order processor, namely instruction issue and execute, respectively. Our experiments show that the rare two-cycle operations result in a small decrease (5% for integer and 2% for floating-point benchmarks of SPEC2000) in instructions per cycle. However, the increased delay slack causes an improvement in yield-adjusted-throughput by 20% (12.7%) for an in-order (InO) processor configuration.
    IEEE Transactions on Very Large Scale Integration (VLSI) Systems 02/2010; DOI:10.1109/TVLSI.2008.2007491 · 1.14 Impact Factor


Available from