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Title:Toward realizing power scalable and energy proportional high-speed wireline links
Author(s):Anand, Tejasvi
Director of Research:Hanumolu, Pavan Kumar
Doctoral Committee Chair(s):Hanumolu, Pavan Kumar
Doctoral Committee Member(s):Kumar, Rakesh; Rosenbaum, Elyse; Shanbhag, Naresh R
Department / Program:Electrical & Computer Engineering
Discipline:Electrical & Computer Engineering
Degree Granting Institution:University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Subject(s):energy proportional
Phase locked loops (PLLs)
multiplying delay locked loop (MDLL)
delay locked loop
Input/Output (I/O)
serial link
temperature sensor
LC oscillator
LC oscillator
Abstract:Growing computational demand and proliferation of cloud computing has placed high-speed serial links at the center stage. Due to saturating energy efficiency improvements over the last five years, increasing the data throughput comes at the cost of power consumption. Conventionally, serial link power can be reduced by optimizing individual building blocks such as output drivers, receiver, or clock generation and distribution. However, this approach yields very limited efficiency improvement. This dissertation takes an alternative approach toward reducing the serial link power. Instead of optimizing the power of individual building blocks, power of the entire serial link is reduced by exploiting serial link usage by the applications. It has been demonstrated that serial links in servers are underutilized. On average, they are used only 15% of the time, i.e. these links are idle for approximately 85% of the time. Conventional links consume power during idle periods to maintain synchronization between the transmitter and the receiver. However, by powering-off the link when idle and powering it back when needed, power consumption of the serial link can be scaled proportionally to its utilization. This approach of rapid power state transitioning is known as the rapid-on/off approach. For the rapid-on/off to be effective, ideally the power-on time, off-state power, and power state transition energy must all be close to zero. However, in practice, it is very difficult to achieve these ideal conditions. Work presented in this dissertation addresses these challenges. When this research work was started (2011-12), there were only a couple of research papers available in the area of rapid-on/off links. Systematic study or design of a rapid power state transitioning in serial links was not available in the literature. Since rapid-on/off with nanoseconds granularity is not a standard in any wireline communication, even the popular test equipment does not support testing any such feature, neither any formal measurement methodology was available. All these circumstances made the beginning difficult. However, these challenges provided a unique opportunity to explore new architectural techniques and identify trade-offs. The key contributions of this dissertation are as follows. The first and foremost contribution is understanding the underlying limitations of saturating energy efficiency improvements in serial links and why there is a compelling need to find alternative ways to reduce the serial link power. The second contribution is to identify potential power saving techniques and evaluate the challenges they pose and the opportunities they present. The third contribution is the design of a 5Gb/s transmitter with a rapid-on/off feature. The transmitter achieves rapid-on/off capability in voltage mode output driver by using a fast-digital regulator, and in the clock multiplier by accurate frequency pre-setting and periodic reference insertion. To ease timing requirements, an improved edge replacement logic circuit for the clock multiplier is proposed. Mathematical modeling of power-on time as a function of various circuit parameters is also discussed. The proposed transmitter demonstrates energy proportional operation over wide variations of link utilization, and is, therefore, suitable for energy efficient links. Fabricated in 90nm CMOS technology, the voltage mode driver, and the clock multiplier achieve power-on-time of only 2ns and 10ns, respectively. This dissertation highlights key trade-off in the clock multiplier architecture, to achieve fast power-on-lock capability at the cost of jitter performance. The fourth contribution is the design of a 7GHz rapid-on/off LC-PLL based clock multi- plier. The phase locked loop (PLL) based multiplier was developed to overcome the limita- tions of the MDLL based approach. Proposed temperature compensated LC-PLL achieves power-on-lock in 1ns. The fifth and biggest contribution of this dissertation is the design of a 7Gb/s embedded clock transceiver, which achieves rapid-on/off capability in LC-PLL, current-mode transmit- ter and receiver. It was the first reported design of a complete transceiver, with an embedded clock architecture, having rapid-on/off capability. Background phase calibration technique in PLL and CDR phase calibration logic in the receiver enable instantaneous lock on power-on. The proposed transceiver demonstrates power scalability with a wide range of link utiliza- tion and, therefore, helps in improving overall system efficiency. Fabricated in 65nm CMOS technology, the 7Gb/s transceiver achieves power-on-lock in less than 20ns. The transceiver achieves power scaling by 44x (63.7mW-to-1.43mW) and energy efficiency degradation by only 2.2x (9.1pJ/bit-to-20.5pJ/bit), when the effective data rate (link utilization) changes by 100x (7Gb/s-to-70Mb/s). The sixth and final contribution is the design of a temperature sensor to compensate the frequency drifts due to temperature variations, during long power-off periods, in the fast power-on-lock LC-PLL. The proposed self-referenced VCO-based temperature sensor is designed with all digital logic gates and achieves low supply sensitivity. This sensor is suitable for integration in processor and DRAM environments. The proposed sensor works on the principle of directly converting temperature information to frequency and finally to digital bits. A novel sensing technique is proposed in which temperature information is acquired by creating a threshold voltage difference between the transistors used in the oscillators. Reduced supply sensitivity is achieved by employing junction capacitance, and the overhead of voltage regulators and an external ideal reference frequency is avoided. The effect of VCO phase noise on the sensor resolution is mathematically evaluated. Fabricated in the 65nm CMOS process, the prototype can operate with a supply ranging from 0.85V to 1.1V, and it achieves a supply sensitivity of 0.034oC/mV and an inaccuracy of ±0.9oC and ±2.3oC from 0-100oC after 2-point calibration, with and without static nonlinearity correction, respectively. It achieves a resolution of 0.3oC, resolution FoM of 0.3(nJ/conv)res2 , and measurement (conversion) time of 6.5μs.
Issue Date:2015-11-24
Rights Information:Copyright 2015 Tejasvi Anand
Date Available in IDEALS:2016-03-02
Date Deposited:2015-12

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