Skew-Tolerant Circuit Design - 1st Edition - ISBN: 9781558606364, 9780080541266

Skew-Tolerant Circuit Design

1st Edition

Authors: David Harris
eBook ISBN: 9780080541266
Paperback ISBN: 9781558606364
Imprint: Morgan Kaufmann
Published Date: 22nd May 2000
Page Count: 300
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Table of Contents


1.1 Overhead in Flip-Flop Systems

1.2 Throughput and Latency Trends

1.2.1 Impact of Overhead on Throughput and Latency

1.2.2 Historical Trends

1.2.3 Future Predictions

1.2.4 Conclusions

1.3 Skew-Tolerant Static Circuits

1.4 Domino Circuits

1.4.1 Domino Gate Operation

1.4.2 Traditional Domino Clocking

1.4.3 Skew-Tolerant domino

1.5 Case Studies

1.5.1 Sequencing Overhead in a Static ASIC

1.5.2 Sequencing Overhead in the Alpha 21164

1.5.3 Timing Analysis with Clock Skew

1.6 A Look Ahead


2.1 Preliminaries

2.1.1 Purpose of Memory Elements

2.1.2 Terminology

2.2 Static Memory Elements

2.2.1 Timing Diagrams

2.2.2 Sequencing Overhead

2.2.3 Time Borrowing

2.2.4 Min-Delay

2.3 Memory Element Design

2.3.1 Transparent Latches

2.3.2 Pulsed Latches

2.3.3 Flip-Flops

2.4 Historical Perspective

2.5 Summary


3.1 Skew-Tolerant Domino Timing

3.1.1 General Timing Constraints

3.1.2 Clock Domains

3.1.3 50% Duty Cycle

3.1.4 Single Gate per Phase

3.1.5 Min-Delay Constraints

3.1.6 Recommendations and Design Issues

3.2 Domino Gate Design

3.2.1 Monotonicity and Dual-Rail Domino

3.2.2 Footed and Unfooted Gates

3.2.3 Keeper Design

3.2.4 Robustness Issues

3.3 Historical Perspective

3.4 Summary


4.1 Static/Domino Interface

4.1.1 Latch Placement

4.1.2 Static to Domino Interface

4.1.3 Domino to Static Interface

4.1.4 Timing Types

4.1.5 Qualified Clocks

4.1.6 Min-Delay Checks

4.2 Clocked Element Design

4.2.1 Latch Design

4.2.2 Domino Gate Design

4.2.3 Special Structures

4.3 Testability

4.3.1 Static Logic

4.3.2 Domino Logic

4.4 Historical Perspective

4.5 Summary


5.1 Clock Waveforms

5.1.1 Physical Clock Definitions

5.1.2 Clock Skew

5.1.3 Clock Domains

5.2 Skew-Tolerant Domino Clock Generation

5.2.1 Delay Line Clock Generators

5.2.2 Feedback Clock Generators

5.2.3 Putting It All Together

5.3 Summary


6.1 Timing Analysis without Clock Skew

6.2 Timing Analysis with Clock Skew

6.2.1 Single Skew Formation

6.2.2 Exact Skew Formation

6.2.3 Clock Domain Formulation

6.2.4 Example

6.3 Extension to Flip-Flops and Domino Circuits

6.3.1 Flip-Flops

6.3.2 Domino Gates

6.4 Min-Delay

6.5 A Verification Algorithm

6.6 Results

6.7 Historical Perspective

6.8 Summary

6.8.1 Skewless Formulation

6.8.2 Single Skew Formulation

6.8.3 Exact Formulation

6.8.4 Clock Domain Formulation

6.9 Appendix: Timing Constraints




As advances in technology and circuit design boost operating frequencies of microprocessors, DSPs and other fast chips, new design challenges continue to emerge. One of the major performance limitations in today's chip designs is clock skew, the uncertainty in arrival times between a pair of clocks. Increasing clock frequencies are forcing many engineers to rethink their timing budgets and to use skew-tolerant circuit techniques for both domino and static circuits. While senior designers have long developed their own techniques for reducing the sequencing overhead of domino circuits, this knowledge has routinely been protected as trade secret and has rarely been shared. Skew-Tolerant Circuit Design presents a systematic way of achieving the same goal and puts it in the hands of all designers.

This book clearly presents skew-tolerant techniques and shows how they address the challenges of clocking, latching, and clock skew. It provides the practicing circuit designer with a clearly detailed tutorial and an insightful summary of the most recent literature on these critical clock skew issues.

Key Features

  • Synthesizes the most recent advances in skew-tolerant design in one cohesive tutorial
  • Provides incisive instruction and advice punctuated by humorous illustrations
  • Includes exercises to test understanding of key concepts and solutions to selected exercises


Engineers designing high-speed microprocessors and DSPs as well as postgraduate students in advanced VLSI design courses


No. of pages:
© Morgan Kaufmann 2001
Morgan Kaufmann
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"Harris leads the way to more performance with a clear strategy for design. He shows how to combine logic and latching to do more logic in less time. In an era where less stuff means higher speed, everyone interested in high performance logic must understand these techniques or be left behind."—Ivan Sutherland, Vice President and Fellow, Sun Microsystems

"The author thoroughly explains important circuit design techniques including various types of latch design styles, clocking strategies, and methods of accounting for clock skew. That all of this is captured in one place is one of the great strengths of this book."—Emily J. Shriver, Alpha Development Group, Compaq Computer Corporation

About the Authors

David Harris Author

David Money Harris is an associate professor of engineering at Harvey Mudd College. He received his Ph.D. in electrical engineering from Stanford University and his M.Eng. in electrical engineering and computer science from MIT. Before attending Stanford, he worked at Intel as a logic and circuit designer on the Itanium and Pentium II processors. Since then, he has consulted at Sun Microsystems, Hewlett-Packard, Evans & Sutherland, and other design companies.

David’s passions include teaching, building chips, and exploring the outdoors. When he is not at work, he can usually be found hiking, mountaineering, or rock climbing. He particularly enjoys hiking with his son, Abraham, who was born at the start of this book project. David holds about a dozen patents and is the author of three other textbooks on chip design, as well as two guidebooks to the Southern California mountains.

Affiliations and Expertise

Associate Professor of Engineering, Harvey Mudd College, Claremont, CA, USA