Tech Talk: Near-Threshold Power

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


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.


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 –,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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