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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.

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Date Created
  • 2015

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Testing of threshold logic latch based hybrid circuits

Description

The advent of threshold logic simplifies the traditional Boolean logic to the single level multi-input function. Threshold logic latch (TLL), among implementations of threshold logic, is functionally equivalent to a

The advent of threshold logic simplifies the traditional Boolean logic to the single level multi-input function. Threshold logic latch (TLL), among implementations of threshold logic, is functionally equivalent to a multi-input function with an edge triggered flip-flop, which stands out to improve area and both dynamic and leakage power consumption, providing an appropriate design alternative. Accordingly, the TLL standard cell library is designed. Through technology mapping, hybrid circuit is generated by absorbing the logic cone backward from each flip-flip to get the smallest remaining feeder. With the scan test methodology adopted, design for testability (DFT) is proposed, including scan element design and scan chain insertion. Test synthesis flow is then introduced, according to the Cadence tool, RTL compiler. Test application is the process of applying vectors and the response analysis, which is mainly about the testbench design. A parameterized generic self-checking Verilog testbench is designed for static fault detection. Test development refers to the fault modeling, and test generation. Firstly, functional truth table test generation on TLL cells is proposed. Before the truth table test of the threshold function, the dependence of sequence of vectors applied, i.e., the dependence of current state on the previous state, should be eliminated. Transition test (dynamic pattern) on all weak inputs is proved to be able to test the reset function, which is supposed to erase the history in the reset phase before every evaluation phase. Remaining vectors in the truth table except the weak inputs are then applied statically (static pattern). Secondly, dynamic patterns for all weak inputs are proposed to detect structural transistor level faults analyzed in the TLL cell, with single fault assumption and stuck-at faults, stuck-on faults, and stuck-open faults under consideration. Containing those patterns, the functional test covers all testable structural faults inside the TLL. Thirdly, with the scope of the whole hybrid netlist, the procedure of test generation is proposed with three steps: scan chain test; test of feeders and other scan elements except TLLs; functional pattern test of TLL cells. Implementation of this procedure is discussed in the automatic test pattern generation (ATPG) chapter.

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Date Created
  • 2013