Optimizing Temperature Guardbands

Hussam Amrouch1,a, Behnam Khaleghi2 and Jörg Henkel1,b
1Karlsruhe Institute of Technology, Chair for Embedded Systems (CES), Karlsruhe, Germany.
2Sharif University of Technology, Tehran, Iran


We introduce the first temperature guardbands optimization based on thermal-aware logic synthesis and thermalaware timing analysis. The optimized guardbands are obtained solely due to using our so-called thermal-aware cell libraries together with existing tool flows and not due to sacrificing timing constraints (i.e. no trade-offs). We demonstrate that temperature guardbands can be optimized at design time through thermalaware logic synthesis in which more resilient circuits against worst-case temperatures are obtained. Our static guardband optimization leads to 18% smaller guardbands on average. We also demonstrate that thermal-aware timing analysis enables designers to accurately estimate the required guardbands for a wide range of temperatures without over/under-estimations. Therefore, temperature guardbands can be optimized at operation time through employing the small, yet sufficient guardband that corresponds to the current temperature rather than employing throughout a conservative guardband that corresponds to the worst-case temperature. Our adaptive guardband optimization results, on average, in a 22% higher performance along with 9:2% less energy. Neither thermal-aware logic synthesis nor thermal-aware timing analysis would be possible without our thermal-aware cell libraries. They are compatible with use of existing commercial tools. Hence, they allow designers, for the first time, to automatically consider thermal concerns within their design tool flows even if they were not designed for that purpose.

Keywords: Temperature, Guardband, Performance, Timing analysis, Logic synthesis, Cell library.

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