Architectural Solutions for NanoMagnet Logic

Giovanni Causapruno, M. Zamboni
2016
Tutore Coordinatore del corso di dottorato prof. Maurizio Zamboni prof. Ivo Montrosset Maggio 2016 Summary The successful era of CMOS technology is coming to an end. The limit on minimum fabrication dimensions of transistors and the increasing leakage power hinder the technological scaling that has characterized the last decades. In several different ways, this problem has been addressed changing the architectures implemented in CMOS, adopting parallel processors and thus increasing the
more » ... reasing the throughput at the same operating frequency. However, architectural alternatives cannot be the definitive answer to a continuous increase in performance dictated by Moore's law. This problem must be addressed from a technological point of view. Several alternative technologies that could substitute CMOS in next years are currently under study. Among them, magnetic technologies such as NanoMagnet Logic (NML) are interesting because they do not dissipate any leakage power. Moreover, magnets have memory capability, so it is possible to merge logic and memory in the same device. However, magnetic circuits, and NML in this specific research, have also some important drawbacks that need to be addressed: first, the circuit clock frequency is limited to 100 MHz, to avoid errors in data propagation; second, there is a connection between circuit layout and timing, and in particular, longer wires will have longer latency. These drawbacks are intrinsic to the technology and for this reason they cannot be avoided. The only chance is to limit their impact from an architectural point of view. The first step followed in the research path of this thesis is indeed the choice and optimization of architectures able to deal with the problems of NML. Systolic Arrays are identified as an ideal solution for this technology, because they are regular structures with local interconnections that limit the long latency of wires; moreover they are composed of several Processing Elements that work in parallel, thus exploit parallelization to increase throughput (limiting the impact of the low clock frequency). Through the analysis of Systolic Arrays for NML, several possible improvements have been identified and addressed: 1) it has been defined a rigorous way to increase throughput with interleaving, providing equations that allow to estimate the number of operations to be interleaved and the rules to provide inputs; 2) a latency insensitive circuit has been designed, that exploits a data communication II protocol between processing elements to avoid data synchronization problems. This feature has been exploited to design a latency insensitive Systolic Array that is able to execute the Floyd-Steinberg dithering algorithm. All the improvements presented in this framework apply to Systolic Arrays implemented in any technology. So, they can also be exploited to increase performance of today's CMOS parallel circuits. This research path is presented in Chapter 3. While Systolic Arrays are an interesting solution for NML, their usage could be quite limited because they are normally application-specific. The second research path addresses this problem. A Reconfigurable Systolic Array is presented, that can be programmed to execute several algorithms. This architecture has been tested implementing many algorithms, including FIR and IIR filters, Discrete Cosine Transform and Matrix Multiplication. This research path is presented in Chapter 4. In common Von Neumann architectures, the logic part of the circuit and the memory one are separated. Today bus communication between logic and memory represents the bottleneck of the system. This problem is addressed presenting Logic-In-Memory (LIM), an architecture where memory elements are merged in logic ones. This research path aims at defining a real LIM architectures. This has been done in two steps. The first step is represented by an architecture composed of three layers: memory, routing and logic. In the second step instead the routing plane is no more present, and its features are inherited by the memory plane. In this solution, a pyramidal memory model is used, where memories near logic elements contain the most probably used data, and other memory layers contain the remaining data and instruction set. This circuit has been tested with odd-even sort algorithms and it has been benchmarked against GPUs and ASIC. This research path is presented in Chapter 5. MagnetoElastic NML (ME-NML) is a technological improvement of the NML principle, proposed by researchers of Politecnico di Torino, where the clock system is based on the induced stretch of a piezoelectric substrate when a voltage is applied to its boundaries. The main advantage of this solution is that it consumes much less power than the classic clock implementation. This technology has not yet been investigated from an architectural point of view and considering complex circuits. In this research field, a standard methodology for the design of ME-NML circuits has been proposed. It is based on a Standard Cell Library and an enhanced VHDL model. The effectiveness of this methodology has been proved designing a Galois Field Multiplier. Moreover the serial-parallel trade-off in ME-NML has been investigated, designing three different solutions for the Multiply and Accumulate structure. This research path is presented in Chapter 6. While ME-NML is an extremely interesting technology, it needs to be combined with other faster technologies to have a real competitive system. Signal interfaces between NML and other technologies (mainly CMOS) have been rarely presented in III literature. A mixed-technology multiplexer is designed and presented as the basis for a CMOS to NML interface. The reverse interface (from ME-NML to CMOS) is instead based on a sensing circuit for the Faraday effect: a change in the polarization of a magnet induces an electric field that can be used to generate an input signal for a CMOS circuit. This research path is presented in Chapter 7. The research work presented in this thesis represents a fundamental milestone in the path towards nanotechnologies. The most important achievement is the design and simulation of complex circuits with NML, benchmarking this technology with real application examples. The characterization of a technology considering complex functions is a major step to be performed and that has not yet been addressed in literature for NML. Indeed, only in this way it is possible to intercept in advance any weakness of NanoMagnet Logic that cannot be discovered considering only small circuits. Moreover, the architectural improvements introduced in this thesis, although technology-driven, can be actually applied to any technology. We have demonstrated the advantages that can derive applying them to CMOS circuits. This thesis represents therefore a major step in two directions: the first is the enhancement of NML technology; the second is a general improvement of parallel architectures and the development of the new Logic-In-Memory paradigm. IV
doi:10.6092/polito/porto/2643285 fatcat:4cwxzkso5fgxngxybjsfxhaanm