Tech Talk: Near-Threshold Power

A look at the power benefits and performance impact as designs move closer to voltage thresholds.

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Lauri Koskinen, CTO and founder of Minima Processor, and Ron Moore, vice president of marketing at ARM, talk about near-threshold computing, dynamic power and margining, and how these techniques can extend battery life and reduce energy consumption.



2 comments

Erkki Izarra says:

And then your business guy says, we will never be able to sell this 🙂 Well explained!

Kev says:

I went to a tech paper on that at DAC in SF a few years ago (IBM I think), so nothing new.

Unfortunately nobody is fixing the tool flow for doing verification of variable/low Voltage stuff (DVFS etc.), and you really want to be doing asynchronous circuits too which VCS/NC etc. definitely don’t handle.

These two things can fix that –

https://xyce.sandia.gov/

http://www.wiley.com/WileyCDA/WileyTitle/productCd-0470226099,subjectCd-EEJ0.html

It’s just a question of who wants to put some money into the tools, and I haven’t seen ARM do anything on that front, and I wouldn’t hold my breath waiting for any of the EDA companies to fix things (given past performance on AMS issues).

However, the prize here is quite large – not so much the extended battery life, but the ability to die-stack many layers of Silicon to create very dense computing machines that start getting close to what the human brain can do. NB: good if you can do thermal modeling too for that.

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