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Chips, Volume 3, Issue 2 (June 2024) – 6 articles

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20 pages, 2637 KiB  
Article
Survey of Security Issues in Memristor-Based Machine Learning Accelerators for RF Analysis
by Will Lillis, Max Cohen Hoffing and Wayne Burleson
Chips 2024, 3(2), 196-215; https://doi.org/10.3390/chips3020009 - 13 Jun 2024
Viewed by 445
Abstract
We explore security aspects of a new computing paradigm that combines novel memristors and traditional Complimentary Metal Oxide Semiconductor (CMOS) to construct a highly efficient analog and/or digital fabric that is especially well-suited to Machine Learning (ML) inference processors for Radio Frequency (RF) [...] Read more.
We explore security aspects of a new computing paradigm that combines novel memristors and traditional Complimentary Metal Oxide Semiconductor (CMOS) to construct a highly efficient analog and/or digital fabric that is especially well-suited to Machine Learning (ML) inference processors for Radio Frequency (RF) signals. Analog and/or hybrid hardware designed for such application areas follows different constraints from that of traditional CMOS. This paradigm shift allows for enhanced capabilities but also introduces novel attack surfaces. Memristors have different properties than traditional CMOS which can potentially be exploited by attackers. In addition, the mixed signal approximate computing model has different vulnerabilities than traditional digital implementations. However both the memristor and the ML computation can be leveraged to create security mechanisms and countermeasures ranging from lightweight cryptography, identifiers (e.g., Physically Unclonable Functions (PUFs), fingerprints, and watermarks), entropy sources, hardware obfuscation and leakage/attack detection methods. Three different threat models are proposed: (1) Supply Chain, (2) Physical Attacks, and (3) Remote Attacks. For each threat model, potential vulnerabilities and defenses are identified. This survey reviews a variety of recent work from the hardware and ML security literature and proposes open problems for both attack and defense. The survey emphasizes the growing area of RF signal analysis and identification in terms of commercial space, as well as military applications and threat models. We differ from other recent surveys that target ML, in general, neglecting RF applications. Full article
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14 pages, 2892 KiB  
Article
Directed Acyclic Graph-Based Datapath Synthesis Using Graph Isomorphism and Gate Reconfiguration
by Liuting Shang, Sheng Lu, Yichen Zhang, Sungyong Jung and Chenyun Pan
Chips 2024, 3(2), 182-195; https://doi.org/10.3390/chips3020008 - 4 Jun 2024
Viewed by 443
Abstract
Datapath synthesis is a crucial step in synthesis flow and aims at globally minimizing an area by identifying shareable logic structures. This paper introduces a novel Directed Acyclic Graph (DAG)-based datapath synthesis method based on graph isomorphism and gate reconfiguration. Unlike algorithms that [...] Read more.
Datapath synthesis is a crucial step in synthesis flow and aims at globally minimizing an area by identifying shareable logic structures. This paper introduces a novel Directed Acyclic Graph (DAG)-based datapath synthesis method based on graph isomorphism and gate reconfiguration. Unlike algorithms that identify common specification logic, our approach simplifies the problem by focusing on searching for common topology. Leveraging the concept of gate reconfiguration, our algorithm extends the applicability of DAG-based datapath synthesis by transforming a topology-equivalent network into a specification-equivalent network. Experimental results demonstrate up to 23.6% improvement when optimizing the adder–subtractor circuit, a scenario not addressed by existing DAG-based datapath synthesis algorithms. Full article
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29 pages, 7625 KiB  
Review
A Review on Fundamentals of Noise-Shaping SAR ADCs and Design Considerations
by Victor H. Arzate-Palma, David G. Rivera-Orozco, Gerardo Molina Salgado and Federico Sandoval-Ibarra
Chips 2024, 3(2), 153-181; https://doi.org/10.3390/chips3020007 - 10 May 2024
Viewed by 764
Abstract
A general overview of Noise-Shaping Successive Approximation Register (SAR) analog-to-digital converters is provided, encompassing the fundamentals, operational principles, and key architectures of Noise-Shaping SAR (NS SAR). Key challenges, including inherent errors in processing circuits, are examined, along with current advancements in architecture design. [...] Read more.
A general overview of Noise-Shaping Successive Approximation Register (SAR) analog-to-digital converters is provided, encompassing the fundamentals, operational principles, and key architectures of Noise-Shaping SAR (NS SAR). Key challenges, including inherent errors in processing circuits, are examined, along with current advancements in architecture design. Various issues, such as loop filter optimization, implementation methods, and DAC network element mismatches, are explored, along with considerations for voltage converter performance. The design of dynamic comparators is examined, highlighting their critical role in the SAR ADC architecture. Various architectures of dynamic comparators are extensively explored, including optimization techniques, performance considerations, and emerging trends. Finally, emerging trends and future challenges in the field are discussed. Full article
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24 pages, 18551 KiB  
Article
A CMOS 12-Bit 3MS/s Rad-Hard Digital-to-Analog Converter Based on a High-Linearity Resistor String Poly-Matrix
by Cristiano Calligaro and Umberto Gatti
Chips 2024, 3(2), 129-152; https://doi.org/10.3390/chips3020006 - 8 May 2024
Viewed by 814
Abstract
This work presents a rad-hard 12-bit 3 MS/s resistor string DAC for space applications. The converter has been developed using rad-hardened techniques both at architecture and layout levels starting from a conventional topology. The design considers the different effects of the radiation that [...] Read more.
This work presents a rad-hard 12-bit 3 MS/s resistor string DAC for space applications. The converter has been developed using rad-hardened techniques both at architecture and layout levels starting from a conventional topology. The design considers the different effects of the radiation that could damage the circuits in space environments. The DAC has been developed and integrated a standard CMOS 0.13 μm technology by IHP, using RHBD techniques. Low Earth Orbit (LEO) requires a TID value of around 100 krad (Si), according to the expected length of the mission. The temperature range is between −55 °C and 125 °C. The DAC power budget is similar to that of terrestrial applications. The measured INL (Integral Non-Linearity) and DNL (Differential Non-Linearity) are better than 0.2 LSB, while the ENOB (Effective Number Of Bits) at a 3 MS/s clock exceeds 9.7 bits while loading a 10 pF capacitor. The DAC has been characterized under radiation, showing a fluctuation in the analog output lower than 2 LSB (mainly due to measurement uncertainty) up to 500 krad (Si). Power consumption shows a negligible increase, too. A 10-bit version of the same DAC as the downscaled 12-bit one has been developed as well. Full article
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31 pages, 1754 KiB  
Review
Slew-Rate Enhancement Techniques for Switched-Capacitors Fast-Settling Amplifiers: A Review
by Michele Dei, Francesco Gagliardi and Paolo Bruschi
Chips 2024, 3(2), 98-128; https://doi.org/10.3390/chips3020005 - 17 Apr 2024
Viewed by 851
Abstract
This review is aimed at the integrated circuit design community and it explores slew-rate enhancement techniques for switched-capacitor amplifiers, with a primary focus on optimizing settling time within power constraints. Key challenges are addressed, including the selection between single-stage and two-stage amplifiers, along [...] Read more.
This review is aimed at the integrated circuit design community and it explores slew-rate enhancement techniques for switched-capacitor amplifiers, with a primary focus on optimizing settling time within power constraints. Key challenges are addressed, including the selection between single-stage and two-stage amplifiers, along with the utilization of advanced circuit-level techniques for slew-rate enhancement. Presently, there exists a gap in comprehensive discussion, with reliance primarily on two Figures of Merit aimed at assessing power efficiency under specific capacitive loads. However, these metrics fail to adequately assess the performance of the existing slew-rate enhancer solutions at different values of capacitive loads. As a consequence, the designer lacks clear guidelines in practical situations. This review provides a state-of-the art mapping under a figure of merit dedicated to assess the whole settling delay, and also introduces a novel performance metric which highlights the role of the circuital architectures, regardless of external operating conditions. By offering a thorough examination, this review seeks to steer future research in switched-capacitor amplifier design, thereby facilitating informed decision-making and fostering innovation in the field. Full article
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29 pages, 27941 KiB  
Article
Using the LabVIEW Simulation Program to Design and Determine the Characteristics of Amplifiers
by Corina Cuntan, Caius Panoiu, Manuela Panoiu, Ioan Baciu and Sergiu Mezinescu
Chips 2024, 3(2), 69-97; https://doi.org/10.3390/chips3020004 - 1 Apr 2024
Viewed by 679
Abstract
Because of the large number of parameters that interact in amplifier functions, determining dynamic regime parameters as well as the mode of function of amplifier stages is an extremely complex problem. This paper describes a LabVIEW application for studying the functioning of an [...] Read more.
Because of the large number of parameters that interact in amplifier functions, determining dynamic regime parameters as well as the mode of function of amplifier stages is an extremely complex problem. This paper describes a LabVIEW application for studying the functioning of an amplifier in various connections. The user selects the generator’s parameters, the type of connection and its parameters, as well as the load circuit characteristics. The application can determine both the stage characteristics and the Bode characteristics. The amplifier’s stability zone, as well as its gain and phase, are determined based on these characteristics. An important advantage of this application is that the design of the amplifier stage can be created starting from some parameters that the amplifier can establish, from which the values of components can be determined. In order to validate the simulation results from the LabVIEW application, the specialized program Multisim was used, as well as experimental measurements using the Electronics Explorer Board. Both Multisim and Electronics Explorer Board can determine Bode characteristics. In both simulations and experimental amplifiers, the same schemes with the same transistor were used. The application can be used for educational purposes as well as to design an amplifier’s stage to achieve specific parameters. Full article
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