Optimal Control of Supply and Threshold Voltages for Variable-Throughput Systems

Fujio Ishihara1 and Joshua Garrett
(Professor Borivoje Nikolic)

In variable-throughput digital systems, power dissipation can be reduced by adjusting the operating frequency, supply voltage, or MOSFET threshold voltage, so that the system throughput never exceeds the requirements. Supply voltage scaling (VS) has been one of the most effective power-reduction techniques [1,2]. Threshold voltage scaling (TS) has also been proposed to effectively curtail the leakage power of the system [3]. Minimizing the power dissipation for a given throughput requires a careful balance of active and static power contributions, which can be achieved by simultaneous control of both supply and threshold. This research investigates several power reduction scenarios through different technology generations, logic depths, and switching activities, and demonstrates the effectiveness of each power reduction technique on both an inverter chain-based calculation model and through simulation of a 20-bit adder circuit. A typical variable-throughput system, an inverse discrete cosine transformer for an MPEG decoder, is also designed for hardware demonstration of the effectiveness of supply and threshold voltage control.

T. D. Burd et al., "A Dynamic Voltage Scaled Microprocessor System," IEEE J. Solid-State Circuits, Vol. 35, No. 11, November 2000.
A. Chandrakasan et al., "Data Driven Signal Processing: An Approach for Energy Efficient Computing," Proc. Int. Symp. Low Power Electronics and Design, Monterey, CA, August 1996.
K. Nose et al., "VTH-Hopping Scheme for 82% Power Saving in Low-Voltage Processors," Proc. Custom Integrated Circuit Conf., San Diego, CA, May 2001.
1Visiting Industrial Fellow, Toshiba Corp.

Send mail to the author : (joshuag@eecs.berkeley.edu)

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