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Designing Chips without Guarantees
September/October 2010 (vol. 27 no. 5)
pp. 60-67

This roundtable is based on the 2010 Design Automation Conference session "Computing without Guarantees," which looked at how nondeterministic computing might be the wave of the future. The process of electronic system design has traditionally conformed to an axiom: the specification and implementation must be equivalent in a numerical or Boolean sense. But a wide range of application domains, including digital signal processing, multimedia processing, and wireless communications, do not require such a strong notion of equivalence, owing to the presence of noise in the input data and the limited perceptual ability of humans consuming their output. Emerging workloads of the future, such as recognition, mining, and synthesis, take this "inherent resilience" to a different level due to the massive amounts of data they process, statistical nature of the algorithms, and built-in expectation of less than perfect results.

Index Terms:
design and test, computing without guarantees, nondeterministic computing, system design
"Designing Chips without Guarantees," IEEE Design & Test of Computers, vol. 27, no. 5, pp. 60-67, Sept.-Oct. 2010, doi:10.1109/MDT.2010.105
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