Employing circadian rhythms to enhance power and reliability

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This article presents a novel scheme for saving architectural power by mitigating delay degradations in digital circuits due to bias temperature instability (BTI), inspired by the notion of human circadian rhythms. The method works in two alternating phases. In the first, the compute phase, the circuit is awake and active, operating briskly at a greater-than-nominal supply voltage which causes tasks to complete more quickly. In the second, the idle phase, the circuit is power-gated and put to sleep, enabling BTI recovery. Since the wakeful stage works at an elevated supply voltage, it results in greater aging than operation at the nominal supply voltage, but the sleep state involves a recovery that more than compensates for this differential. We demonstrate, both at the circuit and the architectural levels, that at about the same performance, this approach can result in appreciable BTI mitigation, thus reducing the guardbands necessary to protect against aging, which results in power savings over the conventional design.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number2491482
JournalACM Transactions on Design Automation of Electronic Systems
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jul 2013


  • Aging guardbands
  • Architectures
  • BTI
  • Digital circuits
  • Low power
  • Low-power design
  • Power dissipation
  • Power gating
  • Supply voltage


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