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Über dieses Buch

This book discusses the opportunities offered by disruptive technologies to overcome the economical and physical limits currently faced by the electronics industry. It provides a new methodology for the fast evaluation of an emerging technology from an architectural prospective and discusses the implications from simple circuits to complex architectures. Several technologies are discussed, ranging from 3-D integration of devices (Phase Change Memories, Monolithic 3-D, Vertical NanoWires-based transistors) to dense 2-D arrangements (Double-Gate Carbon Nanotubes, Sublithographic Nanowires, Lithographic Crossbar arrangements). Novel architectural organizations, as well as the associated tools, are presented in order to explore this freshly opened design space.

Inhaltsverzeichnis

Frontmatter

Chapter 1. Introduction

Abstract
In this chapter, we aim to introduce the global context of the book. While the microelectronics industry is still lead by the scaling, we point out its limits and highlights some novel way coming from the nanotechnologies. In order to provide an efficient evaluation strategy of the different ways, we present the global methodology used in the remaining of the book.
Pierre-Emmanuel Gaillardon, Ian O’Connor, Fabien Clermidy

Background

Frontmatter

Chapter 2. Background and Motivation

Abstract
In this chapter, we aim to present the background and the motivation of this thesis work. We will first give an overview of the Field Programmable Gate Array architecture, which is today the most widely used reconfigurable circuit. After describing its conventional structure, we will detail current trends in architectural organization. Then, we will survey the literature to see how disruptive technologies are used to propose drastic evolutions in the field. We will in particular show how dense nanowires can be used to build logic fabrics in a crossbar organization, and also how the use of carbon electronics allows the construction of interesting logic functionalities. Finally, we will try to formalize the various approaches into a hierarchical representation and compare it to the conventional structure. This representation will help to define the objectives of this work. We mainly intend to propose a digital reconfigurable circuit based on real-life disruptive technologies. This is an important point, since even if a potential technology opens the way towards new phenomena, it is fundamental to work closely with technologists and to keep in mind its feasibility from an industrial perspective. In this context, we will continuously try, in this thesis work, to take into account the technology requirements when designing a circuit.
Pierre-Emmanuel Gaillardon, Ian O’Connor, Fabien Clermidy

Incremental Logic and Design

Frontmatter

Chapter 3. Innovative Structures for Routing and Configuration

Abstract
The goal of this chapter is to illustrate how emerging technologies can help to improve performance metrics of conventional Field-Programmable Gate Arrays structures. It is widely recognized that in traditional FPGAs, both the memory and the routing circuitry (with 43% of area for each contribution) represent the principal bottleneck to scaling and performance increase. In this context, we investigated 3D integration techniques for passive and active devices. The technologies surveyed will be a resistive memory technology, monolithic 3D integration and a vertical 1D transistor technology.
Pierre-Emmanuel Gaillardon, Ian O’Connor, Fabien Clermidy

Chapter 4. Architectural Impact of 3D Configuration and Routing Schemes

Abstract
In this chapter, the architectural impact of the 3D enhanced memories and routing resources were carefully studied. The traditional FPGA architecture was enhanced by the technologies presented in the previous chapter. The envisaged technologies move devices in 3D. Devices can be passive (e.g. resistive phase-change memories) or active (e.g. monolithic 3D integration or vertical NWFET). Performance estimations were carried out by benchmarking simulations of the improved FPGA architecture. The benchmarking tool is based on standard tools and tuned according to the technological parameters. We showed that, implemented in FPGAs, the resistive configuration memory node, coupled to the routing structure, yields a delay reduction up to 51%, thanks to the reduction of dimensions and low on-resistance of PCMs. This result was also reached by the vertical NWFET technology, because of the ability to size a large transistor vertically without a large impact on the projected area. In this case, the critical path delay may be reduced up to 49% compared to the traditional scaled MOS. Regarding the area metric, the best improvement was reached by the vertical NWFET technology with an improvement of about 46%. Vertical NWFET technology allowed moving all the peripheral circuits above the IC. By opposition, the PCM technology leads to a much tighter area improvement of 13%. Indeed, this technology requires a large programming transistor per node.Among the different technologies, we should remark that 3D monolithic integration process yields in an area improvement of 21% on average and in a delay improvement of 22% on average. Such a technology represents a good trade-off process for short term micro-electronics evolutions.
Pierre-Emmanuel Gaillardon, Ian O’Connor, Fabien Clermidy

Disruptive Logic Design

Frontmatter

Chapter 5. Disruptive Logic Blocks

Abstract
In this chapter, emerging technologies will be used to create disruptive elements for Field Programmable Gate Arrays. We focus mainly on the combinational function blocks, in order to improve the computing performance of future reconfigurable systems. We propose to study the use of an ambipolar carbon electronics process and two different silicon nanowire crossbar processes. Carbon electronics, and especially the Carbon Nanotube Field Effect Transistor, exhibits the property of ambipolarity, which means that n- and p-type behaviors are achievable within the same device. It thus becomes possible to obtain a device with tunable polarity, thanks to the addition of a second (polarity) gate to the device. This novel programmability of CNFETs is leveraged in a compact in-field reconfigurable logic gate and in a new approach to designing compact dynamic logic gates. We then propose the use of a sublithographic silicon nanowire crossbar process. It is worth noticing that using the crossbar organization helps to compact the dimensions (up to 6×) required by the logic circuits. Nevertheless, a technological process build around a sublithographic arrangement of nanowires is highly unreliable, and its feasibility remains uncertain when considering all the access contacts. In order to correct the lack of manufacturability of the sublithographic crossbar process, we propose a variant on this crossbar process. This is realized on a modified Fully Depleted Silicon-On-Insulator process, and enables the construction of circuits in a crossbar scheme with lithographic dimensions.
Pierre-Emmanuel Gaillardon, Ian O’Connor, Fabien Clermidy

Chapter 6. Disruptive Architectural Proposals and Performance Analysis

Abstract
In this chapter, we explore disruptive architecture proposals. In the previous chapter, we showed that it is possible to obtain very compact reconfigurable in-field computation cells. Since these cells require architectural modifications, we proposed an architecture for this compact logic, characterized by the association of a logic layer, to adapt the granularity and the use of fixed interconnection topologies to reduce the routing impact. To compare this approach with conventional FPGAs in an objective way, it was necessary to develop a specific toolflow suited to our requirements, able to describe the designed architecture. Based on the VTR toolflow, the tool integrates fixed topology routing and the specific organization of the layered architecture. Benchmarking simulations were performed. In a first approach, a local exploration of the proposed layer is done, in order to study the impact of the fixed interconnect topologies. We showed that the Modified Omega topology gives the best mapping rates on the structure with about 90% of mapping success for 6-node graphs. In a second approach, complete architectural benchmarking was conducted and we showed that the proposed architecture leads to an improvement, in area saving, of 46% in average, with respect to CMOS. We also discovered that the routing delay is less distributed and tends to be more controllable than in the traditional approach.
Pierre-Emmanuel Gaillardon, Ian O’Connor, Fabien Clermidy

Chapter 7. Conclusions and Contributions

Abstract
In this chapter, we aim to conclude the book. A complete description of the research contributions and their impact on the nanoarchitecture community is given.
Pierre-Emmanuel Gaillardon, Ian O’Connor, Fabien Clermidy

Backmatter

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