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Energy efficient functional unit for a compute-intensive asynchronous DSP

W. Suntiamorntut, L.E.M. Brackenbury


A functional unit (FU) that is well suited to high computational-intensive DSP systems, and combines several techniques to achieve high energy efficiency is presented. This FU consists of a datapath enabling parallel operations within it. A user configurable RAM memory specifies the operations required and gives the user and system programmer great flexibility in executing algorithms. Not only multiply accumulator operations can be performed by the FU, but other necessary instructions of a general DSP such as the hamming distance are also implemented. The operation flow is controlled using a self-timed circuit style to further reduce power and spread the circuit switching. Post-layout simulation of our full-custom FU implemented on 0.18m operating at 1.8 V with an area 0.36 mm2 shows a large energy improvement by a factor of 10 compared to the original design whilst performance results show that using four-way parallelism DSP yields a high throughout rate of equivalent to 800 MHz.

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