Synthesis of variation tolerant clock distribution networks

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Rajaram, Anand Kumar

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In the sub-65nm VLSI technology, the variation effects like manufacturing variation, power supply noise and temperature variation become very significant. As one of the most vital components in any synchronous VLSI chip, the Clock Distribution Network (CDN) is especially sensitive to these variations. The unwanted clock skews caused by the variation effects consume increasing proportion of the clock cycle, thereby limiting chip performance and yield. Thus, making the clock network variation-tolerant is a key objective in the chip designs of today. In this dissertation, we propose several techniques that can be used to synthesize variation-tolerant clock networks. Our contributions can be broadly classified into following four categories: (i) Efficient algorithms for synthesizing link based non-tree clock networks. (ii) A methodology for synthesizing a balanced, variation tolerant, buffered clock network with cross-links. (iii) A comprehensive framework for planning, synthesis and optimization of clock mesh networks. (iv) A chip-level clock tree synthesis technique to address issues unique to hierarchical System-On-a-Chip (SOC) designs that are becoming more and more frequent today. Depending on the performance requirements and resource constraints of a given chip, the above techniques can be used separately or in combination to synthesize a variation tolerant clock network.