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Document Type

Open Access

Degree Program

Electrical & Computer Engineering

Degree Type

Master of Science (M.S.)

Year Degree Awarded

2010

Month Degree Awarded

February

Keywords

post silicon tunable, process variation, critical path tracing, die specific tuning, clock tree synthesis

Abstract

Optical shrink for process migration, manufacturing process variation and dynamic voltage control leads to clock skew as well as path delay variation in a manufactured chip. Since such variations are difficult to predict in pre-silicon phase, tunable clock buffers have been used in several microprocessor designs. The buffer delays are tuned to improve maximum operating clock frequency of a design. This however shifts the burden of finding tuning settings for individual clock buffers to the test process. In this project, we describe a process of using tester measurements to determine the settings of the tunable buffers for recovery of performance lost due to process variations. Then we study the impact of positioning of tunable buffers in the clock tree. In course of our study it was observed that the greatest benefit from tunable buffer placement can be derived, when the clock tree is synthesized with future tuning considerations. Accordingly, we present a clock tree synthesis procedure which offers very good mitigation against process variation, as borne out by the results. The results show that without any design intervention, an average improvement of 9% is achieved by our tuning system. However, when the clock tree is synthesized based on static timing information with tuning buffer placement considerations, much larger performance improvement is possible. In one example, performance improved by as much as 18%.

First Advisor

Sandip Kundu

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