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Power Management for Near-Threshold Chip Multi-Processors (CMPs)

Power consumption is one of the primary obstacles to the continuation of the exponential growth in the microprocessor performance. The only way to ensure continued growth of the computing industry is to develop solutions that increase the energy efficiency of computation. Operating at supply voltages near the threshold voltage of the transistor (Near-Threshold Computing) is an attractive approach to increase energy efficiency. However, operating at Near-Threshold has the penalty of reduced speed and reliability, and higher sensitivity to process variations. These penalties limit the use of Near-Threshold operation, and make it undesirable for high computation Chip Multi Processors. Our research goal is to develop a power delivery, regulation and management system specific for Near-Threshold operation. The effect of process variation in Near-Threshold voltage range is studied, and ways to reduce the variability are being developed. The expected outcome of the ongoing research is a power management solution that enables high computation technologies to run with high energy efficiency.

Students Involved: M. A. Abdelfattah