Physical Design Methodologies for Low Power and Reliable 3D ICs
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As the semiconductor industry struggles to maintain its momentum down the path following the Moore's Law, three dimensional integrated circuit (3D IC) technology has emerged as a promising solution to achieve higher integration density, better performance, and lower power consumption. However, despite its significant improvement in electrical performance, 3D IC presents several serious physical design challenges. In this dissertation, we investigate physical design methodologies for 3D ICs with primary focus on two areas: low power 3D clock tree design, and reliability degradation modeling and management. Clock trees are essential parts for digital system which dissipate a large amount of power due to high capacitive loads. The majority of existing 3D clock tree designs focus on minimizing the total wire length, which produces sub-optimal results for power optimization. In this dissertation, we formulate a 3D clock tree design flow which directly optimizes for clock power. Besides, we also investigate the design methodology for clock gating a 3D clock tree, which uses shutdown gates to selectively turn off unnecessary clock activities. Different from the common assumption in 2D ICs that shutdown gates are cheap thus can be applied at every clock node, shutdown gates in 3D ICs introduce additional control TSVs, which compete with clock TSVs for placement resources. We explore the design methodologies to produce the optimal allocation and placement for clock and control TSVs so that the clock power is minimized. We show that the proposed synthesis flow saves significant clock power while accounting for available TSV placement area. Vertical integration also brings new reliability challenges including TSV's electromigration (EM) and several other reliability loss mechanisms caused by TSV-induced stress. These reliability loss models involve complex inter-dependencies between electrical and thermal conditions, which have not been investigated in the past. In this dissertation we set up an electrical/thermal/reliability co-simulation framework to capture the transient of reliability loss in 3D ICs. We further derive and validate an analytical reliability objective function that can be integrated into the 3D placement design flow. The reliability aware placement scheme enables co-design and co-optimization of both the electrical and reliability property, thus improves both the circuit's performance and its lifetime. Our electrical/reliability co-design scheme avoids unnecessary design cycles or application of ad-hoc fixes that lead to sub-optimal performance. Vertical integration also enables stacking DRAM on top of CPU, providing high bandwidth and short latency. However, non-uniform voltage fluctuation and local thermal hotspot in CPU layers are coupled into DRAM layers, causing a non-uniform bit-cell leakage (thereby bit flip) distribution. We propose a performance-power-resilience simulation framework to capture DRAM soft error in 3D multi-core CPU systems. In addition, a dynamic resilience management (DRM) scheme is investigated, which adaptively tunes CPU's operating points to adjust DRAM's voltage noise and thermal condition during runtime. The DRM uses dynamic frequency scaling to achieve a resilience borrow-in strategy, which effectively enhances DRAM's resilience without sacrificing performance. The proposed physical design methodologies should act as important building blocks for 3D ICs and push 3D ICs toward mainstream acceptance in the near future.