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General Methodology for Soft-Error-Aware Power Optimization Using Gate Sizing

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5 Author(s)
Dabiri, F. ; Comput. Sci. Dept., Univ. of California at Los Angeles, Los Angeles, CA ; Nahapetian, A. ; Massey, T. ; Potkonjak, M.
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Power consumption has emerged as the premier and most constraining aspect in modern microprocessor and application-specific designs. Gate sizing has been shown to be one of the most effective methods for power (and area) reduction in CMOS digital circuits. Recently, as the feature size of logic gates (and transistors) is becoming smaller and smaller, the effect of soft-error rates caused by single-event upsets (SEUs) is becoming exponentially greater. As a consequence of technology feature size reduction, the SEU rate for typical microprocessor logic at sea level will go from one in hundred years to one every minute. Unfortunately, the gate sizing requirements of power reduction and resiliency against SEU can be contradictory. 1) We consider the effects of gate sizing on SEU and incorporate the relationship between power reduction and SEU resiliency to develop a new method for power optimization under SEU constraints. 2) Although a nonlinear programming approach is a more obvious solution, we propose a convex programming formulation that can be solved efficiently. 3) Many of the optimal existing techniques for gate sizing deal with an exponential number of paths in the circuit. We prove that it is sufficient to consider a linear number of constraints. 4) We generalize our methodology to include nonlinear delay models and leakage power as well. As an important preprocessing step, we apply statistical modeling and validation techniques to quantify the impact of fault masking on the SEU rate. Furthermore, we adapt our method to incorporate process variation and evaluate our gate sizing technique under uncertainty. We evaluate the effectiveness of our methodology on ISCAS benchmarks and show that error rates can be reduced by a factor of 100%-200% while, on average, the power reduction is simultaneously decreased by less than 6%-10%, respectively, compared to the optimal power saving with no error rate constraints.

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Computer-Aided Design of Integrated Circuits and Systems, IEEE Transactions on  (Volume:27 ,  Issue: 10 )