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Clock network and phase-locked loop power estimation and experimentation

by Duarte, David Enrique.

Abstract (Summary)
The clock distribution network and the generation circuitry are critical components of current synchronous digital systems and are known to consume more than a quarter of the power budget of existing microprocessors. A high-level clock energy model that captures both the dynamic and leakage power components is formulated. The validation results show an average deviation within 5% of circuit-level simulations. Furthermore, Phased Locked Loops (PLLs), which have been generally used in clock generation, are also crucial for the implementation of Dynamic Voltage Scaling (DVS) mechanisms employed in emerging power conscious processor designs. In order to devise architectural and compiler driven optimizations that exploit the dynamic frequency/voltage scaling features, accurate models that capture the performance and power characteristics of the PLL are essential. In addition, many emerging System-on-a- Chip (SOC) designs use multiple PLLs on the same die making it important to estimate the contribution of the PLL to the overall system power. A PLL energy and timing model that accurately estimates the power consumption during both lock and lock-acquisition states is also formulated. The applicability of PLLs as voltage regulators in support of leakage reduction by supply gating is briefly discussed. The complete clock energy model is incorporated into a cycle-accurate energy simulator for an embedded architecture. This framework is used to study and quantify the influence on clock energy of several architectural-level decisions and their relative impact on the overall system power. These design choices include various cache architectures and clock gating at different levels (top-level distribution network, functional unit and gate level). From the software perspective, the influence on clock energy of power-aware memory-oriented compiler optimizations is assessed. Finally, the model is used to predict the role that the clock will have in the total power budget of future designs while carefully capturing the impact of technology scaling. It is shown that as long as leakage power is kept under control, clock power will remain a significant contributor to the total system power. iv
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School:Pennsylvania State University

School Location:USA - Pennsylvania

Source Type:Master's Thesis

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