Date of Award


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy


Electrical and Computer Engineering

First Advisor

Tragoudas, Spyros


The performance of a modern computing system is improving with technology scaling due to advancements in the modern semiconductor industry. However, the power efficiency along with reliability does not scale linearly with performance efficiency. High leakage and standby power in sub 100 nm technology are critical challenges faced by circuit designers. Recent developments in device physics have shown that emerging non-volatile memories are very effective in reducing power dissipation because they eliminate stand by power and exhibit almost zero leakage powerThis dissertation studies the use of emerging non-volatile memory devices in designing circuit architecture for improving power dissipation and the performance of the computing system. More specically, it proposes a novel spintronic Ternary Content AddressableMemory (TCAM), a novel memristive TCAM with improved power and performance efficiency. Our experimental evaluation on 45 nm technology for a 256-bit word-size spintronic TCAM at a supply voltage of 1 V with a sense margin of 50 mV show that the delay is lessthan 200 ps and the per-bit search energy is approximately 3 fJ. The proposed spintronic TCAM consumes at least 30% less energy when compared to state-of-the-art TCAM designs. The search delay on a 144-bit proposed memristive TCAM at a supply voltage of 1 V and a sense margin of 140 mV is 175 ps with per bit search energy of 1.2 fJ on a 45 nm technology. It is 1.12 x times faster and dissipates 67% less search energy per bit than the fastest existing 144-bit MTCAM design.Emerging non-volatile memories are well known for their ability to perform fast analog multiplication and addition when they are arranged in crossbar fashion and are especially suited for neural network applications. However, such systems require the on-chip implementation of the backpropagation algorithm to accommodate process variations. This dissertation studies the impact of process variation in training memristive neural network architecture. It proposes a low hardware overhead on-chip implementation of the backpropagation algorithm that utilizes effectively the very dense memristive cross-bar arrayand is resilient to process variations.Another important issue that needs a careful study due to shrinking technology node is the impact of space or terrestrial radiation in Integrated Circuits (ICs) because the probability of a high energy particle causing an error increases with a decrease in thethreshold voltage and the noise margin. Moreover, single-event effects (SEEs) sensitivity depends on the set of input vectors used at the time of testing due to logical masking. This dissertation analyzes the impact of input test set on the cross section of the microprocessorand proposes a mechanism to derive a high-quality input test set using an automatic test pattern generation (ATPG) for radiation testing of microprocessors arithmetic and logical units..

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