AVATAR: An Aging- and Variation-Aware Dynamic Timing Analyzer for Application-based DVAFS

Abstract

As the timing guardband continues to increase with the continuous technology scaling, better-than-worst-case (BTWC) design has gained more and more attention. BTWC design can improve energy efficiency and/or performance by relaxing the conservative static timing constraints and exploiting the dynamic timing margin. However, to avoid potential reliability hazards, the existing dynamic timing analysis (DTA) tools have to add extra aging and variation guardbands, which are estimated under the worst-case corners of aging and variation. Such guardbanding method introduces unnecessary margin in timing analysis, thus reducing the performance and efficiency gains of BTWC designs. Therefore, in this paper, we propose AVATAR, an aging- and variation- aware dynamic timing analyzer that can perform DTA with the impact of transistor aging and random process variation. We also propose an application-based dynamic-voltage-accuracy-frequency-scaling (DVAFS) design flow based on AVATAR, which can improve energy efficiency by exploiting both dynamic timing slack (DTS) and the intrinsic error tolerance of the application. The results show that a 45.8% performance improvement and 68% power savings can be achieved by exploiting the intrinsic error tolerance. Compared with the conventional flow based on the corner-based DTA, the additional performance improvement of the proposed flow can be up to 14% or the additional power-saving can be up to 20%.

Publication
59th ACM/IEEE Design Automation Conference (DAC) 2022
Zizheng Guo
Zizheng Guo
Undergraduate Student

I am a final-year undergraduate student in the Department of Computer Science at Peking University. My research interests include data structures, algorithm design and GPU acceleration for combinatorial optimization problems.