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Proceedings ArticleDOI

A clustering technique for fast electrothermal analysis of on-chip power distribution networks

08 May 2016-pp 1-4

AbstractThis paper presents an equivalent self-consistent electrothermal circuit model for power integrity analysis of large on-chip power distribution networks. Two coupled circuits are used to co-simulate the electrical and thermal behavior of the power grid. After a steady-state analysis, the order of the circuit is strongly reduced by means of a node clustering technique. The obtained low-order circuit allows a cost-effective complete power integrity analysis, including dynamic analysis and evaluation of time-domain features like voltage droop. As a case-study, a 45-nm chip power grid is analyzed: the full circuit for the electrothermal model with 4 million nodes is reduced by a factor of about 3500×, with a relative error on the solution below few percent.

Topics: Power integrity (67%), Circuit extraction (63%), Equivalent circuit (63%), Power factor (62%), Voltage droop (57%)

Summary (2 min read)

I. INTRODUCTION

  • The temperature increase related to power dissipation in onchip Power Distribution Networks (PDNs) may strongly affect the electrical performance of such networks in conventional VLSI architectures (e.g. [1] ) or innovative 3D ICs (e.g. [2] ).
  • Reaching the convergence to a fixed accuracy stops the cycle.
  • In principle, the solution of the thermal model may require a full-3D numerical simulation of the problem (via FD, FEM or BEM methods, for instance).
  • In such a case, a simple equivalent electrical network is used (see Fig. 1 ), where an equivalence is established between temperature and voltage, heat flow and electrical current, thermal and electrical resistance and capacitance, heat production and current source, initial temperature and voltage source.
  • Therefore, modest results can be achieved for PDNs when using popular model-order reduction techniques suitable for signal interconnects, such as those based on subspace projections [5] - [7] .

II. ELECTRO-THERMAL MODEL

  • The authors consider a standard PDN structure as the one depicted in Fig. 2 , where two conductor grids are connected to VDD and GND supply pins, respectively.
  • The VDD grid is connected to package by a series impedance Zsupply (not shown here), whereas the GND grid nodes are connected to a heatsink, for heat dissipation purposes.
  • The solution of the electrical problem provides the so-called voltage drop at any generic node i, namely: EQUATION being Vn(i) and Vg(i) the node potentials with respect to the power and ground plane references, respectively.
  • As pointed out in the introduction, the thermal circuit solution depends on the electrical solution via the equivalent controlled current source in Fig. 3b , which models the heat generation produced by: (i) the switching activity, PS(i)=I0Vd(i); (ii) the Joule effect into the conductors connected to such a node, PJ(i).
  • If necessary, different quantization steps NV and NT can be chosen for the electrical and thermal problem, respectively, due the different nature of the two physical problems.

STEP 5. Synthesize (4) into a SPICE netlist. ♦

  • The final electrical circuit contains 2NV nodes; such a number depends, of course, on the chosen quantization, i.e., on the desired accuracy.
  • The great advantage of the proposed procedure resides in the fact that the analysis of the complete networks is performed only in steady state condition, whereas the power integrity analysis is performed with the SPICE reduced circuit.
  • In principle, the steady state analysis can be also carried out at a frequency different from zero.
  • Nevertheless, since the power in PDNs is mainly associated to the DC component, and assuming that the physical dimensions are such that no resonance falls into the frequency band of interest, the authors verified that the clustering obtained by using the DC solution did not change if an AC signal was superimposed.

IV. RESULTS

  • A 1020×1020 grid was assumed for each PDN plane (VDD and GND planes), which means that each electrical grid contains about 1 million nodes.
  • The authors investigated the 45nm technology, whose typical parameters are reported in Table I [11] .
  • Assuming the same quantization as for the basic stamp, the clustering procedure provides a reduced electrical circuit of 300 nodes for each plane, with a reduction factor of 3468x.
  • The reduced SPICE circuit was synthesized and used to perform noise analysis on PDN to retrieve the voltage droop, which was estimated to be 75.53 mV for the same feeding conditions as in Table III .
  • Finally, to have a quantitative measure of the computational cost, the authors used a PC with 32GB RAM and a quad-core processor, equipped with HSPICE version G-2012.06 [13] .

V. CONCLUSIONS

  • The paper presented a clustering technique able to strongly reduce the computational cost of the electrothermal analysis of large chip power distribution networks, both for the DC and dynamical cases.
  • The full network analysis is limited to a steady-state simulation, much less costly than the full dynamic solution of the electrothermal problem.
  • The dynamic analysis of the PDN is then carried out with the obtained SPICE reduced order circuit.

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A clustering technique for fast electrothermal analysis of
on-chip power distribution networks
Alessandro Magnani, Massimiliano De Magistris, Antonio Maucci, Aida
Todri-Sanial
To cite this version:
Alessandro Magnani, Massimiliano De Magistris, Antonio Maucci, Aida Todri-Sanial. A clustering
technique for fast electrothermal analysis of on-chip power distribution networks. SPI: Signal and
Power Integrity, May 2016, Turin, Italy. �10.1109/SaPIW.2016.7496292�. �lirmm-01446283�

A Clustering Technique for Fast Electrothermal
Analysis of On-Chip Power Distribution Networks
A. Magnani, M. de Magistris
Dep. of Electrical Engineering and
Information Technology
University Federico II, Naples, Italy
alessandro.magnani@unina.it
m.demagistris@unina.it
A. Maffucci
Dep. of Electrical and
Information Engineering
University of Cassino and S.L.
Cassino, Italy
maffucci@unicas.it
A. Todri-Sanial
CNRS- LIRMM
University of Montpellier
Montpellier, France
todri@lirmm.fr
Abstract—This paper presents an equivalent self-consistent
electrothermal circuit model for power integrity analysis of large
on-chip power distribution networks. Two coupled circuits are
used to co-simulate the electrical and thermal behavior of the
power grid. After a steady-state analysis, the order of the circuit is
strongly reduced by means of a node clustering technique. The
obtained low-order circuit allows a cost-effective complete power
integrity analysis, including dynamic analysis and evaluation of
time-domain features like voltage droop. As a case-study, a 45-nm
chip power grid is analyzed: the full circuit for the electrothermal
model with 4 million nodes is reduced by a factor of about 3500x,
with a relative error on the solution below few percent.
Keywords— On-chip power distribution networks; IR-drop;
model order reduction; electrothermal analysis, power integrity.
I. INTRODUCTION
The temperature increase related to power dissipation in on-
chip Power Distribution Networks (PDNs) may strongly affect
the electrical performance of such networks in conventional
VLSI architectures (e.g. [1]) or innovative 3D ICs (e.g. [2]). In
addition, it is well-known that the PDN thermal behavior is
strictly related to reliability issues like electromigration [3]. As
a consequence, a self-consistent electrothermal modeling is
needed to get accurate power integrity analysis and a reliable
design of PDNs.
The thermal problem is coupled to the electric one via the
heat production term, which depends on electrical power
dissipated for device activity and for joule effects in the grid
conductors. On the other side, the electrical problem is related
to the solution of the thermal one since the electrical
parameters, such as the resistance, depend on temperature.
Usually the electrothermal co-simulation system consists in
solving these coupled problems with a relaxation approach:
(i) the heat production term is evaluated at initial temperature;
(ii) solving heat equation provides the temperature distribution;
(iii) the temperature-dependent electrical parameters are
updated and the electrical problem is solved;
(iv) the heat production term is updated.
Reaching the convergence to a fixed accuracy stops the cycle.
In principle, the solution of the thermal model may require
a full-3D numerical simulation of the problem (via FD, FEM or
BEM methods, for instance). This approach accurately
describes 3D geometries and accounts for air convection or
cooling effects, but at extremely high computational cost [4].
However, in many cases of practical interest, in PDN structures,
materials are homogeneous and the heat mainly flows along the
grid conductors (grids and vias), being negligible the heat
exchange between copper and dielectric. In such a case, a
simple equivalent electrical network is used (see Fig.1), where
an equivalence is established between temperature and voltage,
heat flow and electrical current, thermal and electrical
resistance and capacitance, heat production and current source,
initial temperature and voltage source. The main advantage of
this approach resides, of course, in the possibility of handling
the electro-thermal modeling in the common frame of SPICE-
like simulators. However, PDNs are very complicated
structures including power planes, metal traces, chips,
packages, decaps, vias and controlled collapse chip connection
(C4) bumps [2], and thus even describing each subpart with a
simple electrical RLC model and with the equivalent thermal
model in Fig.1, the size of an equivalent network describing
PDNs easily reaches the order of several millions of nodes.
Dynamic analysis (for instance noise analysis) of such large
networks is likely to be unaffordable, hence reducing the
computational cost of simulations has become a major issue.
Unlike the signal interconnects, where the propagation
plays a fundamental role, hence any accurate circuit model must
handle a huge number of poles, a PDN is usually characterized
by a huge number of nodes, but at a low number of poles.
Therefore, modest results can be achieved for PDNs when using
popular model-order reduction techniques suitable for signal
interconnects, such as those based on subspace projections [5]-
[7]. Recently, new reduction approaches have been proposed
for electrical networks, based on the concept of node reduction
[8]-[9].
In [10] the Authors have proposed a novel model-order
reduction technique based on the concept of node clustering. A
preliminary steady state solution of the Electrothermal (ET)
problem provides the distributions of temperature and voltage
drop values at each node of the PDN. Choosing a quantization
for temperature and voltage drop the nodes are then clustered
Fig.1 Simple equivalent electrical model for the thermal problem.
978-1-5090-0349-5/16/$31.00 ©2016 IEEE

into supernodes and a reduced order circuit is obtained where
the thermal and electrical interactions take place between
supernodes. In [10] the model was limited to steady state
analysis, and thus only the resistive elements were taken into
account. In the present paper the work has been completed by
including the dynamic parts and by extending the study to AC
and to time domain noise analysis, thus providing a complete
tool for PDN power integrity.
In Section II the electro-thermal model is briefly revised,
whereas Section III introduces the clustering technique. A case
study is provided in Section IV, referring to a 45nm chip PDN.
II. E
LECTRO
-T
HERMAL
M
ODEL
We consider a standard PDN structure as the one depicted
in Fig.2, where two conductor grids are connected to VDD and
GND supply pins, respectively. The VDD grid is connected to
package by a series impedance Z
supply
(not shown here), whereas
the GND grid nodes are connected to a heatsink, for heat
dissipation purposes. The electrical model describing the
interaction of each single node with neighborhood is depicted
in Fig.3a: each interconnect between the node and any adjacent
node in the same grid is modeled as an R-L series, whereas the
connection between corresponding nodes of different grids is
modeled by a capacitor in parallel with a current source I
0
. The
latter represents the circuit switching activity, i.e. the current
demand of a circuit connected between VDD and GND pins.
The solution of the electrical problem provides the so-called
voltage drop at any generic node i, namely:
))()(()( iViVViV
gnDDd
=
, (1)
being V
n
(i) and V
g
(i) the node potentials with respect to the
power and ground plane references, respectively.
The temperature distribution over the grid nodes is obtained
by solving the thermal problem, modeled by the equivalent
circuit in Fig.3b. In the following we assume that the grid
discretization is fine enough that the branch lengths are smaller
than or equal to the characteristic thermal length: in this case,
we can adopt the same grid for the electrical and thermal
problems [9]. The thermal resistances R
TH
and R
HS
correspond
to the PDN segments in the same grid, and to the connections
to heatsink, respectively. Note that the thermal capacitor in
Fig.1 is omitted, which means that the dynamic behavior of
thermal solution is neglected, which is a realistic assumption in
the considered problem, being the time scales of the thermal
problem much greater than those of the electrical one.
As pointed out in the introduction, the thermal circuit
solution depends on the electrical solution via the equivalent
controlled current source in Fig.3b, which models the heat
generation produced by: (i) the switching activity,
P
S
(i)=I
0
V
d
(i); (ii) the Joule effect into the conductors connected
to such a node, P
J
(i). The electrical circuit solution depends on
the thermal solution by means of the classical relation between
conductor resistivity and temperature:
0 0
( ) (1 ),
ρ ρ α
= +
r
T T
(2)
where T
r
=T-T
0
is the temperature rise with respect to a
reference value T
0
. For copper conductors and T
0
= 300 K, it is
ρ
0
=1.72×10
-8
Ωm and α
0
=0.0039 K
-1
. The two problems are
coupled in a classical relaxation approach.
Fig.2 The considered power delivery network structure.
Fig.3 Electrical (a) and thermal (b) circuit model at each grid node.
III. O
RDER
R
EDUCTION BY
N
ODE
C
LUSTERING
The ET model consists in an electrical and a thermal
network, each of them containing two grids (VDD and GND)
of N nodes. The clustering technique proceeds as follows:
STEP 1. Solve ET problem for the full model in steady-state
condition. This provides the distributions of voltage drop on
electrical nodes and of temperature on thermal ones.
STEP 2. Define a quantization V
dk
, with k=1,..N
V
(T
rh
, with
h=1,..N
T
) for the voltage drop V
d
(the temperature rise T
r
). For
uniform quantization, the levels are separated by:
(
)
( )
).1/(
),1/(
min,max,
min,max,
=
=
Trrr
Vddd
NTTT
NVVV
(3)
If necessary, different quantization steps N
V
and N
T
can be
chosen for the electrical and thermal problem, respectively, due
the different nature of the two physical problems.
STEP 3. Cluster in the k-th electrical supernode each electrical
node i such that:
ddkd
VViV )(
. Cluster in the h-th thermal
supernode each thermal node j such that:
rrhr
TTjT )( .
STEP 4. Build the incidence matrices
A
e
and
A
t
and the
admittance matrices
Y
e
and
Y
t
of the reduced electrical and
thermal networks, respectively. Matrix
A
e
is easily obtained by
checking the correspondence between original nodes and final
supernodes. The generic element (k,m) of
Y
e
(corresponding to
supernodes k and m”) is obtained by summing up all the
admittances
ij
Y of the original electrical network, such that
. , mjki
Finally, the equivalent current sources to be
inserted between supernodes k and m are obtained by summing
all the sources terms
0
I
, inserted between a pair of nodes (i,j),
being
., mjki
After this step, we obtain the circuit model:
,
0
IV
d
er
=Y
,
ee
T
eer
AYAY =
(4)
The same approach is applied for the thermal network.
STEP 5. Synthesize (4) into a SPICE netlist.

The final electrical circuit contains 2N
V
nodes; such a
number depends, of course, on the chosen quantization, i.e., on
the desired accuracy. The great advantage of the proposed
procedure resides in the fact that the analysis of the complete
networks is performed only in steady state condition, whereas
the power integrity analysis is performed with the SPICE
reduced circuit. In principle, the steady state analysis can be
also carried out at a frequency different from zero.
Nevertheless, since the power in PDNs is mainly associated to
the DC component, and assuming that the physical dimensions
are such that no resonance falls into the frequency band of
interest, we verified that the clustering obtained by using the
DC solution did not change if an AC signal was superimposed.
IV.
R
ESULTS
The analyzed case-study was a standard PDN with the
structure as in Fig.2, referred to a core of dimensions 20 mm x
20 mm. A 1020×1020 grid was assumed for each PDN plane
(VDD and GND planes), which means that each electrical grid
contains about 1 million nodes. As pointed out in Section 3, the
same grid was used for the equivalent thermal circuit, thus the
total number of nodes is about 4 millions. The structure was
obtained by a 20×20 replica of a basic stamp made of 2601
(51×51) nodes. The basic stamp was fed at its four corners,
where it was connected through C4 bumps to the package
through a package impedance Z
supply
. Each grid branch was
made by a copper conductor with section WxH and length l. We
investigated the 45nm technology, whose typical parameters
are reported in Table I [11]. Note that the range of values for I
0
corresponds to chip power density 1.5 µWm
2
, which is a
typical value for such a technology [11]. The electrical and
thermal circuit parameters reported in Table II were estimated
through the Predictive Technology Model [12].
The temperature and voltage drop distributions on the basic
stamp (51×51 nodes), provided by the preliminary full DC
analysis, are reported in Fig.4. Assuming uniform quantization
with N
V
=55 and N
T
=77, (which correspond to
K 32.0=
r
T
and
mV 74.0=
d
V
), the clustering procedure provides a
reduced electrical circuit of 55 nodes (instead of 2601) for each
VDD and GND plane, with a reduction factor of 47x. As a proof
of consistency for the DC solution, the synthesized low-order
SPICE circuit was used to reproduce the
TABLE I
T
YPICAL
P
ARAMETERS FOR A
45-
NM
PDN
[11]
W m] H m] l m] V
DD
[V]
I
[mA]
10 1 1000 1 0.577
TABLE II
C
IRCUIT
P
ARAMETERS FOR
E
LECTRICAL AND THERMAL
M
ODELS
R
[mΩ]
C
[pF]
L
[nH]
R
supp
[Ω]
L
supp
[nH]
R
TH
[kK/W]
R
HS
[MK/W]
21.56
3.845 0 0.01 60 2545 0.25
TABLE III
V
OLTAGE
D
ROOP
E
STIMATED WITH
F
ULL AND
R
EDUCED
C
IRCUITS
Stimulus
(waveform)
Full
circuit
Reduced
circuit
Relative
error [%]
Triangular 95.938 mV 90.502 mV 5.67%
map in Fig.4b: the relative error distribution provided in Fig.5
clearly proofs the consistency.
To check also consistency for transient solutions, we
compared the maximum voltage droop provided by the full and
reduced circuits, see Table III. The voltage droop at each node
was evaluated by stimulating the PDN with a periodic triangle-
wave current, integrating each voltage over a period, and
dividing for the period itself. The stimulus triangular waveform
was characterized by base level of 0.577 mA, peak I
peak
=0.769
mA, t
rise
=50 ps, t
peak
=10 ps, and t
fall
=100 ps [2].
Fig.4 Steady-state maps: (a) temperature rise (in K); (b) and voltage drop (in V)
for the 51x51 PDN.
Fig.5 Percent relative error in the voltage drop distribution estimated by the
SPICE reduced order circuit, for the basic stamp 51x51 PDN.
(a)
(b)
(V)
(K)

After the consistency check on the basic stamp, the
clustering procedure was applied to the full ET model of the
chip with 4 million nodes. The preliminary steady state analysis
provided the temperature and voltage drop distributions, as
shown in Fig.6. Assuming the same quantization as for the basic
stamp, the clustering procedure provides a reduced electrical
circuit of 300 nodes for each plane, with a reduction factor of
3468x. A consistency proof showed that the reduced circuit is
Fig.6 Steady-state maps: (a) temperature rise (in K) and (b) voltage drop (in V)
for the 1020x1020 PDN.
Fig.7 Percent relative error for temperature rise (right axis) and voltage drop
(let axis) for the full chip analysis, as a function of the reduction factor.
able to reproduce the maps in Fig.6 with a maximum error of
about 0.4% in voltage and 2.5% in temperature (see Fig.7). The
reduction factor may be lowered when a better accuracy is
required, as shown in Fig.7.
The reduced SPICE circuit was synthesized and used to
perform noise analysis on PDN to retrieve the voltage droop,
which was estimated to be 75.53 mV for the same feeding
conditions as in Table III.
Finally, to have a quantitative measure of the computational
cost, we used a PC with 32GB RAM and a quad-core processor,
equipped with HSPICE version G-2012.06 [13]. With such a
configuration, the full chip cannot be simulated by HSPICE
because of the too large number of dynamic elements. The
preliminary steady-state solution (including several iteration of
the relaxation cycle) took 60 s, while additional 10s are needed
for the reduction process. The HSPICE simulation on the
reduced circuit took 6.2s.
V.
C
ONCLUSIONS
The paper presented a clustering technique able to strongly
reduce the computational cost of the electrothermal analysis of
large chip power distribution networks, both for the DC and
dynamical cases. The full network analysis is limited to a
steady-state simulation, much less costly than the full dynamic
solution of the electrothermal problem. The dynamic analysis
of the PDN is then carried out with the obtained SPICE reduced
order circuit. The analyzed case-studies demonstrated the
consistency of the technique and its capability of reducing the
complexity of a grid of 4 million node by a factor of about 3500.
R
EFERENCES
[1] Y.-K. Cheng, C.-H. Tsai, C.-C. Teng, S.-M. Kang, Electrothermal
Analysis of VLSI Systems,Springer, 2002.
[2] A. Todri-Sanial and C. Seng Tan, Physical Design for 3D Integrated
Circuits, CRC Press, ISBN: 9781498710367, 2015.
[3] A. Christou and M. Peckerar, Electromigration and Electronic Device
Degradation, Wiley and Sons, 1994.
[4] M. Pedram, and S. Nazarian, “Thermal modeling, analysis, and
management in VLSI circuits: principles and methods,” Proceedings of
the IEEE, vol. 94, pp.1487–1501, 2006.
[5] M. de Magistris, M. Nicolazzo “On the Concretely Passive Realization of
Reduced Circuit Models Based on Convex Constrained Positive Real
Fractions Identification,” proc. of IEEE Workshop on Signal Propagation
on Interconnects, SPI 2011, pp.29-32, Napoli (Italy) 8-11 May 2011.
[6] S. Grivet-Talocia, “Package macromodeling via time-domain vector
fitting,” IEEE Microwave and Wireless Components Letters, Vol.13, pp.
472 – 474, 2003.
[7] M. De Magistris, L. De Tommasi, A. Maffucci, G. Miano “Low-Order
Identification of Interconnects with the Generalized Method of
Characteristics”, IEEE Trans. on Electromagnetic Compatibility, Vol.49,
pp.670-676, 2007.
[8] Z. Zhang, X. Hu, C. K. Cheng, and N. Wong, “A block-diagonal
structured model reduction scheme for power grid networks,” in Proc.
IEEE Design Automation & Test in Europe (DATE), 2011.
[9] Yu Zhong, “Fast algorithms for IR drop analysis in large power grid,” in
Proc. of the IEEE/ACM ICCAD, pp. 351-357, 2005.
[10] A.Magnani, M. de Magistris, A. Maffucci, A. Todri-Sanial, “A node
clustering reduction scheme for power grids electrothermal analysis” in
Proc. IEEE Work. on Signal and Power Integrity (SPI), 2015, pp.74-77.
[11] International Technology Roadmap for Semiconductors, 2013,
http://public.itrs.net
[12] Predictive Technology Model, http://ptm.asu.edu/
[13] HSPICE G.2012.06, Reference Manual: Commands and Control Options,
Synopsys Inc., 2012.
(V)
(K)
(a)
(b)
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14 Mar 2011
TL;DR: A block-diagonal structured model order reduction (BDSM) scheme for fast power grid analysis that is input-signal independent, different from those MOR schemes based on extended Krylov subspace technique, so the resulting ROM is reusable under different excitations.
Abstract: We propose a block-diagonal structured model order reduction (BDSM) scheme for fast power grid analysis. Compared with existing power grid model order reduction (MOR) methods, BDSM has several advantages. First, unlike many power grid reductions that are based on terminal reduction and thus error-prone, BDSM utilizes an exact column-by-column moment matching to provide higher numerical accuracy. Second, with similar accuracy and macromodel size, BDSM generates very sparse block-diagonal reduced-order models (ROMs) for massive-port systems at a lower cost, whereas traditional algorithms such as PRIMA produce full dense models inefficient for the subsequent simulation. Third, different from those MOR schemes based on extended Krylov subspace (EKS) technique, BDSM is input-signal independent, so the resulting ROM is reusable under different excitations. Finally, due to its blockdiagonal structure, the obtained ROM can be simulated very fast. The accuracy and efficiency of BDSM are verified by industrial power grid benchmarks.

17 citations


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Q1. What contributions have the authors mentioned in the paper "A clustering technique for fast electrothermal analysis of on-chip power distribution networks" ?

This paper presents an equivalent self-consistent electrothermal circuit model for power integrity analysis of large on-chip power distribution networks. As a case-study, a 45-nm chip power grid is analyzed: the full circuit for the electrothermal model with 4 million nodes is reduced by a factor of about 3500x, with a relative error on the solution below few percent.