A Novel ASIC Design Flow using Weight-Tunable Binary Neurons as Standard Cells

by   Ankit Wagle, et al.

In this paper, we describe a design of a mixed signal circuit for a binary neuron (a.k.a perceptron, threshold logic gate) and a methodology for automatically embedding such cells in ASICs. The binary neuron, referred to as an FTL (flash threshold logic) uses floating gate or flash transistors whose threshold voltages serve as a proxy for the weights of the neuron. Algorithms for mapping the weights to the flash transistor threshold voltages are presented. The threshold voltages are determined to maximize both the robustness of the cell and its speed. The performance, power, and area of a single FTL cell are shown to be significantly smaller (79.4 power (61.6 equivalents. Also included are the architecture and the algorithms to program the flash devices of an FTL. The FTL cells are implemented as standard cells, and are designed to allow commercial synthesis and P R tools to automatically use them in synthesis of ASICs. Substantial reductions in area and power without sacrificing performance are demonstrated on several ASIC benchmarks by the automatic embedding of FTL cells. The paper also demonstrates how FTL cells can be used for fixing timing errors after fabrication.


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