Designing Energy-Efficient Microprocessors in the Era of Unpredictable Transistors

Tuesday May 7, 2013
CIC Panther Hollow Room, 4:30PM
4:30-5.30 pm

Radu Teodorescu (Ohio State)


Energy efficiency is now a principal design constraint across all computing markets - from supercomputers to smartphones. Performance growth in these markets can only be sustained going forward through significant improvements in the energy efficiency of computation. A very effective approach to improving microprocessor energy efficiency is to lower supply voltage to very close to the transistor's threshold voltage, into the so-called near-threshold region. Near-threshold operation reduces energy consumption by an order of magnitude but comes at the cost of reduced frequency, degraded reliability and increased parameter variability.

In this talk I will describe hardware and software co-design techniques that address and alleviate the challenges of low-voltage computing, bringing it closer to commercial feasibility. These include techniques for reducing the effects of process and voltage variability and a new approach for runtime reduction of voltage margins prototyped in a state-of-the art server processor.


Radu Teodorescu is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Computer Science and Engineering at The Ohio State University where he leads the Computer Architecture Research Lab. He received his PhD from University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign in 2008. His research interests include computer architecture with a focus on energy efficient microprocessor design and the impact of technology scaling on reliability and process variability. He received a CAREER award from the National Science Foundation in 2012, the W. J. Poppelbaum award from University of Illinois in 2008 and an Intel Fellowship in 2007.

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