Leakage Power Modeling and Reduction Techniques for Field Programmable Gate Arrays
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FPGAs have become quite popular for implementing digital circuits and systems because of reduced costs and fast design cycles. This has led to increased complexity of FPGAs, and with technology scaling, many new challenges have come up for the FPGA industry, leakage power being one of the key challenges. The current generation FPGAs are being implemented in 90nm technology, therefore, managing leakage power in deep-submicron FPGAs has become critical for the FPGA industry to remain competitive in the semiconductor market and to enter the mobile applications domain. <br /><br /> In this work an analytical state dependent leakage power model for FPGAs is developed, followed by dual-Vt based designs of the FPGA architecture for reducing leakage power. <br /><br /> The leakage power model computes subthreshold and gate leakage in FPGAs, since these are the two dominant components of total leakage power in the scaled nanometer technologies. The leakage power model takes into account the dependency of gate and subthreshold leakage on the state of the circuit inputs. The leakage power model has two main components, one which computes the probability of a state for a particular FPGA circuit element, and the other which computes the leakage of the FPGA circuit element for a given input using analytical equations. This FPGA power model is particularly important for rapidly analyzing various FPGA architectures across different technology nodes. <br /><br /> Dual-Vt based designs of the FPGA architecture are proposed, developed, and evaluated, for reducing the leakage power using a CAD framework. The logic and the routing resources of the FPGA are considered for dual-Vt assignment. The number of the logic elements that can be assigned high-Vt in the <em>ideal</em> case by using a dual-Vt assignment algorithm in the CAD framework is estimated. Based upon this estimate two kinds of architectures are developed and evaluated, homogeneous and heterogeneous architectures. Results indicate that leakage power savings of up to 50% can be obtained from these architectures. The analytical state dependent leakage power model developed has been used for estimating the leakage power savings from the dual-Vt FPGA architectures. The CAD framework that has been developed can also be used for developing and evaluating different dual-Vt FPGA architectures, other than the ones proposed in this work.