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IEEE JOURNAL OF SOLID-STATE CIRCUITS, VOL. 43, NO. 4, APRIL 2008 881 Exploring Variability and Performance
 

Summary: IEEE JOURNAL OF SOLID-STATE CIRCUITS, VOL. 43, NO. 4, APRIL 2008 881
Exploring Variability and Performance
in a Sub-200-mV Processor
Scott Hanson, Member, IEEE, Bo Zhai, Mingoo Seok, Member, IEEE, Brian Cline, Kevin Zhou, Meghna Singhal,
Michael Minuth, Javin Olson, Leyla Nazhandali, Todd Austin, Dennis Sylvester, Senior Member, IEEE, and
David Blaauw, Member, IEEE
Abstract--In this study, we explore the design of a subthreshold
processor for use in ultra-low-energy sensor systems. We describe
an 8-bit subthreshold processor that has been designed with en-
ergy efficiency as the primary constraint. The processor, which
is functional below dd = 200 mV, consumes only 3.5 pJ/inst at
dd = 350 mV and, under a reverse body bias, draws only 11
nW at dd =160 mV. Process and temperature variations in sub-
threshold circuits can cause dramatic fluctuations in performance
and energy consumption and can lead to robustness problems. We
investigate the use of body biasing to adapt to process and tem-
perature variations. Test-chip measurements show that body bi-
asing is particularly effective in subthreshold circuits and can elim-
inate performance variations with minimal energy penalties. Re-
duced performance is also problematic at low voltages, so we in-

  

Source: Austin, Todd M. - Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science, University of Michigan

 

Collections: Engineering; Computer Technologies and Information Sciences