Energy-efficient digital circuit design using threshold logic gates

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Improving energy efficiency has always been the prime objective of the custom and automated digital circuit design techniques. As a result, a multitude of methods to reduce power without sacrificing

Improving energy efficiency has always been the prime objective of the custom and automated digital circuit design techniques. As a result, a multitude of methods to reduce power without sacrificing performance have been proposed. However, as the field of design automation has matured over the last few decades, there have been no new automated design techniques, that can provide considerable improvements in circuit power, leakage and area. Although emerging nano-devices are expected to replace the existing MOSFET devices, they are far from being as mature as semiconductor devices and their full potential and promises are many years away from being practical.

The research described in this dissertation consists of four main parts. First is a new circuit architecture of a differential threshold logic flipflop called PNAND. The PNAND gate is an edge-triggered multi-input sequential cell whose next state function is a threshold function of its inputs. Second a new approach, called hybridization, that replaces flipflops and parts of their logic cones with PNAND cells is described. The resulting \hybrid circuit, which consists of conventional logic cells and PNANDs, is shown to have significantly less power consumption, smaller area, less standby power and less power variation.

Third, a new architecture of a field programmable array, called field programmable threshold logic array (FPTLA), in which the standard lookup table (LUT) is replaced by a PNAND is described. The FPTLA is shown to have as much as 50% lower energy-delay product compared to conventional FPGA using well known FPGA modeling tool called VPR.

Fourth, a novel clock skewing technique that makes use of the completion detection feature of the differential mode flipflops is described. This clock skewing method improves the area and power of the ASIC circuits by increasing slack on timing paths. An additional advantage of this method is the elimination of hold time violation on given short paths.

Several circuit design methodologies such as retiming and asynchronous circuit design can use the proposed threshold logic gate effectively. Therefore, the use of threshold logic flipflops in conventional design methodologies opens new avenues of research towards more energy-efficient circuits.