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Result and Validation

In this section, we show complete analysis for frequencies extracted from each implemented RO under different conditions. In particular, we analyze the effect of the logic which surrounds the RO, the temperature, and the aging. As for the static parameters, we analyze frequencies distribution over devices and with attention to the place and routing configurations.

Analysis of the Logic Surrounding the RO

As the surrounding logic is unavoidable to on-chip measure the frequency, it is necessary to evaluate how components surrounding ROs may influence their frequencies. At this aim, first of all we evaluated the impact of the proximity of both two counters and the ChipScope logic to the RO and, to avoid unwanted effects of temperature variations, we kept the external temperature fixed at 26.6 °C. This was accomplished by performing tests controlling the temperature of the FPGA by means of a thermal chamber. As for the RO, we targeted a single 5-stage RO and we implemented it by exploiting several syntheses, changing the on-chip position of the clock counter, RO counter and ChipScope, one by one keeping the others fixed. The design diversity allowed us to see how the surrounding logic involved in a frequency measurement affects read frequency values. Each experimental campaign involved about 1000 experiments and each one was repeated 25 times in order to mitigate the measuring error by averaging the values. Figure 12.3 reports frequencies distributions, obtained by allocating counters and the ChipScope logic in different positions, considered as percentage variations from the average value. As for the RO counter, its position does mostly not influence the frequency value, except for some positions around the same rows in which the RO is placed, causing an increase of 0.1 % on read values (Fig. 12.3a). In contrast, the read frequency is sensitive to the placement of the clock counter, with an alternating of decreases and increases of —1%/+~ 3% (Fig. 12.3b). In both cases, the measured frequencies turn out to be stable when the counters are placed close to the ROs. Figure12.3c, d show that the impact of the ChipScope logic on read frequencies is practically insignificant, even when changing the shape in which its logic is bounded. In particular, placing ChipScope logic in different vertical positions does not have any significant effect, but moving it horizontally causes a slightly frequencies decrease (maximum ~0.05 %) proportionally

Distribution of ROs frequencies values, considered as percentage variation from the average, with different places for counters and ChipScope debug logic

Fig. 12.3 Distribution of ROs frequencies values, considered as percentage variation from the average, with different places for counters and ChipScope debug logic

to the distance. Hence ChipScope can be considered as a nonintrusive surrounding logic. Indeed, during the oscillations sampling process, its logic does not work.

To better evaluate the effect of an intrusive logic that heavily works near the RO, we designed an architecture characterized by a pseudorandom behavior, inspired by the linear feedback shift register (LFSR). Compared to a classic LFSR, that is a single shift register whose serial input bit is a nonlinear function of previous states, we define a logic which perfectly fits the FPGA slices structure to guarantee higher workload. A very pervasive surrounding logic has to exploit all LUTs inputs with high switching activity signals and has to occupy as much as resources in slices in which it is allocated. In particular, each slice in the Spartan-6 fabric contains four 6-input LUTs and their outputs can be registered in flip-flops. Figure 12.4 shows

A schematic overview of the implemented intrusive logic a high level schematic of the logic that we designed

Fig. 12.4 A schematic overview of the implemented intrusive logic a high level schematic of the logic that we designed. Each CLB has two slices which generate pseudorandom switching activity exploiting four parallel 6-input XOR functions and storing generated values in flip-flops. The input assignment for XOR function involves four signals locally picked, i.e., within the CLB, and 2 outside by neighbor CLBs. Iterating such a structure in a loop generates an auto-sustained signal switching, like the LFSR, but with more simultaneous activities per clock cycle.

The cells activity can be easily disabled, driving the signal clock-enable for all the involved flip-flops. The density of this intrusive logic, evaluated as the number of occupied LUTs on four times the number of occupied slices, reaches values between 75 and 85%. Figure 12.5 reports three experiments with different

Distribution of ROs frequencies values with an intrusive surrounding logic

Fig. 12.5 Distribution of ROs frequencies values with an intrusive surrounding logic, considered as percentage variation from the value of ROs without the logic intrusive logic configuration, respectively 3 x 8, 8 x 6 and 6 x 18, considering the frequency as percentage against average values of targeted RO measured without any insertion of intrusive logic. In all the reported cases, the logic causes a frequency decrease around 0.4 % when it is on and, surprisingly, it causes a frequency increase of about 0.15 % when it is off. Moreover, the logic is more intrusive in frequencies measurements when the prominent dimension is the height, hence the logic turns out to be more invasive if it is vertically stretched.

 
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