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IEEE TRANSACTIONS ON VERY LARGE SCALE INTEGRATION (VLSI) SYSTEMS, VOL. 17, NO. 8, AUGUST 2009 1127 Energy-Efficient Subthreshold Processor Design
 

Summary: IEEE TRANSACTIONS ON VERY LARGE SCALE INTEGRATION (VLSI) SYSTEMS, VOL. 17, NO. 8, AUGUST 2009 1127
Energy-Efficient Subthreshold Processor Design
Bo Zhai, Sanjay Pant, Leyla Nazhandali, Scott Hanson, Javin Olson, Anna Reeves, Michael Minuth,
Ryan Helfand, Todd Austin, Member, IEEE, Dennis Sylvester, Senior Member, IEEE, and David Blaauw
Abstract--Subthreshold circuits have drawn a strong interest
in recent ultralow power research. In this paper, we present a
highly efficient subthreshold microprocessor targeting sensor
application. It is optimized across different design stages including
ISA definition, microarchitecture evaluation and circuit and
implementation optimization. Our investigation concludes that
microarchitectural decisions in the subthreshold regime differ
significantly from that in conventional superthreshold mode. We
propose a new general-purpose sensor processor architecture,
which we call the Subliminal Processor. On the circuit side, sub-
threshold operation is known to exhibit an optimal energy point
( min). However, propagation delay also becomes more sensitive
to process variation and can reduce the energy scaling gain. We
conduct thorough analysis on how supply voltage and operating
frequency impact energy efficiency in a statistical context. With
careful library cell selection and robust static RAM design, the

  

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

 

Collections: Engineering; Computer Technologies and Information Sciences