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Issue No. 08 - Aug. (2013 vol. 62)
ISSN: 0018-9340
pp: 1584-1596
James Alfred Walker , University of York, York
Martin A. Trefzer , University of York, York
Simon J. Bale , University of York, York
Andy M. Tyrrell , University of York, York
Field programmable gate arrays (FPGAs) are widely used in applications where online reconfigurable signal processing is required. Speed and function density of FPGAs are increasing as transistor sizes shrink to the nanoscale. As these transistors reduce in size intrinsic variability becomes more of a problem and to reliably create electronic designs according to specification time consuming statistical simulations become necessary; and even with accurate models and statistical simulation, the fabrication yield will decrease as every physical instance of a design behaves differently. This paper describes an adaptive, evolvable architecture that allows for correction and optimization of circuits directly in hardware using bioinspired techniques. Similar to FPGAs, the programmable analog and digital array (PAnDA) architecture introduced provides a digital configuration layer for circuit design. Accessing additional configuration options of the underlying analog layer enables continuous adjustment of circuit characteristics at runtime, which enables dynamic optimization of the mapped design's performance. Moreover, the yield of devices can be improved postfabrication via reconfiguration of the analog layer, which can overcome faults induced due to variability and process defects. Since optimization goals are generic, i.e., not restricted to reducing stochastic variability, power consumption or increasing speed, the same mechanisms can also enhance the device's fault tolerant abilities in the case of component degradation and failures during its lifetime or when exposed to hazardous environments.
Computer architecture, Field programmable gate arrays, Transistors, Optimization, Performance evaluation, Random access memory, Logic gates, adaptive hardware, Reconfigurable architectures, intrinsic variability, bio-inspired algorithms, fault tolerance, evolvable hardware

A. M. Tyrrell, S. J. Bale, M. A. Trefzer and J. A. Walker, "PAnDA: A Reconfigurable Architecture that Adapts to Physical Substrate Variations," in IEEE Transactions on Computers, vol. 62, no. , pp. 1584-1596, 2013.
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