Exploiting Configurable Approximations for Tolerating Aging-induced Timing Violations

Toshinori SATO

IEICE TRANSACTIONS on Fundamentals of Electronics, Communications and Computer Sciences   Vol.E103-A    No.9    pp.1028-1036
Publication Date: 2020/09/01
Online ISSN: 1745-1337
DOI: 10.1587/transfun.2019KEP0009
Type of Manuscript: Special Section PAPER (Special Section on Circuits and Systems)
approximate computing,  timing violation,  bias temperature instability,  configurability,  canary flip-flop,  

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This paper proposes a technique that increases the lifetime of large scale integration (LSI) devices. As semiconductor technology improves at miniaturizing transistors, aging effects due to bias temperature instability (BTI) seriously affects their lifetime. BTI increases the threshold voltage of transistors thereby also increasing the delay of an electronics device, resulting in failures due to timing violations. To compensate for aging-induced timing violations, we exploit configurable approximate computing. Assuming that target circuits have exact and approximate modes, they are configured for the approximate mode if an aging sensor predicts violations. Experiments using an example circuit revealed an increase in its lifetime to >10 years.