Dissertation Defense

Final PhD Defense

Phil Knag

Hardware considerations for signal processing systems: A step toward the unconventional
Signal processing algorithms are becoming more computationally intensive and power hungry

while the desire for mobile products and low power devices is also increasing. An integrated

ASIC solution is one of the primary ways chip developers can improve performance and add

functionality while keeping the power budget low. In this talk, we discuss ASIC hardware

considerations for both conventional and unconventional signal processing systems, and how

integration, error resilience, emerging devices, and new algorithms can be leveraged by signal

processing systems to further improve performance and enable new applications.

Specifically, we will discuss signal processing hardware considerations through the use of three

case studies. First, we present a highly parallel mix signal cross-correlator ASIC for a weather

satellite performing real time synthetic aperture imaging. In this work, we make use of large

scale mix signal integration and radiation testing insights to create a power efficient ASIC.

Second, we look at an unconventional native stochastic computing architecture enabled by

memristors. This work uses the non-deterministic behavior of memristors, normally seen as a

negative attribute, to remove overhead of many costly random number generators required for

stochastic computing.

Finally, we present two unconventional sparse neural network ASICs for feature extraction and

object classification. In these works, we utilize sparsity inherent to these neural network

algorithms to dramatically improve performance while reducing memory bandwidth and

communication bottlenecks.

As improvements from technology scaling alone slow down, and the demand for energy efficient

mobile electronics increases, such optimization techniques at the device, circuit, and system level

will become more critical to advance signal processing capabilities in the future.

Sponsored by


Faculty Host

Zhengya Zhang