Self-Timed Thermally-Aware Circuits

David Fang, Filipp Akopyan, and Rajit Manohar

Thermal management is becoming increasingly important in circuit designs with high power density. Circuits that overheat beyond specified operating conditions may suffer timing failures, or become damaged for various reasons, including thermal runaway. Traditional power management in synchronous systems often involves transitions to different system states or modes, typically involving changes in clock frequencies or voltage levels. However, the self-timed nature of asynchronous circuits allows delays to vary continuously during operation, enabling stall-free performance-throttling. We present a novel application of a thermally sensitive circuit to automatically regulate the performance and power consumption of asynchronous circuits, with minimal implementation overhead.