Dylan McGrath, EE Times(11/08/2005 7:59 PM EST)SAN JOSE, Calif
. — Major changes to design philosophy are need at sub-90-nanometer nodes to accommodate the shrinking number of atoms on each transistor, according to a Monday evening (Nov. 7) panel discussion at the International Conference on Computer Aided Design here.
The six panelists, mostly from academia, proposed radical ideas — including the creation of design tools with artificial intelligence (AI) — for dealing with the less reliable components resulting from the shrinking number of atoms and increase in complexity created by the growing number of transistors.
As the number of atoms in a transistor decreases, effects caused by variation in threshold voltage due to the number and placement of dopants as well as failures created during manufacturing become more pronounced.
Panelists, as well as the moderator, Seth Copen Goldstein of Carnegie Mellon University, agreed that faulty components would be unavoidable and that a successful design will need to account for this.
"We need to build processors that work despite having a large fraction of their transistors in some faulty state at any given time," said Josep Torrellas, a professor in the department of computer science at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, who suggested that this percentage could be 1-5 percent, or higher.
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