Threshold Logic in a Flash

by   Ankit Wagle, et al.

This paper describes a novel design of a threshold logic gate (a binary perceptron) and its implementation as a standard cell. This new cell structure, referred to as flash threshold logic (FTL), uses floating gate (flash) transistors to realize the weights associated with a threshold function. The threshold voltages of the flash transistors serve as a proxy for the weights. An FTL cell can be equivalently viewed as a multi-input, edge-triggered flipflop which computes a threshold function on a clock edge. Consequently, it can be used in the automatic synthesis of ASICs. The use of flash transistors in the FTL cell allows programming of the weights after fabrication, thereby preventing discovery of its function by a foundry or by reverse engineering. This paper focuses on the design and characteristics of the FTL cell. We present a novel method for programming the weights of an FTL cell for a specified threshold function using a modified perceptron learning algorithm. The algorithm is further extended to select weights to maximize the robustness of the design in the presence of process variations. The FTL circuit was designed in 40nm technology and simulations with layout-extracted parasitics included, demonstrate significant improvements in the area (79.7 (61.1 implementations of the same function in conventional static CMOS design. Weight selection targeting robustness is demonstrated using Monte Carlo simulations. The paper also shows how FTL cells can be used for fixing timing errors after fabrication.


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