Title: Agile Design of Energy-Efficient Processors
Prof. Borivoje Nikolic, University of California, Berkeley
November, 18th @ noon
233 Phillips Hall (Phillips Lounge)
Christoph Studer

Abstract: This talk presents the design principles of a series of energy-efficient microprocessors. They are based on an open and free Berkeley RISC-V architecture and implement several techniques for operation in a very wide voltage range. To enable agile dynamic voltage and frequency scaling, with high energy efficiency the designs feature an integrated switched-capacitor DC-DC converter. A custom-designed SRAM-based cache operates in a wide 0.45-1V supply range. Techniques that enable low-voltage SRAM operation include 8T cells, assist techniques and differential read. Architectural resiliency techniques include the use of error correction and dynamic column redundancy. An agile design methodology has enabled a small team of students to build a series of 28nm functional prototypes that exceeded 50GFLOPS/W of energy efficiencies.

Bio: Borivoje Nikolic is the National Semiconductor Distinguished Professor of Engineering at the University of California, Berkeley. He received the Dipl.Ing. and M.Sc. degrees in electrical engineering from the University of Belgrade, Serbia, in 1992 and 1994, respectively, and the Ph.D. degree from the University of California at Davis in 1999. His research activities include digital, analog and RF integrated circuit design and communications and signal processing systems. He is co-author of the book Digital Integrated Circuits: A Design Perspective, 2nd ed, Prentice-Hall, 2003. Dr. Nikolic received many awards in his career, including the NSF CAREER award in 2003, and the best paper awards at the IEEE International Solid-State Circuits Conference, Symposium on VLSI Circuits, IEEE International SOI Conference, European Solid-State Circuits Research Conference, European Solid-State Device Research Conference, S3S conference and the ACM/IEEE International Symposium of Low- Power Electronics.

ECE Colloquium: Prof. Borivoje Nikolic, University of California, Berkeley