Simpler, More Efficient Design

Design of custom integrated circuits has

become prohibitively expensive for many application

domains. As a result, these domains often choose to

implement the desired functionality on programmable

platforms, but those solutions are less energy efficient.

This paper proposes several approaches for making the

design process more efficient and enabling custom energy-
efficient integrated circuits. Function generators, as

opposed to function instances, should be designed, which

combined with higher-level design abstraction improve

design efficiency and foster reuse. The use of generators

also enables modular designs, aiding design verification.

Rapid design flow maps generated modules into silicon

and enables design-space exploration for optimal

efficiency. Open-source repository of function generators

and their mappings into systems allow designers to

selectively add value to the design. These principles are

demonstrated on a design of a processor, based on an

open-source instruction set architecture, with integrated

switched-capacitor DC-DC converters implemented in

28nm FDSOI. The chip is designed with a relatively small

team and features high conversion efficiency (80-86%)

high energy efficiency (26.2 DP GFLOPS/W).

Paper-Simpler, More Efficient Design