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Robust Near-Threshold QDI Circuit Analysis and Design


Keller, Sean Jason (2014) Robust Near-Threshold QDI Circuit Analysis and Design. Dissertation (Ph.D.), California Institute of Technology. doi:10.7907/79EJ-Q945.


The two most important digital-system design goals today are to reduce power consumption and to increase reliability. Reductions in power consumption improve battery life in the mobile space and reductions in energy lower operating costs in the datacenter. Increased robustness and reliability shorten down time, improve yield, and are invaluable in the context of safety-critical systems. While optimizing towards these two goals is important at all design levels, optimizations at the circuit level have the furthest reaching effects; they apply to all digital systems. This dissertation presents a study of robust minimum-energy digital circuit design and analysis. It introduces new device models, metrics, and methods of calculation—all necessary first steps towards building better systems—and demonstrates how to apply these techniques. It analyzes a fabricated chip (a full-custom QDI microcontroller designed at Caltech and taped-out in 40-nm silicon) by calculating the minimum energy operating point and quantifying the chip’s robustness in the face of both timing and functional failures.

Item Type:Thesis (Dissertation (Ph.D.))
Subject Keywords:VLSI, digital circuits, near-threshold, subthreshold, reliability
Degree Grantor:California Institute of Technology
Division:Engineering and Applied Science
Major Option:Computer Science
Thesis Availability:Public (worldwide access)
Research Advisor(s):
  • Martin, Alain J.
Thesis Committee:
  • Martin, Alain J. (chair)
  • Wierman, Adam C.
  • Emami, Azita
  • Harris, David Money
Defense Date:9 August 2013
Record Number:CaltechTHESIS:08172013-192316055
Persistent URL:
Default Usage Policy:No commercial reproduction, distribution, display or performance rights in this work are provided.
ID Code:7925
Deposited By: Sean Keller
Deposited On:12 Jan 2015 17:09
Last Modified:04 Oct 2019 00:02

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