How to Live with Uncertainties: Exploiting the Performance Benefits of Self-Timed Logic In Synchronous Design

G. Paci, A. Nackaerts, F. Catthoor, L. Benini, P. Marchal
2008 2008 11th EUROMICRO Conference on Digital System Design Architectures, Methods and Tools  
Ultra low power digital systems are key for any future wireless sensor nodes but also inside nomadic embedded systems (such as inside the digital front end of software defined radios). These systems require the highest possible energy efficiency of logic, which can only be achieved by operating in moderate inversion. Unfortunately, when operating near the threshold voltage, transistors become highly sensitive to process variations, thereby increasing leakage currents and complicating timing
more » ... ure. Rather than pursuing a worst-case design approach for dealing with these uncertainties, we present a hybrid selftimed/synchronous approach. It will be demonstrated on the VEX VLIW core designed for ultra low-power operations. Experimental results of our approach demonstrate performance benefits up to 2x and significant energy savings at low throughput rates.
doi:10.1109/dsd.2008.114 dblp:conf/dsd/PaciNCBM08 fatcat:pl5bnopk65fztn5crwv4axtwx4