Hardware

Proactive NBTI Mitigation for Busy Functional Units in Out-of-Order Microprocessors

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Executive Summary

With technology scaling to the realm of nano-scale, the reliability of modern integrated circuits is jeopardized by various failure sources such as Negative Bias Temperature Instability (NBTI), electro-migration, gate oxide breakdown, stress migration, Time Dependent Dielectric Breakdown (TDDB) and thermal cycling. NBTI is of particular concern as it is the dominant failure source for PMOS transistors - when being stressed by a negative gate voltage, a PMOS transistor exhibits an increase of its threshold voltage. NBTI gradually slows down the gate transition speed, and eventually causes the transistor failing to meet the timing or stability constraint in the corresponding integrated circuit.

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