An Energy-Efficient System with Timing-Reliable Error-Detection Sequentials
A new type of energy-efficient digital system that integrate EDS and DVS circuits has been developed. In these systems, EDS-monitored paths convert the PVT variations into timing variations. Nevertheless, the conversion can suffer from the reliability issue (extrinsic EDS-reliability). EDS circuits detect the unfavorable timing variations (so called ``error'') and guide DVS circuits to adjust the operating voltage to a proper lower level to save the energy. However, the error detection is generally susceptible to the metastability problem (intrinsic EDS-reliability) due to the synchronizer in EDS circuits. The MTBF due to metastability is exponentially related to the synchronizer delay. This dissertation proposes a new EDS circuit deployment strategy to enhance the extrinsic EDS-reliability. This strategy requires neither buffer insertion nor an extra clock and is applicable for FPGA implementations. An FPGA-based Discrete Cosine Transform with EDS and DVS circuits deployed in this fashion demonstrates up to 16.5\% energy savings over a conventional design at equivalent frequency setting and image quality, with a 0.8\% logic element and 3.5\% maximum frequency penalties. VBSs are proposed to improve the synchronizer delay under single low-voltage supply environments. A VBS consists of a Jamb latch and a switched-capacitor-based charge pump that provides a voltage boost to the Jamb Latch to speed up the metastability resolution. The charge pump can be either CVBS or MVBS. A new methodology for extracting the metastability parameters of synchronizers under changing biasing currents is proposed. For a 1-year MTBF specification, MVBS and CVBS show 2.0 to 2.7 and 5.1 to 9.8 times the delay improvement over the basic Jamb latch, respectively, without large power consumption. Optimization techniques including transistor sizing, FBB and dynamic implementation are further applied. For a common MTBF specification at typical PVT conditions, the optimized MVBS and CVBS show 2.97 to 7.57 and 4.14 to 8.13 times the delay improvement over the basic Jamb latch, respectively. In post-Layout simulations, MVBS and CVBS are 1.84 and 2.63 times faster than the basic Jamb latch, respectively.