Design and modelling of variability tolerant on-chip communication structures for future high performance system on chip designs

Hassan, Faiz ul (2011) Design and modelling of variability tolerant on-chip communication structures for future high performance system on chip designs. PhD thesis, University of Glasgow.


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The incessant technology scaling has enabled the integration of functionally complex System-on-Chip (SoC) designs with a large number of heterogeneous systems on a single chip. The processing elements on these chips are integrated through on-chip communication structures which provide the infrastructure necessary for the exchange of data and control signals, while meeting the strenuous physical and design constraints. The use of vast amounts of on chip communications will be central to future designs where variability is an inherent characteristic. For this reason, in this thesis we investigate the performance and variability tolerance of typical on-chip communication structures. Understanding of the relationship between variability and communication is paramount for the designers; i.e. to devise new methods and techniques for designing performance and power efficient communication circuits in the forefront of challenges presented by deep sub-micron (DSM) technologies.
The initial part of this work investigates the impact of device variability due to Random Dopant Fluctuations (RDF) on the timing characteristics of basic communication elements. The characterization data so obtained can be used to estimate the performance and failure probability of simple links through the methodology proposed in this work. For the Statistical Static Timing Analysis (SSTA) of larger circuits, a method for accurate estimation of the probability density functions of different circuit parameters is proposed. Moreover, its significance on pipelined circuits is highlighted. Power and area are one of the most important design metrics for any integrated circuit (IC) design. This thesis emphasises the consideration of communication reliability while optimizing for power and area. A methodology has been proposed for the simultaneous optimization of performance, area, power and delay variability for a repeater inserted interconnect. Similarly for multi-bit parallel links, bandwidth driven optimizations have also been performed. Power and area efficient semi-serial links, less vulnerable to delay variations than the corresponding fully parallel links are introduced. Furthermore, due to technology scaling, the coupling noise between the link lines has become an important issue. With ever decreasing supply voltages, and the corresponding reduction in noise margins, severe challenges are introduced for performing timing verification in the presence of variability. For this reason an accurate model for crosstalk noise in an interconnection as a function of time and skew is introduced in this work. This model can be used for the identification of skew condition that gives maximum delay noise, and also for efficient design verification.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Qualification Level: Doctoral
Keywords: Variability tolerant, on-chip communication, Communication Structures, Network-on-Chip Links
Subjects: T Technology > TK Electrical engineering. Electronics Nuclear engineering
Colleges/Schools: College of Science and Engineering > School of Engineering
Supervisor's Name: Rodriguez-Salazar, Dr. Fernando
Date of Award: 2011
Depositing User: Mr. F. Hassan
Unique ID: glathesis:2011-2729
Copyright: Copyright of this thesis is held by the author.
Date Deposited: 05 Jul 2011
Last Modified: 10 Dec 2012 13:59

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