Date of Graduation

5-2021

Document Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy in Engineering (PhD)

Degree Level

Graduate

Department

Computer Science & Computer Engineering

Advisor

Jia Di

Committee Member

James P. Parkerson

Second Committee Member

Jingxian Wu

Third Committee Member

Dale Thompson

Keywords

Asynchronous design, Lower power design, Magnetic RAM, Microcontroller design, MTNCL, SRAM design

Abstract

This dissertation presents an MSP430 microcontroller implementation using Multi-Threshold NULL Convention Logic (MTNCL) methodology combined with an asynchronous non-volatile magnetic random-access-memory (RAM) to achieve low leakage power and fast turn-on. This asynchronous non-volatile RAM is designed with a Spin-Transfer Torque (STT) memory device model and CMOS transistors in a 65 nm technology. A self-timed Quasi-Delay-Insensitive 1 KB STT RAM is designed with an MTNCL interface and handshaking protocol. A replica methodology is implemented to handle write operation completion detection for long state-switching delays of the STT memory device. The MTNCL MSP430 core is integrated with the STT RAM to create a fully asynchronous non-volatile microcontroller.

The MSP430 architecture, the MTNCL design methodology, and the STT RAM’s low power property, along with STT RAM’s non-volatility yield multiple advantages in the MTNCL-STT RAM system for a variety of applications. For comparison, a baseline system with the same MTNCL core combined with an asynchronous CMOS RAM is designed and tested. Schematic simulation results demonstrate that the MTNCL-CMOS RAM system presents advantages in execution time and active energy over the MTNCL-STT RAM system; however, the MTNCL-STT RAM system presents unmatched advantages such as negligible leakage power, zero overhead memory power failure handling, and fast system turn-on.

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