A 16-nm always-on DNN processor with adaptive clocking and multi-cycle banked SRAMs


Sae Lee, Paul Whatmough, David Brooks, and Gu Wei. 7/1/2019. “A 16-nm always-on DNN processor with adaptive clocking and multi-cycle banked SRAMs.” IEEE Journal of Solid-State Circuits, 54, 7, Pp. 1982 - 1992. Publisher's Version


Always-on subsystems in mobile/Internet of Things (IoT) SoCs process a variety of real-time sensor data deep neural network (DNN) classification workloads in a heavily constrained energy budget. This can be achieved with robust, low-voltage circuits, and specialized hardware accelerators. We present a 16-nm always-on DNN processor, which consists primarily of a microcontroller and a DNN accelerator with on-chip SRAM for the model weights. The design operates robustly from 0.4 to 1-V, with calibration-free automatic voltage/frequency tuning provided by tracking small non-zero razor timing error rates. A novel timing error-driven synchronization-free adaptive clocking scheme significantly reduces the adaptation latency to provide resilience to fast on-chip supply noise and reduce margins. To accommodate the tight energy constraints of always-on IoT workloads, we implement a multi-cycle SRAM read scheme that allows the memory voltage to scale at iso-throughput, improving energy efficiency across the entire operating range. The wide operating range allows for high performance at 1.36 GHz, low-power consumption downs to 750 μW, and stateof-the-art raw efficiency at 16-bit precision of 750 GOPS/W dense or 1.81 TOPS/W sparse.
Last updated on 04/29/2022