Generation of Minimal Leakage Input Vectors with Constrained NBTI Degradation
Technology scaling has caused Negative Bias Temperature Instability (NBTI) to emerge as a major circuit reliability concern. Simultaneously leakage power is becoming a greater fraction of the total power dissipated by logic circuits. As both NBTI and leakage power are highly dependent on vectors applied at the circuit’s inputs, they can be minimized by applying carefully chosen input vectors during periods when the circuit is in standby or idle mode. Unfortunately input vectors that minimize leakage power are not the ones that minimize NBTI degradation, so there is a need for a methodology to generate input vectors that minimize both of these variables.This paper proposes such a systematic methodology for the generation of input vectors which minimize leakage power under the constraint that NBTI degradation does not exceed a specified limit. These input vectors can be applied at the primary inputs of a circuit when it is in standby/idle mode and are such that the gates dissipate only a small amount of leakage power and also allow a large majority of the transistors on critical paths to be in the “recovery” phase of NBTI degradation. The advantage of this methodology is that allowing circuit designers to constrain NBTI degradation to below a specified limit enables tighter guardbanding, increasing performance. Our methodology guarantees that the generated input vector dissipates the least leakage power among all the input vectors that satisfy the degradation constraint.We formulate the problem as a zero-one integer linear program and show that this formulation produces input vectors whose leakage power is within 1% of a minimum leakage vector selected by a search algorithm and simultaneously reduces NBTI by about 5.75% of maximum circuit delay as compared to the worst case NBTI degradation. Our paper also proposes two new algorithms for the identification of circuit paths that are affected the most by NBTI degradation. The number of such paths identified by our algorithms are an order of magnitude fewer than previously proposed heuristics.
- Electrical Engineering, Electronic Engineering, Information Engineering
7th IEEE East-West Design and Test Symposium (EWDTS)