Reducing Post-Placement Leakage With Stress-Enhanced Fill Cells


By Valeriy Sukharev, Jun-Ho Choy, Armen Kteyan and Henrik Hovsepyan As downward scaling of transistors continues, optimizing power consumption for mobile devices is a major concern. Power consumption consists of two components: dynamic and static. Dynamic (active) power is used while the chip is performing various functions, while static (leakage) power is consumed by leakage current (Figure... » read more

2016 And Beyond


Greek mythology and Roman history are replete with soothsayers, some of whom got it right and others wrong. Cassandra was cursed that her predictions wouldn’t be believed, even though she predicted the Trojan horse. Caesar’s soothsayer predicted the demise of Julius Caesar during the Ides of March, which Caesar himself was skeptical about, but indeed he was murdered before the Ides passed. ... » read more

Micro-Architectural Exploration For Low Power Design


By Abishek Ranjan, Saurabh Shrimal and Sanjiv Narayan The adoption of finFET technology has created a tectonic shift in the chip design landscape. In addition to better performance (within the same power envelope) and higher reliability, finFETs have significantly reduced the leakage power at smaller technology nodes. At the same time, the share of dynamic power dissipation continues to rise... » read more

Trouble Ahead For IP industry?


[getkc id="106" kc_name="Power-aware design"] has risen from an afterthought to a primary design constraint for some design types. Initially it was smart phones and other battery operated devices. It has consistently expanded into additional areas including those plugged into the wall and those plugged into the grid. Some parts of the world are imposing restrictions on the power that a device c... » read more

One-On-One: Dark Possibilities


Professor Michael Taylor’s research group at UC San Diego is studying ways to exploit dark silicon to optimize circuit designs for energy efficiency. He spoke with Semiconductor Engineering about the post-Dennard scaling regime, energy efficiency from integrated circuits all the way up to data centers, and how the manufacturing side can help. What follows are excerpts of that conversation. (P... » read more

Low Power Paradox


Power has been an important design challenge for quite some time. Leakage power started to grow in 90nm, and by 65nm it became a severe design issue. We have built many techniques to address leakage, most notably power gating. These techniques are complex and have an impact on the design as a whole. FinFET technologies are seen as a boon to this issue of leakage. There are references that qu... » read more

FinFET Based Designs: Reliability Verification Implications


Over the past few months, I’ve discussed various challenges associated with finFET-based designs. We all know that finFET devices enable design teams to operate their chips at significantly lower supply voltages with a very tight control on leakage current. But to control the overall power within a tight power budget, the challenge shifts to how the logic design is managed such that the overa... » read more

As Nodes Advance, So Must Power Analysis


By Chetandeep Singh and Ravi Tangirala Smaller geometry nodes offer cost and performance advantages that encourage their adoption. Yet they present a new set of challenges for IC manufacturers: Though transistors are smaller, they leak more current. This is an important issue as the demand for high-performance, battery-operated, system-on-chips (SoC) in communication and computing shifts th... » read more

Reliability Challenges In 16nm FinFET Design


As the IC industry rapidly adopts the 16nm technology node, IC designers are faced with a new wave of reliability challenges. The 16nm node has introduced several changes in the way that the devices are fabricated and how the metal stack-up is built. On one hand designers gain speed, leakage and density improvements. On the other, reliability engineers need to address the narrowing electromigra... » read more

Power Shifts In Digital Chip Space


By Bhanu Kapoor The power issue has been quite disrupting in the digital semiconductor space. The processor architecture shifted to parallel processing with the “power wall” stopping the frequency scaling that the industry had conveniently used in the last few decades. The power issue also is causing semiconductor process technology to change in ways other than simply scaling from one ... » read more

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