Analysis of Functional Errors Produced by Long-Term Workload-Dependent BTI Degradation in Ultralow Power Processors

Aging effects in digital circuits change the switching characteristics of their transistors, resulting in timing violations that can lead to functional errors at the system level. In particular, bias temperature instability (BTI) is a degradation effect that changes the threshold voltage of transistors. Its effect is more prevalent as the scaling of transistor dimensions progresses. In this work, we present a method to enable defect-centric long-term modeling of BTI degradation that takes into account the effects of concrete workloads at the processor data path level. Based on this study, we propose a novel design flow to link the impact of BTI degradation at the transistor (Delta Vth), processor data path (e.g., maximum frequency) and application-functionality levels. This flow may be used to improve system correctness over the entire device lifetime, avoiding unsafe working points, or to achieve a graceful degradation of system characteristics. Our design flow is applicable to all types of digital circuits, including high-performance processors. However, in this specific work we focus on the domain of biosignal processing applications for wireless body sensor networks (WBSNs), the pseudoperiodic nature of which interacts with the partially recoverable nature of BTI. Our results in this domain show, for a 32-nm implementation, a variation of up to 54.6 mV in the threshold voltage of the circuit transistors after one year of continuous operation, with an impact of 8.4% in the maximum safe operating frequency. Such effects are expected to strongly worsen for longer lifetimes and more scaled technology nodes.


Published in:
Ieee Transactions On Very Large Scale Integration (Vlsi) Systems, 28, 10, 2122-2133
Year:
Oct 01 2020
Publisher:
Piscataway, IEEE-INST ELECTRICAL ELECTRONICS ENGINEERS INC
ISSN:
1063-8210
1557-9999
Keywords:
Laboratories:




 Record created 2020-10-15, last modified 2020-10-15


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