Design of an Energy-Efficient Ternary Current-Mode Intra-Chip Communication Link for an Asynchronous Network-on-Chip

Akira MOCHIZUKI  Hirokatsu SHIRAHAMA  Yuma WATANABE  Takahiro HANYU  

Publication
IEICE TRANSACTIONS on Information and Systems   Vol.E97-D   No.9   pp.2304-2311
Publication Date: 2014/09/01
Online ISSN: 1745-1361
DOI: 10.1587/transinf.2013LOP0024
Type of Manuscript: Special Section PAPER (Special Section on Multiple-Valued Logic and VLSI Computing)
Category: Communication for VLSI
Keyword: 
asynchronous communication link,  network-on-chip,  multiple-valued logic,  current-mode,  

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Summary: 
An energy-efficient intra-chip communication link circuit with ternary current signaling is proposed for an asynchronous Network-on-Chip. The data signal encoded by an asynchronous three-state protocol is represented by a small-voltage-swing three-level intermediate signal, which results in the reduction of transition delay and achieving energy-efficient data transfer. The three-level voltage is generated by using a combination of dynamically controlled current sources with feedback loop mechanism. Moreover, the proposed circuit contains a power-saving scheme where the dynamically controlled transistors also are utilized. By cutting off the current paths when the data transfer on the communication link is inactive, the power dissipation can be greatly reduced. It is demonstrated that the average data-transfer speed is about 1.5 times faster than that of a binary CMOS implementation using a 130nm CMOS technology at the supply voltage of 1.2V.