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Articles Published on SemiWiki

"But I Have Never Seen a Synchronizer Failure"

You may say, “Why should I worry about synchronizer failures when I have never seen one fail in a product?” Perhaps you feel that the dual-rank synchronizer used by many designers makes your design safe. Furthermore, those chips that have occasional unexpected failures never show any forensic evidence of synchronizer failures. Why worry? CLICK HERE for the rest of this article.

 

"Ten Ways Your Synchronizer MTBF May Be Wrong"

Estimating the MTBF of an SoC should always include an analysis of synchronizer reliability. Contemporary process nodes are introducing new challenges to the reliability of clock domain crossings so it is prudent to revisit how your simulation tool calculates a synchronizer’s MTBF. CLICK HERE for the rest of this article.

 

"Metastability and Fatal System Errors"

Metastability is an inescapable phenomenon in digital electronic systems. This phenomenon has been known to cause fatal system errors for half a century. Over the years, designers have used convenient rules of thumb for designing synchronizers to mitigate it. However, as digital circuits have become more complex, smaller and faster with reduced voltage, these rules of thumb are beginning to fail. A new tool from Blendics, MetaACE, has been developed that accurately evaluates metastability failures in contemporary SoCs. CLICK HERE for the rest of this article.

 

"Is Your Synchronizer Doing its Job - Part 1"

Recently, I discussed the increasing risk of metastability hazards at nanoscale geometries. These risks are significantly aggravated at low supply voltages and low temperatures and must be addressed during the design cycle of any mission critical application. This time I discuss what it takes to estimate a synchronizer’s mean-time between failures (MTBF). CLICK HERE for the rest of this article.

 

"Is Your Synchronizer Doing its Job - Part 2"

In Part 1 of this topic I discussed what it takes to estimate the mean time between failures (MTBF) of a single stage synchronizer. Because supply voltages are decreasing and transistor thresholds have been pushed up to minimize leakage, the shortened MTBF of many synchronizer circuits at nanoscale process nodes is presenting an increased risk of failure. Moreover, new SoC designs are expected to have hundreds of clock domains and at least as many Clock Domain Crossings (CDCs). To decrease this risk of failure in these multi-synchronous designs, many designers routinely use multistage synchronizers in each CDC. CLICK HERE for the rest of this article.

 

"Metastability Starts With Standard Cells"

Metastability is a critical SoC failure mode that occurs at the interface between clocked and clockless systems. It's a risk that must be carefully managed as the industry moves to increasingly dense designs at 28nm and below. Blendics is an emerging technology company that I have been working with recently, theirMetaACE product can be used throughout the design flow starting with foundation IP. CLICK HERE for the rest of this article.

 

White Papers Available for Download

Filename Size Date
An Adobe Acrobat file MTBF Bounds for Multistage Synchronizers 327.24 KB 2013-06-21 18:34:21
An Adobe Acrobat file Metastability and Fatal System Errors rev 16 Sept 2013 1.87 MB 2013-09-16 16:32:40
An Adobe Acrobat file Monte Carlo Simulation 229.82 KB 2013-08-08 21:15:14
An Adobe Acrobat file My Work on All Things Metastable OR Me and My Glitch 522.53 KB 2013-08-08 21:12:22
An Adobe Acrobat file Real World Examples of Metastability 158.3 KB 2013-09-16 16:03:37
An Adobe Acrobat file Simplifying Timing Closure and Reducing Design Time 110.52 KB 2013-08-08 21:17:09
An Adobe Acrobat file Simulating the Behavior of Synchronizers 276.99 KB 2013-08-08 21:19:44
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