Parametric Yield of VLSI Systems under Variability: Analysis and Design Solutions
MetadataShow full item record
Variability has become one of the vital challenges that the designers of integrated circuits encounter. variability becomes increasingly important. Imperfect manufacturing process manifest itself as variations in the design parameters. These variations and those in the operating environment of VLSI circuits result in unexpected changes in the timing, power, and reliability of the circuits. With scaling transistor dimensions, process and environmental variations become significantly important in the modern VLSI design. A smaller feature size means that the physical characteristics of a device are more prone to these unaccounted-for changes. To achieve a robust design, the random and systematic fluctuations in the manufacturing process and the variations in the environmental parameters should be analyzed and the impact on the parametric yield should be addressed. This thesis studies the challenges and comprises solutions for designing robust VLSI systems in the presence of variations. Initially, to get some insight into the system design under variability, the parametric yield is examined for a small circuit. Understanding the impact of variations on the yield at the circuit level is vital to accurately estimate and optimize the yield at the system granularity. Motivated by the observations and results, found at the circuit level, statistical analyses are performed, and solutions are proposed, at the system level of abstraction, to reduce the impact of the variations and increase the parametric yield. At the circuit level, the impact of the supply and threshold voltage variations on the parametric yield is discussed. Here, a design centering methodology is proposed to maximize the parametric yield and optimize the power-performance trade-off under variations. In addition, the scaling trend in the yield loss is studied. Also, some considerations for design centering in the current and future CMOS technologies are explored. The investigation, at the circuit level, suggests that the operating temperature significantly affects the parametric yield. In addition, the yield is very sensitive to the magnitude of the variations in supply and threshold voltage. Therefore, the spatial variations in process and environmental variations make it necessary to analyze the yield at a higher granularity. Here, temperature and voltage variations are mapped across the chip to accurately estimate the yield loss at the system level. At the system level, initially the impact of process-induced temperature variations on the power grid design is analyzed. Also, an efficient verification method is provided that ensures the robustness of the power grid in the presence of variations. Then, a statistical analysis of the timing yield is conducted, by taking into account both the process and environmental variations. By considering the statistical profile of the temperature and supply voltage, the process variations are mapped to the delay variations across a die. This ensures an accurate estimation of the timing yield. In addition, a method is proposed to accurately estimate the power yield considering process-induced temperature and supply voltage variations. This helps check the robustness of the circuits early in the design process. Lastly, design solutions are presented to reduce the power consumption and increase the timing yield under the variations. In the first solution, a guideline for floorplaning optimization in the presence of temperature variations is offered. Non-uniformity in the thermal profiles of integrated circuits is an issue that impacts the parametric yield and threatens chip reliability. Therefore, the correlation between the total power consumption and the temperature variations across a chip is examined. As a result, floorplanning guidelines are proposed that uses the correlation to efficiently optimize the chip's total power and takes into account the thermal uniformity. The second design solution provides an optimization methodology for assigning the power supply pads across the chip for maximizing the timing yield. A mixed-integer nonlinear programming (MINLP) optimization problem, subject to voltage drop and current constraint, is efficiently solved to find the optimum number and location of the pads.