MICL Seminar

Variability, Power, and Robustness in VLSI Design

Kevin Nowka, Sr. Manager, VLSI Systems

The current variability crisis at the 90 and 65nm nodes is only the tip of the proverbial iceberg. What we now see as relatively modest modulation of performance will increase to the point where the behavior of circuits in the tail of the distribution will be indistinguishable from circuits suffering from topological errors caused by defects. In fact, this has already been the situation for at least one technology generation, the victim being SRAM.This talk will examine how SRAM is a window into the future in terms of the interaction between design and technology, outline some key breakpoints in terms of variability and its interaction with circuits, and finally motivate the need for thorough and continuing variability characterization.
Kevin Nowka manages the VLSI Systems Research organization in the IBM Austin Research Laboratory. His research activities include the development of high-performance, power-efficient, robust circuits for microprocessors, sensors and monitor structures, and power-efficient wired communications.

He received his Ph.D. degrees in electrical engineering from Stanford University in 1995.

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