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A self-adaptive system architecture to address transistor aging

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2 Author(s)
Omer Khan ; Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering, University of Massachusetts, Amherst, USA 01002 ; Sandip Kundu

As semiconductor manufacturing enters advanced nanometer design paradigm, aging and device wear-out related degradation is becoming a major concern. Negative Bias Temperature Instability (NBTI) is one of the main sources of device lifetime degradation. The severity of such degradation depends on the operation history of a chip in the field, including such characteristics as temperature and workloads. In this paper, we propose a system level reliability management scheme where a chip dynamically adjusts its own operating frequency and supply voltage over time as the device ages. Major benefits of the proposed approach are (i) increased performance due to reduced frequency guard banding in the factory and (ii) continuous field adjustments that take environmental operating conditions such as actual room temperature and the power supply tolerance into account. The greatest challenge in implementing such a scheme is to perform calibration without a tester. Much of this work is performed by a hypervisor like software with very little hardware assistance. This keeps both the hardware overhead and the system complexity low. This paper describes the entire system architecture including hardware and software components. Our simulation data indicates that under aggressive wear-out conditions, scheduling interval of days or weeks is sufficient to reconfigure and keep the system operational, thus the run time overhead for such adjustments is of no consequence at all.

Published in:

2009 Design, Automation & Test in Europe Conference & Exhibition

Date of Conference:

20-24 April 2009